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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Ephesians 2

Verse 1

'Spiritual Resurrection' and 'Life from the Dead'

Spiritual Resurrection

A Sermon

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 12, 1857, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1 .

IT MIGHT NATURALLY be expected that I should have selected the topic of the resurrection on what is usually called the Easter Sabbath. I shall not do so; for although I have read portions which refer to that glorious subject, I have had pressed on my mind a subject which is not the resurrection of Christ, but which is in some measure connected with it the resurrection of lost and ruined men by the Spirit of God in this life. What a solemn sight is presented to us by a dead body! When last evening trying to realize the thought, it utterly overcame me. The thought is overwhelming, that soon this body of mine must be a carnival for worms; that in and out of these places, where my eyes are glistening, foul things, the offspring of loathsomeness, shall crawl; that this body must be stretched in still, cold, abject, passive, death, must then become a noxious, nauseous thing, cast out even by those that loved me, who will say, "Bury my dead out of my sight." Perhaps you can scarcely, in the moment I can afford you, appropriate the idea to yourselves. Does it not seem a strange thing, that you, who have walked to this place this morning, shall be carried to your graves; that the eyes with which you now behold me shall soon be glazed in everlasting darkness; that the tongues, which just now moved in song, shall soon be silent lumps of clay; and that your strong and stalwart frame, now standing to this place, will be unable to move a muscle, and become a loathsome thing, the brother of the worm and the sister of corruption? You can scarcely get hold of the idea; death doth such awful work with us, it is such a Vandal with this mortal fabric, it so rendeth to pieces this fair thing that God hath builded up, that we can scarcely bear to contemplate his works of ruin. Now, this morning, I trust I shall not be tedious; I shall endeavour to make the subject as interesting as possible, and also endeavour to be brief. The general doctrine of this morning is, that every man that is born into the world is dead spiritually, and that spiritual life must be given by the Holy Spirit, and can be obtained from no other source. That general doctrine, I shall illustrate in rather a singular way. You remember that our Saviour raised three dead persons; I do not find that during his lifetime he caused more than three resurrections. The first was the young maiden, the daughter of Jairus , who, when she lay on her bed dead, rose up to life at the single utterance of Christ, " Talitha cumi !" The second was the case of the widow's son , who was on his bier, about to be carried to his tomb; and Jesus raised him up to life by saying, "Young man, I say unto thee, arise." The third, and most memorable case, was that of Lazarus , who was not on his bed, nor on his bier, but in his tomb, ay, and corrupt too; but notwithstanding that, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the voice of his omnipotence, crying, "Lazarus, come forth," brought him out of the tomb. I. I shall begin by noticing, then, first of all, THE CONDITION OF MEN BY NATURE. Men by nature are all dead. There is Jairus's daughter; she lies on her bed; she seems as if she were alive; her mother has scarce ceased to kiss her brow, her hand is still in her father's loving grasp, and he can scarcely think that she is dead; but dead she is, as thoroughly dead as she ever can be. Next comes the case of the young man brought out of his grave; he is more than dead, he has begun to be corrupt, the signs of decay are upon his face, and they are carrying him to his tomb; yet though there are more manifestations of death about him, he is no more dead than the other. He is just as dead; they are both dead, and death really knows of no degrees. The third case goes further still in the manifestation of death; for it is the case of which Martha, using strong words, said, "Lord, by this time he stinketh; for he hath been dead four days." And yet, mark you, the daughter of Jairus was as dead as Lazarus; though the manifestation of death was not so complete in her case. All were dead alike. I have in my congregation some blessed beings, fair to look upon; fair, I mean, in their character, as well as their outward appearance; they have about them everything that is good and lovely; but mark this, if they are unregenerate they are dead still. That girl, dead in the room, upon her bed, had little about her that could show her death. Not yet had the loving finger closed the eyelid; there seemed to be a light still lingering in her eye; like a lily just nipped off; she was as fair as life itself. The worm had not yet begun to gnaw her cheek, the flush had not yet faded from her face; she seemed well-night alive. And so it is with some I have here. Ye have all that heart could wish for, except the one thing needful; ye have all things save love to the Saviour. Ye are not yet united to him by a living faith. Ah! then, I grieve to say it, ye are dead! ye are dead! As much dead as the worst of men, although your death is not so apparent. Again, I have in my presence young men who have grown to riper years than that fair damsel who died in her childhood. You have much about you that is lovely, but you have just begun to indulge in evil habits; you have not yet become the desperate sinner; you have not yet become altogether noxious in the eyes of other men; you are but beginning to sin, you are like the young man carried out on his bier; you have not yet become the confirmed drunkard; you have not yet begun to curse and blaspheme God; you are still accepted in good society; you are not yet cast out; but you are dead, thoroughly dead, just as dead as the third and worst case. But I dare say I have some characters that are illustrations of that case too. There is Lazarus in his tomb, rotten and putrid; and so there are some men not more dead than others, but their death has become more apparent, their character has become abominable, their deeds cry out against them, they are put out of decent society, the stone is rolled to the mouth of their tomb, men feel that they cannot hold acquaintance with them, for they have so utterly abandoned every sense of right, that we say, "Put them out of sight, we cannot endure them!" And yet these putrid ones may live; these last are not more dead than the maiden upon her bed, though the death has more fully revealed itself in their corruption. Jesus Christ must quicken the one as well as the other, and bring them all to know and love his name. Note, too, that in the case of this maiden, whom we have introduced to you, the daughter of Jairus, she is yet caressed ; she has only been dead a moment or two, and the mother still presses her cheek with kisses. Oh! can she be dead? Do not the tears rain on her, as if they would sow the seeds of life in that dead earth again? earth that looks fertile enough to bring forth life with but one living tear? Ay, but those salt tears are tears of barrenness. She liveth not; but she is still caressed. Not so the young man; he is put on the bier; no man will touch him any more, or else he will be utterly defiled. And as for Lazarus, he is shut up with a stone. But this young maiden is still caressed; so it is with many of you; you are loved even by the living in Sion; God's own people love you; the minister has often prayed for you; you are admitted into the assemblies of the saints, you sit with them as God's people, you hear as they hear, and you sing as they sing. Alas! for you; alas! for you, that you should still be dead! Oh! it grieves me to the heart, to think that some of you are all that heart could wish, except that one thing; yet lacking that which is the only thing that can deliver you. You are caressed by us, received by the living in Sion into their company and acquaintance, approved of and accepted; alas! that you should yet be without life! Oh! in your case, if you are saved, you will have to join with even the worst in saying, "I have been quickened by divine grace, or else I had never lived." And will you notice, yet once more, that this young maiden's death was a death confined to her chamber . Not so with the young man; he was carried to the gate of the city, and much people saw him. Not so Lazarus; the Jews came to weep at his tomb. But this young woman's death is in her chamber. Ay, so it is with the young woman or the young man I mean to describe now. His sin is as yet a secret thing, kept to himself: as yet there has been no breaking forth of iniquity, but only the conception of it in the heart; just the embryo of lust, not as yet broken out into act. The young man has not yet drained the intoxicating cup, although he has had some whisperings of the sweetness of it; he has not yet run into the ways of wickedness, though he has had temptations thrust upon him; as yet he has kept his sin in his chamber, and most of it has been unseen. Alas! my brother, alas! my sister, that thou who in thine outward carriage art so good, should yet have sins in the chamber of thine heart, and death in the secresy of thy being, which is as true a death as that of the grossest sinner, though not so thoroughly manifested. Would to God that thou couldst say, "And he hath quickened me, for with all my loveliness, and all my excellence, I was by nature dead in trespasses and sins." Come, let me just press this matter home. I have some in my congregation that I look upon with fear. Oh! my dear friends, my much loved friends, how many there are among you, I repeat, that are all that the heart could wish, except that one thing that you love not my Master. Oh! ye young men who come up to the house of God, and who are outwardly so good; alas! for you, that you should lack the root of the matter. Oh! ye daughters of Sion, who are ever at the house of prayer, oh! that you should yet be without grace in your heart! Take heed, I beseech you, ye fairest, youngest, most upright, and most honest; when the dead are separated from the living, unless ye be regenerated, ye must go with the dead; though ye be never so fair and goodly, ye must be cast away, unless you live. And note, too, that this young man, though carried out to his grave, was not like the maiden; she was in the garments of life, but he was wrapped in the cerements of death . So many of you have begun to form habits that are evil; you know that already the screw of the devil is tightening on your finger. Once it was a screw you could slip off or on; you said you were master of your pleasures now your pleasures are master of you. Your habits are not now commendable, you know they are not; you stand convicted while I speak to you this morning; you know your ways are evil. Ah! young man, thou hast not yet gone so far as the open profligate and desperately profane, take heed, thou art dead! thou art dead! and unless the Spirit quicken thee, thou shalt be cast into the valley of Gehenna, to be the food of that worm which never dieth, but eateth souls throughout eternity. And ah! young man, I weep, I weep over thee; thou art not yet so far gone, that they have rolled the stone against thee; thou art not yet become obnoxious; thou art not yet the staggering drunkard, nor yet the blasphemous infidel; thou hast much that is ill about thee, but thou hast not gone all the lengths yet. Take heed; thou wilt go further still; there is no stopping in sin. When the worm is there, you cannot put your finger on it, and say, "Stop; eat no more." No, it will go on, to your utter ruin. May God save you now, ere you shall come to that consummation for which hell so sighs, and which heaven can alone avert. 3. Now we come to the third and last case LAZARUS DEAD AND BURIED. Ah! dear friends, I cannot take you to see Lazarus in his grave. Stand, oh stand away from him. Whither shall we flee to avoid the noxious odour of that reeking corpse? Ah, whither shall we flee? There is no beauty there; we dare not look upon it. There is not even the gloss of life left. Oh, hideous spectacle! I must not attempt to describe it; words would fail me, and you would be too much shocked. Nor dare I tell the character of some men present here. I should be ashamed to tell the things which some of you have done. This cheek might mantle with a blush to tell the deeds of darkness which some of the ungodly of this world habitually practise. Ah, the last stage of death, the last stage of corruption, oh, how hideous; but the last stage of sin, hideous far more! Some writers seem to have an aptitude for puddling in this mud, and digging up this miry clay; I confess that I have none. I cannot describe to you the lusts and vices of a fullgrown sinner. I cannot tell you what are the debaucheries, the degrading lusts, the devilish, the bestial sins into which wicked men will run, when spiritual death has had its perfect work in them, and sin has manifested itself in all its fearful wickedness. I may have some here. They are not Christians. They are not, like the young maiden, still fondled, nor even, like the young man, still kept in the funeral procession: no, they have gone so far that decent people avoid them. Their very wife, when they go into the house, rushes upstairs to be out of the way. They are scorned. Such an one is the harlot, from whom one's head is turned in the very street. Such an one is the openly profligate, to whom we give wide quarters, lest we touch him. He is a man that is far gone. The stone is rolled before him. No one calls him respectable. He dwelleth, perhaps, in some back slum of a dirty lane; he knoweth not where to go. Even as he stands in this place, he feels that if his next-door neighbour knew his guilt he would give him a wide berth, and stand far away from him; for he has come to the last stage; he has no marks of life; he is utterly rotten. And mark; as in the case of the maiden the sin was in the chamber, secret; in the next case it was in the open streets, public; but in this case it is secret again. It is in the tomb. For you will mark that men, when they are only half gone in wickedness, do it openly; but when they are fully gone their lust becomes so degrading that they are obliged to do it in secret. They are put into the grave, in order that all may be hidden. Their lust is one which can only be perpetrated at midnight; a deed which can only be done when shrouded by the astonished curtains of darkness. Have I any such here? I cannot tell that I have many; but still I have some. Ah! in being constantly visited by penitents I have sometimes blushed for this city of London. There are merchants whose names stand high and fair. Shall I tell it here? I know it on the best authority, and the truest, too. There are some who have houses large and tall, who on the exchange are reputable and honorable, and everyone admits them and receives them into their society; but ah! there are some of the merchants of London who practise lusts that are abominable. I have in my church and congregation and I dare to say what men dare to do I have in my congregation women whose ruin and destruction have been wrought by some of the most respected men in respectable society. Few would venture on so bold a statement as that; but if you boldly do the thing, I must speak of it. It is not for God's ambassador to wash his mouth beforehand; let him boldly reprove, as men do boldly sin. Ah! there are some that are a stench in the nostrils of the Almighty; some whose character is hideous beyond all hideousness. They have to be covered up in the tomb of secresy; for men would scout them from society, and hiss them from existence, if they knew all. And yet and now comes a blessed interposition yet this last case may be saved as well as the first, and as easily too. The rotten Lazarus may come out of his tomb, as well as the slumbering maiden from her bed. The last the most corrupt, the most desperately abominable, may yet be quickened; and he may join in exclaiming, "And I have been quickened, though I was dead in trespasses and sins." I trust you will understand what I wish to convey that the death is the same in all cases; but the manifestations of it is different; and that the life must come from God, and from God alone. Now note the next case. Christ did not do the same thing with the young man that he did with the daughter of Jairus. No; the first thing he did was, he put his hand, not on him, mark you, but on the bier ; "and they that bare it stood still." and after that, without touching the young man, he said in a louder voice, "Young man, I say unto thee, arise!" Note the difference: the young maiden's new life was given to her secretly. The young man's was given more publicly. It was done in the very street of the city. The maiden's life was given gently by a touch; but in the young man's case it must be done, not by the touching of him, but by the touching of the bier. Christ takes away from the young man his means of pleasure. He commands his companions, who by bad example are bearing him on his bier to his grave, to stop, and then there is a partial reformation for awhile, and after that there comes the strong out-spoken voice "Young man, I say unto thee, arise!" III. This is an interested subject: I wish I could dilate upon it, but my voice fails me; and therefore, permit me to go to the third point very briefly. THE AFTER-EXPERIENCE OF THESE THREE PEOPLE WAS DIFFERENT at least, you gather it from the commands of Christ. As soon as the maiden was alive, Christ said, "Give her meat;" as soon as the young man was alive "he delivered him to his mother;" as soon as Lazarus was alive, he said, "Loose him, and let him go." I think there is something in this. When young people are converted who have not yet acquired evil habits; when they are saved before they become obnoxious in the eyes of the world, the command is, " Give them meat ." Young people want instruction; they want building up in the faith; they generally lack knowledge; they have not the deep experience of the older man; they do not know so much about sin, nor even so much about salvation as the older man that has been a guilty sinner; they need to be fed. So that our business as ministers when the young lambs are brought in, is to remember the injunction, "Feed my lambs;" take care of them; give them plenty of meat. Young people, search after an instructive minister; seek after instructive books; search the Scriptures, and seek to be instructed: that is your principal business. "Give her meat." And then comes the case of Lazarus. " Loose him, and let him go ." I do not know how it is that the young man never was loosed. I have been looking through every book I have about the manners and customs of the East, and have not been able to get a clue to the difference between the young man and Lazarus. The young man, as soon as Christ spoke to him, "sat up and began to speak;" but Lazarus, in his grave-clothes, lying in the niche of the tomb, could do no more than just shuffle himself out from the hole that was cut in the wall, and then stand leaning against it. He could not speak; he was bound about in a napkin. Why was it not so with the young man? I am inclined to think that the difference lay in the difference of their wealth. The young man was the son of a widow. Very likely he was only wrapped up in a few common things, and not so tightly bound about as Lazarus. Lazarus was of a rich family; very likely they wrapped him up with more care. Whether it was so or not, I do not know. What I want to hint at is this: when a man is far gone into sin, Christ does this for him he breaks off his evil habits. Very likely the old sinner's experience will not be a feeding experience. It will not be the experience of walking with the saints. It will be as much as he can do to pull off his grave-clothes, to get rid of his old habits; perhaps to his death he will have to be rending off bit after bit of the cerements in which he has been wrapped. There is his drunkenness; oh, what a fight will he have with that! There is his lust; what a combat he will have with that, for many a month! There is his habit of swearing; how often will an oath come into his mouth, and he will have as hard work as he can to thrust it down again! There is his pleasure-seeking: he has given it up; but how often will his companions be after him, to get him to go with them. His life will be ever afterwards a loosing and letting go; for he will need it till he cometh up to be with God for ever and ever. And now but one thing I have to say to those who are quickened; and then adieu this morning, and may God bless you! My dear friends, you who are quickened, let me advise you to take care of the devil; he will be sure to be after you. Keep your mind always employed, and so you will escape him. Oh, be aware of his devices; seek to "keep the heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." The Lord bless you, for Jesus' sake.

Life from the Dead

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A Sermon

(No. 2267)

Intended for Reading on Lord's-day, July 31st, 1892,

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

On Thursday Evening, March 13th, 1890.

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"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins." Ephesians 2:1 .

OUR TRANSLATORS, as you observe, have put in the words "hath he quickened", because Paul had thrown the sense a little farther on, and it was possible for the reader not to catch it. The have but anticipated the statement of the fourth and fifth verses: "God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ."

Here is the point. God has quickened us, who were dead in trespasses and sins, spiritually dead. We were full of vigour towards everything which was contrary to the law or the holiness of God, we walked according the course of this world; but as for anything spiritual, we were not only somewhat incapable, and somewhat weakened; but we were actually and absolutely dead. We had no sense with which to comprehend spiritual things. We had neither the eye that could see, nor the ear that could hear, nor the power that could feel.

We were dead, all of us; and yet we were not all like one another. Death may be universal over a certain number of bodies, and yet those bodies may look very different. The dead that lie on the battle-field, torn of dogs or kites, rotting, corrupting in the sun, what a horrible sight! The corpse looks like life still; yet is your beloved one in the coffin as dead as the mangled bodies on the battle-field. Corruption has not yet done its work, and tender care has guarded the body as yet from what will surely come to it; yet is there death, sure, complete death, in the one case as well as in the other.

So we have many who are lovely, amiable, morally admirable, like him whom the Saviour looked upon and loved; yet they are dead for all that. We have others who are drunken, profane, unchaste; they are dead, not more dead than the others; but their death has left its terrible traces more plainly visible. Sin brings forth death, and death brings forth corruption. Whether we were corrupt or not, is not a question that I need to raise here; let everyone judge concerning himself. But dead we were, most certainly. Even though trained by godly parents, though well instructed in the gospel scheme, though saturated with the piety that surrounded us, we were dead, as dead as the harlot of the street, as dead as the thief in the jail.

Now, the text tells us that, though we were dead, yet Christ has come, and by his Spirit he has raised us out of the grave. This text brings us Easter tidings; it sings of resurrection; it sounds in our ear the trumpet of a new life, and introduces us into a world of joy and gladness. We were dead; but we are quickened by the Spirit of God. I cannot help stopping a minute to know whether it is so with you, my dear hearers, and praying that what I might have to say may act as a kind of sieve, separating between the really living and those who only think that they are alive, so that, if you have not been quickened, if you are only "a child of nature, finely dressed," but not spiritually alive, you may be made aware of it. If you have been quickened, even though your life be feeble, you may cry to the living God with the "Abba, Father," which never comes from any lip but that which has been touched and quickened by the Holy Spirit.

