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Charles Spurgeon – Full-Orbed Gospel

13 Mar


‘Christ died for the ungodly.’—Romans 5:6.

CONSCIENCE in every man must tell him that God is just, and, as a necessary consequence, that God must punish sin. Then comes the question,—How can God be just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly? The answer is,—There is redemption in Christ Jesus. God is ‘just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ Believers are ‘now justified by his blood.’ In Jesus, God’s justice is vindicated to the very utmost, and yet his mercy shines forth in all its glory. The religion which denies the doctrine of the atonement is not of God, and never can succeed. It may hold together the few, who affect to be intellectual, because they are ignorant. The doctrine of the substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ is the fundamental principle of the Christian religion. This is the only doctrine that teaches how justice can have its full dominion, and yet mercy exercise its sway. Here we have a full-orbed mercy and a fullorbed justice; and neither of them eclipses or casts a shadow over the other. All God’s attributes are at one at Calvary. We must stem the torrent of error by preaching ‘Jesus Christ and him crucified.’ As we clearly proclaim the gospel, ‘as the truth is in Jesus,’ we shall undermine every citadel of error and falsehood; and we must often preach the great central truths of the gospel, such as this, ‘In due time Christ died for the ungodly.’ ‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ ‘For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.’

~Charles Spurgeon~

C H Spurgeon’s Forgotten Early Sermons: A Companion to the New Park Street Pulpit–28 Sermons Compiled from the Sword and the Trowel (Leominster, Day One Publications, 2010), 57-58. Delivered on Thursday evening, 14 May 1857. Reported by Pastor T.W. Medhurst, Cardiff

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Martin Luther – God’s Love Creates, Not Finds

5 Mar

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it.

The second part is clear and is accepted by all philosophers and theologians, for the object of love is its cause, assuming, according to Aristotle, that all power of the soul is passive and material and active only in receiving something. Thus it is also demonstrated that Aristotle’s philosophy is contrary to theology since in all things it seeks those things which are its own and receives rather than gives something good. The first part is clear because the love of God which lives in man loves sinners, evil persons, fools, and weaklings in order to make them righteous, good, wise, and strong. Rather than seeking its own good, the love of God flows forth and bestows good. Therefore sinners are attractive because they are loved; they are not loved because they are attractive. For this reason the love of man avoids sinners and evil persons. Thus Christ says: “For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” [Matt. 9:13]. This is the love of the cross, born of the cross, which turns in the direction where it does not find good which it may enjoy, but where it may confer good upon the bad and needy person. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” [Acts 20:35], says the Apostle. Hence Ps. 41[:1] states, “Blessed is he who considers the poor,” for the intellect cannot by nature comprehend an object which does not exist, that is the poor and needy person, but only a thing which does exist, that is the true and good. Therefore it judges according to appearances, is a respecter of persons, and judges according to that which can be seen, etc.

~Martin Luther~

Luther’s Works – Vol. 31: Career of the Reformer (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1999), 57–58.

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Charles Spurgeon – Why Your Present Condition?

26 Feb


Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, God would have put you there. You are put by him in the most suitable place, and if you had had the picking of your lot half-an-hour afterwards, you would have come back and said, “Lord, choose for me, for I have not chosen the best after all.” You have heard, perhaps, the old fable in Aesop, of the men that complained to Jupiter, of their burdens, and the god in anger bade them every one get rid of his burden, and take the one he would like best. They all came and proposed to do so. There was a man who had a lame leg, and he thought he could do better if he had a blind eye; the man who had a blind eye thought he could do better if he had to bear poverty and not blindness, while the man who was poor thought poverty the worst of ills; he would not mind taking the sickness of the rich man if he could but have his riches. So they all made a change. But the fable saith that within an hour they were all back again, asking that they might have their own burdens, they found the original burden so much lighter than the one that was taken by their own selection. So would you find it. Then be content; you cannot better your lot. Take up your cross; you could not have a better trial than you have got; it is the best for you; it sifts you the most; it will do you the most good, and prove the most effective means of making you perfect in every good word and work to the glory of God.

