The Doubtful Penitent

And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned -Joshua 7:20

You find Achan making a very full confession. He says, “Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done. When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.” It seems so full a confession, that if I might be allowed to judge, I should say, “I hope to meet Achan the sinner, before the throne of God.”…Ah! dear friends, it has been my lot to stand by many a death-bed, and to see many such a repentance as this: I have seen the man, when worn to a skeleton, sustained by pillows in his bed; and he has said, when I have talked to him of judgment to come, “Sir, I feel I have been guilty, but Christ is good; I trust in Him.” And I have said within myself, ” I believe the man’s soul is safe.” But I have always come away with the melancholy reflection that I had no proof of it, beyond his own words; for it needs proof in acts and in future life, in order to sustain any firm conviction of a man’s salvation…Ah! dear friends, I hope none of you will have such a death-bed repentance as that; I hope your minister or your parents will not have to stand by your bedside, and then go away and say, “Poor fellow, I hope he is saved. But alas! death-bed repentances are such flimsy things; such poor, such trivial grounds of hope, that I am afraid, after all, his soul may be lost.” Oh! to die with a full assurance; oh! to die with an abundant entrance, leaving a testimony behind that we have departed this life in peace! That is a far happier way than to die in a doubtful manner, lying sick, hovering between two worlds, and neither ourselves nor yet our friends knowing to which of the two worlds we are going. May God grant us grace to give in our lives evidences of true conversion, that our case may not be doubtful!~ C.H. Spurgeon


A Blessed Cure for Anxiety

For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Thine eyes: nevertheless Thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto Thee. – Psalm 31:22

When we get into a difficulty we shall say, “I am now going to see the wonders of God, and to learn again how surely He delivers them that trust in Him.” I thank God I have learned at times to glory in necessities, as opening a window into heaven for me, out of which the Lord would abundantly pour forth His supplies. It has been to me so unspeakable a delight to see how the Lord has supplied my needs for the Orphanage, the College, and other works, that I have half wished to be in straits, that I might see how the Lord would appear for me. I remember, some time ago, when year after year all the money came in for the various enterprises, I began to look back with regret upon those grand days when the Lord permitted the brook Cherith to dry up, and called off the ravens with their bread and meat, and then found some other way of supplying the orphans’ needs. In those days, the Lord used to come to me, as it were, walking on the tops of the mountains, stepping from peak to peak, and by marvellous deeds supplying all my needs, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Do you know, I almost wished that the Lord would stop the streams, and then let me see how He can fetch water out of the rock. He did so, not very long ago. Funds ran very low, and then I cried to Him, and He heard me out of His holy hill. How glad was I to hear the footfall of the ever-present Lord, answering to His child’s prayer, and letting him know that his times were still in his Father’s hand! Surely it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is a joy worth worlds to be driven where none but the Lord can help you, and then to see His mighty hand pulling you out of the net. The joy lies mainly in the fact that you are sure it is the Lord, and sure that He is near you. This blessed realization of the Lord’s interposition causes us to glory in tribulation. Is not that a cure for worry, a blessed cure for anxiety? ~ C.H. Spurgeon

O Sinner, Could He Refuse Thee?

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…- Titus 3:4, 5

God must punish sin, every transgression must receive its just recompense of reward; but, lo, Christ has come, and as the scape-goat He has carried sin away; as the sin-offering He has removed transgression. Is not this good news? But I hear you say that your sins are too many and great. Do you then foolishly think that Christ is a sin-bearer for the innocent? That would be ridiculous. Do you suppose that Christ bore little sins only? That is to make Him a little Savior. Beware of this. Nay, but mountain sins, heaven-defying sins, were laid on Him when He hung upon the tree, and for these He made effectual atonement.

Perhaps, one of your greatest difficulties is that you cannot pray. You say, “I cannot put a dozen words together; if I groan, I fear I do not feel in my heart what I ought to feel.” Well, there is One who can pray for you if you cannot for yourself. Give Him your cause to plead, and do not doubt but that it shall succeed.

Think of His character as the meek and lowly Savior. Little children loved Him; He called them and they willingly came, for He was meek and lowly of heart. O sinner, could He refuse thee? Do you think He could give you a hard word and send you about your business, if you were to seek mercy today? It could not be; it is not in the nature of Him, who is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, ever to repel a heart that fain would cling to Him. Until He has once acted harshly to a coming sinner, you have no right to dream of His rejecting you, if you come to Him.~ C.H. Spurgeon


His Saving Health for the Sin-Sick

The people which sat in darkness saw a great light… – Matthew 4:16

It is said next that they “sat in darkness.” Matthew did not quote from Isaiah correctly; I think he purposely alters it. Isaiah speaks, in his ninth chapter, of a people that “walked in darkness;” but here the evangelist speaks of a people who “sat in darkness.” That is a state of less hopefulness. The man who walks is active, he has some energy left, and may reach a brighter spot; but a man sitting down is inactive, and will probably abide where he is. “The people that sat in darkness”-as if they had been there a long while, and would be there longer yet. They sat as though they had been turned to stone. They “sat in darkness,” probably through despair; they had, after a fashion, striven for the light, but had not found it, and so they gave up all hope. Their disappointed hearts told them that they might as well spare those fruitless efforts, and therefore down they sat with the stolidity of hopelessness. Why should they make any more exertion? If God would not hear their prayers, why should they pray any longer?…They said, “What matters it, since there is no hope for us? Let it be as fate appoints, we will sit still, we will neither cry nor pray.” How many have I met with who are not only thus in darkness, but are half-content to dare the terrible future, and sullenly to wait till the storm-cloud of wrath shall burst over them. It is a most sad and wretched condition, but what a blessing it is that this day we have a gospel to preach to such…The fact is that when a man is sin-sick, his soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and unless the Beloved Physician shall interpose, he will die of famine with the Bread of Life spread out before him. Dear friends, may the Lord visit you with His saving health, and give to the saddest of you joy and peace in believing. ~ C.H. Spurgeon


