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Verse 3

Fellowship With God

A Sermon

(No. 409)

Delivered on Sunday Morning, September the 15th, 1861 by the


At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

"That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." 1 John 1:3 .

FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD was one of the richest privileges of unfallen man. The Lord God walked in the garden and talked with Adam as a man talketh with his friend. So long as he was willing and obedient, Adam ate the fat of the land, and among the rich dainties and "wines on the lees well refined," of which his soul was a partaker, we must number first and foremost, unbroken communion with God, his Father and his Friend. Sin, as it banished man from Eden, banished man from God, and from that time our face has been turned from the Most High, and his face has been turned from us; we have hated God, and God has been angry with us every day. Christ came into the world to restore to us our lost patrimony. It was the great object of his wondrous sacrifice to put us into a position which should be equal and even superior to that which we occupied in Adam before the fall, and as he has already restored to us many things that we lost, so among the rest fellowship with God. They who have by his grace believed, and have by the precious blood been washed, have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord, they are "no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints and of the household of God," and they have access with boldness into this grace wherein we stand. So they who are in the kingdom, and under the dispensation of the second Adam, have restored to them in all its fullness that fellowship which was lost to them by the sin and disobedience of their first federal head. John was among the number of those who had enjoyed this privilege with Christ in his flesh. He had been Christ's chosen companion, elect out of the elect to a choice and peculiar privilege. During the incarnation, he was one of the favored three who had enjoyed the closest intimacy with the Redeemer; he had seen Christ in his transfiguration, had witnessed the raising of the dead maid, had been with the Lord in the garden, and he had lingered with him even when the thrust was given after death, and the blood and water flowed from his pierced heart. John had the nearest, the dearest, the closest fellowship with Christ in the flesh. As he had laid his head upon Christ's bosom, so had he laid all his thoughts and all the emotions of his mind upon the heart's love and divine affection of his Lord and Master but Christ was gone; it was no more possible to hear his voice, to see him with eyes, or to handle him with hands, yet John had not lost his fellowship, though he knew him no more after the flesh, yet he knew him after a nobler sort. Nor was his fellowship less real, less close, less sweet, or less divine, than it had been when he had walked and talked with him, and had been privileged to eat and drink with him at that last sacred feast. John says, "Truly our fellowship is" not was "is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." This brings me immediately and directly to the text. You will perceive that there is suggested by the text, a quiet investigation, leading to a most solemn affirmation. "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." And then there is, secondly, in the former part of the text, a most affectionate desire, leading to appropriate action. Our desire is, that you may have fellowship with us, and, therefore, "that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you." Now, brethren, we have had fellowship with the FATHER. In order to have fellowship with any man, there must be a concord of heart. "Can two walk together unless they be agreed?" At the very bottom of fellowship there must be a likeness; we must have like wishes, like desires; we must have espoused like ends, and our spirits must be welded together in the intention to effect like purposes. Now, I think we can avow, this morning, in the first place, that we do feel a sweet concord with God in his eternal purposes. I read the Book of God, and I find that he hath ordained Christ to be the Head of his Church, and that he hath chosen unto himself "a number that no man can number." I find it revealed in the Word of God that he is a God of distinguishing and discriminating grace; that he "will have mercy on whom he will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom he will have compassion," that he will bring many sons unto glory, "to the praise of the glory of his grace wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved." Brethren, cannot you and I say, as in the sight of a heart-searching God, we have full accord with God in his purposes? Why, we love them, we delight in them, the decrees of God are satisfactory to us. If it were possible for us to alter the roll in which his divine intentions are written, we would not do it, we feel that whatever he has ordained must be right, and as for his ordination of his people unto eternal life, and his loving them above all people that be on the face of the earth, why this is one of the richest joys that we know. The doctrine of election is a sweet cordial to the child of God. I can cry, "My Father, thou art King, thou hast chosen the base things of this world, and things that are not, to bring to nought the things out are; and in this I have fellowship with thee, for I can exclaim, 'I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.'" And now, have we not fellowship with him in the plan by which he effects that purpose? It pleased him, that in "the fullness of time, he should send forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." He laid one foundation, and one only, and he said concerning it, that "other foundation shall no man lay but that which is laid." God has chosen "the stone which the builders refused," that it might be made the "headstone of the corner:" this is the Lord's doing, and cannot we say, "It is wondrous in our eyes?" As he is unto God "the chief corner stone, elect, precious," so "unto you that believe He is precious." Looking at all the plan from the beginning to the end, do you not agree in it? Does it not strike you as being the wisest, the most gracious, the most glorious scheme that could have been devised? And as from its first fountain in predestination, onward to the ocean of glory, you traverse the ever-flowing stream, do you not say of it in all matchless course, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath chosen us in him from before the foundation of the world, and who having, chosen us, will glorify us and bring us to himself at the last?" Yes, there is not a single word that we would alter, there is not a line in this divine scheme that we would wish to change. If it approves itself to him, it certainly approves itself to us, if he chose it as the plan of divine operation, we adore his choice, we reverence both the wisdom and the love which planned and carried out the design. But to proceed a step further: we have a most divine and precious communion with the Father in the objects of his love. When two persons love the same thing, their affection becomes a tie between them. The two may love each other, but when in the course of providence, children are brought into the house, their children become another bond between their parents, each of them mutually giving their hearts to their little ones, feel that their hearts are yet more fully given the one to the other. Now, there is a tie between God the Father and our souls, for did not he say, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased?" And cannot you and I add, "Yes, he is our beloved Savior, in whom we are well pleased?" Is it not written, "It pleased the Father to bruise him?" And do we not feel that ye have found a divine pleasure and satisfaction in looking into his wounds, his agonies, and his death? And has not Father determined to glorify his Son Jesus? And is not the fondest thought of our heart that we may help to glorify him here on earth, and may spread his glories even in heaven, by telling to the angels, and principalities, and powers, the height and depth of his lovingkindness? Does the Father love the Son? even so do we love him, not to the same infinite extent, for we are finite beings, yet with sincerity, even as the Father loves Jesus, so sincerely do we love him

"A very wretch, Lord! I should prove, Had I no love for thee; Rather than not my Savior love, O may I cease to be!"

So in this, then, we have fellowship with the Father, seeing that we are both agreed in loving the Son. Does the Father love the saints? even so do we. Doth he declare that "Precious shall their blood be in his sight? "Does he bear, and carry them, and show his interest for them? Will he say that "His delight is in his people," and that "they are his peculiar portion," and his "choice heritage?" My soul, canst thou not say, in the midst of all thy doubts and fears "I know that I have passed from death unto life, because I love the brethren?" Canst thou not protest, "O my heart! that the excellent of the earth are all thy delight, where they dwell, I would dwell, where they die, I would die, their portion shall be my portion, their God shall be my God for ever and ever." In this, too, we have fellowship with the Father. Furthermore, and to conclude upon this point of fellowship with the Father, we can, I think, refer ourselves to the All-wise One, and we can say we have had fellowship with God in this respect, that the very thing which is His happiness has been our happiness. That which has been the delight of his Holy Being has been a delight to us. "And what is that?" say you. Why, brethren, doth not God delight in holiness, in goodness, in mercy, and in lovingkindness, and has not that been our delight too? I am sure our greatest miseries here have been our sins. We do not murmur at our afflictions, if we could but get rid of those sins which bind us down and hamper us when we would mount towards heaven. Holiness is our pleasure, purity is our delight, and if we could but be perfect even as he is perfect, and freed from sin, even as God our Father, is freed from everything like iniquity, then we should be in heaven, for this is our happiness; the same happiness which God finds in purity and righteousness, we find in it too. And so, also, that which is the Father's employment is our employment. I speak not of you all, He knows whom he hath chosen. We cannot join with the Father in upholding all worlds, we cannot send forth floods of light at the rising of the sun, we cannot feed the cattle on a thousand hills, nor can we give food and life to all creatures that have breath. But there is something which we can do which he does. He doeth good to all his creatures, and we can do good also. He beareth witness to his Son Jesus, and we can bear witness too. "The Father worketh hitherto" that his Son may be glorified, and we work too. O thou Eternal Worker! it is thine to save souls, and we are co-workers with thee. We are his husbandry, we are his building, he scatters the seed of truth, we scatter it too, his words speak comfort, and our words comfort the weary too, when God the Spirit is with us. We hope we can say, "For us to live is Christ," and is not this what God lives for too? We desire nothing so much as to glorify him, and this is the Father's will, as well as Jesus Christ's prayer, "Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." Do you not see, brethren, we stand on the same scaffold with the eternal God? When we lift our hand, he lifts up his eternal arm, when we speak, he speaks too, and speaks the same thing; when we purpose Christ's glory, he purposes that glory too, when we long to bring home the wandering sheep, and to recall the prodigal sons, he longs to do the same. So that in that respect we can say, "Truly we have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." Further, we have had some small degree of fellowship with him in his sufferings. We have not yet "resisted unto blood striving against sin," but we have carried his cross and we have suffered his reproach. There have been some who could say

"Jesus, I my cross have taken All to leave and follow thee."