I. First, let us talk a little about OUR QUICKENING. You who have been quickened will understand what I say. To those who have not, I daresay it will seem as an idle tale.

Well, dear friends, if we have been quickened, we have been quickened from above. "You hath HE quickened." God himself has had dealings with us. He has raised us from the dead. He made us at the first; he has new-made us. He gave us life when we were born; but he has given us now a higher life, which could not be found anywhere else. He must always give it. No man ever made himself to live. No preacher, however earnest, can make one hearer to live. No parent, however prayerful, no teacher, however tearful, can make a child live unto God. "You hath HE quickened," is true of all who are quickened. It is a divine spark, a light from the great central Sun of light, the great Father of Lights. Is it so with us? Have we had a divine touch, a superhuman energy, a something which all the learning and all the wisdom and all the godliness of man could never work in us? Have we been quickened from above? If so, I daresay that we remember something of it. We cannot describe it; no man can describe his first birth; it remains a mystery. Neither can he describe his new birth; that is still a greater mystery, for it is a secret inward work of the Holy Ghost, of which we feel the effect, but we cannot tell how it is wrought.

I think that, usually, when the divine life comes, the first consciousness that we get of a quickening is a sense of pain. I have heard that when a man is nearly drowned, while he lies under the power of death, he feels little or nothing, perhaps has even pleasurable dreams; but when, in the process of restoring him, they have rubbed him till the blood begins to flow, and the life begins to revive a little, he is conscious of pricking and great pain. One of the tokens that life is coming back to him is, that he wakes up out of a pleasant sleep, and feels pain. Whether it be so or not with every person restored from drowning, I do not know; but I think that it is so with every person restored from drowning in the river of sin. When the life begins to come to him, he feels as he never felt before; sin that was pleasant becomes a horror to him. That which was easy to him becomes a bed of thorns. Thank God, dear hearer, if you have living pangs. It is an awful thing to have your conscience hardened, as in the very fires of hell, till it becomes like steel. To have consciousness is a great mercy, even if it be only painful consciousness, and if every movement of life within seems to harrow up your soul. This divine life usually begins with pain.

Then, everything surprises you. If a person had never lived before, and had come into life a full-grown man, everything would be as strange to him as it is to a little-child; and everything is strange to a new-born man in the spiritual realm into which he is born. He is startled a hundred times. Sin appears as sin; he cannot understand it. He had looked at sin before, but had never seen it to be sin. And Christ appears now so glorious to him; he had heard of Christ before, and had some apprehensions of him; but now he is surprised to find that the One who he said had no form nor comliness is, after all, altogether lovely. To the new-born soul everything is a surprise. He makes no end of blunders; he makes many miscalculations because everything is new to him. He that sitteth upon the throne saith, "Behold, I make all things new;" and the renewed man says, "My Lord, it is even so." One said to me, when joining the church, "Either I am a new creature, or else the world is altogether altered from what it was. There is a change somewhere;" and that change is from death to life, from darkness into God's marvellous light.

Now, as life comes thus with strange surprises, and mingled with pain, so, dear friends, it comes often with many questions. The child has a thousand things to ask; it has to learn everything. We little think of the experiments that children have to go through before they arrive even at the use of their eyes. They do not know that things are at a distance; they have to learn that fact by looking many times. So long as the object falls upon the retina. The child is not aware of whether it is distant or a near object till some time after. What you think that you and I knew from our birth, we did not so know; we had to learn it. And when a man is born into the kingdom of God, he has to learn everything; and consequently, if he is wise, he questions older and wiser believers about this and about that. I pray you that are instructed, and have become fathers, never laugh at babes in grace, if they ask you the most absurd questions. Encourage them to do so, let them tell you their difficulties. You, by God's grace are a man; this little one is but a new-born babe; hear what he has to say. You mothers, do this with your little children. You are interested, you are pleased, you are amused, with what they say. Thus ought instructed saints to deal with those who have been newly quickened. They come to us, and ask, "What is this? What is that? What is the other?" It is a time of asking, a time of enquiring. It is well, also, if it is a time of sitting at Jesus' feet, for there is no other place so safe to a new-born believer as the feet of Jesus. If he gets to the feet of anybody else, he is apt to get ill-instructed at a time when everything warps his judgment, when he is exceedingly impressionable, and not likely to forget the mistakes that he has made, if he has borrowed them from others. So you see what the divine life does when it comes into the soul. It comes to us with pain; it gives us many surprises; and it suggests a large number of questions.

We begin then to make a great many attempts at things which we never attempted before. The new-born child of God is just like the new-born child of man in some things; and after a time that child begins to walk. No, it does not; it begins to crawl; it does not walk at first. It creeps along, pleased to make any kind of progress; and when it gets up on its little feet, it moves from one chair to another, trembling at every step it takes, and presently, down it goes. But it gets up again, and so it learns to walk. Do you remember when the new life came into you? I do. I remember the first week of that new life, and how, on the second Sabbath, I went to the place where I had heard the gospel to my soul's salvation, thinking that I would attend there. But, during that week, I had made a great many experiments, and tumbled down a great many times, and the preacher took for his text, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" I thought, "Yes; I know all about that; that is my case." When the preacher said that Paul was not a Christian when he wrote those words, though I was only seven days old in divine things, I knew better than that, so I never went there any more. I knew that no man but a Christian ever could or would cry out against sin with that bitter wail; and that, if the grace of God was not with him, he would rest satisfied and contented; but that, if he felt that sin was a horrible thing, and he was a wretched man because of it, and must be delivered from it, then he surely must be a child of God, especially if he could add, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Beloved, we make many mistakes, and we shall continue to do so. At the same time, we learn by our experiments. You remember when you began to pray; would you like to have your first prayer printed? I believe that God liked it better than many of the collections. You might not like it so well; it would not look well in print. You remember when you first began to confess Christ to a friend. Oh, you did stutter and stammer over it! There were more tears than words; it was not a "dry" discourse; you wetted it well with tears of grief and anxiety. That was the new life putting forth powers with which it was not itself acquainted; and I believe that there are some of God's children who have powers that they will never find unless they try to use them. I should like some of you young men who do not pray at the prayer-meeting to make a start. And some of you older men, perhaps, have never preached yet; but you might if you tried; I wish you would. "I should break down," says one. I wish you would. A break-down sermon, that breaks the preacher down, might break the people down, too. There might be many advantages about that kind of discourse.

This, then, was the way in which the new life, spiritual life, came into us. We did not know what it was when it came; we had never felt like that before; we could not think that we really had passed from death to life; and yet, in looking back, we are persuaded that the throes within, the anguish of heart, the longing, and the pleading, and the wrestling, and the crying, would never have been in a dead heart, but were the sure marks that God had quickened us, and we had passed into newness of life.

II. Now, secondly, let us think of OUR PRESENT LIFE. "You hath he quickened." Well, then, we have a new life. What is the effect of this life upon us? I speak to you who are quickened by grace.

Well, first, we have become now sentient towards God. The unconverted man lives in God's world, sees God's works, hears God's Word, goes up to God's house on God's day, and yet he does not know that there is any God. Perhaps he believes that there is, because he was brought up to believe it; but he is not cognizant of God; God has not entered into him; he has not come into contact with God. Beloved brethren and sisters in Christ, I think that you and I can say, that to us the surest fact in all the world is that there is a God. No God? I live in him. Tell a fish in the sea there is no water. No God? Tell a man who is breathing that there is no air. No God? I dare not come downstairs without speaking to him. No God? I would not think of closing my eyes in sleep unless I had some sense of his love shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost. "Oh!" says one, "I have lived fifty years, and I have never felt anything of God." Say that you had been dead fifty years; that is nearer to the mark. But if you had been quickened by the Holy Spirit fifty minutes, this would have been the first fact in the front rank of all fact, God is, and he is my Father, and I am his child. Now you become sentient to his frown, his smile, his threat, or his promise. You feel him; his presence is photographed upon your spirit; your very heart trembles with awe of him, and you say with Jacob, "Surely God is in this place." That is one result of spiritual life.

Now you have become also sympathetic with similar life in others. You have a wide range, for the life of God, his life in his new-born child, is the same life that is in every Christian. It is the same life in the new-born believer as in yonder bright spirits that stand before the throne of God. The life of Christ, the life of God, is infused into us in that moment when we are quickened from our death in sin. What a wonderful thing it is to have become sympathetic with God! What he desires, we desire. His glory is the first object of our being. He loves his Son, and we love his Son. We desire to see his kingdom come as he does, and we pray for his will to be done on earth, even as it is in heaven. We wish that death did not remain, the old nature hampering us; but, in perfect proportion as the new life is really in us, we now run parallel with God. The holiness which he delights in we aspire after. Not with equal footsteps, but with tottering gait, we follow in that selfsame path that God has marked out for himself. "My soul followeth hard after thee; thy right hand upholdeth me."

The new life that made us sympathetic with God, and holy angels, and holy men, and with everything that is from above, has also made us capable of great pleasure. Life is usually capable of pleasure, but the new life is capable of the highest conceivable pleasure. I am certain that no ungodly man has any conception of the joy which often fills the believer's spirit. If worldlings could only know the bliss of living near to God, and of basking in the light of his countenance, they would throw their wealth into the sea, and ten thousand times as much, if they might but get a glimpse of this joy that can never be bought, but which God gives to all who trust his dear Son. We are not always alike. Alas! We are very changeable; but when God is with us, when the days are spiritually bright and long, and we have come into the midsummer of our heavenly bliss, we would not change places with the angels, knowing that by-and-by we shall be nearer to the throne than they are; and, while they are God's honoured servants, yet they are not beloved sons as we are. Oh, the thrill of joy that has sometimes gone through our spirits! We could almost have died with delight at times when we have realized the glorious things that God has prepared for them that love him. This joy we never knew till we received the new life.

But I must add that we are also capable of acute pain to which we were strangers once. God has made our conscience quick as the apple of the eye; he has made our soul as sensitive as a raw wound, so that the very shadow of sin falling on the believer's heart will cause him great pain; and, if he does go into the actual sin, then, like David, he talks about his bones being broken, and it is not too strong a figure of the sorrow that comes upon the believing heart when sin has been committed, and God has been grieved. The heart itself then, is broken, and bleeds at ten thousand wounds. Yet this is one of the results of our possessing the new life; and I will say this, the sharpest pang of spiritual life is better than the highest joy of carnal life. When the believer is at his worst, he is better than the unbeliever at his best; his reasons for happiness are always transcendently above all the reasons for joy that worldlings can never know.

Now, dear friends, if we have received spiritual life, you see what a range of being we have, how we can rise up to the seventh heaven or sink down into the abyss. This new life makes us capable of walking with God; that is a grand thing. We speak of Enoch walking with God, and we look at the holiness of his life; but did anybody ever think of the majesty of his life? How does God walk? It needs a Milton to conceive of the walk of God; but he that hath the divine life walks with God; and sometimes he seems to step from Alp to Alp, from sea and ocean, accomplishing what, unaided, he would never even attempt. He that has the divine life is lifted up into the infinities; he gets to hear that which cannot be heard, and see that which cannot be seen, for "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit," when he has given us the new life.

One effect of this divine life is to put life into everything that we do. They tell me that "creeds are dead." Yes, yes! It is a pleasant thing to hear an honest confession; they are dead to dead men. I hold nothing as truth that I can put away on a shelf, and leave there. My creed is part of my being. I believe it to be true; and believing it to be true, I feel its living force upon my nature every day. When a man tells you that his creed is a dead thing, do not deny it for a minute; there is no doubt of the fact. He knows about himself better than you do. Oh, dear friends, let us never have a dead creed! That which you believe, you must believe up to the hilt; believe it livingly, believe it really; for that is not believed at all which is only believed in the letter, but is not felt in the power of it.

If you have been quickened by the Spirit of God, your prayers are living prayers. Oh, the many dead prayers that are heard at the bedside; so many good words rushed through at a canter! He that is alive unto God asks for what he wants, and believes that he shall have it, and he gets it. That is living prayer. Beware of dead prayers; they are a mockery to the Most High. I do not think that a living man can always pray by clockwork, at such a time and such a time. It would be something like the minister's sermon which he "got up" beforehand, and upon which he wrote in the margin "weep here," "here you must show great emotion." Of course that was all rubbish; it cannot be done to order. You cannot resolve to "groan at one o'clock, and weep at three o'clock." Life will not be bound like that, I love to have an appointed season for prayer, and woe unto the man who does not have his time for prayer! But, at the same time, our living prayer bursts out hours before the appointed time, or sometimes it will not come at the time. You have to wait till another season, and then your soul is like a hind let loose. Why, sometimes we can pray, and prevail, and come off conquerors; and at another time, we can only bow at the throne, and groan out, "Lord, help me; I cannot pray; the springs seem to be all sealed." That is the result of life. Living things change. There are some personages in St. Paul's Cathedral; I have not seen them lately, but I have seen them. When I lived in the country, I came up to look at the notabilities in St. Paul's Cathedral. I have heard that they have never had a headache in the last hundred years, and no rheumatic pains, nor have they been troubled with the gout, The reason is that they are cut in marble, and they are dead; but a living man feels the fog and the winds; he knows whether it is an east wind or a west wind that is blowing. Before he gets up in the morning, he begins to feel sometimes lively and sometimes ill; he does not understand himself. Sometimes he feels merry, and can sing hymns; at another time, he can do nothing else but sigh and cry, though he scarcely knows wherefore. Yes, life is a strange thing; and if you have the life of God in your soul, you will undergo many changes, and not always be what you want to be.

If we are alive unto God, every part of our worship should be living. What a deal of dead worship there is! If we go on with our services in regular routine, a large number of our friends find it difficult to keep awake. I fear that some people go to a place of worship because they get a better sleep there than anywhere else. That is not worship which consists in doing as Hodge did, when he said, "I like Sunday, for then I can go to church, and put my legs up, and think of nothing at all." That is all the worship a great many render to God, just getting to a place of worship, and there sitting still, and thinking of nothing at all. But if you are a living child of God, you cannot do that. If, sometimes, through the infirmity of the flesh, you fall into that state of slumber, you loathe yourselves for it, but you rouse yourself up, and say, "I must worship my God; I must sing, I must praise God. I must draw near to him in prayer."

III. I must come to my third point; for our time flies. Notice what OUR PRESENT POSITION IS, if God has quickened us.

Our present position is this, first, that we are raised from the dead. "He hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together." We cannot live where we used to live. We cannot wear what we used to wear. There is nobody here who would like to go and live in a grave. If you have been raised from the dead, after you had been buried in Norwood Cemetery, I would warrant you that you would not go there to-night to sleep. So the man, who has once been raised by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit, quits the dead; his old company does not suit him. If you had been raised from the dead, and had come out of your tomb, you would not go about London streets with your shroud on. You are a living man. How is it that I find some who say they are people of God; but yet are rather fond of wearing their grave-clothes? I mean, that they like the amusements of the world; they like to put on their shroud sometimes just for a treat. Oh, do not so! If God has made you to live, come away from the dead; come away from their habits, and manners and customs. Life sees no charm in death. The living child of God likes to get as far as ever he can away from the death that once held him bound. "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." That is the first part of our position, that we have come to live a separate life now, and have quitted the path we trod before.

Next to that, we are one with Christ. He hath "quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together." I told you just now that the life which the Holy Spirit gives us when we are born again, is the life of God. We are made partakers of the divine nature, or course, in a modified sense, but still in a true sense. The life everlasting, the life that can never die, is put into us then, even as Christ said, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." The believer's life is the life of Christ in the believer. "Because I live, ye shall live also." What a mystic union there is between the believer and his Lord! Realize that; believe in it; rejoice in it; triumph in it. Christ and you are one now, and you are made to live together with him. God grant you to know the joy of that condition!

Once more, we are told, "He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." That is very wonderful. We have not only left the dead, and become joined to Christ, but we are made to sit in heaven with Christ. A man is where his head is, is he not? And every believer is where his Head is; and if we are members of Christ's body, we are in heaven. It is a very blessed experience to be able to walk on earth, and look up to heaven; but it is a higher experience to live in heaven, and look down on the earth; and this is what the believer may do. He may sit in the heavenlies; Christ is there as his Representative. The believer may take possession of what his Representative is holding on his behalf. Oh, to live in heaven, to dwell there, to let the heart be caught up from this poor life into the life that is above! This is where we should be, where we may be if we are quickened by the divine life.

One thing more, and I have done. We are in this position, that God is now working in us, through this divine life, to make us the most wonderful reflectors of his grace that he has yet formed. He has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, "that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus." The ages to come will have for their wonder the quickened children of God. When God made the world, it was a wonder, and the angels came from afar to see his handiwork. But when Christ makes the new creation, they will say no more that God made the heaven and the earth, but they will say in higher strains, "He made these new-born men and women. He made for them, and in them, new heavens and a new earth."

Ah! Beloved, "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." God has given us a life that is more precious than the Koh-i-noor, a life that will outlast the sun and moon. When all things that are shall be like old ocean's foam, which dissolves into the wave that bears it, and is gone for ever; we shall live, and we shall live in Christ, and with Christ, glorified for ever. When the moon has become black as sackcloth of hair, the life that is within us shall be as bright as when God first gave it to us. Thou hast the dew of thy youth, O child of God; and thou shalt have yet more of it, and be like thy Lord, when he shall take thee away from every trace of death, and the corrupt atmosphere of this poor world, and thou shalt dwell with the living God in the land of the living, for ever and for ever!

The practical outcome of all this, that some of you do not know anything at all about it. If you do not, let the fact impress you. If there be a divine life to which you are a stranger, how long will you be a stranger to it? If there be a spiritual death, and you are dead, be startled; for within a little while God will say, "Bury my dead out of my sight." And what will happen to you when the word of God is, "Depart, depart, depart, depart," and unto the graveyard of souls, to the fire that never shall be quenched, you and the rest of the dead are taken away? "God is not the God of the dead, but of the living," and, unless we are made alive unto him, he cannot be our God either here or hereafter. The Lord impress this solemn truth on all your hearts by his own spirit; for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.

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Ephesians 2:1-22

Verse 1. And you he hath quickened.

Is it so? Could the apostle say that to you, and to me?

1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Look back to what you used to be, to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged: "You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

2. Wherein in time past ye walked

With a terrible activity of spiritual death;

3. According to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

He makes them to be his forge. There he blows his coals, there he fabricates his instruments. Do you not hear the noise of the infernal bellows when "the children of disobedience: swear, and use unclean language? Ah, such were some of us; but we are cleansed! The evil spirit has been driven out, and he no more works in us.

3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

You that now commune with God at the mercy-seat, you that are now his favoured children, and have received power to become the sons of God, you were once heirs of wrath: "By nature the children of wrath, even as others." Holy Scripture is not complimentary to unrenewed human nature. You may search it through and through to find a single flattering word to unregenerate man; but you will search in vain. This style of speech is left to those who scout divine inspiration. They draw their inspiration from another fount, from a desire to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. They can se flattering speeches in addressing the ungodly; but the Holy Ghost never does.