~Charles Spurgeon~

The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons, vol. 6 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1860), 274–275. Vol. 6, Sermon No. 320; Titled: Contentment; Delivered on Sabbath Evening, March 25th, 1860.

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Charles Hodge – The Existence of Evil and the Glory of God

26 Jul

The Scriptures teach, (1.) That the glory of God is the end to which the promotion of holiness, and the production of happiness, and all other ends are subordinate. (2.) That, therefore, the self-manifestation of God, the revelation of his infinite perfection, being the highest conceivable, or possible good, is the ultimate end of all his works in creation, providence, and redemption. (3.) As sentient creatures are necessary for the manifestation of God’s benevolence, so there could be no manifestation of his mercy without misery, or of his grace and justice, if there were no sin. As the heavens declare the glory of God, so He has devised the plan of redemption, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God.” (Eph. iii. 10.) The knowledge of God is eternal life. It is for creatures the highest good. And the promotion of that knowledge, the manifestation of the manifold perfections of the infinite God, is the highest end of all his works. This is declared by the Apostle to be the end contemplated, both in the punishment of sinners and in the salvation of believers. It is an end to which, he says, no man can rationally object. “What if God, willing to show his wrath (or justice), and to make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory.” (Rom. ix. 22, 23.) Sin, therefore, according the Scriptures, is permitted, that the justice of God may be known in its punishment, and his grace in its forgiveness. And the universe, without the knowledge of these attributes, would be like the earth without the light of the sun.

The glory of God being the great end of all things, we are not obliged to assume that this is the best possible world for the production of happiness, or even for securing the greatest degree of holiness among rational creatures. It is wisely adapted for the end for which it was designed, namely, the manifestation of the manifold perfections of God. That God, in revealing Himself, does promote the highest good of his creatures, consistent with the promotion of his own glory, may be admitted. But to reverse this order, to make the good of the creature the highest end, is to pervert and subvert the whole scheme; it is to put the means for the end, to subordinate God to the universe, the Infinite to the finite. This putting the creature in the place of the Creator, disturbs our moral and religious sentiments and convictions, as well as our intellectual apprehensions of God, and of his relation to the universe.

~Charles Hodge~

Systematic Theology, Vol. 1 (Peabody, MA; Hendrickson Publishers; 2013) p. 435-436

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John Calvin – A Taste of His Fatherly Love

2 May

No one gives himself freely and willingly to God’s service unless, having tasted his fatherly love, he is drawn to love and worship him in return.

~John Calvin~

The Institutes of the Christian Religion (Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press; 1974) Vol. 1.5.2.

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Charles Spurgeon – They Will Hate You Because of Christ

27 Apr


None of you can be the people of God without provoking envy; and the better you are, the more you will be hated. The ripest fruit is most pecked by the birds, and the blossoms that have been longest on the tree, are the most easily blown down by the wind. But fear not; you have naught to do with what man shall say of you. If God loves you, man will hate you; if God honors you, man will dishonor you. But recollect, could ye wear chains of iron for Christ’s sake, ye should wear chains of gold in heaven; could ye have rings of burning iron round your waists, ye should have your brow rimmed with gold in glory; for blessed are ye when men shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for Christ’s name’s sake; for so persecuted they the prophets that were before you.

~Charles Spurgeon~

Spurgeon’s Sermons (Spokane, Washington; Olive Tree Bible Software; 2010) eBook. Vol. 1, Sermon No. 17; Titled: Joseph Attacked by the Archers; Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 1st, 1855.