And others of us, whose path has been somewhat smoother, have nevertheless felt the cross within us for the new spirit within us has had to contend with all that once we loved, there have been wars and fightings, and a perpetual conflict, not only from without, but what is far more severe, from within also. Yet if it should cause more sorrow we still would follow him, for we count it as our riches that we may bear the reproach of Christ as he bore reproach for us. I trust, my brothers and sisters you that profess to be his followers do not blush to own his name. I hope you do not turn your backs in the day of battle. If you do, you may question whether your fellowship is with the Son Jesus Christ, but if you can welcome shame and hail reproach because he remembers you, then in this you have been conformed unto his death, and have been made partakers of his sufferings. I have sometimes thought it were worth all the bitterness if we might drink of his cup and be baptised with his baptism. We can have no Gethsemane with all its bloody sweat, yet we have had our Gethsemanes too, we cannot die on Calvary, but I hope we have been crucified with him and the world is crucified to us, and we unto the world; we cannot go into the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, yet we have been buried with him in baptism unto death, that like as Jesus Christ rose from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also might rise to newness of life; and I hope, inasmuch as he has risen and ascended up on high, though our bodies are still here, yet we have set our affection on things above and not on things on the earth; and as he has been raised up and made to sit together with his Father, I hope we know the meaning of that passage. "He hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." And as he is to come and reign, I hope we know also something of that, for he hath made us kings and priests unto our God, and we shall reign with him for ever and ever. From the manger to the cross, and from the cross to the millennium, there should be in the Christian's experience a blessed fellowship. We ought to know Christ in his obscurity and littleness the babe Christ being in our hearts. We ought to know him in his wilderness temptations ourselves being tempted in all points. We ought to know him in his blasphemies and slanders ourselves being accounted by man to be as Beelzebub, and as the offscouring of all things, we must know him in his passion, in his agony, and in his death, and then, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," we may know him in his triumphs, in his ascension upon high, in his session at the right hand of God, and in his coming to judge the quick and the dead, for we, too, shall judge angels through Jesus Christ our Lord. We have, I hope, in some humble measure in these respects, fellowship with the Son Jesus Christ. And yet, further, as I have said, fellowship requires converse. Oh! ye daughters of Jerusalem, have we not had converse with Him? Tell ye of that happy day when we went forth to meet king Solomon, and crowned him "with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals; and in the day of the gladness of his heart," when he took us up into his chariot, the bottom whereof was of silver and the sides thereof lined with love for the daughters of Jerusalem, and we rode in covenant safety and in royal pomp with him. When the king came into his palace and he said, "Let the fatlings be killed, eat; yea, eat abundantly and drink abundantly, O beloved!" and we ate of all his sweet wines and of all his luscious fruits which he had laid up in store for his beloved till we said, "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick with love, his left hand is under my head, and his right arm doth embrace me." Brethren, we have leaped right out of the body to embrace him, at least so we have thought, from excess of joy, and that, too, when there was nothing in the world to give us content, when our prospects were blighted, when our health has failed us, when the sun of this world was quenched, then He came forth, even He who is all in all, and lifted the light of his countenance upon us. We have but a few minutes remaining for the second head, which might very well demand an entire discourse. And this desire leads the child of God to make use of an appropriate effort, and what is that? It is to tell to others what he has seen and what he has heard. Now, I shall try to use that means this morning, for I think, perhaps, the illustration of fact may be better than any illustration of words. Do I not address many here who never had any fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. Perhaps you hardly know what it means, and when you hear what it means, you attach no importance to it. It is nothing to you to talk with God; you never dream of such a thing as speaking to Christ, and Christ speaking to you. Ah! if you knew its sweetness, you would never, never be content till you had it, you would thirst with such a thirst, that you would never cease, but thirst till you drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate. Well now, soul, that thou mayest have fellowship with us in these things, let me tell thee what I have heard, and known, and seen, for this is what the text tells me to speak of I have known and seen that Christ is one who is ready to forgive thee able to forgive thee. Oh! shall I never forget when I first went to him, laden with iniquity, and black with sin, bowed down by five years of conviction, which had rendered my fears despair, and my doubts had gathered till they seemed impenetrable to the light! I went to him, and I thought he would reject me; I thought him to be hard, and unwilling to forgive. But I only looked on him, only looked at him, one glimpse of a tearful eye at a crucified Savior, and that moment without a pause the burden rolled away; the guilt was gone, peace of mind took the place of despair, and I could sing, "I'm forgiven, I'm forgiven!" I had many sins, but He took them all away. Some of those sins were deeply aggravated. I would not tell them in a human ear, but they are gone, in one instant too, not because of any merit, but gone freely and graciously of his own abundant mercy, according to the riches of his lovingkindness in Christ Jesus the Lord. Now what we have seen and heard we do testify, that ye also may have fellowship with us, for "Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." Still he is willing to receive you, he is able to forgive you. Laden with guilt and full of woe, hie thee to that full relief! Make no tarrying! "Linger not in all the plain!" Let not thy heavy heart tempt thee to refrain thyself from him! He stands with open arms, ready to pardon, with open heart, willing to receive. Nay, he runs, methinks I see him, though thou art yet far off, he runs and meets thee, he falls upon thy neck, he kisseth thee, he saith, "Take off his rags, clothe him in the best robe; put shoes on his feet and a ring upon his hand, and let us eat and be merry, for the dead is alive and the lost is found." "But" saith another, "if he did uphold for awhile I should never be able to hold on." What I have seen and heard, that I do declare unto thee. Blessed be his name, I am yet young in grace but he has been faithful to me. The child believed, and the child now testifies that God is faithful, and has not once forsaken nor left him, but preserved him. I half wish this morning that grey hairs were on my head that I might give force to this testimony of "what I have seen and heard." I remember well, when declaring that God was a faithful God, my good old grandfather, who was sitting behind me in the pulpit, came forward and said, "My grandson can tell you that, but I can bear witness to it. I have passed my three score years and ten, but still He has been faithful and true."

"E'en down to old age, all his people shall prove His sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love; And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn, Like lambs they shall still in his bosom be borne."

We testify this to you, that you may have fellowship with us, for "our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." ´┐╣FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT= "I have this much to say, and if I should never preach again, and if this might be the last discourse I should ever deliver in this world, I would wish to make this the final testimony. There is that joy in religion that I never dreamed of. He is a good Master whom I have served, that is a blessed faith which He has bestowed upon me, and yields such blessed hope, that

"I would not change my bless'd estate For all the world calls good or great."

And if I had to die like a dog, and there were no hereafter, I would still prefer to be a Christian, and the humblest Christian minister to being a king or an emperor, for I am persuaded there are more delights in Christ; yea, more joy in one glimpse of his face than is to be found in all the praises of this harlot-world, and in all the delights which it can yield to us in its sunniest and brightest days. And I am persuaded that what he has been till now, he will be to the end; and where he hath begun a good work, he will carry it on. Yes, sinners, Christ's cross is a hope that we can die by, which can take us down to the grave without a fear, which can make us short in the midst of the swelling waters of Jordan, can make us transported with delight even when we are bowed down with physical pain or nervous distress. There is that in Christ, I say, which can make us triumph over the gloomiest terrors of grim death, and make us rejoice in the darkest of tempests which can blacken the grave. Trust ye, trust ye in the Lord, for our testimony, and that of all his people, is, that he is worthy to be trusted. "Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord."

Verse 7

The Evil and Its Remedy

A Sermon

(No. 223)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 14th, 1858, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

"The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great." Ezekiel 9:9 . "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7 .