4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,

God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend upon what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love of us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that "he loved us, even when we were dead in sins."

5. Hath quickened us together with Christ,

Ah! That accounts for everything: "together with Christ." When we get "together with Christ", then are we made alive, then are we saved. Are you. my dear hearers, "quickened together with Christ"?

5-7. (By grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

See how Paul's language grows and swells and rises as he proceeds! Just now, we read of "God, who is rich in mercy"; now the apostle speaks of "the exceeding riches of his grace", exceeding expression, exceeding comprehension, exceeding even sin itself, though that is all but infinite. "The exceeding riches of his grace" are infinity itself; but they all come to us "through Christ Jesus." Paul will speak of nothing good except that which comes "through Christ Jesus." This is the one conduit-pipe through which the streams of living water flow to the dead in sin; God's grace comes to us "Through Christ Jesus", and through him alone.

8. For by grace are ye saved through faith;

We have this expression, "by grace are ye saved," twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. At bottom, all the wanderings from the faith at the present day amount to this, salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all sorts of things that they put instead of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

8, 9. And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

"Oh!" said one to me just now, "the man who is saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising." "No, my dear brother," I replied, "except he praises himself; and he can generally do that pretty well." Your self-made man usually worships his creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him that saved him.

10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

Nothing without Christ Jesus, you see. The mark of the pierced hand is on everything: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus."

10. Unto Good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has decreed that he will have a holy people. This is his purpose, his ordinance, to which he will always stand. He will make it good. He will make sinful people holy, and disobedient people obedient to the faith.

11. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Remember what you were. You were not the chosen Israelites, you have not the covenant mark in your flesh.

12. That at that time ye were without Christ,

Which is the worst state of all, far worse than being without circumcision.

12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,

Outsiders, rank outsiders, far away from any rights, or any participation in the rights of God's children.

12. And strangers from the covenants of promise,

Utter strangers to the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

12. Having no hope, and without God in the world:

It is an awful description, but a truthful description, of what we were.

13. But now

The apostle has turned over a new leaf in the book of our history: "but now." Oh, what a change from the past to the present! "But now"

13. In Christ Jesus

See how Paul keeps harping on that one string. Note how he links us with Christ Jesus. There is nothing for us without Christ and his cross.

13. Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Paul can never have too much of Christ. It is Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ; like the harp of Anacreon. He wished to sing of Cadmus; but his harp resounded love alone; and so the harp of Paul resounds with Christ alone, Christ alone. He always comes back to that theme. It was said of one eminent commentator that he could not find Christ in the Scripture where he was; but it was said of Cocceius that he found Christ where he was not. I would rather find Christ where he is not, than not to find him where he is. There are plenty who err in that second direction nowadays.

14. For he is our peace,

Paul cannot do without Christ, you see. He will bring him in everywhere.

14. Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

There is no longer the division between Jews and Gentiles.

15. Having abolished in his flesh.

See, it is always Christ, his flesh, his blood, his life. There must always be something about him: "Having abolished in his flesh."

15, 16. The enmity, even the law of commandments containeth in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he

I cannot help reminding you, that you must not overlook the fact that Paul will not go a hair's breadth away from Christ.

16-18. Might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

There is the whole Trinity in that one verse, Christ, the Spirit, the Father. It needs the Trinity to make a Christian, and when you have got a Christian, it needs the Trinity to make a prayer. You cannot pray a single prayer aright without Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

19. Now therefore

Another of Paul's blessed "nows." It was "but now" a little while ago; now he has another "now." "Now therefore"

19. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

You are not only in the kingdom, but you are in the royal household, which is better still. You are princes of the blood imperial. You are peers of the court of heaven: "and the household of God."

20. And are built

You are not loose stones; you are built

20, 21 Upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom

You see, it is always that, in him, in Christ: "in whom"

21. All the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

There is no church without Christ, no temple without him as its cornerstone, its priest, its glory.

22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

And all this hangs upon that first sentence, "You hath he quickened." Is it so, beloved? If you are spiritually dead, nothing here belongs to you; but if he hath quickened you, you may take every single sentence of the chapter, and say, "That is mine, and glory be the grace of God!"

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HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK" 463, 476, 461.

Verses 1-22

Exposition of Ephesians 2:1-22

Verse 1. And you he hath quickened.

Is it so? Could the apostle say that to you, and to me?

1. Who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Look back to what you used to be, to the hole of the pit whence ye were digged: "You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins."

2. Wherein in time past ye walked

With a terrible activity of spiritual death;

3. According to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

He makes them to be his forge. There he blows his coals, there he fabricates his instruments. Do you not hear the noise of the infernal bellows when "the children of disobedience: swear, and use unclean language? Ah, such were some of us; but we are cleansed! The evil spirit has been driven out, and he no more works in us.

3. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

You that now commune with God at the mercy-seat, you that are now his favoured children, and have received power to become the sons of God, you were once heirs of wrath: "By nature the children of wrath, even as others." Holy Scripture is not complimentary to unrenewed human nature. You may search it through and through to find a single flattering word to unregenerate man; but you will search in vain. This style of speech is left to those who scout divine inspiration. They draw their inspiration from another fount, from a desire to walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air. They can se flattering speeches in addressing the ungodly; but the Holy Ghost never does.

4, 5. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins,

God loved us even when we were dead in sins. His love does not depend upon what we are; it flows from his own heart. It is not love of something good in us; it is love of us because of everything good in him. Here you see the greatness of his grace, in that "he loved us, even when we were dead in sins."

5. Hath quickened us together with Christ,

Ah! That accounts for everything: "together with Christ." When we get "together with Christ", then are we made alive, then are we saved. Are you. my dear hearers, "quickened together with Christ"?

5-7. (By grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

See how Paul's language grows and swells and rises as he proceeds! Just now, we read of "God, who is rich in mercy"; now the apostle speaks of "the exceeding riches of his grace", exceeding expression, exceeding comprehension, exceeding even sin itself, though that is all but infinite. "The exceeding riches of his grace" are infinity itself; but they all come to us "through Christ Jesus." Paul will speak of nothing good except that which comes "through Christ Jesus." This is the one conduit-pipe through which the streams of living water flow to the dead in sin; God's grace comes to us "Through Christ Jesus", and through him alone.

8. For by grace are ye saved through faith;

We have this expression, "by grace are ye saved," twice over in this chapter. Paul knew that he needed to repeat himself, or people would forget what he taught. At bottom, all the wanderings from the faith at the present day amount to this, salvation by works instead of salvation by grace. The battle of the Reformation has to be fought over again. Men are justified by grace through faith in Christ Jesus. All the enmity of natural men is against that truth. They want to be saved by their own morality, and all sorts of things that they put instead of salvation by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

8, 9. And that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.

"Oh!" said one to me just now, "the man who is saved by his own righteousness cannot do much in the line of praising." "No, my dear brother," I replied, "except he praises himself; and he can generally do that pretty well." Your self-made man usually worships his creator very earnestly; and your self-saved man glorifies him that saved him.

10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

Nothing without Christ Jesus, you see. The mark of the pierced hand is on everything: "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus."

10. Unto Good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God has decreed that he will have a holy people. This is his purpose, his ordinance, to which he will always stand. He will make it good. He will make sinful people holy, and disobedient people obedient to the faith.

11. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;

Remember what you were. You were not the chosen Israelites, you have not the covenant mark in your flesh.

12. That at that time ye were without Christ,

Which is the worst state of all, far worse than being without circumcision.

12. Being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,

Outsiders, rank outsiders, far away from any rights, or any participation in the rights of God's children.

12. And strangers from the covenants of promise,

Utter strangers to the covenants made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

12. Having no hope, and without God in the world:

It is an awful description, but a truthful description, of what we were.

13. But now

The apostle has turned over a new leaf in the book of our history: "but now." Oh, what a change from the past to the present! "But now"

13. In Christ Jesus

See how Paul keeps harping on that one string. Note how he links us with Christ Jesus. There is nothing for us without Christ and his cross.

13. Ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Paul can never have too much of Christ. It is Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ; like the harp of Anacreon. He wished to sing of Cadmus; but his harp resounded love alone; and so the harp of Paul resounds with Christ alone, Christ alone. He always comes back to that theme. It was said of one eminent commentator that he could not find Christ in the Scripture where he was; but it was said of Cocceius that he found Christ where he was not. I would rather find Christ where he is not, than not to find him where he is. There are plenty who err in that second direction nowadays.

14. For he is our peace,

Paul cannot do without Christ, you see. He will bring him in everywhere.

14. Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

There is no longer the division between Jews and Gentiles.

15. Having abolished in his flesh.

See, it is always Christ, his flesh, his blood, his life. There must always be something about him: "Having abolished in his flesh."

15, 16. The enmity, even the law of commandments containeth in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he

I cannot help reminding you, that you must not overlook the fact that Paul will not go a hair's breadth away from Christ.

16-18. Might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

There is the whole Trinity in that one verse, Christ, the Spirit, the Father. It needs the Trinity to make a Christian, and when you have got a Christian, it needs the Trinity to make a prayer. You cannot pray a single prayer aright without Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

19. Now therefore

Another of Paul's blessed "nows." It was "but now" a little while ago; now he has another "now." "Now therefore"

19. Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

You are not only in the kingdom, but you are in the royal household, which is better still. You are princes of the blood imperial. You are peers of the court of heaven: "and the household of God."

20. And are built

You are not loose stones; you are built

20, 21 Upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom

You see, it is always that, in him, in Christ: "in whom"

21. All the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

There is no church without Christ, no temple without him as its cornerstone, its priest, its glory.

22. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

And all this hangs upon that first sentence, "You hath he quickened." Is it so, beloved? If you are spiritually dead, nothing here belongs to you; but if he hath quickened you, you may take every single sentence of the chapter, and say, "That is mine, and glory be the grace of God!"

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HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK" 463, 476, 461.

Verse 8

All of Grace

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A Sermon

(No. 3479)

Published on Thursday, October 7th, 1915.

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

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"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8 .

OF THE THINGS which I have spoken unto you these many years, this is the sum. Within the circle of these words my theology is contained, so far as it refers to the salvation of men. I rejoice also to remember that those of my family who were ministers of Christ before me preached this doctrine, and none other. My father, who is still able to bear his personal testimony for his Lord, knows no other doctrine, neither did his father before him.

I am led to remember this by the fact that a somewhat singular circumstance, recorded in my memory, connects this text with myself and my grandfather. It is now long years ago. I was announced to preach in a certain country town in the Eastern Counties. It does not often happen to me to be behind time, for I feel that punctuality is one of those little virtues which may prevent great sins. But we have no control over railway delays, and breakdowns; and so it happened that I reached the appointed place considerably behind the time. Like sensible people, they had begun their worship, and had proceeded as far as the sermon. As I neared the chapel, I perceived that someone was in the pulpit preaching, and who should the preacher be but my dear and venerable grandfather! He saw me as I came in at the front door and made my way up the aisle, and at once he said, "Here comes my grandson! He may preach the gospel better than I can, but he cannot preach a better gospel; can you, Charles?" As I made my way through the throng, I answered, "You can preach better than I can. Pray go on." But he would not agree to that. I must take the sermon, and so I did, going on with the subject there and then, just where he left off. "There," said he, "I was preaching of 'For by grace are ye saved.' I have been setting forth the source and fountain-head of salvation; and I am now showing them the channel of it, through faith. Now you take it up, and go on." I am so much at home with these glorious truths that I could not feel any difficulty in taking from my grandfather the thread of his discourse, and joining my thread to it, so as to continue without a break. Our agreement in the things of God made it easy for us to be joint-preachers of the same discourse. I went on with "through faith," and then I proceeded to the next point, "and that not of yourselves." Upon this I was explaining the weakness and inability of human nature, and the certainty that salvation could not be of ourselves, when I had my coat-tail pulled, and my well-beloved grandsire took his turn again. "When I spoke of our depraved human nature," the good old man said, "I know most about that, dear friends"; and so he took up the parable, and for the next five minutes set forth a solemn and humbling description of our lost estate, the depravity of our nature, and the spiritual death under which we were found. When he had said his say in a very gracious manner, his grandson was allowed to go on again, to the dear old man's great delight; for now and then he would say, in a gentle tone, "Good! Good!" Once he said, "Tell them that again, Charles," and, of course, I did tell them that again. It was a happy exercise to me to take my share in bearing witness to truths of such vital importance, which are so deeply impressed upon my heart. While announcing this text I seem to hear that dear voice, which has been so long lost to earth, saying to me, "TELL THEM THAT AGAIN." I am not contradicting the testimony of forefathers who are now with God. If my grandfather could return to earth, he would find me where he left me, steadfast in the faith, and true to that form of doctrine which was once delivered to the saints.

I shall handle the text briefly, by way of making a few statements. The first statement is clearly contained in the text:

I. There Is Present Salvation.

The apostle says, "Ye are saved." Not "ye shall be," or "ye may be"; but "ye are saved." He says not, "Ye are partly saved," nor "in the way to being saved," nor "hopeful of salvation"; but "by grace are ye saved." Let us be as clear on this point as he was, and let us never rest till we know that we are saved. At this moment we are either saved or unsaved. That is clear. To which class do we belong? I hope that, by the witness of the Holy Ghost, we may be so assured of our safety as to sing, "The Lord is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation." Upon this I will not linger, but pass on to note the next point.

II. A Present Salvation Must Be Through Grace.

If we can say of any man, or of any set of people, "Ye are saved," we shall have to preface it with the words "by grace." There is no other present salvation except that which begins and ends with grace. As far as I know, I do not think that anyone in the wide world pretends to preach or to possess a present salvation, except those who believe salvation to be all of grace. No one in the Church of Rome claims to be now saved completely and eternally saved. Such a profession would be heretical. Some few Catholics may hope to enter heaven when they die, but the most of them have the miserable prospect of purgatory before their eyes. We see constant requests for prayers for departed souls, and this would not be if those souls were saved, and glorified with their Saviour. Masses for the repose of the soul indicate the incompleteness of the salvation Rome has to offer. Well may it be so, since Papal salvation is by works, and even if salvation by good works were possible, no man can ever be sure that he has performed enough of them to secure his salvation.

Among those who dwell around us, we find many who are altogether strangers to the doctrine of grace, and these never dream of present salvation. Possibly they trust that they may be saved when they die; they half hope that, after years of watchful holiness, they may, perhaps, be saved at last; but, to be saved now, and to know that they are saved, is quite beyond them, and they think it presumption.

There can be no present salvation unless it be upon this footing "By grace are ye saved." It is a very singular thing that no one has risen up to preach a present salvation by works. I suppose it would be too absurd. The works being unfinished, the salvation would be incomplete; or, the salvation being complete, the main motive of the legalist would be gone.

Salvation must be by grace. If man be lost by sin, how can he be saved except through the grace of God? If he has sinned, he is condemned; and how can he, of himself, reverse that condemnation? Suppose that he should keep the law all the rest of his life, he will then only have done what he was always bound to have done, and he will still be an unprofitable servant. What is to become of the past? How can old sins be blotted out? How can the old ruin be retrieved? According to Scripture, and according to common sense, salvation can only be through the free favour of God.

Salvation in the present tense must be by the free favour of God. Persons may contend for salvation by works, but you will not hear anyone support his own argument by saying, "I am myself saved by what I have done." That would be a superfluity of naughtiness to which few men would go. Pride could hardly compass itself about with such extravagant boasting. No, if we are saved, it must be by the free favour of God. No one professes to be an example of the opposite view.

Salvation to be complete must be by free favour. The saints, when they come to die, never conclude their lives by hoping in their good works. Those who have lived the most holy and useful lives invariably look to free grace in their final moments. I never stood by the bedside of a godly man who reposed any confidence whatever in his own prayers, or repentance, or religiousness. I have heard eminently holy men quoting in death the words, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." In fact, the nearer men come to heaven, and the more prepared they are for it, the more simply is their trust in the merit of the Lord Jesus, and the more intensely do they abhor all trust in themselves. If this be the case in our last moments, when the conflict is almost over, much more ought we to feel it to be so while we are in the thick of the fight. If a man be completely saved in this present time of warfare, how can it be except by grace. While he has to mourn over sin that dwelleth in him, while he has to confess innumerable shortcomings and transgressions, while sin is mixed with all he does, how can he believe that he is completely saved except it be by the free favour of God?

Paul speaks of this salvation as belonging to the Ephesians, "By grace are ye saved." The Ephesians had been given to curious arts and works of divination. They had thus made a covenant with the powers of darkness. Now if such as these were saved, it must be by grace alone. So is it with us also: our original condition and character render it certain that, if saved at all, we must owe it to the free favour of God. I know it is so in my own case; and I believe the same rule holds good in the rest of believers. This is clear enough, and so I advance to the next observation:

III. Present Salvation by Grace Must Be Through Faith.

A present salvation must be through grace, and salvation by grace must be through faith. You cannot get a hold of salvation by grace by any other means than by faith. This live coal from off the altar needs the golden tongs of faith with which to carry it. I suppose that it might have been possible, if God had so willed it, that salvation might have been through works, and yet by grace; for if Adam had perfectly obeyed the law of God, still he would only have done what he was bound to do; and so, if God should have rewarded him, the reward itself must have been according to grace, since the Creator owes nothing to the creature. This would have been a very difficult system to work, while the object of it was perfect; but in our case it would not work at all. Salvation in our case means deliverance from guilt and ruin, and this could not have been laid hold of by a measure of good works, since we are not in a condition to perform any. Suppose I had to preach that you as sinners must do certain works, and then you would be saved; and suppose that you could perform them; such a salvation would not then have been seen to be altogether of grace; it would have soon appeared to be of debt. Apprehended in such a fashion, it would have come to you in some measure as the reward of work done, and its whole aspect would have been changed. Salvation by grace can only be gripped by the hand of faith: the attempt to lay hold upon it by the doing of certain acts of law would cause the grace to evaporate. "Therefore, it is of faith that it might be by grace." "If by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

Some try to lay hold upon salvation by grace through the use of ceremonies; but it will not do. You are christened, confirmed, and caused to receive "the holy sacrament" from priestly hands, or you are baptized, join the church, sit at the Lord's table: does this bring you salvation? I ask you, "have you salvation?" "You dare not say." If you did claim salvation of a sort, yet I am sure it would not be in your minds salvation by grace.

Again, you cannot lay hold upon salvation by grace through your feelings. The hand of faith is constructed for the grasping of a present salvation by grace. But feeling is not adapted for that end. If you go about to say, "I must feel that I am saved. I must feel so much sorrow and so much joy or else I will not admit that I am saved," you will find that this method will not answer. As well might you hope to see with your ear, or taste with your eye, or hear with your nose, as to believe by feeling: it is the wrong organ. After you have believed, you can enjoy salvation by feeling its heavenly influences; but to dream of getting a grasp of it by your own feelings is as foolish as to attempt to bear away the sunlight in the palm of your hand, or the breath of heaven between the lashes of your eyes. There is an essential absurdity in the whole affair.

