When The Two Determinations Meet

Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.- Jeremiah 3:22

Sinners are eager and quick to escape from their own mercy. Like the prodigal, they are not satisfied till they get into “a far country”: they cannot rest in the same land with their God: they journey with all speed away from the Lord, and the greater the distance that they can set between themselves and their Father the more are they at ease. In forgetting God they find a horrible peace: the peace of death, a peace which will stupefy them into eternal destruction.

I admire the overflowing riches of the grace of God, that He should call men to Himself when they are altogether taken up with other things, when every thought, and every word, and every act is in rebellion against Him…The two determinations meet, and we shall see which of the two will prove itself the stronger one. We soon find that the determination of God overcomes the determination of man. The iron breaks the northern iron and the steel. “Thus saith the Lord; your covenant with death is broken, and your league with hell is disannulled:” for there was a prior covenant, a covenant of grace made by God Himself, which stands fast for ever; and there was a prior league which God made with His Son on our behalf, and that league shall overthrow our league with death and hell. Glory be to God that even when the sinner is still rebellious, and shows no signs of repentance, nor is conscious of any wish to turn from the error of his ways, even then, while his heart is black as night, and his spirit is choke-full with rebellion, God calls to him, “Return, O backsliding children.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

From the Lips of Omnipotent Love

…He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee…And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way, walk in it… – Isaiah 30:19,21

What matchless grace is this, that God should thus call after sinners when they openly renounce His rule, and flee from His mercy. Oh, if the Lord had turned His back on us, where had we been? If He had given us up to our own devices, and left us to ourselves, then our eternal ruin would want but a few more days and months to consummate itself, and we should be driven for ever from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Have we not said unto God, “Depart from us: we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways”? If He had replied to us, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire in hell,” it had only been the echo of our own words. When we said to Him “Depart,” suppose He had turned round and said, “Depart, depart yourselves.” But instead of that, while we turn ourselves deliberately away from God, He still calls after us; He will not let us go. We have a freedom of will, but it is by that freedom of will that men are damned, since they will not come unto Christ that they might have life, but they will to follow the devices and desires of their own hearts. Free-will, thus held in chains by evil lustings, becomes the most destructive agency in the world; but, blessed be God, He has freedom of will too, and that freedom of sovereign grace will not have its hands bound nor its lips closed, but it will act and speak in omnipotent love. So when the Lord sees us in the wantonness of our wickedness, dead in trespasses and sins, His great love wherewith He loves us seeks us out, and from the lips of that love come tender accents bidding us return to God, saying, “This is the way, walk ye in it.”~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

Yet the Lord Follows the Lost Sinner

…thine ears shall hear a word behind thee…-Isaiah 30:21

…for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. – Jeremiah 2:27

How does God find men when He declares that they shall hear a word behind them? First, He finds them with their backs turned to Him. This is clear enough, if you remember that the word is to be heard “behind” them. The sinner has gone away from God, and God calls after him from behind. He has turned his back upon his true Friend, his best Friend, his only capable Friend, but that Friend does not therefore change His temper and resent the insult; nay, He is provoked to a love more pleading and persuasive than ever, and calls to him to come into the right way. After having transgressed wilfully and wickedly, the rebel now distinctly turns his back on God and truth; according to the Lord’s complaint, “they have turned unto Me the back, and not the face.” He turns his back on the law, on the gospel, on mercy, on eternal life. He turns his back on the adoption of the great Father, on pardon bought with the blood of Jesus, on regeneration which can alone be wrought by the Holy Spirit: he turns his back upon holiness, happiness, and heaven. He turns away from sunlight, and wanders down into deeper and yet deeper night, striving to get away from God and holy influences. Yet the Lord follows him, and with a voice of touching love and tender compassion He calls to him, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” The word of warning, instruction, and entreaty follows the wanderer, and with ever-increasing pathos beseeches him to turn and live. Again and again the wise, earnest, personal voice assails his ear, as if love resolved that he should not perish if wooing could win him to life. The wanderer seeks not God, but his God seeks him. Man turns from the God of love, but the love of God turns not away from him.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

The Word Behind Us

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.- Isaiah 30:21

The word behind us which is spoken of in the text is mentioned as one among other covenant blessings. No “if” or “but” is joined to it. It is one of those gracious, unconditional promises upon which the salvation of the guilty depends. There are many comforts of the new life which depend upon our own action and behaviour, and these come to us with “ifs”; but those which are vital and essential are secured to the chosen of God without “but” or “peradventure.” It shall be so: God declares it shall, and He has power to carry out every jot and tittle of every promise that He makes to His people. I shall ask you at this good hour mainly to admire the free and sovereign grace of God in making such a promise as this to anybody, and especially in making it to a people whom He speaks of as “a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord.” He severely upbraids them, and then in great patience He says to them, even to them, “Your ears shall hear a word behind you.” God’s grace is marvellous in itself, but its most marvellous point is the singular channel in which it chooses to flow: it runs down into the Dead Sea of sin and makes the waters pure.