I SHALL HAVE two texts this morning the evil and its remedy. "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great;" and "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." I have made use of this remark as the preface to my sermon, because I think it will be forced from each of our hearts before we have done, if the two truths which I shall consider this morning, shall come at all home to us with power. The first truth is the greatness of our sin. No man can know the greatness of sin till he has felt it, for there is no measuring-rod for sin, except its condemnation in our own conscience, when the law of God speaks to us with a terror that may be felt. And as for the richness of the blood of Christ and its ability to wash us, of that also we can know nothing till we have ourselves been washed, and have ourselves proved that the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God hath cleansed us from all sin. Some men imagine that the gospel was devised, in some way or other, to soften down the harshness of God towards sin. Ah! how mistaken the idea! There is no more harsh condemnation of sin anywhere than in the gospel. Ye shall go to Sinai, and ye shall there hear its thunders rolling; ye shall behold the flashing of its terrible lightnings, till, like Moses, ye shall exceedingly fear and quake, and come away declaring that sin must be a terrible thing, otherwise, the Holy One had never come upon Mount Paran with all these terrors round about him. But after that ye shall go to Calvary; there ye shall see no lightnings, and ye shall hear no thunders, but instead thereof, ye shall hear the groans of an expiring God, and ye shall behold the contortions and agonies of one who bore

"All that Incarnate God could bear, With strength enough, and none to spare."

And then ye shall say, "Now, though I never fear nor quake, yet I know how exceedingly great a thing sin must be, since such a sacrifice was required to make an atonement for it. Oh! sinners; if ye come to the gospel, imagining that there ye shall find an apology for your sin, ye have indeed mistaken your way. Moses charges you with sin, and tells you that you are without excuse; but as for the gospel, it rends away from you every shadow of a covering; it leaves you without a cloak for your sin; it tells you that you have sinned wilfully against the Most High God that ye have not an apology that ye can possibly make for all the iniquities that ye have committed against him; and so far in any way from smoothing over your sin, and telling you that you are a weak creature and, therefore could not help your sin, it charges upon you the very weakness of your nature, and makes that itself the most damning sin of all. If ye seek apologies, better look even into the face of Moses, when it is clothed with all the majesty of the terrors of the law, than into the face of the gospel, for that is more terrible by far to him who seeks to cloak his sin. But, says one, surely the gospel does in some degree remove the greatness of our sin. Does it not soften the punishment of sin? Ah! no. Ye shall appeal to Moses; let him ascend the pulpit and preach to you. He says, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die;" and his sermon is dread and terrible. He sits down. And now comes Jesus Christ, the man of a loving countenance. What says he with regard to the punishment of sin? Ah! sirs, there was never such a preacher of the fires of hell as Christ was. Our Lord Jesus Christ was all love, but he was all honesty too. "Never man spake like that man," when he came to speak of the punishment of the lost. What other prophet was the author of such dread expressions as these? "He shall burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" "These shall go away into everlasting punishment;" or these "Where their worm dieth not, and their fire is not quenched." Stand at the feet of Jesus when he tells you of the punishment of sin, and the effect of iniquity, and you may tremble there far more than you would have done if Moses had been the preacher, and if Sinai had been in the background to conclude the sermon. No, brethren, the gospel of Christ in no sense whatever helps to make sin less. The proclamation of Christ to-day by his minister is the same as the utterence of Ezekiel of old "The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great." But come, let me reason with you for a moment. Your sin is great, although you think it small. Remember, brother, I am not about to make out that thy sin is greater than mine. I speak to thee, and I speak to myself also, thy sin is great. Follow me in these few thoughts and perhaps thou wilt better understand it. How great a thing is one sin, when according to the Word of God one sin could suffice to damn the soul. One sin, remember, destroyed the whole human race. Adam did but take of the forbidden fruit, and that one sin blasted Eden, and made all of us inheritors of the curse, and caused the earth to bring forth thorns and thistles, even unto this day. But it may be said could one sin destroy the soul? Is it possible that one solitary sin could open the gates of hell, and then close them upon the guilty soul for ever, and that God should refuse his mercy, and shut out that soul for ever from the presence of his face? Yes, if I believe my Bible, I must believe that. Oh, how great must my sins be if this is the terrible effect of one transgression. Sin cannot be the little thing that my pride has helped me to imagine it to be. It must be an awful thing if but one sin could ruin my soul for ever. But think again, how great does your sin, and mine seem, if we will but think of the ingratitude which has marked it. The Lord our God has fed us from our youth up to this day: he has put the breath into our nostrils, and has held our souls in life; he has clothed the earth with mercies and he has permitted us to walk across these fair fields; and he has given us bread to eat and raiment to put on, and mercies so precious that their full value can never be known until they are taken from us; and yet you and I have persevered in breaking all his laws wilfully and wantonly: we have gone contrary to his will; it has been sufficient for us to know that a thing has been God's will, and we have at once run contrary thereunto. Oh, if we set our secret sins in the light of his mercy, if our transgressions are set side by side with his favours, we must each of us say, our sins indeed are exceeding great! And again, I repeat it, this is a doctrine that no man can rightly know and receive until he has felt it. My hearer, hast thou ever felt this doctrine to be true "my sin is exceeding great?" Sickness is a terrible thing, more especially when it is accompanied with pain, when the poor body is racked to an extreme, so that the spirit fails within us, and we are dried up like a potsherd; but I bear witness in this place this morning, that sickness however agonizing, is nothing like the discovery of the evil of sin. I had rather pass through seven years of the most wearisome pain, and the most languishing sickness, than I would ever again pass through the terrible discovery of the terrors of sin. There be some of you who will understand what I mean; for brother, you have felt the same. Once on a time, you were playing with your lusts, and dallying with your sin, and it pleased God to open your eyes to see that sin is exceeding sinful. You remember the horror of that state, it seemed as if all hideous things were gathered into one dread and awful spectacle. You had before loved your iniquities, but now you loathed them and you loathed yourselves; before, you had thought that your transgressions might easily be got rid of, they were matters that might be speedily washed out by repentance, or purged away by amendment of your life; but now sin seemed an alarming thing, and that you should have committed all this iniquity; life seemed to you a curse, and death, if it had not been for that dreary something after death, would have been to you the highest blessing, if you could have escaped the lashings of your conscience, which seemed to be perpetually whipping you with whips of burning wire. Some of you, perhaps, passed through but a little of this. God was graciously pleased to give you deliverance in a few hours; but you must confess that those hours were hours into which it seemed as if years of misery had been compressed. It was my sad lot for three or four years, to feel the greatness of my sin without a discovery of the greatness of God's mercy. I had to walk through this world with more than a world upon my shoulders, and sustain a grief that so far exceeds all other griefs, as a mountain exceeds a mole hill; and I often wonder to this day how it was, that my hand was kept from rending my own body into pieces through the terrible agony which I felt, when I discovered the greatness of my transgression. Yet, I had not been a greater sinner than any one of you here present, openly and publicly, but heart sins were laid bare, sins of lip and tongue were discovered, and then I knew oh, that I may never have to learn over again in such a dreadful school this terrible lesson "The iniquity of Judah and of Israel is exceeding great." This is the first part of the discourse. We turn therefore from that terrible text to the second one, the first of John, the first chapter, and the seventh verse; "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." There lies the blackness; here stands the Lord Jesus Christ. What will he do with it? Will he go and speak to it, and say, "This is no great evil; this blackness is but a little spot?" Oh! no; he looks at it, and he says, "This is terrible blackness, darkness that may be felt; this is an exceeding great evil." Will he cover it up then? Will he weave a mantle of excuse and then wrap it round about the iniquity? Ah! no; whatever covering there may have been he lifts it off; and he declares that when the Spirit of truth is come he will convince the world of sin, and lay the sinner's conscience bare and probe the wound to the bottom. What then will he do? He will do a far better thing than make an excuse or than to pretend in any way to speak lightly of it. He will cleanse it all away, remove it entirely by the power and meritorious virtue of his own blood, which is able to save unto the uttermost. The gospel does not consist in making a man's sin appear little. The way Christians get their peace is not by seeing their sins shrivelled and shrinking until they seem small to them. But on the contrary; they, first of all, see their sins expanding, and then, after that, they obtain their peace by seeing those sins entirely swept away, far as the east is from the west. Just take the word "all" in another sense, not only as taking in all sorts of sin, but as comprehending the great aggregate mass of sin. Come here sinner, thou with the grey head. What are we to understand in thy case by this word all? Bring hither the tremendous load of the sins of thy youth. Those sins are still in thy bones, and thy tottering knees sometimes testify against the iniquities of thy early youth; but all these sins Christ can remove. Now bring hither the sins of thy riper manhood, thy transgressions in the family, thy failures in business, all the mistakes and all the errors thou hast committed in the thoughts of thy heart. Bring them all here; and then add the iniquities of thy frail and trembling age. What a mass is there here! what a mass of sin! Stir up that putrid mass, but put thy finger to thy nostrils first, for thou canst not bear the stench thereof if thou art a man with a living and quickened conscience. Couldst thou bear to read thine own diary if thou hadst written there all thy acts? No; for though thou be the purest of mankind, thy thoughts if they could have been recorded, would now if thou couldst read them, make thee startle and wonder that thou art demon enough to have had such imaginations within thy soul. But put them all there, and all these sins the blood of Christ can wash away. Yet, once more, in the praise of this blood we must notice one further feature. There be some of you here who are saying, "Ah! that shall be my hope when I come to die, that in the last hour of my extremity the blood of Christ will take my sins away; it is now my comfort to think that the blood of Christ shall wash, and purge, and purify the transgressions of life." But, mark! my text saith not so; it does not say the blood of Christ shall cleanse that were a truth but it says something greater than that it says, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth" cleanseth now. And is it possible that now a man may be forgiven? Can a harlot now have all her sins blotted out of the book of God? And can she know it? Can the thief this day have all his transgressions cast into the sea; and can he know it? Can I, the chief of sinners, this day be cleansed from all my sins, and know it? Can I know that I stand accepted before the throne of God, a holy creature because washed from every sin? Yes, tell it the wide world over, that the blood of Christ can not only wash you in the last dying article, but can wash you now. And let it be known, moreover, that to this there are a thousand witnesses, who, rising in this very place from their seats, could sing