Moreover, the evidence yielded by feeling is singularly fickle. When your feelings are peaceful and delightful, they are soon broken in upon, and become restless and melancholy. The most fickle of elements, the most feeble of creatures, the most contemptible circumstances, may sink or raise your spirits: experienced men come to think less and less of their present emotions as they reflect upon the little reliance which can be safely placed upon them. Faith receives the statement of God concerning His way of gracious pardon, and thus it brings salvation to the man believing; but feeling, warming under passionate appeals, yielding itself deliriously to a hope which it dares not examine, whirling round and round in a sort of dervish dance of excitement which has become necessary for its own sustaining, is all on a stir, like the troubled sea which cannot rest. From its boilings and ragings, feeling is apt to drop to lukewarmness, despondency, despair and all the kindred evils. Feelings are a set of cloudy, windy phenomena which cannot be trusted in reference to the eternal verities of God. We now go a step further:

IV. Salvation by Grace, Through Faith, Is Not of Ourselves.

The salvation, and the faith, and the whole gracious work together, are not of ourselves.

First, they are not of our former deservings: they are not the reward of former good endeavours. No unregenerate person has lived so well that God is bound to give him further grace, and to bestow on him eternal life; else it were no longer of grace, but of debt. Salvation is given to us, not earned by us. Our first life is always a wandering away from God, and our new life of return to God is always a work of undeserved mercy, wrought upon those who greatly need, but never deserve it.

It is not of ourselves, in the further sense, that it is not out of our original excellence. Salvation comes from above; it is never evolved from within. Can eternal life be evolved from the bare ribs of death? Some dare to tell us that faith in Christ, and the new birth, are only the development of good things that lay hidden in us by nature; but in this, like their father, they speak of their own. Sirs, if an heir of wrath is left to be developed, he will become more and more fit for the place prepared for the devil and his angels! You may take the unregenerate man, and educate him to the highest; but he remains, and must forever remain, dead in sin, unless a higher power shall come in and save him from himself. Grace brings into the heart an entirely foreign element. It does not improve and perpetuate; it kills and makes alive. There is no continuity between the state of nature and the state of grace: the one is darkness and the other is light; the one is death and the other is life. Grace, when it comes to us, is like a firebrand dropped into the sea, where it would certainly be quenched were it not of such a miraculous quality that it baffles the water-floods, and sets up its reign of fire and light even in the depths.

Salvation by grace, through faith is not of ourselves in the sense of being the result of our own power. We are bound to view salvation as being as surely a divine act as creation, or providence, or resurrection. At every point of the process of salvation this word is appropriate "not of yourselves." From the first desire after it to the full reception of it by faith, it is evermore of the Lord alone, and not of ourselves. The man believes, but that belief is only one result among many of the implantation of divine life within the man's soul by God Himself.

Even the very will thus to be saved by grace is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God. There lies the stress of the question. A man ought to believe in Jesus: it is his duty to receive him whom God has set forth to be a propitiation for sins. But man will not believe in Jesus; he prefers anything to faith in his redeemer. Unless the Spirit of God convinces the judgment, and constrains the will, man has no heart to believe in Jesus unto eternal life. I ask any saved man to look back upon his own conversion, and explain how it came about. You turned to Christ, and believed in his name: these were your own acts and deeds. But what caused you thus to turn? What sacred force was that which turned you from sin to righteousness? Do you attribute this singular renewal to the existence of a something better in you than has been yet discovered in your unconverted neighbour? No, you confess that you might have been what he now is if it had not been that there was a potent something which touched the spring of your will, enlightened your understanding, and guided you to the foot of the cross. Gratefully we confess the fact; it must be so. Salvation by grace, through faith, is not of ourselves, and none of us would dream of taking any honour to ourselves from our conversion, or from any gracious effect which has flowed from the first divine cause. Last of all:

V. "By Grace Are Ye Saved Through Faith; and That Not of Yourselves: It Is the Gift of God."

Salvation may be called Theodora, or God's gift: and each saved soul may be surnamed Dorothea, which is another form of the same expression. Multiply your phrases, and expand your expositions; but salvation truly traced to its well-head is all contained in the gift unspeakable, the free, unmeasured benison of love.

Salvation is the gift of God, in opposition to a wage. When a man pays another his wage, he does what is right; and no one dreams of belauding him for it. But we praise God for salvation because it is not the payment of debt, but the gift of grace. No man enters eternal life on earth, or in heaven, as his due: getlostlibbyit is the gift of God. We say, "nothing is freer than a gift". Salvation is so purely, so absolutely a gift of God, that nothing can be more free. God gives it because he chooses to give it, according to that grand text which has made many a man bite his lip in wrath, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." You are all guilty and condemned, and the great King pardons whom he wills from among you. This is his royal prerogative. He saves in infinite sovereignty of grace.

Salvation is the gift of God: that is to say completely so, in opposition to the notion of growth. Salvation is not a natural production from within: it is brought from a foreign zone, and planted within the heart by heavenly hands. Salvation is in its entirety a gift from God. If thou wilt have it, there it is, complete. Wilt thou have it as a perfect gift? "No; I will produce it in my own workshop." Thou canst not forge a work so rare and costly, upon which even Jesus spent his life's blood. Here is a garment without seam, woven from the top throughout. It will cover thee and make thee glorious. Wilt thou have it? "No; I will sit at the loom, and I will weave a raiment of my own!" Proud fool that thou art! Thou spinnest cobwebs. Thou weavest a dream. Oh! that thou wouldst freely take what Christ upon the cross declared to be finished.

It is the gift of God: that is, it is eternally secure in opposition to the gifts of men, which soon pass away. "Not as the world giveth, give I unto you," says our Lord Jesus. If my Lord Jesus gives you salvation at this moment, you have it, and you have it forever. He will never take it back again; and if he does not take it from you, who can? If he saves you now through faith, you are saved so saved that you shall never perish, neither shall any pluck you out of his hand. May it be so with every one of us! Amen.

Verses 9-10

The Agreement of Salvation by Grace with Walking in Good Works

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A Sermon

(No. 2210)

Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, June 28th, 1891,

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

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"Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" Ephesians 2:9-10 .

I shall call your attention to the near neighborhood of these two phrases, "Not of works," and "Created in Christ Jesus unto good works." The text reads with a singular sound; for it seems strange to the ear that good works should be negatived as the cause of salvation, and then should be spoken of as the great end of it. You may put it down among what the Puritans called "Orthodox Paradoxes," if you please; though it is hardly so difficult a matter as to deserve the name.

Not long ago, I tried to handle the point of difference supposed to exist between the doctrine of faith "Believe, and thou shalt be saved," and the doctrine of the new birth and its necessity "Ye must be born again." My method was on this wise: I did not explain the difficulties which appear to the logician and the doctor of metaphysics; but I tried to show that, practically, there were none. If we deal only with difficulties which block up the way to salvation, there are none. As for those matters which involve no real hindrance, I leave them where they are. A rock which is in nobody's way may stand where it is. He that believes in Jesus is born again. These two things are equally true: there must be a work of the Spirit within, yet he that believeth in the Lord Jesus hath everlasting life.

Now, there is a contention always going on about the doctrine of good works: and instead of taking one side or the other, we shall try to see whether there really is anything to quarrel over if we keep to the Scriptures. We insist upon it, with all our might, that salvation is "not of works, lest any man should boast." But, on the other hand, we freely admit, and earnestly teach, that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Where there are no good works, there is no indwelling of the Spirit of God. The faith which does not produce good works is not saving faith: it is not the faith of God's elect: it is not faith at all in the Scriptural sense. I have just taken these two points, to bring them forward for the help and comfort of beginners. I seek not to instruct you who are well-taught already; but my aim at this time is to instruct beginners on this important subject. Salvation is not of works; but, at the same time, we, who are the subjects of divine grace, are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works." This is plain to the enlightened believer; but babes in grace have weak eyes, and cannot at once perceive.

Before, in the gracious providence of God, Luther was raised up to preach the doctrine of justification by faith, the common notion among religious persons was, that men must be saved by works; and the result was that, knowing nothing of the root from which virtue springs, very few persons had any good works at all. Religion so declined that it became a mere matter of empty ceremony, or of useless seclusion; and, in addition, superstition overlaid the original truth of the gospel, so that one could hardly find it out at all. The reign of self-justification and priestcraft led to no good result upon the masses of religious people. Indulgences and forgivenesses of sins were hawked through the streets, and publicly sold. So much was charged for the pardon of one sin, and so much for another, and the exchequer of "his holiness" at Rome who might better have been called "his unholiness" was filled by payments for abating penalties in a purgatory of Rome's inventing Luther learned from the sacred Volume, by the Spirit of the Lord, that we are saved by grace alone through faith; and, having found it out, he was so possessed by that one truth that he preached it with a voice of thunder. His witness on one point was so concentrated that it would be too much to expect equal clearness upon all other truths. I sometimes compare him to a bull who shuts his eyes, and goes straight on at the one object which he means to overthrow. With a mighty crash, he broke down the gates of Papal superstition. He saw nothing he did not want to see anything except this, "By grace are ye saved through faith." He made very clear and good work upon that point, faulty as he was upon certain others. The echoes of his manly voice rang down the centuries. I note that nearly all the sermons of Protestant divines, for long after Luther, were upon justification by faith; and, whatever the text might be, they somehow or other brought in that article of a standing or falling church. They seldom finished a sermon without declaring that salvation is not by works, but that it is by faith in Jesus Christ. I do not censure them for a moment; far rather do I commend them better too much than too little upon the central doctrine of the gospel. The times needed that point to be made clear to all comers; and the Reforming preachers made it clear. Justification by faith was the nail that had to be driven home, and clinched; and all their hammers went at that nail. They were nothing like so specific and clear upon many other doctrines as they were upon this; but then it was a foundation-stone, and they were occupied in laying it, and they did lay it, and laid it thoroughly, and laid it for ever.

Still, they would have more fully completed the circle of revealed truth if sanctification had been as fully apprehended and as clearly explained as justification. It had been as well if the legs of the gospel of the Reformation had been equal, for one was a little longer and a little stronger than the other, and therefore there was a limp a halting like that of victorious Israel, as he came from Jabbok but still a limp, which it would be well to cure. We have passed beyond the stage of dwelling too much on the cardinal doctrine, and I greatly fear that in these times we do not have enough preaching of justification by faith. I could wish the Lutheran times back again, and that the old thunders of Wittenberg could be heard once more; and yet I shall be glad if everything that is practical in the gospel shall also have its full sphere allotted to it. Imputed righteousness, by all means; but let us hear of imparted righteousness also; for both are precious boons of grace. The duties let me rather say, the high and holy privileges which come to us as children and servants of God these should be maintained and fully preached, side by side with the blessed truth embodied in those lines

"There is life in a look at the Crucified One:

There is life at this moment for thee."

I shall dwell, first of all, upon the first point of the text, which is this, "Not of works," or the way of salvation. "Not of works" is negative description, but within the negative there lies very clearly the positive. The way of salvation is by something other than our own works. Secondly, I shall speak about the walk of salvation. We who are saved walk in holiness; for we are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." It is a decree of the sovereign Lord that his chosen should be led to walk in holiness.

I. First, then, THE WAY OF SALVATION is negatively described as "Not of works." To this many take exception; but that we cannot help; the Scripture is plain enough. We are told that we ought not, on any occasion, to allow persons to sing

"Sinner, nothing do,

Either great or small,

Jesus did it, did it all,

Long, long ago."

Great exception has been taken to that expression; but I believe that, if the same truth had been expressed in any other words, the same objection would have been raised, for it is the truth that is objected to, rather than the words in which it is set forth. My text itself would be, to such persons, very objectionable "Not of works." They are ready to rail at Paul for speaking thus evangelically. They hate the doctrine of salvation all of gift, and not in the least of merit a doctrine which we love. We preach salvation "not of works"; we repeat the teaching again and again, and mean to repeat it continually, till we die. Salvation is of the Lord's mercy, and not by works of the law.

If we were to preach that salvation is of works, we should please many fine folk; but as we do not know that it would be at all to their benefit that they should be pleased, we shall not brush one hair of our head in a different way from that in which it grows, to please them; much less shall we keep back, or explain away, the fundamental truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ; and that for several reasons.

If we were to preach to sinners, dead in trespasses and sins, that salvation would be by their own works, we should be setting aside the way of salvation by grace. There cannot be two ways of salvation for the same people. If we take to the one, we practically deny the other. It cannot be questioned that a guilty man, if saved at all, must be saved through the mercy of God. It cannot be denied, also, that our Savior and his apostles taught that we are saved by faith. A man must shut his eyes if he does not see this to be their teaching. If, then, I teach men that they can be saved by works, I have practically told them that salvation by grace is a myth, a mistake, a mischievous error. I have set it aside; for, as I have said before, there cannot be two ways to heaven: there cannot be more than one. If I set up the way of works, I shut up the way of grace. If salvation be of merit, it is not of mercy. But if there be no salvation of men by the pure mercy of God, what an unhappy case are we in! To deny grace is really to deny hope. Where, then, would there be any gospel, or glad tidings, or good news? The way of salvation by works is not "news." It is the old way of man's devising, which is the general and well-known error of all the ages. Moreover, it is not "good news," or glad news; for there is nothing good or glad in it. That we shall be rewarded for our works, is nothing more than the heathens taught. Justification by religious performances, and meritorious deeds, is nothing better than the old Pharisaism with a Christian name stuck upon it. It is not worth revealing by the Spirit of God, for it is to be seen by the light of man's own candle. That doctrine makes the Lord Jesus Christ to be practically a nobody; for if salvation be of works, then the way of salvation through faith in a Savior is superfluous, and even mischievous.

Next, to preach the way of salvation by works is to propose to men a way in which they have already failed. If you are to be saved by works, you must begin very early: you must begin before you sin, since one sin decides the matter. But already you have commenced to break the law of God. I am not addressing persons who have yet to start upon the way, for they have started already. You are a good way on the road, one way or other; and since you began in the way of works, what a failure you have made of it already! Is there anyone here who can claim that he is already saved by works, as far as he has gone? Has anyone among you been without sin? Look at your lives; examine your consciences; observe your words, your thoughts, your imaginations, your motives; for all these come into the account. Is there a man here that doeth good, and sinneth not? Scripture declares that "there is none that doeth good, no, not one." "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way." The way of salvation cannot, therefore, be by following a road from which we have already so sinfully and steadily departed. If you were perfect as Adam was before he sinned, you might follow the way of works, and be safe; but you are not in that condition. If I could be sent to an Adam and an Eve altogether unfallen, I might propose to them the way of salvation by obedience to the law; but you have fallen, and your nature is inclined to forsake the right way. The very garments that you wear show that you have discovered your shame. The daily labors which weary you prove that you are not in paradise. The very preaching of the gospel implies that you are in a sinful world. You are not possessed of a will unbiassed, or inclined to that which is good: you have chosen the evil, and still continue to choose it; and therefore I should only be proposing to you a road in which you have already stumbled, and I should be setting you a task in which you have already broken down.

And, next, I think it will be admitted by all, that the way of salvation by good works would be self-evidently unsuitable to a considerable number. I will take a case. I am sent for on an emergency, and it is the dead of night. A man is dying, smitten suddenly by the death-blast. I go to his bedside, as requested. Consciousness remains; but he is evidently in mortal agony. He has lived an ungodly life, and he is about to die. I am asked by his wife and friends to speak to him a word that may bless him. Shall I tell him that he can only be saved by good works? Where is the time for works? Where is the possibility of them? Almost while I am speaking, his life is struggling to escape him. He looks at me in the agony of his soul, and he stammers out, "What must I do to be saved?" Shall I read to him the moral law? Shall I expound to him the Ten Commandments, and tell him that he must keep all these? He would shake his head, and say, "I have broken them all; I am condemned by them all." If salvation be of works, what more have I to say? I am of no use here. What can I say? The man is utterly lost. There is no remedy for him. How can I tell him the cruel dogma of "modern thought" that his own personal character is everything? How can I tell him that there is no value in belief, no help for the soul in looking to another even to Jesus, the Substitute? There is no whisper of hope for a dying man in the hard and stony doctrine of salvation by works.

If salvation had been by works, our Lord could not have said to the thief, dying at his side, "To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." That man could do no works. His hands and feet were fastened to the cross, and he was in the agonies of death. No, it must be of grace, all-conquering grace; and the modus operandi must be by faith, or else for dying men the gospel is a mockery. The man must look, and live. The expiring sinner must trust the expiring Savior. As life ebbs out, the penitent must find life in Jesus' death. Is it not clear that the gospel of works is unsuitable in such a case as that? Now, a gospel which is unsuitable to anybody is not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I put it plainly. A gospel that does not suit everybody does not suit anybody; and if it suits any class and condition really and truly, it must suit all classes. I think I have told you that, on one occasion, I had a letter which was intended to be very irritating to me, from some rather eminent, aristocratic gentleman, who said that he had read some of my sermons when he was out on the coast of Africa, and he found that certain black fellows out there certain "niggers" delighted in them very much. He wrote to inform me that I was a very competent preacher for "niggers." I accepted the assurance at once as a very high compliment. I felt that, if I could preach to "niggers," I could preach to anybody; and that, if the gospel that I preached was suitable to the natives on the coast of Africa it would certainly suit the people in London; if those who are afar off could understand it, you, who are near, could also understand it. The gospel was not sent into the world to be a patent medicine that could only be purchased by the wealthy, or a spell that could only be uttered by Latin scholars. It is a gospel for all ranks and conditions of men; and if I prove that what you call the gospel is unsuitable for the dying, or is unsuitable for the ignorant, it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of salvation by grace, through faith, is suitable for every class of persons that we have to deal with. Sinful habit has bound in iron fetters many of our fellow-citizens, and the gospel can free them. Be the habit drunkenness, or profanity, or what it may, the habit holds them fast; and the prophet says, concerning habit, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." To what purpose, then, do I cry to the leopard, "Change your spots," or to the Ethiopian, "Change your skin"? I must bring a superior force to bear upon the leopard or the Ethiopian, before this can be accomplished; and there is no force in mere exhortation. You may exhort a blind man to see as long as you like; but he will not see. You may exhort a dead man to live as long as you like; but he will not live through your exhortation alone. Something more is wanted. The forces of natural depravity, and the acquired habits of sin in many cases I think you will grant it put the doctrine of salvation by works out of court; and if out of court as to one, it is gone as to all; for there can be but one gospel. Go through your convict settlements; go through your jails; and just see what you can do with a doctrine of salvation by good works. You will come home disappointed, however earnest may be your address. But go there, and tell of free grace and dying love, and pardon bought with blood, and eyes that stream with tears, confessions of sin, and cries for pardon, will tell you that you have not spoken in vain.