Himself the Reigning God is Our Savior

…for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. – Revelation 17:14

He in whom you are asked to believe for salvation is Himself God. Then, in infinite mercy, He came and took upon Himself our nature, and dwelt among men. He voluntarily came,-being God,-but He was also sent of God, appointed and authorized to be God’s Ambassador to man. He was, in addition to being sent of God, anointed of God, for the Spirit of God rested upon Him without measure, qualifying Him for His work…Then He died, and by that death He forever put away the sin of His people. He took upon Himself the sin which He had never committed; He was numbered with the transgressors, and He suffered as if men’s transgressions had been His own; He died, “the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” And God has accepted those sufferings as a propitiation for all who believe in Him; and now, this is the witness of God concerning Him, that He has raised Him from the dead, and taken Him up to His throne, and made Him to sit there, at His Father’s right hand, where, at this moment, He is making intercession for all who come unto God by Him. And, now, our prayers are accepted through Him; and the infinite blessings, which are His, He distributes among us; and He is shortly coming again, with sound of trumpet, and attended by myriads of saints and angels. As He ascended from Olivet, in like manner also will He descend to earth again. King of kings and Lord of lords shall He be in that day…He is God, He still lives, it is the living, reigning Christ whom we preach unto you. He lives in glory, and He also lives here by the presence of His Holy Spirit, who is with us, and who is to abide with us evermore; and it is upon Him as God incarnate, as Savior, crucified, risen, and gone into the glory, that you are asked to place your soul’s confidence. If you would learn this truth more fully, read the four Gospels, and the Epistles, and ask the Spirit, who inspired the writers of them, to explain and apply them to you. That is the way to obtain faith. True faith is based upon knowledge of Christ…Take care, dear friends, that you always remember that simple but important truth.~ C.H. Spurgeon

Let the Lord Do As He Wills

Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom Thou lovest is sick…When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. – John 11:3, 6

No doubt when Mary and Martha sent to tell Jesus they looked to see Lazarus recover as soon as the messenger reached the Master; but they were not gratified. For two days the Lord remained in the same place, and not till He knew that Lazarus was dead did He speak of going to Judea. This teaches us that Jesus may be informed of our trouble, and yet may act as if He were indifferent to it. We must not expect in every case that prayer for recovery will be answered, for if so, nobody would die who had chick or child, friend or acquaintance to pray for him. In our prayers for the lives of beloved children of God we must not forget that there is one prayer which may be crossing ours, for Jesus prays, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory.” We pray that they may remain with us, but when we recognize that Jesus wants them above, what can we do but admit His larger claim and say, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt”? In our own case, we may pray the Lord to raise us up, and yet though He loves us He may permit us to grow worse and worse, and at last to die. Hezekiah had fifteen years added to his life, but we may not gain the reprieve of a single day. Never set such store by the life of any one dear to you, or even by your own life, as to be rebellious against the Lord. If you hold the life of any dear one with too tight a hand, you are making a rod for your own back; and if you love your own earthly life too well, you are making a thorny pillow for your dying bed. Children are often idols, and in such cases their too ardent lovers are idolaters. We might as well make a god of clay, and worship it, as the Hindus are said to do, as worship our fellow-creatures, for what are they but clay? Shall dust be so dear to us that we quarrel with our God about it? If our Lord leaves us to suffer, let us not repine. He must do that for us which is kindest and best, for He loves us better than we love ourselves. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

Say, “This is my sin.”

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief.” -Mark 9:24

With tears he said, “Lord, I believe,” and then acknowledged his unbelief. Learn then, dear hearer, always to look at unbelief in Christ in the light of a fault. Never say, “This is my infirmity,” but say, “This is my sin.” There has been too much in the Church of God of regarding unbelief as though it were a calamity commanding sympathy, rather than a fault demanding censure as well. I am not to say to myself, “I am unbelieving, and therefore I am to be pitied.” No, “I am unbelieving, and therefore I must blame myself for it.” Why should I disbelieve my God? How dare I doubt Him who cannot lie? How can I mistrust the faithful promiser who has added to His promise His oath, and over and above His promise and His oath has given His own blood as a seal, that by two immutable things, wherein it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation. Chide yourselves, ye doubters. Doubts are among the worst enemies of your souls. Do not entertain them. Do not treat them as though they were poor forlorn travelers to be hospitably entertained, but as rogues and vagabonds to be chased from thy door. Fight them, slay them, and pray God to help thee to kill them, and bury them, and not even to leave a bone or a piece of a bone of a doubt above ground. Doubting and unbelief are to be abhorred, and to be confessed with tears as sins before God. We need pardon for doubting as much as for blasphemy. We ought no more to excuse doubting than lying, for doubting slanders God and makes Him a liar.~ C.H. Spurgeon