"Oh, how sweet to view the flowing Of my Saviour's precious blood, With divine assurance knowing, He has made my peace with God"

But what meanest thou by coming? I mean this: come thou and put thy trust in Christ, and thou shalt be saved. What is meant by believing in Christ? Some say, that "to believe in Christ is to believe that Christ died for me." That is not a satisfactory definition of faith. An Arminian believes that Christ died for everybody. He must, therefore, necessarily believe that Christ died for him. His believing that will not save him, for he will still remain an unconverted man and yet believe that. To believe in Christ is to trust him. The way I believe in Christ, and I know not how to speak of it, except as I feel it myself, is simply this: I know it is written that "Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." I do firmly believe that those he came to save he will save. The only question I ask myself is, "Can I put myself among that number whom he has declared he came to save?" Am I a sinner? Not one that utters the word in a complimentary sense, but do I feel the deep compunction in my inmost soul? do I stand and feel convicted, guilty, and condemned? I do; I know I do. Whatever I may not be, one thing I know I am a sinner, guilty, consciously guilty, and often miserable on account of that guilt. Well, then, the Scripture says, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners."

"And when thine eye of faith is dim, Still trust in Jesus, sink or swim; Thus, at his footstool, bow the knee, And Israel's God thy peace shall be,"

Let me put my entire trust in the bloody sacrifice which he offered upon my behalf. No dependence will I have in my playings, my doings, my feelings, my weepings, my preachings, my thinkings, my Bible readings, nor all that. I would desire to have good works, and yet in my good works I will not put a shadow of trust.

"Nothing in my hands I bring, Simply to thy cross I cling."

And if there be any power in Christ to save I am saved; if there be an everlasting arm extended by Christ, and if that Saviour who hung there was "God over all, blessed for ever," and if his blood is still exhibited before the throne of God as the sacrifice for sin, then perish I cannot, till the throne of God shall break, and till the pillars of God's justice shall crumble. FPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT= "Now, sinner what then hast thou to do this morning? If thou feelest thy guilt to be great, cast thyself entirely upon this sacrifice by blood. "But no," says one, "I have not felt enough." Thy feelings are not Christ. "No, but I have not prayed enough." Thy prayers are not Christ, and thy prayers cannot save thee. "No, but I have not repented enough." Thy repentance may destroy thee, if thou puttest that in the place of Christ. All that thou hast, I repeat this morning, is this dost thou feel thyself to be a lost, ruined, guilty sinner? Then simply cast thyself on the fact that Christ is able to save sinners and rest there. What! do you say you cannot do it? Oh may God enable you, may he give you faith, sink or swim, to cast yourself on that. "Well! but," you say, "I may not; being such a sinner?" You may; and God never yet rejected a sinner that sought salvation by Jesus. Such a thing never happened, though the sinner sometimes thought it had. Come, the crumb is under the table; though thou be but a dog come and pick it up; it is a privilege even for the dog to take it; and mercy that is great to thee, is but a crumb to him that gives it freely come and take it. Christ will not reject thee. And if thou be the chief of sinners that ever lived, only simply trust thyself upon him, and perish thou canst not, if God be God, and if this Bible be the book of his truth. The Lord now help each one of us to come afresh to Christ, and to his name be glory.

Verses 8-10

Honest Dealing with God

A Sermon

(No. 1241)

Delivered on Lord's-Day Morning, June 20th, 1875, by


At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:8-10 .

GOD IS LIGHT, and in him is no darkness at all:" and consequently he cannot have fellowship with darkness. God is light, that is purity: and as the thrice Holy One he can hold no communion with iniquity. God is light, that is knowledge, for all things are known unto the Lord, and with ignorance he has no affinity. God is light, that is truth, for he can neither err, nor break his word, and therefore he cannot smile on anything that is false. We are constantly erring, first on this side and then on that, for there is darkness in us; God is light essentially, and it is not possible for his nature to be affected by either impurity or error. Out of this attribute of his nature arises the fact that the Lord always deals with things as they are. Man invents fictions, but God creates facts. We conceive of things as they appear, but God sees them as they exist. "Man looketh at the outward appearance, but God looketh at the heart." The dress of things impresses us, but all things are naked and open before him. The Lord never misrepresents, nor has fellowship with misrepresentation. We are for ever hurrying about with our paint and varnish and tinsel, laboring to make the meaner thing appear equal to the more precious, and spending our skill in making the sham seem as brilliant as the reality, but all this is contrary to the way of the Lord. Everything is true in God, and everything is seen in its reality by his all-discerning eye. Because he is light, he deals with things in the light, treating them as they are. If God is to deal graciously with us, we must each one stand in the light, and present ourselves before him as we are. If there be upon our lip a false word, or in our heart a false thought, or in our mind a knowingly false judgment, so far we are out of the sphere in which God can have fellowship with us. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." Our tendency to be false is illustrated in the chapter before us, for we find three grades of it there. There is first the man who lies: "If we say we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." We say and do that which is untrue if while abiding under the influence of sin and falsehood we claim to have fellowship with God. If this tendency is let alone and unchecked, you will find the man growing worse and doing according to the eighth verse, wherein it is written, "We deceive ourselves." Here the utterer of the falsehood has come to believe his own lie. he has blinded his understanding and befouled his conscience till he has become his own dupe. Falsehood has saturated his nature, so that he puts darkness for light and light for darkness. This is at once his sin and his punishment; he closed his eyes so long that at length he has become stone blind. He will soon reach the complete development of his sin, which is described in the tenth verse, when the man, who first lied, and then secondly, deceived himself, becomes so audacious in his falseness as to blaspheme the Most Holy by making him a liar. It is impossible to say where sin will end; the beginning of it is as a little water in which a bird may wash, and scatter half the pool in drops, but in its progress sin, like the brook, swells into a torrent deep and broad. We must, therefore, judge ourselves very severely, lest our natural tendency to falseness should lead us to false assertion as to ourselves, and then should urge us on till we delude ourselves into the foolish belief that we are what we proudly represent ourselves to be, and then should dare in the desperation of our pride to think God himself untrue. I intend at this time, as God may help us, first, to consider the three courses which lie open before us in the text; then, in the second place, to consider how to follow in the right course; and thirdly, it shall be my endeavor to lead you to consider why you should do so. I will suppose that we are all earnestly anxious to be in fellowship with God. We cannot bear to be his enemies any longer; distance from him has become distasteful to us; we long, like the prodigal son, to arise and go to our Father, that we may hereafter dwell in our Father's house. Our deceitful heart suggests to us, first, that we should deny our present sinfulness, and so claim fellowship with God, on the ground that we are holy, and so may draw near to the Holy God. It is suggested to our hearts that we should say that "we have no sin," and are neither guilty by act nor defiled in nature. This is a bold assertion, and he who males it has no truth in him, but at different times and by very different persons it has been made and stoutly maintained. There are many ways in which this proud saying has been justified. Some have arrived at it by denying altogether the doctrine of original sin, "as the Pelagians do vainly talk." They will not allow that there is a fault and natural corruption in the nature of every man, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil. Now we, I trust, will ever be clear from this doctrinal error, for we know, as David did, that we were shapen in iniquity, and are

"Sprung from the man whose desperate fall Corrupts the blood, and taints us all."