Further, dear friends, if we go and preach to men salvation by works, we are preaching to them a way of salvation impossible to all because of the perfection of the law. What are the good works that can merit heaven? What are the good works that can ensure eternal life? These are not the easy things which some seem to imagine. They must be perfectly pure, continuous, and unspotted. "The law of the Lord is perfect." It condemns a thought, and even the glance of an eye, as an act of criminality. "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." The law of God in ten commands means much more than the bare words would imply: it deals with the whole range of moral condition, motive, and thought. Dream not that its sweep includes only external acts: it does include externals, but, in very deed, the ten commands are spiritual, they go right through the heart, and search the inward parts of the spirit. The more a man understands the law, the more he feels condemned by it, and the less does he indulge the dream that he, as he is, shall ever be able to keep it intact. With such foul hands as ours, how can we do clean work? With hearts so polluted, how can we be "undefiled in the way"? Nature rises no higher than its source, and that which comes out of the heart will be no better than the heart, and that is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked."

The law of God is one; and if you break it in any one point, you break it altogether. If, in a chain of one hundred links, ninety-nine should be perfect; yet if a single link, anywhere in the chain, should be too weak for the weight placed upon it, the load will fall to the ground quite as surely as if twenty links were snapped. One breakage of the perfect law of God involves transgression against the whole of it. In order to be saved by works, there must be absolutely perfect, continuously perfect obedience to it, in thought, and word, and deed; and that obedience must be rendered cheerfully, and from the heart, for this is the pith of the first table "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Can you keep that? Vain-glorious man, have you measured your moral strength against requirements so great, and yet so just? Have you hitherto proved yourself equal to the task? Here is the pith of the second table "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Have you ever tried to do that to love your neighbor as yourself? You have been a little kind, and sometimes generous; but the standard of loving your neighbor as yourself have you ever reached to that? Has your charity been equal to your self-love? I do not believe that it has ever gone even half the way. Now, "What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law;" and if it saith all this to you, and you cannot answer to its demands, how can you hope that you shall live by it? When a man fails to keep the law, it condemns him; and its penalty in other words, its curse falls on him as justly his due. He that is under the law is under the curse. All that the law has to say to you is "Thou hast broken me; and thou must die for it." Read the curses written in the Book of Deuteronomy, and remember that all these are pronounced over your head.

"Look to the flames that Moses saw,

And shrink, and tremble, and despair."

And again, dear friends, if we preach salvation by works, we shall take the minds of men away from a sense of their great need. Here is a person who has a terrible disease. He can be cured. The knife must be used; but if, instead thereof, I lay down for him rules of cleanliness, and of general hygiene, I may do him some sort of good; but meanwhile he will neglect the chief evil, his disease will spread, and will become fatal. What am I to do, if I am a surgeon? Must I not impress him, first, with the conviction that a serious operation is required, and that it must be submitted to? All the rest will be proper enough, and even necessary, in due time; but I must do nothing to take his mind away from the great master-evil that is destroying his life. The sinner must be told that he must be born again, that his nature is corrupt, that this corrupt nature must be destroyed, that a new nature must be created in him: to this his mind must be turned. He must be made "a new creature" in Christ Jesus; and if I stir him up to eternal action, with a view to his salvation by it, I shall be taking his thoughts away from the inward evil of sin, which is the very essence of the matter. O sirs, if you had committed an offense against the government of your country, and you were found guilty, and condemned to die, my first business with you would be to entreat you to ask pardon of your queen. I might come into your cell, and say that I would have you dressed more respectably; would have you read such a book, or learn such a science; and this might be all very well; but the first thing you need is to have the sentence of death repealed. I will exhort you, my dear hearers, to do everything that is honest, and right, and good; but there is something needed even more than this. You need to be cleansed from sin by the precious blood of Christ. You need to be renewed in heart by the Holy Spirit, and you must turn your thoughts to these things. You first and most of all need the Lord Jesus. Look to him, I pray you. I dare not exhort you to this work, or to that, lest I distract your mind from Christ.

The preaching of legal justification has no power over men. Congregations thus instructed are usually careless, worldly, and devoted to carnal amusements. Those who hear about works feel as if they had now done enough, and did not need to practice them. There is nothing in such doctrine to arouse anxiety, or move desire, or stir the depths of the soul. It has nothing divine about it, nothing supernatural, nothing which can really raise the fallen, cheer the faint, or inspire the gracious. Without unction, life, or fire, a legal ministry is mere fiddling a tune to lame men, or setting forth a course of living action for a vault full of corpses. This point we know to be fact, and therefore we shall not repeat the experiment.

I am afraid that, if we began to preach salvation by works, we should encourage pride in some, and create despair in others. Many would think that they had done pretty well, as compared with other people; they would, therefore, right speedily wrap themselves up in a false hope. But others, knowing that they had not done well, as compared with other people, would think that there was no hope for them, and so would sit down in despair. What practical purpose could this serve to be making some more proud, and others more wicked, through the influence of despair upon them?

But the very worst matter is, that it would be taking them off from Jesus. Our business, my brethren, is to hold up Jesus Christ. To what end did he die, if men could be saved by their own works? It was a superfluity that he should hang upon the cross if our own merits can open a way of salvation. How could the great God permit and even ordain such a death if we could be saved by our own merits? Why that bloody sweat? Why that nailing of the hands and feet? Why that, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" if of yourselves you can be saved? But it is not so. You cannot save yourselves by efforts of your own, and hence we have to come to you, shutting you up to this one thing only that you must be saved by faith in him whom God has set forth to be a propitiation for sin. You need the love of God; you need the power of the Holy Ghost; you need to be quickened into newness of life; you need to be helped to run in the ways of righteousness: in a word, you need everything until you come to Christ, and everything that you want you will find in him, and in him alone. Within yourselves there is nothing that you want. You may search, and look, and turn the dunghill of your nature over and over again, but you will never find the jewel of salvation there. That pearl of great price is in the Lord who assumed human nature, and lived, and loved, and died, and rose again, that he might redeem men from the fall, and all the sin consequent thereon. Oh, that you would look away from self once for all! God forbid that the preacher should ever hold up anything else before you except the crucified Savior, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, bidding men look and live.

To talk to unbelieving men about the possibility of salvation by their own works would keep them from eternal life. All that the life of nature can do will never suffice to produce a higher nature. Let the natural exert itself as it may, it will never rise to the spiritual. The best-working horse does not thereby become a man: the best-living unregenerate man cannot thereby become regenerate. There must be a new birth; and that comes by faith, and not by works. To believe in Jesus is the entrance gate of the new life, and there is no other door. If we, in any way, set you hunting about for another way, we shall cause you to miss the one only entrance, and that will be to your soul's eternal loss. As we dread this, we more and more resolve to hold up the cross, and the cross alone, and again and again we cry, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." God forbid that, by our essays upon virtue, or "the enthusiasm of humanity," we should distract you from hastening to the Lord Jesus, that he may give you rest, life, and holiness! We want you to let your thoughts run, all of them, to Calvary, and to that wondrous Person, whose wounds upon the tree bleed healing for the wounds of sin, and whose death is for believers the death of the great evil power which once held them in bondage.

Thus much upon a topic which we shall never wear threadbare, and which we shall always continue to insist upon while life or breath remains, because it will always be needed while sinners remain on earth needing salvation.

II. But now we come to this second most important part of the subject, namely, THE WALK OF SALVATION. Those who have believed in Christ, and have been the subjects of the Spirit's work, are now "created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that they should walk in them." God desires that his people should abound in good works. It is his great object to produce a people fit to commune with himself: a holy people, with whom he can have fellowship in time and in eternity. He wishes us not only to produce good works, but to abound in them; and to abound in the highest order of them. He would have us become imitators of himself as dear children, possessing the same moral attributes as the Father in heaven possesses. Is it not written, "Be ye perfect, even as your rather which is in heaven is perfect"? Oh, that we came within measurable distance of this blissful consummation!

Note in the text, first, that there is a new creation. One of the poets said of old that "an honest man is the noblest work of God." That is not true, unless we put upon the word "honest" an emphatic spiritual sense. A Christian man, however, is the noblest work of God. He is the product of the second creation. At first man fell, and marred his Creator's work; but, in the new creation, he that makes all things makes us anew. Now, the object of the new creation of our race is holiness unto the glory of God. You are not new-made in the image of the fallen Adam, but in the likeness of the second Adam. You are not new-created to sin this cannot be imagined. The new creature sinneth not, for it is born of God. The new life is a living and incorruptible seed, which liveth and abideth for ever. The old nature sins, and always will sin; but the now life is of God, and it strives daily against the sin of the old nature, and perseveres, and pushes forward towards everything that is holy, upright, and perfect. Its instincts all run towards perfect holiness. The old nature does not care to pray; but the new nature prays as readily as we breathe. The old nature murmurs, but the new nature sings and praises God from an impulse within. The old nature goes after the flesh, for it is fleshly; but the new nature seeks the things of the Spirit, for it is spiritual. If you have been born again at all, you have been born unto holiness. If you have been new-created, you have been created unto good works. If this be not so with us, our religion is a mere pretence.

This new creation in connection with Christ, for we read in the text, "Created in Christ Jesus." We are the branches; he is the Vine out of which we grow. Your life, and all your fruit-producing power lie in your union to Christ. You are not merely new-created, but you are created in Christ Jesus. It is not merely a change from a lower nature to a higher, but from separation from Christ to union with him. What a wonderful thing that is that you and I should not only be creatures in the world, but new creatures in Christ Jesus! Creatures we were in the first Adam; but our new-creatureship is in the second Adam. Beloved, if you are what you profess to be, you are one with Jesus by that vital union which cannot be dissolved; and good works follow upon that union. Joined to Jesus by faith in him, love to him, and imitation of him, you walk in good works. Your creation to holiness is your creation in Christ Jesus. As you become one with the anointed Savior, his anointing ordains you to service, and his salvation leads you into obedience. There cannot but be fruit on that blanch which is vitally joined to that fruitful stem, Christ Jesus, who did always those things which pleased the Father.

Our good works must flow from our union with Christ by virtue of our faith in him. We depend upon him to make us holy. We depend upon him to keep us holy. We overcome sin by the blood of the Lamb. We reach after holiness by the constraining love of Jesus. Love to Christ is the impelling cause of putting away, first one evil, and then another; and the energy enabling us to follow after one virtue, and then another. Love to Christ burns like a fire in the breast that has conceived it; and, as it burns, it makes the heart to glow, and to become transformed to its own nature. You have seen a piece of iron put into the fire, all black or rusty, and in the fire it has gradually become red with heat; and, as it has reddened, it has thrown off the scales of rust, until at last it has looked to be itself a mass of fire. The effect of the love of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is to burn off the rust and scales of sin and depravity, and we become pure love to God through the force of the love of God, which takes possession of our being.

Moreover, that love moves us to patient imitation of Christ. Do you know what that means? "The Imitation of Christ" is a wonderful book upon the subject, which every Christian should read. It has its faults, but its excellences are many. May we not only read the book, but write it out anew in our own life and character by seeking in everything to be like to Jesus! It is a good thing to put up in your house the question, "What would Jesus do?" It answers nine out of ten of the difficulties of moral casuistry. When you do not know what to do, and the law does not seem very explicit upon it, put it so "What would Jesus do?" Here, then, stands the case: by your creation in Christ you come to exhibit faith in him, love to him, and imitation of him; and all these are the means by which good works are produced in you. You are "created in Christ Jesus unto good works."

Notice, that creation unto these good works is the subject of a divine decree: "Which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." This is God's decree. Am I ordained to eternal life? Answer the other question: "Am I ordained to walk in good works?" If I am ordained to good works, then I do walk in them, and the decree of God is manifestly carried out in me. But if I make a profession of being a Christian, attend a place of worship, and compliment myself upon my safety, while I am living in sin, then evidently there is no decree that I shall walk in good works, for I am living otherwise than that decree would have caused me to live. O beloved, it is the eternal purpose of God to make his people holy! Agree with that purpose, with the freedom of your renewed will, and with the delight of your regenerated heart! Concur in the will of God. Yea, vehemently desire, heartily pant after, perfect holiness in the fear of God. Then may you, in the midst of severe struggles against temptation from without and from within, fall back upon the decree of predestination. Since it is God's decree, that, as being new-created in Christ, I should be full of good works, I shall be so despite my old nature, and despite my spiritual weakness. The decree, in the new creature of God, will be carried out despite my surroundings, despite the temptations of my circumstances, despite the opposition of the devil. God has before ordained that we should walk in good works; and walk in them we shall, sustained by his holy Spirit.

So, then, dear friends, these good works must be in the Christian. They are not the root, but the fruit of his salvation. They are not the way of the believer's salvation; they are his walk in the way of salvation. Where there is healthy life in a tree, the tree will bear fruit according to its kind; so, if God has made our nature good, the fruit will be good. But if the fruit be evil, it is because the tree is what it always was an evil tree. The desire of men created anew in Christ is to be rid of every sin. We do sin, but we do not love sin. Sin gets power over us sometimes to our sorrow, but it is a kind of death to us to feel that we have gone into sin; yet it shall not have dominion over us, for we are not under the law, but under grace; and therefore we shall conquer it, and get the victory.

The outcome of our union with Christ must be holiness. "What concord hath Christ with Belial?" What union can he have with men that love sin? How can they that are of the world, who love the world, be said to be members of the Head who is in heaven, in the perfection of his glory? Brothers, we must, in the power of the text, and especially in the power of our union to Christ, seek to make daily advances in good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them; for walking means not only persevering but advancing. We should go from strength to strength in holiness: we should do more, and do better. What are you doing for Jesus? Do twice as much. If you are spreading abroad the knowledge of his name, work with both hands. If you are living uprightly, seek to put away any relics of sin that abide in your character, that you may glorify the name of God to the utmost.

And, lastly, this should be our daily exercise: "That we should walk in them." Good works are not to be an amusement, but a vocation. We are not to indulge in them occasionally: they are to be the tenor and bent of our lives. "Oh," says one, "that is a hard saying:" Do you say so? Well, then, this displays, and sets in clear light, the first part of my subject. You see how impossible it is that you should be saved by these good works; do you not? But if you are saved if you have obtained a present salvation, if you are now a child of God, if you are now assured of your safety, I charge you, by the love you bear to God, by the gratitude you have to his Christ, give yourself wholly to everything that is right, and good, and pure, and just. Help everything that has to do with temperance, and righteousness, and truth, and godliness; and "let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

May the Spirit of God seal this sermon upon the hearts of his people, for Christ's sake! Amen.

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PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON Ephesians 2:1-22

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HYMNS FROM: "OUR OWN HYMN-BOOK" 238, 554, 537.

Verse 12

A Solemn Deprival

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A Sermon

(No. 3472)

Published on Thursday, August 19th, 1915.

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

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"Without Christ." Ephesians 2:12 .

WE SHALL have two things to consider this evening the misery of our past estate, and the great deliverance which God has wrought for us. As for:

I. THE MISERY OF OUR PAST ESTATE, be it known unto you that, in common with the rest of mankind, believers were once without Christ. No tongue can tell the depth of wretchedness that lies in those two words. There is no poverty like it, no want like it, and for those who die so, there is no ruin like that it will bring. Without Christ! If this be the description of some of you, we need not talk to you about the fires of hell; let this be enough to startle you, that you are in such a desperate state as to be without Christ. Oh! what terrible evils lie clustering thick within these two words!

The man who is without Christ is without any of those spiritual blessings which only Christ can bestow. Christ is the life of the believer, but the man who is without Christ is dead in trespasses and sins. There he lies; let us stand and weep over his corpse. It is decent and clean, and well laid out, but life is absent, and, life being absent, there is no knowledge, no feeling, no power. What can we do? Shall we take the word of God and preach to this dead sinner? We are bidden to do so, and, therefore, we will attempt it; but so long as he is without Christ no result will follow, any more than when Elisha's servant laid the staff upon the child there was no noise, nor sound, nor hearing. As long as that sinner is without Christ, we may give him ordinances, if we dare; we may pray for him, we may keep him under the sound of the ministry, but everything will be in vain. Till thou, O quickening Spirit, come to that sinner, he will still be dead in trespasses and sins. Till Jesus is revealed to him there can be no life.

So, too, Christ is the light of the world. Light is the gift of Christ. "In him was light, and the light was the life of men." Men sit in darkness until Jesus appears. The gloom is thick and dense; not sun, nor moon, nor star appeareth, and there can be no light to illumine the understanding, the affections, the conscience. Man has no power to get light. He may strike the damp match of reason, but it will not yield him a clear flame. The candle of superstition, with its tiny glare, will but expose the darkness in which he is wrapped. Rise, morning star! Come, Jesus, come! Thou art the sun of righteousness, and healing is beneath thy wings. Without Christ there is no light of true spiritual knowledge, no light of true spiritual enjoyment, no light in which the brightness of truth can be seen, or the warmth of fellowship proved. The soul, like the men of Napthali, sits in darkness, and seeth no light.

Without Christ there is no peace. See that poor soul hunted by the dogs of hell. It flies swift as the wind, but faster far do the hunters pursue. It seeks a covert yonder in the pleasures of the world, but the baying of the hell-hounds affright it in the festive haunts. It seeks to toil up the mountain of good works, but its legs are all too weak to bear it beyond the oppressor's rule. It doubles; it changes its tack; it goes from right to left but the hell-dogs are too swift of foot, and too strong of wind to lose their prey, and till Jesus Christ shall open his bosom for that poor hunted thing to hide itself within, it shall have no peace.

Without Christ there is no rest. The wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, and only Jesus can say to that sea, "Peace, be still."

Without Christ there is no safety. The vessel must fly before the gale, for it has no anchor on board; it may dash upon the rocks, for it has no chart and no pilot. Come what may, it is given up to the mercy of wind and waves. Safety it cannot know without Christ. But let Christ come on board that soul, and it may laugh at all the storms of earth, and e'en the whirlwinds which the Prince of the Power of the air may raise need not confound it, but without Christ there is no safety for it.

Without Christ again, there is no hope. Sitting wrecked upon this desert rock, the lone soul looks far away, but marks nothing that can give it joy. If, perchance, it fancies that a sail is in the distance, it is soon undeceived. The poor soul is thirsty, and around it flows only a sea of brine, soon to change to an ocean of fire. It looks upward, and there is an angry God downward, and there are yawning gulfs on the right hand, and there are accusing sounds on the left hand, and there are tempting fiends. It is all lost! lost! lost! without Christ, utterly lost, and until Christ comes not a single beam of hope can make glad that anxious eye.

Without Christ, beloved, remember that all the religious acts of men are vanity. What are they but mere air-bags, having nothing in them whatever that God can accept? There is the semblance of worship, the altar, the victim, the wood laid in order, and the votaries bow the knee, or prostrate their bodies, but Christ alone can send the fire of heaven's acceptance. Without Christ the offering, like that of Cain's, shall lie upon the stones, but it shall never rise in fragrant smoke, accepted by the God of heaven. Without Christ your church-goings are a form of slavery, your chapel-meetings a bondage. Without Christ your prayers are but empty wind, your repentances are wasted tears, your almsgivings and your good deeds are but a coating of thin veneer to hide your base iniquities. Your professions are white-washed sepulchres, fair to look upon, but inwardly full of rottenness. Without Christ your religion is dead, corrupt, a stench, a nuisance before God a thing of abhorrence, for where there is no Christ there is no life in any devotion, nothing in it for God to see that can possibly please him. And this, mark you, is a true description, not of some, but of all who are without Christ. You moral people without Christ, you are lost as much as the immoral. You rich and respectable people, without Christ, you will be as surely damned as the prostitute that walks the streets at midnight. Without Christ, though you should heap up your charitable donations, endow your almshouses and hospitals, yea, though you should give your bodies to be burned, no merit would be imputed to you. All these things would profit you nothing. Without Christ, e'en if you might be raised on the wings of flaming zeal, or pursue your eager course with the enthusiasm of a martyr, you shall yet prove to be but the slave of your own passion, and the victim of your own folly. Unsanctified and unblest, you must, then, be shut out of heaven, and banished from the presence of God. Without Christ, you are destitute of every benefit which he, and he alone, can bestow.