God calls to the rebellious, and by his gentle word they are brought to his feet with repentance, turned from their evil wandering, and led in the way of obedience. ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1672.cfm

Receive Him Now, Poor Sinner

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: – John 1:12

Since what I have had I have received by God’s grace, might I not receive more?…If you have had faith, why should you not have more? If God gave you hope, joy, experience, why not more? You are not straitened in Him, you can be only straitened in yourself. Try to remove those hindrances, and ask the Lord to give you more grace.

If all that Christians have they have received, sinner, why should not you receive as well as they? If it were true that Christians got these good things out of themselves, then you, poor sinner, might despair, for you know you have no good thing in you; but if the best of saints, the best Christian in heaven, has not anything but what he received, why should not you receive? To receive, you know, is never a difficult thing. I warrant you that out of all the people in London there is not a man but what could receive. Try it on the present occasion. Let it be a thousand pounds, and see how many among us would be unable to receive. If there be a person about who would not receive, I tell you who it is-it is the man who thinks himself so rich that he does not care to have any more. Even so the proud, self-righteous Pharisee cannot receive; but you poor, good-for-nothing, empty sinners can receive; and here is the mercy-“to as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to as many as believed on His name.” Open that empty hand, open that empty heart: God grant they may be opened now by His own divine Spirit, and may you receive, and then I know you will join with us in saying, “Of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” ~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1271.cfm

Of Special Grace

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God – Ephesians 2:8

Have I ever given to God His due place in the matter of my salvation?-a question that I may very well put, for I recollect when I was converted to God, and truly converted too, but I did not know that it was the work of the Spirit in my heart; I did not understand that it was the result of special grace. I had heard the gospel generally preached, but I had not learned the peculiar doctrines of grace; and I recollect very well sitting down and thinking to myself, “I am renewed in my mind, I am forgiven, I am saved: how came that about?” and I traced it to this, that I had heard the gospel, but as I knew that many never had an opportunity of hearing it, I saw special grace in my having had the opportunity to hear it. But then I said, “There are others who have heard it, but it was not blessed to them: how came it to be blessed to me?” and I cogitated for awhile whether it could be something good in me that made the gospel useful to me, for if so I deserved to have the credit of it. Somehow the grace which God had given me made me fling that theory to the winds, and I came to this conclusion, “It must be God that made the difference,” and having got that one thought into my mind, the doctrines of grace followed as a matter of course. Only by experimentally knowing that there has been a special work of grace in your own soul, will you be likely to place the Lord where He should be in your creed, for some provide a very inferior place for the Lord in the matter of their salvation. With them man is very great, and God is made little of; but true theology makes God the very sun of the system, the center, the head, the first, and chief. Have you done so? If not, correct your views, and get a clearer view of the gospel of grace. May the Holy Spirit help you therein. To know the doctrines of grace will be much to your comfort, will tend to your stability, and will also lead you to seek the glory of God.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1271.cfm

Lower Down, Brother, Lower Down

Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. – 1 Peter 5:5

Suppose I address some Christian who is happy, and joyous, and cheerful, and has such dainty bits sent home to him out of the promises, such precious words from Scripture applied to his heart. Dear friend, are you apt to think that there is something specially good about you because you get all these remarkable enjoyments? Then let me disabuse your mind. It is your weakness which gets you these favors. When you are living in a hotel you will remark that certain persons have their dinners sent upstairs. What for? Oh, that is because they are ill. If you are well you must go down to the table d’hote with the rest; but if you are ill they will send it upstairs, and pay you extra attention. These very comforts that God gives you ought to make you enquire whether there is not something amiss with you, and instead of thinking you are strong and well you should search and see if there is not some weakness which the Lord in His mercy intends to remove by the double comforts which He gives to you. Nothing in the world ought to be a cause of self-exaltation; nothing that our God gives us ought to make us think highly of ourselves. Lower down, brother, lower down, and so you will rise. The way to heaven is downhill, not uphill. As Christ went down to the grave that He might come up again and fill all things, so must you go to the cross, and down to the grave of self and be buried with Christ, and learn the meaning of your baptism, and make it true that you are buried with Him to all the world, and to yourself also, for so only can you rise into the fullness of the new life.~ C.H. Spurgeon

https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/spurgeon_charles/sermons/1271.cfm