I do not suppose that many of you are likely to say you have no sin on the ground of a disbelief of natural depravity, for many of you know this truth, not merely as a matter of creed, but as a terrible fact, which has come home to you, and caused you keenest sorrow. If, however, any of you should venture to plead that you have no sin, on the ground that your nature is not evil, I do beseech you rid your heart of that lie, for a lie it is through and through. I mind not how honest your parentage, nor how noble your ancestry, there is in you a bias towards evil; your animal passions, nay more, your mental faculties are unhinged and out of order, and unless some power beyond your own shall keep your desires in check, you will soon prove by overt acts of transgression the depravity of your nature. Some, however, have reached this position by another route. They plead that though it may be they have sin, yet they are not bad at heart; they look upon sin as a technical term, and though they admit in words that they have sin, yet they practically deny it by saying, "I have a good heart at bottom; I always was well-intentioned from the very first. True, what I have done does not appear to be right according to the very severe judgment of the law of God; but I cannot help that; I only followed my nature, and cannot be blamed, for I never meant to do anything wrong, either to God or man. I have always been kind to the poor, and have done the right thing all round. I know I have of course we all have erred here and there, but you cannot expect a fellow to be perfect. I can't say I see anything to find fault with." Thus you in effect say you have no sin. Though you compliment God by saying with the church service, "We are miserable sinners," you do not mean it at all; you mean that if you have sinned it has been your misfortune, and you are to be pitied rather than blamed. In so saving or feeling you prove that the truth is not in you, you are either deplorably ignorant as to what holiness is, or else you are wilfully uttering a falsehood; in either case the truth is not in you. Whatever shape our denial of our sinful nature and state may take, please remember that that denial is a mere say, and nothing more, "If we say we have no sin." You know how little value we attach to evidence of the nature of "I say," and "they say." There may be no truth whatever in such evidence, and in the present case there is nothing whatever to warrant the proud saying "We have no sin." There will come a day when the righteous will have no sin, as a matter of fact; but now, whether saint or sinner, if you say "I have no sin," you say it, and that is all. The words sound very prettily, but there is no fact to correspond with them. This self-deceit has taken you a good deal of persuading and ingenious trickery. To deceive another requires a measure of cunning, but to deceive yourself needs far more. Our deceitful heart reveals an almost Satanic shrewdness in self-deception, it readily enough makes the worse appear the better reason, and it states a lie so that it wears the fashion of truth. If you say you have no sin you have achieved a fearful success, you have put out your own eyes, and perverted your own reason! You have fed upon falsehood till it has entered into your very being, and rendered you incapable of truth. I know you claim to be very sincere in your belief of your own rightness, and it would be very hard to persuade you out of your fond notions; tent this is all the worse, for so much the more completely have you deceived yourself. Now that you call darkness light, and boast that your blindness is true sight, we mourn over you as all but hopeless; and we fear lest the Lord should leave you to perish, because you cling so fast to a lie. Let it be remembered, however, that while the man who has deceiver! himself says, "I have no sin," he has not deceived the Lord. God sees sin in us if we do not. The ostrich is reported to bury her head in the sand, and then to suppose herself safe, but she is the more speedily taken; and we may shut our eyes and say, "have no sin," but in so doing instead of securing eternal salvation we shall as practically give ourselves up to the destroyer as the bird of the desert is fabled to do. Let a man say, "I have no sin," and he has condemned himself out of his own mouth, for the text says of such a man the truth is not in him, and he who hath not truth in him is not saved. The absence of confession of present sin means the absence of the light of truth, and sincerity. All sorts of people God saves, however black their sins, but the man of a false spirit, the Pharisaic washer of the outside of the cup, while the inside is foul, is the last person who is likely to be saved. A main point in conversion consists in a man's being honest, for it is the honest and good ground which receives the seed. If you preach the gospel among the roughest and most profane of men, there is more hope of success among them than among hypocritical professors. Open enmity and opposition are better than that pretended friendship which begins and ends with the shallow compliments of empty formalism. Outward religiousness, unattended by heart piety, does a man serious injury, by rendering him superficial and unreal in all that he does in reference to God, and as God desires truth in the inward parts he will not parley with dishonest men. Pretend and profess and boast what ye will, but this know, that the living God abhors everything which is not according to the strictest truth. The second course which is open to us is the one which I trust the divine Spirit may lead us to follow, to lay bare our case before God exactly as it stands. "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity." Please to observe that John does not say, "If we confess our sin." He had been speaking of that in the eighth verse, but here he uses the plural, to include both sin in its essence and in its actual development in our life. We are to confess both the inward sin and the outward fruit of it. We must say, "Lord, I own with shame that as my nature is corrupt such has my life been; I am a sinner both by nature and by practice." Make the confession of the two things, of the cause and the effect, of the original depravity the foul source, and then of the actual sin which is the polluted stream. And if you say, "How am I to confess it?" I would say this To confess sin does not mean merely on some one occasion to repeat a catalogue of sins before God in private, nor at certain set seasons to rehearse a list of our faults, but it means a life-long acknowledgment of our sin. We must take our places as then who have sinned, and never attempt to occupy the position of innocent beings. We are to look towards God as a man ought to look who has transgressed. Do you understand me? The Pharisee took up the posture and spirit of a man who had no sin in him and said, "God, I thank thee." He was not confessing sin, but claiming righteousness, and he was not accepted because he was out of the light, that is to say, he was not speaking and feeling according to truth. But the republican, though he said little, and made no confession of sin in detail, yet by his posture, by his smiting on his breast, by his not daring to look up, by the sigh which he heaved, was virtually confessing sin. When a man prayerfully begs that he may feel the power of the blood of Jesus, he is confessing sin, for is not the blood of Jesus needful because of our sin? The daily exercise of faith in Jesus Christ is a confession of sin, for nobody would need to believe in a Savior unless he had sin. Baptism is a confession of sin, who needs to be buried with Christ if he be alive by a righteousness of his own? To come to the communion table, and remember there the atoning sacrifice, is a confession of sin; for we should need no remembrance of our blessed Substitute if we were not sinners. Confession of sin is best carried out when we deal with God as those who have offended him, not as those who feel that they are innocent. We are to act before the Lord as those who know that sin is in them. And how ought such to behave? They will walk with God very humbly, and watchfully, jealous lest inbred corruption should get the mastery of them. Such persons will daily cry to the strong for strength, and what is prayer for strength but a confession of weakness caused by sin? What is watchfulness but a confession that our nature still needs holding in check. So ought we to watch as those who feel that the battle is not fought, and therefore we cannot lay down our Armour and our sword. We should so live as those who know that the race is not run, and therefore they press forward. We ought to be prayerfully dependent upon God, as those who know that if they were left by divine grace they would go back unto perdition. Now, this piteous outcry because all is wrong within is virtually a confession of sin, and a truthful one too, for all is wrong. If you feel you are desperately bad, remember you are worse than you think you are. Your case is in itself desperate, hopeless, damnable! If you feel that you are lost, you do not feel too strongly, you are in the true light where God will meet with you. The Lord will not consent to parley with you on the ground that you are not much of a sinner, and that after all your sin is not a great evil. No, he will meet you where the truth is and nowhere else; when you confess that you are unworthy of his pity, you are owning the truth, and when you feel guilty, you feel what is really fact; on this footing of truth, sad truth though it be, the Lord will meet with you through the atoning blood. It is in your vileness that sovereign grace o'er sin abounding will come to you and cleanse you, and therefore the sooner you come to the honest truth the better for you, for the sootier will you obtain joy and peace through believing in Christ. The text means just this Treat God truthfully, and he will treat you truthfully. Make no pretensions before God, but lay bare your soul, let him see it as it is, and then he will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness. Mark the beauty of that expression; God will deal with you in faithfulness. His nature is mercy, and you naturally expect that if you confess your sin to a merciful God, he will deal mercifully with you and be faithful to his nature; and he will be so. But he has also given a promise that if the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts and turn unto the Lord, he will have mercy upon kiln; depend upon it he will be faithful to his promise. The blood of Jesus Christ has made a full atonement, and God will be faithful to that atonement. He will deal with you on the grounds of the covenant of grace, of which the sacrifice of Jesus is the seal, and therein also he will be true to you. Now, there are still some who say, "Well, yes, I think I could go to God in that way, sir, but oh, my past sins prevent me. I could tell him I am sinful, I could ask him to renew my nature, I could lay myself bare before him, but oh, my past sins; all might yet be well if I had not so sinned? Ah, my brethren, that brings out a third course which lies before you, which I hope you will not follow, namely, to deny actual sin. The very thing which I bless God you cannot do, would seal your doom, for it would lead you to make God a liar, and so his word could not abide in you. If you felt able to say, "I have not singed," in proportion as you said and felt that you would put yourself out of the light in which God alone can walk with you. Some get to that point by saying that what they did was not Really sin to any extent; or, at any rate, if it would have been sin in other people, it was no sin in them; considering their strong passions, they wonder they were not worse, and considering the circumstances of their case, they do not see how they could have done otherwise: in a word, they have not sinned at all. There is another class who say, "All these commandments have I kept from my youth up; what lack I yet?" This self-justification clearly makes God a liar. For what means the cross of Calvary, what mean those streams of blood, what mean those agonies to the death? God has acted out a gigantic lie if we have no sin, for he has provided a propitiation for a thing which does not exist. O hideous profanity! O vile blasphemy! thus to insinuate that the great sacrifice of love divine was an acted falsehood. Brethren, we have sinned, sinned far beyond anything we know, and the only wise and true way is to confess it before God. II. LET US NOW CONSIDER HOW WE CAN FOLLOW THIS COURSE, which is the only right and acceptable one, namely, to confess our sin. I suppose I am speaking to those who are in earnest about their salvation. O my friends, lay bare your consciences before the law of God. Go and open the twentieth chapter of Exodus and read the ten commands; think of their spirituality, remember how he that looketh on a woman to lust after her committeth adultery with her in his heart; and let the law with all its blaze of light flash flame into your soul. Do not shirk the facts or shrink from knowing their full force, but feel the power of the condemning law. Then recollect your individual sins; recall them one by one: those greater sins, those huge blots upon your character, do not try to forget them. If you have forgotten them, raise them from the grave and think them over, and feel them as your own sins. Do not lay them at the door of anyone else. Do not look at circumstances in order to find an alleviation for your guilt, but set them in the light of God's countenance. Remember, the sins of your holy things, your Sabbath sins, your sanctuary sins, your sins against the Bible, your sins against prayer, your sins against the love of the Father, the blood of Christ, and the strivings of the Spirit. Oh, how many are these! Think of your sins of omission, your failures in duty, your shortcomings in spirit. Repent of what you have done, and what you have not done. How both these forms of iniquity may stagger and humble you! Think of your sins of heart. How cold has that heart been towards your Savior! Your sins of thought, how wrongly your mind has often judged; your sins of imagination, what filthy creatures your imagination has portrayed in lively colors on the wall. Think of all the sins of your desires and delights, and hopes and fears. What faculty is there that has not been defined? "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint." We are bound to confess the aggravations of our sin, how we sinned against light and against knowledge, against conscience, and against divine love, against the monitions of the Holy Spirit, against tender warnings which came from his gentle voice. Oh, when some of us err, every ounce of our sin has as much evil in it as a ton of other men's sins. Let us take care that we confess all. And then let us try to see the heinousness of all sin as an offense against a kind, good, loving God, a sin against a perfect law, intended for our good. Let us remember our wanton sins, our mischievous sins, sins which hurt ourselves, foolish sins, despicable sins, into which our spirits have descended, even though we have known the nobility of holiness, and had some fellowship with God. I beseech you, dear hearer, try to fix your eye on Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice, and live as a believer in him, and this will make you live as a constant confessor of sin; for when the wounds of Jesus speak peace they also preach penitence, and when the atonement gives us rest it also makes us meek and lowly in heart under a sense of abiding faultiness. As you see what Jesus suffered you will see how you sinned, and as you observe the glory of his merit you will see the horror of your own demerit. Thus may you daily, as long as ever you live, confess sin and find cleansing from all unrighteousness. Moreover, upon some of us it is imperative, because we cannot do anything else. There may possibly be a person here who could say, "I have no sin"; but I could not. Why, if I were to claim innocence either of nature or practice the words would choke me. Say I have no sin! I should expect to turn black in the face and fall down dead, it would be so gross a falsehood. To say I have no sin, why there is no one part of my whole nature but what would protest against such an assertion! I am shut up to come to God as a sinner, I cannot help it; and I would to God that every one in this place felt shut up to it too, for it is the intent and design of the law to shut the sinner up in order that he may be compelled to accept salvation on free grace terms through Jesus Christ. You can never catch a fish in a net while there is one mesh through which he can escape, but when all around the meshes are so small that the fish Cannot get out, then we have taken him. When you are such a sinner that you cannot plead that you have no sin, nor yet that you have not sinned, but are quite shut up to be saved by grace, then you are in Christ's net, and he will lift you out, and the Fisher of Men shall have cause to rejoice. I exhort thee, sinner, to give up all thine attempts to feel right and to be right before coming to God in Christ Jesus. Have you not made a great failure of it already? You thought you were getting right for Christ, but just then you fell in the worst possible way. You have been trying to repair your old clothes and make yourself respectable before coming to Christ; but every time you have touched the garment the rent has grown worse. Give up all attempting to prepare for grace, and come to Jesus Christ just as you are. When you have been trying to make yourself feel that you are right and proper for Christ, you have been sinning against God, for you have been flying in the teeth of his witness, which is, that Jesus Christ came, not to save the righteous, but sinners. In proportion as you try to make yourself out to be righteous you have denied the testimony of God. May the Spirit of God help you to come to your heavenly Father on the ground of truth, confessing that you have sinned that is the truth for you; and on the ground that Christ died for sinners that is the truth on God's side which enables him to smile on sinners. "Now, what is your state this morning? Cold as an iceberg as to divine things? Come and tell the Lord you are an iceberg, and Isle him to thaw you. What is your state hard as a rock, or like a nether millstone? Is there no feeling? Come and tell the Lord that you do not feel. Oh, is there no trace of any good feeling in you? Come to my Lord without a trace of feeling, and tell him just what you are; and oh, if you can dare over the head of all your sin and sinfulness to say, "Nevertheless, I rest myself on the blood that cleanses from all sin and I beseech thee, O Lord, seeing I confess my sin, to cleanse me from all unrighteousness," you will find him faithful and just to do it. Come as the citizens of Calais did to King Edward III when the city was captured; come with ropes about your neck, owning that if sentence be executed upon you, you deserve it; come at once in all your filthiness and dishabille; come with no jewels in your ears, with no ornaments upon your necks, and with no recommendation whatever; come as sinners by nature, and as sinners by practice. Plead nothing that looks like goodness, but come in your sin. Do not try to put one touch of paint on those cheeks of yours, nor imitate the flush of health upon that consumptive countenance. Come honestly as you are, and say "Lord, look at me as I am, a worse sinner than even I think myself to be, and then show the infinity of thy free grace, and the power of Jesus' dying love in saving me, even me." Ah, my brethren, you will not be long without peace if you draw nigh to God in that fashion. Fling away any preparations, fitnesses, commendations, and hopefulnesses, and take my Lord Jesus, as empty-handed sinners take him. Meet him just as he is, and just as you are. God will deal with you truthfully. He will never cast away a sinner that comes to him according to truth. For my own part, I mean to come to him always as a sinner. I know I am saved, but I never hope to get one inch beyond that verse, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth me from all sin," for only so can I walk in the light as he is in the light.