Without Christ, implies, of course, that you are without the benefit of all those gracious offices of Christ, which are so necessary to the sons of men, you have no true prophet. You may pin your faith to the sleeve of man, and be deceived. You may be orthodox in your creed, but unless you have Christ in your heart, you have no hope of glory. Without Christ truth itself will prove a terror to you. Like Balaam, your eyes may be open while your life is alienated. Without Christ that very cross which does save some will become to you as a gallows upon which your soul shall die. Without Christ you have no priest to atone or to intercede on your behalf. There is no fountain in which you can wash away your guilt; no passover blood which you can sprinkle on your lintel to turn aside the destroying angel; no smoking altar of incense for you; no smiling God sitting between the cherubim. Without Christ you are an alien from everything which the priesthood can procure for your welfare. Without Christ you have no shepherd to tend, no King to help you; you cannot call in the day of trouble upon one who is strong to deliver. The angels of God, who are the standing army of King Jesus, are your enemies and not your friends. Without Christ, Providence is working your ill, and not your good. Without Christ you have no advocate to plead your cause in heaven; you have no representative to stand up yonder and represent you, and prepare a place for you. Without Christ you are as sheep without a shepherd; without Christ you are a body without a head; without Christ you are miserable orphans without a father, and your widowed soul is without a husband. Without Christ you are without a Saviour; how will you do? what will become of you when you find out the value of salvation at the last pinch, the dreary point of despair? and without a friend in heaven, you must needs be if you are without Christ. To sum up all, you are without anything that can make life blessed, or death happy. Without Christ, though you be rich as Croesus, and famous as Alexander, and wise as Socrates, yet are you naked, and poor, and miserable, for you lack him by whom are all things, and for whom are all things, and who is himself all in all.

Surely this might be enough to arouse the conscience of the most heedless? But ah! without any of the blessings which Christ brings, and to miss all the good offices which Christ fills this is only to linger on the side issues! The imminent peril is to be without Christ himself. Do you see, there, the Saviour in human form God made flesh, dwelling among us? He loves his people, and came to earth to wipe out an iniquity which had stained them most vilely, and to work out a righteousness which should cover them most gloriously, but without Christ that living Saviour is nothing to you. Do you see him led away as a sheep to the slaughter, fastened to the cruel wood bleeding, dying? Without Christ you are without the virtue of that great sacrifice; you are without the merit of that atoning blood. Do you see him lying in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, asleep in death? That sleep is a burial of all the sins of his people, but without Christ your sins are not atoned for; your transgressions are yet unburied; they walk the earth; they shall go before you to judgment; they shall clamour for your condemnation; they shall drag you down without hope. Without Christ, remember, you have no share in his resurrection. Bursting the bonds of death, you, too, shall rise, but not to newness of life, nor yet to glory, for shame and everlasting contempt shall be your portion if you be without Christ. See him as he mounts on high; he rides in his triumphal car through the streets of heaven; he scatters gifts for men, but without Christ there are none of those gifts for you. There are no blessings for those who are without Christ. He sits on that exalted throne, and pleads and reigns for ever, but without Christ you have no part in his intercession, and you shall have no share in his glory. He is coming. Hark! the trumpet rings. My ear prophetic seems to catch the strain! He comes, surrounded by majestic pomp, and all his saints shall reign with him, but without Christ you can have no part nor lot in all that splendour. He goes back to his Father, and surrenders his kingdom, and his people are for ever safe with him. Without Christ there shall be none to wipe away the tears from your eyes; no one to lead you to the fountain of living waters; no hand to give you a palm-branch; no smile to make your immortality blessed. Oh! my dear hearers, I cannot tell you what unutterable abysses of wretchedness and misery are comprised here within the fulness of the meaning of these dreadful words without Christ.

At this present hour, if you are without Christ, you lack the very essence of good, by reason of which your choicest privileges are an empty boast, instead of a substantial boon. Without Christ all the ordinances and means of grace are nothing worth. Even this precious Book, that might be weighed with diamonds, and he that was wise would choose the Book, and leave the precious stones even this sacred volume is of no benefit to you. You may have Bibles in your houses, as I trust you all have, but what is the Bible but a dead letter without Christ? Ah! I would you could all say what a poor woman once said. "I have Christ here," as she put her hand on the Bible, "and I have Christ here," as she put her hand on her heart, "and I have Christ there," as she raised up her eyes towards heaven; but if you have not Christ in the heart, you will not find Christ in the Book, for he is discovered there in his sweetness, and his blessedness, and his excellence, only by those who know Him and love him in their hearts. Do not get the idea that a certain quantity of Bible-reading, and particular times spent in repeating prayers, and regular attendance at a place of worship, and the systematic contribution of a guinea or so to the support of public worship and private charities will ensure the salvation of your souls. No, you must be born again. And that you cannot be; for it is not possible that you could have been born again if you are still living without Christ. To have Christ is the indispensable condition of entering heaven. If you have him, though compassed about with a thousand infirmities, you shall yet see the brightness of the eternal glory; but if you have not Christ, alas! for all your toil, and the wearisome slavery of your religion, you can but weave a righteousness of your own, which shall disappoint your hope, and incur the displeasure of God.

And without Christ, dear friends, there comes the solemn reflection that ere long ye shall perish. Of that I do not like to talk, but I would like you to think of it. Without Christ you may live, young man though, mark, you shall miss the richest joys of life. Without Christ you may live, hale, strong man, in middle age though, mark, without him you shall miss the greatest support amidst your troubles. Without Christ you may live, old man, and lean upon your staff, content with the earth into which you are so soon to drop, though, mark you, you shall lose the sweetest consolation which your weakness could have found. But remember, man, thou art soon to die. It matters not how strong thou art; death is stronger than thou, and he will pull thee down, even as the stag-hound drags down his victim, and then "how wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan," without Christ? How wilt thou do when the eyes begin to close, without Christ? How wilt thou do, sinner, when the death-rattle is in thy throat, without Christ? When they prop thee up with pillows, when they stand weeping round thine expiring form, when the pulse grows faint and few, when thou hast to lift the veil, and stand disembodied before the dreadful eyes of an angry God, how wilt thou do without Christ? And when the judgment-trump shall wake thee from thy slumber in the tomb, and body and soul shall stand together at that last and dread assize, in the midst of that tremendous crowd, sinner, how wilt thou do without Christ? When the reapers come forth to gather in the harvest of God, and the sickles are red with blood, and the vintage is cast into the wine-press of his wrath, and it is trodden until the blood runs forth up to the horse's girdles how wilt thou do then, I conjure thee, without Christ? Oh! sinner, I pray thee let these words sound in thine ears till they ring into thy heart. I would like you to think of them tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. Without Christ! I would like to make thee think of dying, of being judged, of being condemned, without Christ! May God in his mercy enable thee to see thy state, and fly to him who is able to save, even unto the uttermost, all them that come unto God by him. Christ is to be had for the asking. Christ is to be had for the receiving. Stretch out thy withered hand and take him; trust him, and he will be thine evermore; and thou shalt be with him where he is, in an eternity of joy. Having thus reviewed the misery of our past estate, let us endeavour, with the little time we have left, to:

II. EXCITE THE THANKFULNESS OF GOD'S PEOPLE FOR WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE FOR THEM.

We are not without Christ now, but let me ask you, who are believers, where you would have been now without Christ? As for some of you, you might, indeed you would have been, tonight in the ale-house or gin-palace. You would have been with the boisterous crew that make merriment on the Lord's Day; you know you would, for "such were some of you." You might have been ever worse; you might have been in the harlot's house; you might have been violating the laws of man as well as the laws of God, "for even such" were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified. Where might you not have been without Christ? You might have been in hell; you might have been shut out for ever from all mercy, condemned to eternal banishment from the presence of God. I think the Indian's picture is a very fair one of where we should have been without Christ. When asked what Christ had done for him, he picked up a worm, put it on the ground, and made a ring of straw and wood round it, which he set alight. As the wood began to glow the poor worm began to twist and wriggle in agony, whereupon he stooped down, took it gently up with his finger, and said, "That is what Jesus did for me; I was surrounded, without power to help myself, by a ring of dreadful fire that must have been my ruin, but his pierced hand lifted me out of the burning." Think of that, Christians, and, as your hearts melt, come to his table, and praise him that you are not now without Christ.

Then think what his blood has done for you. Take only one thing out of a thousand. It has put away your many, many sins. You were without Christ, and your sins stood like yonder mountain, whose black and rugged cliff threaten the very skies. There fell a drop of Jesu's blood upon it, and it all vanished in a moment. The sins of all your days had gone in an instant by the application of the precious blood! Oh! bless Jehovah's name that you can now say:

"Now freed from sin I walk at large,

My Saviour's blood my full discharge,

Content at his dear feet I lay,

A sinner saved, and homage pay."

Bethink you, too, now that you have Christ, of the way in which he came and made you partaker of himself. Oh! how long he stood in the cold, knocking at the door of your heart. You would not have him; you despised him; you resisted him; you kicked against him; you did, as it were, spit in his face, and put him to open shame to be rid of him. Yet he would have you, and so, overcoming all your objections, and overlooking all your unworthiness, at length he rescued you and avouched you to be his own.

Consider, beloved, what might have been your case had he left you to your own free agency. You might have had his blood on your head in aggravation of your guilt. Instead of that, you have got his blood applied to your heart, in token of your pardon. You know right well what a difference that makes. Oh! that was a dreadful cry in the streets of Jerusalem, "His blood be on us and our children," and Jerusalem's streets flowing with gore witnessed how terrible a thing it is to have Christ's blood visited on his enemies. But, beloved, you have that precious blood for the cleansing of your conscience. It has sealed your acceptance, and you can, therefore, rejoice in the ransom he has paid, and the remission you have received with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

And I would not have you forget the vast expense which it cost to procure this priceless boon. Christ could not have been yours had he lived in heaven. He must come down to earth, and even then he could not be fully yours till he had bled and died. Oh! the dreadful portals through which Christ had to pass before he could find his way to you! He finds you now right easily, but before he could come to you he must himself pass through the grave! Think of that, and be astonished!

And why are you not left to be without Christ? I suppose there are some persons whose minds naturally incline towards the doctrines of free will. I can only say that mine inclines as naturally towards the doctrines of sovereign grace. I cannot understand the reason why I am saved, except upon the ground that God would have it so. I cannot, if I look ever so earnestly, discover any kind of reason in myself why I should be a partaker of divine grace. If I am not tonight without Christ, it is only because Christ Jesus would have his will with me, and that will was that I should be with him where he is, and should share his glory. I can put the crown nowhere but upon the head of him whose mighty grace has saved me from going down into the pit.

Beloved, let us mention one thing more out of the thousand things which we must leave unsaid. Remember what you have got tonight now that you have got Christ. No, no, no, do not be telling me what you have not got. You have not got a certain income, you say; you have not got a competence; you have not got wealth; you have not got friends; you have not got a comfortable house. No, but you have got your Saviour; you have got Christ, and what does that mean? "He that spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him, also, freely give us all things?" The man who has got Christ has got everything. There are all things in one in Christ Jesus, and if you once get him you are rich to all the intents of bliss. What, have Jesus Christ, and be discontented? Have Christ and murmur? Beloved, let me chide you gently, and pray you to lay aside that evil habit. If you have Christ, then you have God the Father to be your protector, and God the Spirit to be your comforter. You have present things working together for your good, and future things to unravel your happier portion; you have angels to be your servitors both on earth and in heaven. You have all the wheels of Providence revolving for your benefit; you have the stones of the field in league with you; you have your daily trials sanctified to your benefit; and you have your earthly joys hinged from their doors and hallowed with a blessing; your gains and your losses are alike profitable to you; your additions and your diminutions shall alike swell the tide of your soul's satisfaction; you have more than any other creatures can boast as their portion; you have more than all the world beside could yield to regale your pure taste, and ravish your happy spirits. And now, will you not be glad? I would have you come to this feasting-table this evening, saying within yourselves, "Since I am not without Christ, but Jesus Christ is mine, I do rejoice, yea, and I will rejoice."

And oh! dear Christian friends, if you have lost your evidences, go to Christ to find them all. Do not go striking your matches to light your candles, but go direct to the sun and get your light from his full orb. You who are doubting, desponding, and cast down, do not get foraging up the mouldy bread of yesterday, but go and get the manna which falls fresh today at the foot of the cross. Now you who have been wandering and backsliding, do not stay away from Jesus because of your unworthiness, but let your very sins impel you to come the faster to your Saviour's feet. Come, ye sinners; come, ye saints; come, ye who dare not say that ye are his people; come, you whose faith is but as a grain of mustard seed; come, you who have not any faith at all; come now to Jesus, who says, "Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely."

May God grant that some who feel that they are without Christ, because they have no enjoyment, nor any sense of communion with him, may now take hold of his name, his covenant, his promises with a lively faith, nay more, may they find him to the rapture of their souls, and he shall have all the praise. Amen.

Verse 13

Our Glorious Transforming

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A Sermon

(No. 3496)

Published on Thursday, January 27th, 1916.

Delivered by

C. H. SPURGEON,

At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

On Lord's-day Evening, September 3rd, 1871.

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"But now in Christ Jesus, ye, who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Ephesians 2:13 .

I DO not want you to feel at this time as if you were listening to a sermon, or to any sort of set discourse, but rather I should like, if it were possible, that you should feel as if you were alone with the Saviour, and were engaged in calm and quiet meditation; and I will try to be the prompter, standing at the elbow of your contemplation, suggesting one thought and then another; and I pray, dear brethren and sisters in, Christ, as many of you as are truly in him, that you may be able so to meditate as to be profited, and to say at the close, "My meditation on him was sweet. I will be glad in his name." There are three very simple things in the text. The first is what we were. Some time ago "we were far off." But secondly, what we are we are "made nigh" And then there is the how, the means of this great change. It is "in Christ Jesus," and it is added, "by the blood of Christ." First, then, let us with humility consider, as believers:

I. WHAT WE WERE.

There was a day when we passed from death unto life. All of us who are children of God have undergone a great and mysterious change; we have been new created, we have been born again. If any of you have not experienced this great change, I can only pray that you may, but you will not be likely to take much interest in the theme of meditation this evening. As many of you as have experienced this great change are now asked to recollect what you were. You were far off, first, in the respect that you were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel. The Jew was brought nigh. The Jewish people were favoured of God with light, while the rest of the world remained in darkness. "To them he gave" the oracles; with them he made a covenant; but as for the rest of the nations, they were left unclean and far off. They could not come near to God. This was our condition. We were Gentiles. We had no participation in the covenant that God had made with Abraham; we had no share in the sacrifices of Aaron or his successors. We could not come in by the way of circumcision. We were not born after the flesh, and we had no right to that fleshly covenant, however great its privileges. We are brought nigh now. All that the Jew ever had we have. We have all his privileges, and more. He had but the shadow, we have the substance. He had but the type: we have the reality. But aforetime we had neither shadow nor substance; we were afar off, and had no participation in them.

And, beloved, when we think of our distance from God, there are three or four ways in which we may illustrate it. We were far off from God, for a vast cloudland of ignorance hung between our souls and him. We were lost as in a tangled wood in which there was no pathway. We were like some bird drifted out to sea that should be bereft of the instinct which guides it on its course, driven to and fro by every wind, and tossed like a wave by every tempest. We knew not God, neither did we care to know. We were in the dark with regard to him and his character; and when we did make guesses concerning God, they were very wide of the truth, and did not help to bring us at all near. He has taught us better now; he has taught us to call him Father, and to know that he is love. Since we have known God, or, rather, have been known of God, we have come nigh, but once our ignorance kept us very far off. Worse than that, there was between us and God a vast range of the mountains of sin. We can measure the Alps, the Andes have been sealed, but the mountains of sin no man has ever measured yet. They are very high. They pierce the clouds. Can you think of the mountains of your sin, beloved? Reckon them all up since your birth-sins of childhood, and youth, and manhood, and riper years; your sins against the gospel, and against the law; sins with the body, and sins with the mind; sins of every shape and form ah! what a mountain range they make! And you were on one side of that mountain, and God was on the other. A holy God could not wink at sin, and you, an unholy being, could not have fellowship with the thrice Holy God. What a distance! an impassable mountain sundered you from your God. It has all gone now. The mountains have sunk into the sea, our transgressions have all gone, but, oh! what hills they were once, and what mountains they were but a little while ago! In addition to these mountains, there was, on the other side nearest to God, a great gulf of divine wrath. God was angry, justly angry, with us. He could not have been God if sin had not made him angry. He that plays with sin is very far from knowing anything of the character of the Most High. There was a deep gulf. Ah! even the lost in hell know not how deep it is. They have been sinking: but this abyss hath no bottom. God's love is infinite. Who knoweth the power of shine anger, O Most High? It is all filled now, as far as we are concerned. Christ has bridged the chasm. He has taken us to the other side of it; he ho brought us nigh; but what a gulf it was! Look down and shudder. Have you ever stood on a glacier and looked down a crevasse, and taken a great stone and thrown it down, and waited till at last you heard the sound as it reached the bottom? Have not you shuddered at the thought of falling down that steep? But there you stood but a little while ago, an heir of wrath, even as others. So the Apostle puts it, "even as others." Oh! how far off you were!

Nor was this all, for there was another division between you and God. When, dear friends, we were brought to feel our state, and to have some longings after the Most High, had the mountains of sin been moved and the chasm of wrath been filled, yet there remained another distance of our own making. There was a sea of fear rolling between us and God. We dare not come to him. He told us he would forgive, but we could not think it true. He said that the blood would cleanse us the precious blood of the atoning sacrifice but we thought our stains too crimson to be removed. We dared not believe in the infinite compassion of our Father. We ran from him; we could not trust him. Do you not remember those times when to believe seemed an impossibility, and salvation by faith appeared to be as difficult a thing as salvation by the works of the law? That sea has gone away now. We have been ferried o'er its streams. We have no fear of God now in the form of trembling, slavish fear; we are brought nigh and say, "Abba Father," with an untrembling tongue. You see then something of the distance there was between us and God, but I will illustrate it in another way. Think of God a moment. Your thoughts cannot reach him: he is infinitely pure; the heavens are not clean in his sight; and he charges his angels with folly. That is one side of the picture. Now look at yourself, a worm that has rebelled against its Creator, loathsome with sin, through and through defiled. When I see a beggar and a prince stand together I see a distance, but ah! it is but an inch, a span, compared with the infinite leagues of distance in character and nature between God and the fallen man. Who but Christ could have lifted up from so low an estate to so high a condition from fellowship with devils unto communion with Jehovah himself? The distance was inconceivable. We were lost in wonder at the greatness of the love that made it all to vanish. We were afar off.