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Geerhardus Vos – Election and God’s Affectionate Foreknowledge

23 Mar

Hosea, on the supposition that marriage and berith with Jehovah are to him identical, is the chief source of our information in regard to the nature of the union. We learn from him:

[1] The union originated on the part of Jehovah

Not Israel offered herself to Him, He sought out Israel. Theologically speaking, we would say that the berith had its source in the divine election. Election is spoken of by Isaiah [14.1; 43.20; 49.7]. With Amos and Hosea, however, a more characteristic and intimate term is chose to convey somewhat of the religious depths and value of this idea. This term yada’, ‘to know’, not in the intellectual sense of ‘to be informed about’, but in the pregnant, affectional sense of ‘to take loving knowledge of’ [Hos. 13.5; Amos 3.2]. This act is not yet represented as an eternal act on the part of Jehovah; in keeping with their standpoint in the midst of history, the prophets think of it as something emerging in time. The New Testament makes out of this ‘knowing’ a ‘fore-knowing’. But this is simply putting the act back into eternity. To cut it loose from its Old Testament antecedents and to intellectualize it in the interest of a Pelgianizing theology is an utterly unhistorical proceeding. The ‘pro’ in the Greek rendering does not serve to give God His standpoint in time, from which He then is able to look forward and base His decision on what the creature is foreseen to be about to do at a certain point in time; it serves the precisely opposite purpose of giving God His standpoint before, that is to say, in Old Testament language, above time.

~Geerhardus Vos~

Biblical Theology (Edinburgh, Scotland; Banner of Truth, 1975), 260.

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Wolfgang Musculus – Like the Waters of a Gushing Fountain

11 Mar

[4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved – Eph. 2:4-5

The riches of God that Paul refers to when he says that God is rich in mercy are wonderful and divine. In this world a rich person uses his wealth for his own good and comfort. Even if he gives some of it away to help others, he uses most of it for his own benefit. In contrast, the kind of wealth in which God is rich in mercy is not intended for his benefit but for ours. Mercy cannot benefit him in any way because he is not miserable, unhappy or in trouble and therefore does not need it. All the wealth that makes him rich in mercy is used up outside himself and flows into us rather like the waters of a gushing fountain. Such riches reflect the divine nature, whose attribute is always to have mercy and to pardon. In the world nobody gets rich by showing pity, giving, contributing and donating, but only by obtaining things. That is what the riches of this world are like. Let us therefore leave them to the children of this world and let ourselves be rich in mercy, following the example of our Father in heaven.

~Wolfgang Musculus~

Reformation Commentary on Scripture: Galatians, Ephesians (Downers Grove, IL; IVP Academic; 2012) p. 281-282.

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Jonathan Edwards – The Primary Inducement to Humble Love

20 Feb

The gospel yet further tends to lead us to humble exercises of love as it leads us to love Christ as one that was crucified for our sins. Christ’s being crucified is a great argument for the humility of us who are his followers; but his being crucified for our sins is a much further argument for it. For Christ’s being crucified for our sins is the greatest testimony of God against our sins that ever was. It shows more of God’s abhorrence of our sins than any other dispensation of God. God so abhorred our sins that he would have them so terribly punished, and his wrath so exerted against them, even when imputed to his own Son. So that this is the greatest inducement to our humility which can be, on these two accounts. First, it is the greatest manifestation of the vileness of that nature for which we should be humble. And second, it is the greatest argument to our love to this humble Savior whom the gospel holds forth. Because, the excellency of Christ and the love of Christ appear more in that act, his yielding himself to be crucified for us, than in any other act. So that these two things considered together tend above all things to draw forth the exercises of humble love.

~Jonathan Edwards~

Charity and Its Fruits: Living in the Light of God’s Love (Wheaton, IL; Crossway Books; 2012) p. 157-158

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Charles Spurgeon – He Is Goodness Itself

22 Jan

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1 Blessed be the Lord my strength,
which teacheth my hands to war,
and my fingers to fight:
2 My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer;
my shield, and he in whom I trust;
who subdueth my people under me. – Psalm 144:1-2 (KJV)

The word for goodness signifies mercy. Whoever we may be, and wherever we may be, we need mercy such as can only be found in the infinite God. It is all of mercy that he is any of the other good things to us, so that this is a highly comprehensive title. O how truly has the Lord been mercy to many of us in a thousand ways! He is goodness itself, and he has been unbounded goodness to us. We have no goodness of our own, but the Lord has become goodness to us.

~Charles Spurgeon~

The Treasury of David Vol. 3 (Peabody, Maryland; The Hendrikson Publisher; 1988) p. 355 – Commentary on Psalm 144:2.

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