Verse 9

Justice Satisfied

A Sermon

(No. 255)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, May 29th, 1859, by the

REV. C. H. Spurgeon

at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.


"Just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." Romans 3:26 .

"Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 .

WHEN THE SOUL is seriously impressed with the conviction of its guilt, when terror and alarm get hold upon it concerning the inevitable consequences of its sin, the soul is afraid of God. It dreads at that time every attribute of divinity. But most of all the sinner is afraid of God's justice. "Ah," saith he to himself, "God is a just God; and if so, how can he pardon my sins? for my iniquities cry aloud for punishment, and my transgressions demand that his right hand should smite me low. How can I be saved? Were God unjust, he might forgive: but, alas! he is not so, he is severely just. 'He layeth justice to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.' He is the judge of all the earth, and he must do right. How then can I escape from his righteous wrath which must be stirred up against me?" Let us be assured that the sinner is quite right in the conviction that there is here a great difficulty. The justice of God is in itself a great barrier to the salvation of sinners. There is no possibility for that barrier to be surmounted, nor even for it to be removed except by one means, which shall this day be proclaimed unto you through the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. It is true that God is just. Let old Sodom tell you how God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon man's iniquity. Let a drowning world tell you how God lifted the sluices of the fountains of the great deep, and bade the bubbling waters spring up and swallow up man alive. Let the earth tell you; for she opened her mouth when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against God. Let the buried cities of Nineveh, and the tattered relics of Tyre and Sidon, tell you that God is just, and will by no means spare the guilty. And direst of all, let hell's bottomless lake declare what is the awful vengeance of God against the sins of man. Let the sighs, and groans, and moans, and shrieks of spirits condemned of God, rise in your ears, and bear witness that he is a God who will not spare the guilty, who will not wink at iniquity, transgression, and sin, but who will have vengeance upon every rebel, and will give justice its full satisfaction for every offence.