Now I have stated that very simply. Think it over a minute. And what do you feel as the result of your thought? Why, humility rises. Suppose you are a very experienced Christian, and a very intelligent reader of the Bible; suppose that for many years your have been able to maintain a consistent character. Ah! my dear brother, my dear sister, you have nothing whereof glory when you recollect what you were, and what you would have been still if it had not been for sovereign grace. You, perhaps, have forgotten a little that you were just what the Bible says. You have been so contemplating your present privileges that you have for a while failed to remember that it is only by the grace of God that you are what you are. Let these considerations bring you beck to your true condition. And now with lowly reverence at the cross-foot bow down your soul and say, "My Lord, between me and the greatest reprobate there is no difference but what thy grace has made; between me and lost souls in hell there is no difference except what shine infinite compassion has deigned to make. I humbly bless thee, and adore thee, and love thee, because thou hast brought me nigh."

And now we shall continue our contemplation, but take the second point. We have a bitter pill in this first one, but the next consideration kills it, takes the bitterness away, and sweetens it. It is:

II. WHAT WE ARE WHAT WE ARE

"We are made nigh through the blood of Christ." You will please to observe that the Apostle does not say, "We hope we are"; he speaks positively, as every believer should. Nor does he say, "We shall be." There are privileges reserved for the future, but here he is speaking of a present blessing, which may be now the object of distinct definite knowledge, which ought to be, indeed, a matter of present experimental enjoyment. We are brought nigh. What means he by this? Does not he mean, first, what I have already said, that as we were far off, being Gentiles, and not of the favoured commonwealth of Israel, we are now brought nigh, that is to say, we have all the privileges of the once favoured race. Are they the seed of Abraham? So, are we. for he was the Father of the faithful, and we, having believed, have become his spiritual children. Had they an altar? We have an altar whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. Had they any high priest? We have an high priest we have one who has entered into the heavenly. Had they a sacrifice and paschal supper? We have Christ Jesus, who, by his one offering, hath for ever put away our sin, and who is to-day the spiritual meat on which we feed. All that they had we have, only we have it in a fuller and clearer sense. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ," and they have come to us. But we are brought a great deal nearer than the Jew than most of the Jews were, for you know, brethren, the most devout Jew could not offer sacrifice to God; I mean, as a rule. Prophets were exceptions. They could not offer sacrifices themselves; they could bring the victim, but there were some special persons who must act as priests. The priest came nigh to God on the behalf of the people. Listen, O ye children of God, who were once afar off! It is the song of heaven. Let it be your song on earth "Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood, and hath made us priests and kings." We are all priests if we love the Saviour. Every believer is a priest. It is for him to bring his sacrifice of prayer, and thanksgiving, and come in, even into the holy place in the presence of the Most High. And I might say more, for no priest went into the most holy place of all, save one, the high priest, and he once in the year, not without blood and not without smoke and of incense, ventured into the most holy place. Be we, brethren, see the veil taken right away, and we come up to the mercy-seat without the trembling which the high priest felt of old, for we see the blood of Jesus on the mercy-seat and the veil rent, and we come, boldly to the throne of heavenly grace to obtain grace to help in time of need. Oh! how near we are; nearer than the ordinary Jew; nearer than the priest; as near as the high priest himself, for in the person of Christ we are where he is, that is, at the throne of God. Let me say, dear brethren, that we are near to God today, for all that divides us from God is gone. The moment a sinner believes, all that mountain of sin ceases to be. Can you see those hills those towering Andes? Who shall climb them? But lo! I see one come who has the soar of one that has died upon a cross. I see him hold up his pierced hand, and one drop of blood falls on the hills, and they smoke; they dissolve like the fat of rams; they burn to vapour, and they are gone. There is not so much as a vestige of them left. Oh! glory be to God, there is no sin in God's book against the believer; there is no record remaining; he hath taken it away and nailed it to his cross, and triumphed in the deed. As the Egyptians were all drowned in the sea, and Israel said, "The depths have covered them; there was not one of them left," so may every believer say," All sin is gone, and we are pure, accepted in the Beloved, justified through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ." Oh! how glorious this nearness is when all distance is gone!

And now, brethren, we are near to God, for we are his friends. He is our mighty friend, and we love him in return. Better than that, we are his children. A friend might be forgotten, but a child a father's bowels yearn towards him. We are his children. He has chosen us that we may approach unto him, that we may dwell in his courts and abide, and go no more out for ever." The servant abideth not in the house for ever, but the son abideth ever." And this is our privilege. And yet even more than that. Can anybody here imagine how near Jesus Christ is to God, So near are we, for that is truth which the little verse sings:

"So near so very near to God,

More near I cannot be;

For in the person of his Son

I am as near as he."

If we are, indeed, in Christ, we are one with him: we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones; and he has said, "Where I am, there shall also my servants be," and he has declared that we shall receive the glory the glory which he had with the Father before the world was. What nearness is this!

Now I have stated that truth, I want you now to feed on it for a minute, and draw the natural conclusions, and feel the fit emotion. Beloved, if you are brought so near to God, what manner of lives ought you to lead? Common subjects ought never to speak traitorous word, but a member of the Privy Council, one who is admitted to the Court, should certainly be loyal through and through. Oh! how we ought to love God, who has made us nigh! a people near unto him. How ought heavenly things and holy things to engross our attention! How joyously we ought to live too, for with such high favours as these it would be ungrateful to be unhappy! We are near to God, brethren. Then God sees us in all things our heavenly Father knows what we have need of; he is always watching over us for good. We are near to him let us pray as if we were near God. There are some prayers that are dreadful from the distance there is evidently in the mind of the offerer. Too generally liturgies are addresses to a God too far off to be reached, but the humble familiarity which boldly comes trembling with fear, but rejoicing with faith, into the presence of God this becomes those who are made nigh. When a man is near a neighbour whom he trusts he tells him his griefs, he asks his help. Deal thus with God; live on him, live for him, live in him. Be never distant from a God who has made you nigh unto himself. Our life ought to be a heavenly one, seeing that we are brought nigh to God the God of heaven. Brethren, how assured every one of us may be of our safety if we are, indeed, believers in Christ, for if we are made nigh by love and friendship to our God, he cannot leave us. If, when we were enemies, he brought us nigh, will he not keep us now he has made us friends? He loved us so as to bring us up from the depths of sin, when we had no thoughts, nor desires towards good, and now he has taught us to love him and to long for him, will he forsake us? Impossible! What confidence this doctrine gives!

And once more, dear brethren and sisters, if the Lord has brought us nigh, what hope we ought to have for those who are farthest off from God to-day! Never be you amongst that pharisaical crew who imagine that fallen women or degraded men cannot be uplifted again. Ye were sometimes far off, but he has made you nigh. The distance was so great in your case that surely he who met that can also meet the distance in another case. Have hope for any who can be got under the sound of the gospel, and labour on until the more hopeless, the most hopeless, are brought there. Oh! let us gird up our loins for Christian work! believing that if God has saved us, there remain no impossibles. The chief of sinners was saved years ago. Paul said so. He had no mock modesty. I believe he said the truth The chief of sinners has gone through the gate into heaven, and there is room for the second worst to get through there is room for thee, friend, as there is room for me. The God that brought me nigh has taught me to know that no man is beyond the reach of his grace. But I must leave that with you, hoping that it will flavour all your thoughts to-night. Once more. The last thing we are to consider is:

III. HOW THE GREAT CHANGE WAS WROUGHT.

We were put into Christ, and then through the blood we were made nigh. The doctrine of the Atonement is no novelty in this house. We have preached it often, nay, we preach it constantly, and let this mouth be dumb when it prefers any other theme to that old, old story of the passion, the substitution, and consequent redemption by blood. Beloved, it is the blood of Jesus that has done everything for us. Our debts Christ has paid; therefore, those debts have ceased to be. The punishment of our sin Christ has borne and, therefore, no punishment is due to us; substitution has met a case that is never to be met by any other means. The just has suffered for the unjust to bring us to God. We deserved the sword, but it has fallen upon him who deserved it not, who voluntarily placed himself in our room instead, that he might give compensation to justice and full liberty to mercy. It is by the blood that we are brought nigh then. Christ has suffered in our stead, and we are, therefore, forgiven. But think about that blood a minute. It means suffering; it means a life surrendered with agony. Suffering we talk about it; ah! but when you feel it, then you think more of the Saviour. When the bones ache, when the body is racked, when sleep goes from the eyelids, when the mind is depressed, when the head turns; ah! then we say, "My Saviour, I see a little of the price that redeemed me from going down into the pit." The mental and physical suffering of Christ are both worthy of our consideration, but depend upon it his soul's sufferings were the soul of his sufferings; and when we are under deep depression, brought near even unto death with sorrow, then again we guess how the Saviour bought us. The early Church was noted in its preaching for preaching facts. I am afraid now that we are too noted for forgetting facts and preaching doctrine. Let us have doctrine by all means, but, after all the fact is the great thing. When Paul gave a summary of the gospel which he triad preached, he said, "This is the gospel that I have preached that Jesus Christ was crucified, died, was buried, rose again." There in Gethsemane, where bloody sweat bedews the soil; there on the pavement, where the lash tears again and again into those blessed shoulders till the purple streams gush down, and the ploughers make their furrows, and the blood fills them; there when they hurl him on his back to the ground, and fasten his hands to the wood with rough iron; there when they lift him up and dislocate his bones, when they fix the gross into the earth; there when they sit and watch him, and insult his prayers, and mock his thirst, while he hangs naked to his shame in the midst of a ribald crew; there where God himself forsakes him, where Jehovah turns his face away from him, where the sufferer shrieks in agony, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" there it is that we were brought nigh, even we that were far off. Adore your Saviour, my brethren bow before him. He is not here. for he is risen; but your hearts can rise, and you can bow at his feet. Oh! kiss those wounds of his; ask that by faith you may put your finger into the print of his nails, and your hand into his side. "Be not faithless, but believing," and let all your sacred powers of mind assist your imagination and faith to realise now the price with which the Saviour brought you from a bondage intolerable. God grant you grace to feel something of this.

I have laid the truth before you. Now sit down and quietly turn it over in your mind. And what will strike you? Why, surely first the heinousness of sin. Was there nothing that could wash out sin but blood, and was there no blood that could wash it out hut the blood of the Son of God? O sin! O sin! what a black, what a damning thing thou art! Only the blood of an incarnate God can wash out the smallest stain of sin. My heart, I charge thee to hate it; my eyes, look not on it; my ears, listen not to its siren charm; my feet, run not in its paths; my hands, refuse to handle it; my soul, loathe, loathe that which murdered Christ, and thrust a spear through the tenderest heart that ever beat.

Next to that, do you not feel emotions of intense gratitude that, if such a price was needed, such a price was found? God had but one son, dearer to him than Isaac was to Abraham, and though there was none to command him to do it, as there was in Abraham's case, yet voluntarily the gracious Father led his son up to the cross. and it pleased the Father to bruise, him; he put him to grief; he gave him up for us. Which shall I most admire the love of the Father, or the love of the Son? Blessed be God, we are not asked to make distinctions, for they are one. "I and my Father are one," and in that sacred act of the sacrifice for the sins of men the Father and the Son are both to be worshipped with equal love. You see, then, the heinousness of sin in some degree, for its needing for its pardon the love of Jesus, and the love of God that gave the Saviour's blood.

But, dear friends, ere I sit down, let me remark that we learn from our text and from the whole contemplation. what it is that would bring us nearer experimentally than we are to-night. How did I get nigh first? Through the blood. Do I want to get near to God to-night? Have I been wandering? Is my heart cold? Have I got into a backsliding state? Do I want to come close now to my blessed Father, and again to look up to him, and say, " Abba," and rejoice in that filial spirit? There is no way for me to come nearer except the blood. Let me think of it then, and let me see' its infinite value; it is sufficient, let me hear its everlasting, ever-prevalent plea, and oh! then I shall feel my soul drawn; for that which draws us nearer to God, and will draw us right up to heaven, is none other than the crimson cord Of the Saviour's endless, boundless, dying, but ever-living love.

And this teaches me, and teaches you, too, and here I have done, what it is we ought to preach and teach if we would bring the, far-off ones in if we would bring near to God those that now wander from him. Philosophy, bah! You will philosophize men into hell, but never into heaven. Ceremonies you can amuse children, and you can degrade men into idiots with them, but you can do nothing else. The gospel, and the essence of that gospel, which is the blood of Jesus Christ it is this which is an omnipotent leverage to uplift the filth, debauchery, and poverty of this city into life, into light, and into holiness. There is no battering-ram that will ever shake the gates of hell except that which every time it strikes sounds this word, "Jesus, Jesus, the Crucified." "God forbid that we should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." If it will save us, it will save others; only let us spread the good news, let us tell the good tidings. Every one of us ought to preach the gospel somehow. You that speak in common conversation forget not to speak of him. Scatter such tracts as are most full of Christ they are the best; others will be of little use. Write letters concerning him. Remember his name is like ointment, full of sweetness, but to get the perfume you must pour it forth. Oh! that we could make fragrant all this neighbourhood with the savour of that dear name! Oh! that wherever we dwell every one of us might so think of Christ in our hearts that we could not help speaking of him with our lips! Living, may we rejoice in him; dying, may we triumph in him. May our last whisper on earth be what our first song shall be in heaven, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hath redeemed us unto God by his blood." Oh! I pray God to make this season of communion very sweet to you, and I think it will be if you have the key of our meditation to-night, and can unlock the door if you know how far off you were, and see how near you are by the precious blood.

Oh! there are some far-off ones here to-night, however, to whom I must say just this word. Far-off one, God can make you nigh; you can be made nigh to-night. Whoever you may be, he is able still to save, but the blood must make you nigh the blood of Jesus. Trust him. To believe is to live, and to believe means only and simply to trust, to depend upon. That is faith. Have confidence in Christ's sacrifice, and you are saved. God grant you may be enabled to do it, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Verse 22

The Tabernacle of the Most High

A Sermon

(No. 267)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, August 14th, 1859, by the

REV. C. H. Spurgeon

at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

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"In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit." Ephesians 2:22 .

UNDER THE OLD Mosaic dispensation God had a visible dwelling-place among men. The bright shekinah was seen between the wings of the cherubim which overshadowed the mercy-seat; and in the tabernacle while Israel journeyed in the wilderness, and in the temple afterwards, when they were established in their own land, there was a visible manifestation of the presence of Jehovah in the place which was dedicated to his service. Now, everything under the Mosaic dispensation was but a type, a picture, a symbol of something higher and nobler. That form of worship was, as it were, a series of shadow-pictures, of which the gospel is the substance. It is a sad fact, however, that there is so much Judaism in all our hearts, that we frequently go back to the old beggarly elements of the law, instead of going forward and seeing in them a type of something spiritual and heavenly, to which we ought to aspire. It is disgraceful to the present century to hear some men talk as they do. They had better at once espouse the Jewish creed. I mean it is disgraceful to hear some men speak as they do with regard to religious edifices. I remember to have heard a sermon once upon this text "If any man defile the temple of God, him will God destroy." And the first part of the sermon was occupied with a childish anathema against all who should dare to perform any unhallowed act in the churchyard, or who should lean the pole of a tent during the fair of the coming week against any part of that edifice, which, it seemed to me, was the god of the man who occupied the pulpit. Is there such a thing as a holy place anywhere? Is there any spot wherein God now particularly dwells? I know not. Hear ye the words of Jesus, "Believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." Remember, again, the saying of the apostle at Athens, "God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands."

When men talk of holy places they seem to be ignorant of the use of language. Can holiness dwell in bricks and mortar? Can there be such a thing as a sanctified steeple? Can it possibly happen that there can be such a thing in the world as a moral window or a godly door post? I am lost in amazement, utterly lost, when I think how addled men's brains must be when they impute moral virtues to bricks and mortar, and stones, and stained glass. Pray how deep doth this consecration go, and how high? Is every crow that flies over the edifice at that time in solemn air? Certainly it is as rational to believe that, as to conceive that every worm that is eating the body of an Episcopalian is a consecrated worm, and therefore there must necessarily be a brick wall, or a wide gravel-path to protect the bodies of the sanctified from any unhallowed worms that might creep across from the Dissenters' side of the cemetery. I say again, such child's play, such Popery, such Judaism, is a disgrace to the century. And yet, notwithstanding, we all find ourselves at divers times and seasons indulging in it. That at which you have just now smiled is but pushing the matter a little further, an error into which we may very readily descend; it is but an extravaganza of an error into which we all of us are likely to fall. We have a reverence for our plain chapels; we feel a kind of comfort when we are sitting down in the place which somehow or other we have got to think must be holy.

Now let us if we can, and perhaps it takes a great sturdiness and independence of mind to do it let us drive away once and for ever, all idea of holiness being connected with anything but with a conscious active agent; let us get rid once and for ever of all superstitions with regard to place. Depend upon it, one place is as much consecrated as another, and wherever we meet with true hearts reverently to worship God, that place becomes for the time being God's house. Though it be regarded with the most religious awe, that place which has no devout heart within it, is no house of God; it may be a house of superstition, but a house of God it cannot be. "But, still," says one, "God hath a habitation; doth not your test say so?" Yes, and of that house of God, I am about to speak this morning. There is such a thing as a house of God; but that is not an inanimate structure, but a living and a spiritual temple. "In whom," that is Christ, "ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. The house of God is built with the living stones of converted men and women, and the church of God, which Christ hath purchased with his blood this is the divine edifice, and the structure wherein God dwelleth even to this day. I would, however, make one remark with regard to places in which we worship. I do think, albeit that there can be no sanctity of superstition connected with them, there is at the same time, a kind of sacredness of association. In any place where God has blessed my soul, I feel that it is none other than the house of God, and the very gate of heaven. It is not because the stones are hallowed, but because there I have met with God, and the recollections that I have of the place consecrate it to me, That place where Jacob laid him down to sleep, what was it but his sleeping chamber for the time being, but his sleeping chamber was none other than the house of God. Ye have rooms in your houses, I hope, and closets there more sacred in truth than any gorgeous cathedral that ever lifted its spire to heaven. Where we meet with God there is a sacredness, not in the place but in the associations connected with it. Where we hold fellowship with God and where God makes bare his arm, though it be in a barn or a hedgerow, or on a moor, or on a mountain side, there is God's house to us, and the place is consecrated at once, but yet not so consecrated as that we may regard it with superstitious awe, but only consecrated by our own recollections of blessed hours which we have spent there in hallowed fellowship with God. Leaving that out of the question, I come to introduce you to the house which God has builded for his habitation.

We shall regard the church this morning thus first, as a building; secondly, as a habitation; and thirdly, as what she is soon to become, namely a glorious temple.