The sinner is right in his conviction that God is just, and he is moreover right in the inference which follows from it, that because God is just his sin must be punished. Ah, sinner, if God punish not thy sin, he has ceased to be what he has always been the severely just, the inflexibly righteous. Never has there been a sin pardoned, absolutely and without atonement, since the world began. There has never been an offense yet remitted by the great Judge of heaven, until the law has received the fullest vindication. You are right, O convicted sinner, that such shall be the case even to the end. Every transgression shall have its just recompense of reward. For every offence there shall be its stroke, and for every iniquity there shall be its doom. "Ah," now says the sinner, "then I am shut out of heaven. If God be just and he must punish sin, then what can I do? Justice, like some dark angel, strides across the road of mercy, and with his sword drawn, athirst for blood and winged to slay, he strides across my path, and threatens to drive me backwards over the precipice of death into the ever-burning lake." Sinner, thou art right; it is even so. Except through the gospel which I am about to preach to thee, justice is thine antagonist, thy lawful, irresistible, and insatiable enemy. It cannot suffer thee to enter heaven, for thou hast sinned; and punished that sin must be, avenged that transgression must be, as long as God is God the holy and the just.

Is it possible, then, that the sinner cannot be saved? This is the great riddle of the law, and the grand discovery of the gospel. Wonder ye heavens! be astonished O earth! that very justice which stood in the sinner's way and prevented his being pardoned, has been by the gospel of Christ appeased; by the rich atonement offered upon Calvary, justice is satisfied, has sheathed its sword, and has now not a word to say against the pardon of the penitent. Nay, more, that justice once so angry, whose brow was lightning, and whose voice was thunder, has now become the sinner's advocate, and itself with its mighty voice pleads with God, that whosoever confesses his sin should be pardoned and be cleansed from all unrighteousness.

The business of this morning shall be to show, in the first place, according to the first text, how justice is no longer the sinner's enemy "God is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth;" and then, in the second place, that justice has become the sinner's advocate, and that "God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

But here let me utter a caution; I shall speak this morning, only to those who feel their guilt, and who are ready to confess their sin. For to those who still love sin, and will not acknowledge their guilt, there is no promise of mercy or pardon. For them there remains nothing but the fearful looking for of judgment. "He that being often reproved hardeneth his heart shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." The soul that neglects this great salvation cannot escape; there is no door of escape provided for it. Unless the Lord has now brought us to feel our need of mercy, has compelled us to confess that unless he gives us mercy we must righteously perish, and unless, moreover, he has made us willing now to be saved on any terms, so that we may be saved at all, this gospel which I am about to preach is not ours. But if we be convinced of sin and are now trembling before the thunders of God's wrath, every word that I am now about to speak will be full of encouragement and consolation to you.


The one answer to that is, Justice has been satisfied through the substitution of our blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. When man sinned the law demanded that man must be punished. The first offense of man was committed by Adam, who was the representative of the entire race. When God would punish sin, in his own infinite mind he thought of the blessed expedient, not of punishing his people, but of punishing their representative, the covenant head, the second Adam. It was by one man, the first man, that sin entered into the world, and death by sin. It was by another man, the second Adam, who is the Lord from heaven, it was by him that this sin was borne; by him its punishment was endured; by him the whole wrath of heaven was suffered. And through that second representative of manhood, Jesus, the second Adam, God is now able and willing to forgive the vilest of the vile, and justify even the ungodly, and he is able to do so without the slightest violation of his justice. For, mark, when Jesus Christ the Son of God suffered on the tree, he did not suffer for himself. He had no sin, either natural or actual. He had done nothing whatever that could bring him under the ban of heaven, or subject his holy soul and his perfect body to grief and pain. When he suffered it was as a substitute. He died "the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." Had his sorrows been personally deserved they would have had no efficacy in them. But inasmuch as for sins not his own he died to atone; inasmuch as he was punished, not for any guilt that he had done or could do, but for the guilt incurred by others, there was a merit and an efficacy in all that he suffered, by which the law was satisfied, and God is able to forgive.

Let us show very briefly how fully the law is satisfied.

1. Note first the dignity of the victim who offered himself up to divine justice. Man had sinned; the law required the punishment of manhood. But Jesus, the eternal Son of God, "very God of very God," who had been hymned through eternal ages by joyous angels, who had been the favourite of his Father's court, exalted high above principalities and powers, and every name that is named, he himself condescended to become man; was born of the Virgin Mary; was cradled in a manger; lived a life of suffering, and at last died a death of agony. If you will but think of the wondrous person whom Jesus was as very God of very God, king of angels, creator, preserver, Lord of all I think you will see that in his sufferings, the law received a greater vindication than it could have done even in the sufferings of all the men that have ever lived or ever could live. If God had consumed the whole human race, if all the worlds that float in ether had been sacrificed as one mighty holocaust to the vengeance of the law, it would not have been so well vindicated as when Jesus died. For the deaths of all men and all angels would have been but the deaths and sufferings of creatures; but when Jesus died, the Creator himself underwent the pang, it was the divine preserver of the world hanging on the cross. There is such dignity in the Godhead, that all it does is marvellous and infinite in its merit; and when he stooped to suffer, when he bowed his awful head, cast aside his diadem of stars to have his brow girt about with thorns; when his hands that once swayed the sceptre of all worlds were nailed to the tree; when his feet that erst had pressed the clouds, when these were fastened to the wood, then did the law receive an honour such as it never could have received if a whole universe in one devouring conflagration had blazed and burned for ever.

2. In the next place, just pause and think of the relationship which Jesus Christ had towards the great judge of all the earth, and then you will see again that the law must have been fully satisfied thereby. We hear of Brutus that he was the most inflexible of law-givers; that when he sat upon the bench he knew no distinction of persons. Imagine dragged before Brutus many of the noblest Roman senators, convicted of crime: he condemns them, and without mercy they are rent away by the lictors to their doom. You would admire certainly all this justice of Brutus But suppose Brutus' own son brought before him and such was the case imagine the father sitting on the judgment-bench and declaring that he knew no distinction whatever, even of his own children. Conceive that son tried and condemned out of his father's own mouth. See him tied up before his father's own eyes, while, as the inflexible judge, that father bids the lictor lay on the rod, and afterwards cries, "Take him away and use the axe!" See you not here how he loves his country better than his son, and he loves justice better than either. "Now," says the world, "Brutus is just indeed." Now, if God had condemned each of us one by one, or the whole race in a mass, there would certainly have been a vindication of his justice. But lo! his own son takes upon him the sins of the world, and he comes before his Father's presence. He is not guilty in himself, but the sins of man are laid upon his shoulders. The Father condemns his Son; he gives him up to the Roman rod; he gives him up to Jewish mockery, to military scorn, and to priestly arrogance. He delivers up his Son to the executioner, and bids him nail him to the tree; and as if that were not enough, since the creature had not power of itself to give forth all the vengeance of God upon its own substitute, God himself smites his Son. Are you staggered at such an expression? It is scriptural. Read in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and there you have the proof thereof: "It pleased the Lord to bruise him: he hath put him to grief." When the whip had gone round to every hand, when the betrayer had smitten him, when Pilate and Herod, and Jew and Gentile, had each laid on the stroke, it was seen that human arm was not powerful enough to execute the full vengeance: then did the Father take his sword, and cry, "Awake! O sword, against my shepherd, against the man that is my fellow," and he smote him sternly, as if he had been his enemy, as if he were a common culprit, as if he were the worst of criminals he smote him again and again, till that awful shriek was forced from the lips of the dying substitute, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani," my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Surely, when God smites his Son, and such a Son, when God smites his only begotten and well-beloved, then Justice has more than its due, more than itself could ask, Christ himself did freely give!