I. First, then, we shall regard the church as A BUILDING. And here let us pause to ask the question first of all what is a church what is the church of God? One sect claims the title for itself of the church, while other denominations hotly contend for it. It belongs to none of us. The church of God consisteth not of any one particular denomination of men; the church of God consisteth of those whose names are written in the book of God's eternal choice; the men who were purchased by Christ upon the tree, the men who are called of God by his Holy Spirit and who being quickened by that same Spirit partake of the life of Christ, and become members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. These are to be found in every denomination among all sorts of Christians; some stray ones where we little dreamed of them; here and there a member of the church of God hidden in the midst of the darkness of accursed Rome; now and then, as if by chance, a member of the church of Christ, connected with no sect whatever, far away from all connection with his brethren, having scarcely heard of their existence yet still knowing Christ, because the life of Christ is in him. Now this church of Christ, the people of God, throughout the world, by whatever name they may be known, are in my text compared to a building in which God dwells.

I must now indulge in a little allegory with regard to this building. The church is not a heap of stones shot together; she is a building. Of old her architect devised her. Methinks I see him, as I look back into old eternity making the first outline of his church. "Here" saith he in his eternal wisdom, "shall be the corner stone, and there shall be the pinnacle," I see him ordaining her length, and her breadth, appointing her gates and her doors with matchless skill, devising every part of her, and leaving no single portion of the structure unmapped. I see him, that mighty architect, also choosing to himself every stone of the building, ordaining its size and its shape; settling upon his mighty plan the position each stone shall occupy, whether it shall glitter in front, or be hidden in the back, or buried in the very center of the wall. I see him marking not merely the bare outline, but all the fillings up; all being ordained, decreed, and settled, in the eternal covenant, which was the divine plan of the mighty architect upon which the church is to be built. Looking on, I see the architect choosing a corner stone. He looks to heaven, and there are the angels, those glittering stones, he looks at each one of them from Gabriel down; but, saith he, "None of you will suffice. I must have a corner stone that will support all the weight of the building, for on that stone every other one must lean. Gabriel, thou wilt not suffice! Raphael thou must lay by; I cannot build with thee." Yet was it necessary that a stone should be found, and one too that should be taken out of the same quarry as the rest. Where was he to be discovered? Was there a man who would suffice to be the corner stone of this mighty building? Ah no! neither apostles, prophets, nor teachers would. Put them altogether, and they would be as a foundation of quicksand, and the house would totter to its fall. Mark how the divine mind solved the difficulty "God shall become man, very man, and so he shall be of the same substance as the other stones of the temple, yet shall he be God, and therefore strong enough to bear all the weight of this mighty structure, the top whereof shall reach to heaven." I see that foundation stone laid. Is there singing at the laying of it? No. There is weeping there. The angels gathered round at the laying of this first stone; sad look ye men and wonder, the angels weep; the harps of heaven are clothed in sackcloth, and no song is heard. They sang together and shouted for joy when the world was made, why shout they not now? Look ye here and see the reason. That stone is imbedded in blood, that corner stone must lie nowhere else but in his own gore. The vermillion cement drawn from his own sacred veins must imbed it. And there he lies, the first stone of the divine edifice. Oh, begin your songs afresh, ye angels, it is over now. The foundation stone is laid; the terrible ceremony is complete, and now, whence shall we gather the stones to build this temple? The first is laid, where are the rest? Shall we go and dig into the sides of Lebanon? Shall we find these precious stones in the marble quarries of kings? No. Whither are ye flying ye laborers of God? Whither are ye going? Where are the quarries? And they reply "We go to dig in the quarries of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the depths of sinful Jerusalem, and in the midst of erring Samaria." I see them clear away the rubbish. I mark them as they dig deep into the earth, and at last they come to these stones. But how rough, how hard, how unhewn. Yes, but these are the stones ordained of old in the decree, and these must be the stones, and none other. There must be a change effected. These must be brought in and shaped and cut and polished, and put into their places. I see the workmen at their labor. The great saw of the law cuts through the stone, and then comes the polishing chisel of the gospel. I see the stones lying in their places, and the church is rising. The ministers, like wise master-builders, are there running along the wall, putting each spiritual stone in its place; each stone is leaning on that massive corner stone, and every stone depending on the blood, and finding its security and its strength in Jesus Christ, the corner stone, elect, and precious. Do you see the building rise as each one of God's chosen is brought in, called by grace and quickened? Do you mark the living stones as in sacred love and holy brotherhood they are knit together? Have you ever entered the building, and see how these stones lean one upon another bearing each others burden, and so fulfilling the law of Christ? Do you mark how the church loveth Christ, and how the members love each other? How first the church is joined to the corner stone, and then each stone bound to the next, and the next to the next, till the whole building becometh one? Lo! the structure rises, and it is complete, and at last it is built. And now open wide your eyes, and see what a glorious building this is the church of God. Men talk of the splendor of their architecture this is architecture indeed; neither after Grecian nor Gothic models, but after the model of the sanctuary which Moses saw in the holy mountain. Do you see it? Was there ever a structure so comely as this instinct with life in every part? Upon one stone shall be seven eyes, and each stone full of eyes and full of hearts. Was ever a thought so massive as this a building built of souls a structure made of hearts? There is no house like a heart for one to repose in. There a man may find peace in his fellow-man; but here is the house where God delighteth to dwell built of living hearts, all beating with holy love built of redeemed souls, chosen of the Father, bought with the blood of Christ. The top of it is in heaven. Part of them are above the clouds. Many of the living stones are now in the pinnacle of paradise. We are here below, the building rises, the sacred masonry is heaving, and, as the corner stone rises, so all of us must rise until at last the entire structure from its foundation to its pinnacle shall be heaved up to heaven, and there shall it stand for ever the new Jerusalem the temple of the majesty of God.

With regard to this building I have just a remark or two to make before I come to the next point. Whenever architects devise a building they make mistakes in forming the plan. The most careful will omit something; the most clever find in some things he has been mistaken. But mark the church of God; it is built according to rule, and compass, and square, and it shall be found at last that there has not been one mistake. You, perhaps, my dear brother, are a little stone in the temple, and you are apt to think you ought to have been a great one. There is no mistake about that. You have but one talent; that is enough for you. If you had two you would spoil the building. You are placed perhaps in a position of obscurity, and you are saying, "Oh that I were prominent in the church!" If you were prominent you might be in a wrong place; and but one stone out of its place in architecture so delicate as that of God, would mar the whole. You are where you ought to be; keep there. Depend on it there is no mistake. When at last we shall go round about her, mark her walls, and tell her bulwarks, we shall each of us be compelled to say, "How glorious is this Zion!" When our eyes shall have been enlightened, and our hearts instructed, each part of the building will command our admiration. The topstone is not the foundation, nor does the foundation stand at the top. Every stone is of the right shape; the whole material is as it should be, and the structure is adapted for the great end, the glory of God, the temple of the Most High. Infinite wisdom then may be remarked in this building of God.

Another thing may be noticed, namely, her impregnable strength. This habitation of God, this house which is not made with hands, but is of God's building, has often been attacked, but it has never been taken. What multitudes of enemies have battered against her old ramparts! but they have battered in vain. "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers took counsel together," but what happened? They came against her, every one of them with mighty men, each man with his sword drawn, but what became of them? The Almighty scattered kings in Hermon like snow in Salmon. As the snow is driven from the mountain side before the stormy blast, even so didst thou drive them away, O God, and they melted before the breath of thy nostrils.

"Then should our souls in Zion dwell,

Nor fear the rage of Rome or hell."

The church is not in danger, and she never can be. Let her enemies come on, she can resist. Her passive majesty, her silent rocky strength, bids them defiance now. Let them come on and break themselves in pieces, let them dash themselves against her, and learn the ready road to their own destruction. She is safe, and she must be safe even unto the end. Thus much then we can say of the structure; it is built by infinite wisdom, and it is impregnably secure.

And we may add, it is glorious for beauty. There was never structure like this. One might feast his eyes upon it from dawn to eve, and then begin again. Jesus himself takes delight in it. So pleased is God in the architecture of his church, that he has rejoiced with his church as he never did with the world. When God made the world he heaved the mountains, and digged the seas, and covered its valleys with grass; he made all the fowls of the air, and all the beasts of the field; yea, and he made man in his own image, and when the angels saw it, they sang together and they shouted for joy. God did not sing; there was no sufficient theme of song for him that was "Holy, holy, holy." He might say it was very good; there was a goodness of fitness about it, but not moral goodness of holiness. But when God built his church he did sing; and that is the most extraordinary passage, I sometimes think, in the whole Word of God, where he is represented as singing; "Thy Redeemer in the midst of thee is mighty, he will save, he will rest in his love, he will rejoice over thee with singing." Think, my brethren, of God himself looking at his church: and so fair and beautiful is the structure, that he sings over his work, and as each stone is put in its place, Divinity itself sings. Was ever song like that? Oh, come, let us sing, let us exalt the name of God together; praise him who praiseth his church who hath made her to be his peculiar dwelling-place.

Thus, then, have we in the first place regarded the church as a building.

II. But the true glory of the church of God consists in the fact that she is not only a building, but that she is A HABITATION. There may be great beauty in an uninhabited structure, but there is always a melancholy thought connected with it. In riding through our country, we often come upon a dismantled tower, or castle; it is beautiful, but it is not a thing of joy; there is a sorrowful reflection connected with it. Who loves to see desolate palaces? Who desireth that the land should cast out her sons, and that her houses should fail of tenants? But there is joy in a house lit up and furnished, where there is the sound of men. Beloved the church of God hath this for her peculiar glory, that she is a tenanted house, that she is a habitation of God through the Spirit. How many churches there are that are houses, yet not habitations! I might picture to you a professed church of God; it is built according to square and compass, but its model has been formed in some ancient creed, and not in the Word of God. It is precise in its discipline according to its own standard, and accurate in its observances according to its own model. You enter that church, the ceremony is imposing; the whole service perhaps attracts you for a while; but you go out of that place conscious that you have not met with the life of God there that it is a house, but a house without a tenant. It may be professedly a church, but it is not a church possessing the indwelling of the Holy One; it is an empty house that must soon be dilapidated and fall. I do fear that this is true of many of our churches, Established and Dissenting, as well as Romanist. There are too many churches that are nothing but a mass of dull, dead formality; there is no life of God there. You might go to worship with such a people, day after day, and your heart would never beat more quickly, your blood would never leap in its veins, your soul would never be refreshed, for it is an empty house. Fair may be the architecture of the structure, but empty is its storehouse, there is no table spread, there is no rejoicing, no killing of the fatted calf, no dancing, no singing for joy. Beloved, let us take heed, lest our churches become the same, lest we be combinations of men without spiritual life, and consequently houses uninhabited, because God is not there. But a true church, that is visited by the Spirit of God, where conversion, instruction, devotion, and the like, are carried on by the Spirit's own living influences such a church has God for its inhabitant.

And now we will just turn over this sweet thought. A church built of living souls is God's own house. What is meant by this? I reply, a house is a place where a man solaces and comforts himself. Abroad we do battle with the world: there we strain every nerve and sinew that we may stem a sea of troubles, and may not be carried away by the stream. Abroad, among men, we meet those of strange language to us, who often cut us to the heart and wound us to the quick. We feel that there we must be upon our guard. We could often say, "My soul is among lions. I lie even among those that are set on fire of hell." Going abroad in the world we find but little rest but the day's work done, we go home, and there we solace ourselves. Our weary bodies are refreshed. We throw away the armor that we have been wearing, and we fight no more. We see no longer the strange face, but loving eyes beam upon us. We hear no language now which is discordant in our ears. Love speaks, and we reply. Our home is the place of our solace, our comfort, and our rest. Now, God calls the church his habitation his home. See him abroad; he is hurling the thunderbolt and lifting up his voice upon the waters. Hearken to him; his voice breaks the cedars of Lebanon and makes the hinds to calve. See him when he makes war, riding the chariot of his might, he drives the rebellious angels over the battlements of heaven down to the depth of hell. Behold him as he lifteth himself in the majesty of his strength! Who is this that is glorious? It is God, most high and terrible. But see he lays aside his glittering sword; his spear he bears no longer. He cometh back to his home. His children are about him. He taketh his solace and his rest. Yes, think not I venture too far he shall rest in his lover and he doth do it. He resteth in his church. He is no longer a consuming fire, a terror, and a flame. Now, is he love and kindness and sweetness, ready to hear the prattle of his children's prayer, and the disjointed notes of his children's song. Oh how beautiful is the picture of the church as God's house, the place in which he takes his solace! "For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it."

Furthermore, a man's home is the place where he shows his inner self. You meet a man at the market, he deals sharply with you. He knows with whom he has to deal, and he acts with you as a man of the world. You see him again at home, talking with his children, and you say, "What a different man! I could not have believed it was the same being." Mark, again, the professor in his chair; he is instructing students in science. Mark his sterness as he speaks upon recondite themes. Would you believe that that same man will in the evening have his little one upon his knee, and will tell it childish tales, and repeat the ballads of the nursery? And yet it is even so. See the king as he rides through the street in his pomp; thousands gather round him acclamation rends the sky. With what majestic port he bears himself! He is all king, every inch a monarch, as he towers in the midst of the multitude. Have you seen the kind at home? He is then just like other men; his little ones are about him; he is on the floor with them in their games. Is this the king? Yes, it is even he. But why did he not do this in his palace? in the streets? Oh, no, that was not his home. It is in his home that a man unbends himself. Even so with regard to our glorious God: it is in his church that he manifests himself as he does not unto the world. The mere worldling turns his telescope to the sky, and he sees the pomp of God in the stars, and he says, "O God, how infinite art thou?" Devoutly he looks across the sea, and beholds it lashed with tempest, and he says, "Behold the might and majesty of the Deity!" The anatomist dissects an insect, and discovers in every part of it divine wisdom, and he says, "How wise is God!" Ay; but it is only the believer who as he kneels in his chamber can say, "My father made all these," and then can say, "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name." There are sweet revelations which God makes in his church, which he never makes anywhere else. It is there he takes the children to his bosom; it is there he opens his heart, and lets his people know the fountains of his great soul, and the might of his infinite affection. And is it not a sweet thing to think of God at home with his family, happy in the house of his church?

But yet, furthermore, another thought strikes me now. A man's home is the center of all he doth. Yonder is a large farm. Well, there are outhouses, and hay ricks, and barns and the like; but just in the middle of these there is the house the center of all husbandry. No matter how much wheat there may be, it is to the house the produce goes. It is for the maintenance of the household that the husband carries on his husbandry. You may hear the cattle lowing yonder, you may mark the sheep upon the hills, but the fleece cometh home, and the full udders must yield the milk for the children of the house, for the house is the center of all. Every river of industry cometh down towards the sweet soft inland lake of home. Now God's church is God's center? He is abroad in the world, he is busy here and there and everywhere, but to what does all his business tend? To his church. Why doth God clothe the hills with plenty? For the feeding of his people? Why is providence revolving? Why those wars and tempests, and then again this stillness and calm? It is for his church. Not an angel divides the ether who hath not a mission for the church. It may be indirectly, but nevertheless truly so. There is not an archangel that fulfils the behests of the Most High but really carries the church upon his broad wings, and bears up her children lest they dash their feet against a stone. The storehouses of God are for his church. The depths beneath of hidden treasure, of God's unutterable riches all these are for his people. There is nothing which he hath from his blazing crown to the darkness that is beneath his throne, that is not for his redeemed. All things must minister and work together for good for the chosen church of God which is his house his daily habitation. I think if you will turn that over and over again, when you are away, you will see there is much in the beautiful fact, that as the house is the center, so is the church the center of everything with God.

One other thought and I will have done. We have heard much talk of late about the French invasion. I shall begin to be alarmed about it when I see it, but certainly not till then. However there is one thing we may say pretty safely. We are many of us peace men and would not like to wield the sword; the first sight of blood would sicken us, we are peaceful beings, we are not for fighting and war. But let the most peaceful man imagine that the invader had landed on our shore that our houses be in danger, and our homes about to be sacked by the foe, our conscientiousness I fear would give way; notwithstanding all we might say about the wrongness of war, I query whether there be a man among us who would not take such weapon as he could find next to hand to repel the enemy. With this for our war cry, "Our hearths and our homes," we would rush upon the invader, be he who he may or what he may. There is no might so tremendous that it could paralyze our arm; until we were frozen in death we would fight for our home; there would be no command so stern that it could quiet us; we should break through every band and bond, and the weakest of us would be a giant, and our women would become heroines in the day of difficulty. Every hand would find its weapon to hurl at the invader. We love our homes, and we must and will defend them. Ay, and now lift up your thoughts the church is God's home, will he not defend it? will he suffer his own house to be sacked and stormed? shall the hearth of divinity be stained with the blood of his children? Shall it be that the church is overthrown, and her battlements stormed, her peaceful habitations given up to fire and sword? No, never, not while God hath a heart of love, and while he calleth his people his own house and his habitation. Come, let us rejoice in this our security; let earth be all in arms abroad, we dwell in perfect peace, for our Father is in the house and he is God Almighty. Let them come on against us, we need not fear, his arm shall fell them, the breath of his nostrils shall blast them, a word shall destroy them, they shall melt away like the fat of rams, as fat of lambs shall they be consumed, into smoke shall they consume away. All these thoughts seem to me naturally to arise from the fact that the church is God's habitation.

III. I was about to show you in the third place, that the church is, by-and-bye, to be GOD'S GLORIOUS TEMPLE. It doth not yet appear what she shall be. I have, however, already mentioned this precious fact. The church is rising to-day, and she shall continue to rise until the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established upon the top of the mountains, and then, when all nations shall call her blessed, and him blessed too when they shall all say, "Come and let us go up to the house of our God that we may worship him," then shall the church's glory begin. When this earth shall pass away, when all the monuments of empires shall be dissolved and run down in the common lava of the last burning, then shall the church be caught up in the clouds and afterwards be exalted to heaven itself, to become a temple such as eye hath not seen.

And now, brethren and sisters, in conclusion I make these remarks. If the church of God is God's house, what should you and I do? Why we should earnestly seek as being a part of that temple always to retain the great inhabitant. Let us not grieve his Spirit lest he leave his church for awhile; above all let us not be hypocrites lest he never come into our hearts at all. And if the church be God's temple and God's house, let us not defile it. If you defile yourself you defile the church, for your sin if you be a church member is the church's sin. The defilement of one stone in rebuilding virtually mars its perfection. Take care that thou be holy even as he is holy. Let not thine heart become a house for Belial. Think not that God and the devil can dwell in the same habitation. Give thyself wholly to God. Seek for more of his Spirit, that as a living stone thou mayest be wholly consecrated; and never be content unless thou feelest in thyself the perpetual presence of the divine inhabitant who dwelleth in his church. May God now bless every living stone of the temple. And as for you that as yet are not hewn out of the quarries of sin, I pray that divine grace may meet with you, that you may be renewed and converted, and at last be partakers of the inheritance of the saints of light.

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Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Ephesians 2". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/ephesians-2.html. 2011.