3. Furthermore, if you will please for a moment to consider how terrible were the agonies of Christ, which, mark you, he endured in the room, the place, the stead of all poor penitent sinners, of all those who confess their sins and believe in him; I say, when you mark these agonies, you will readily see why Justice does not stand in the sinner's way. Doth Justice come to thee this morning, and say, "Sinner, thou hast sinned, I will punish thee?" Answer thus "Justice, thou hast punished all my sins. All I ought to have suffered has been suffered by my substitute, Jesus. It is true that in myself I owe thee a debt greater than I can pay, but it is true that in Christ I owe thee nothing; for all I did owe is paid, every farthing of it; the utmost drachm has been counted down; not a doit remains that is due from me to thee, O thou avenging justice of God." But if Justice still accuse, and conscience clamour, go thou and take Justice with thee to Gethsemane, and stand there with it: see that man so oppressed with grief, that all his head, his hair, his garments bloody be. Sin was a press a vice which forced his blood from every vein, and wrapped him in a sheet of his own blood. Dost see that man there! canst hear his groans, his cries, his earnest intercessions, his strong crying and tears! canst mark that clotted sweat as it crimsons the frozen soil, strong enough to unloose the curse! dost see him in the desperate agony of his spirit, crushed, broken, bruised beneath the feet of the Justice in the olive press of God! Justice, is not that enough? will not that content thee? In a whole hell there is not so much dignity of vengeance as there is in the garden of Gethsemane. Art thou not yet satisfied? Come, Justice, to the hall of Pilate. Seest thou that man arraigned, accused, charged with sedition and with blasphemy! See him taken to the guard-room, spat upon, buffetted with hands, crowned with thorns, robed in mockery, and insulted with a reed for a sceptre. I say, Justice, seest thou that man, and dost thou know that he is "God over all blessed for ever?" and yet he endureth all this to satisfy thy demands! Art thou not content with that? Dost thou still frown? Let me show thee this man on the pavement. He is stripped. Stand, Justice, and listen to those stripes, those bloody scourges, and as they fall upon his devoted back and plough deep furrows there, dost thou see thong-full after thong-full of his quivering flesh torn from his poor bare back! Art not content yet, Justice? Then what will satisfy thee? "Nothing," says Justice, "but his death." Come thou with me, then thou canst see that feeble man hurried through the streets! Seest thou him driven to the top of Calvary, hurled on his back, nailed to the transverse wood? Oh, Justice, canst thou see his dislocated bones, now that his cross is lifted up? Stand with me, O Justice, see him as he weeps, and sighs, and cries; see his soul-agonies! Canst thou read that tale of terror which is veiled in that flesh and blood? Come, listen Justice, whilst thou hearest him cry, "I thirst," and whilst thou seest the burning fever devouring him, till he is dried up like a potsherd, and his tongue cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst! And lastly, O Justice, dost thou see him bow his head, and die? "Yes," saith Justice, "and I am satisfied; I have nothing that I can ask more; I am fully content; my uttermost demands are more than satisfied."

And am I not content, too? Guilty though I am and vile, can I not plead that this bloody sacrifice is enough to satisfy God's demands against me? Oh, yes, I trust I can,

"My faith doth lay its hand,

On that dear head of thine,

While like a penitent I stand,

And here confess my sin."

Jesus, I believe that they sufferings were for me; and I believe that they are more than enough to satisfy for all my sins. By faith I cast myself at the foot of thy cross and cling to it. This is my only hope, my shelter, and my shield. It cannot be, that God can smite me now. Justice itself prevents, for when Justice once is satisfied it were injustice if it should ask for more. Now, is it not clear enough to the eye of every one, whose soul has been aroused, that Justice stands no longer in the way of the sinner's pardon? God can be just, and yet the justifier. He has punished Christ, why should he punish twice for one offence? Christ has died for all his people's sins, and if thou art in the covenant, thou art one of Christ's people. Damned thou canst not be. Suffer for thy sins thou canst not. Until God can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died. "Away goes universal redemption," says one. Yes, away it goes, indeed. I am sure there is nothing about that in the Word of God. A redemption that does not redeem is not worth my preaching, or your hearing, Christ redeemed every soul that is saved; no more, and no less. Every spirit that shall be seen in heaven Christ bought. If he had redeemed those in hell, they never could have come there. He has bought his people with his blood, and they alone shall he bring with him. "But who are they?" says one. Thou art one, if thou believest. Thou art one if thou repentest of thy sin. If thou wilt now take Christ to be thy all in all, then thou art one of his; for the covenant must prove a lie, and God must be unjust, and justice must become unrighteousness, and love must become cruelty, and the cross must become a fiction, ere thou canst be condemned if thou trustest in Jesus.

This is the way in which Justice ceases to be the enemy of souls.

II. The second text says that not only can God be just, but it says something more: it says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Now, if I understand this text, it means this: that IT IS AN ACT OF JUSTICE ON GOD'S PART TO FORGIVE THE SINNER WHO MAKES A CONFESSION OF HIS SIN TO GOD. Mark! not that the sinner deserves forgiveness: that can never be. Sin can never merit anything but punishment, and repentance is no atonement for sin. Not that God is bound from any necessity of his nature to forgive every one that repents, because repentance has not in itself sufficient efficacy and power to merit forgiveness at the hand of God. Yet, nevertheless, it is a truth that, because God is just, he must forgive every sinner who confesses his sin. And if he did not and mark, it is a bold thing to say, but it is warranted by the text if a sinner should be led truly and solemnly to make confession of his sins and cast himself on Christ, if God did not forgive him, then he were not the God that he is represented to be in the Word of God: he were a God unjust, and that may God forbid, such a thing must not, cannot be. But how, then, is it that Justice itself actually demands that every soul that repents should be pardoned? It is so. The same Justice that just now stood with a fiery sword in his hand, like the cherubim of old keeping the way of the tree of life, now goes hand in hand with the sinner. "Sinner," he says, "I will go with thee. When thou goest to plead for pardon I will go and plead for thee. Once I spoke against thee: but now I am so satisfied with what Christ has done, that I will go with thee and plead for thee. I will change my language I will not say a word to oppose thy pardon, but I will go with thee and demand it. It is but an act of justice that God should now forgive." And the sinner goes up with Justice, and what has Justice got to say? Why, it says this: "God must forgive the repenting sinner, if he be just, according to his promise." A God who could break his promise were unjust. We do not believe in men who tell us lies. I have known some of so gentle a disposition, that they could never say "No;" if they were asked to do a thing they have said, "Yes." But they have never earned a character for it, when they have said "Yes," and afterwards did not fulfil. It is not so with God. He is no tender-hearted being who promises more than he can perform, and no forgetful one who promises what afterwards shall slip from his memory. Every word which God utters shall be fulfilled, whether it be decree, threatening, or promise. Sinner! go to God with a promise in your hand. "Lord thou hast said, 'He that confesseth his sin, and forsaketh it, shall find mercy.' I confess my sin, and I forsake it: Lord, give me mercy!" Don't doubt but that God will give it you. You have his own pledge in your hand; you have his own bond in your keeping. Take that pledge and that bond before his throne of mercy, and that bond never shall be cancelled till it has been honoured. You shall see that promise fulfilled to the uttermost letter, though your sin be never so black. Suppose the promise you take should be this. "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." "But," says the Law, "thou art one of the greatest sinners that ever lived." "Ay, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and I claim the fulfillment of it." "No, but thou hast been a blasphemer." "I know it, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and blasphemer though I am, I claim the promise." "But thou hast been a thief, thou hast deceived thy neighbour, and thou hast robbed men." "I have, but the promise says, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise case out;' I come, and I claim the promise. It does not say anything at all about character in the promise: it says, 'Him that cometh,' and I come, and if I be black as the devil, nevertheless God is true, and I claim the promise. I confess all that can be said against me. Will God be untrue, and send a seeking soul away with a promise unfulfilled? Never!" "But," says one, "you have lived many years in this way; your conscience has often checked you, and you have resisted conscience often: it is too late now." "But I have the promise, 'Him that cometh,' there is no time stipulated in it 'Him that cometh;' I come, and O God, thou canst not break the promise!" Challenge God by faith, and you will see that he will be as good as his word to you. Though you are worse than words can tell, God, I repeat it, as long as he is just, must honour his own promise. Go and confess your sin, trust in Christ, and you shall find pardon.

But, again, not only did God make the promise, but according to the text man has been induced to act upon it; and, therefore, this becomes a double bond upon the justice of God. Suppose you made a promise to any man, that if such a thing was done, you would do something else, and suppose that man were to do something quite contrary to his own nature, quite abhorent to himself; but he did it nevertheless, because he expected to get great blessings thereby, do you mean to say you would tempt a man to do that, and put him to vast expense, and care and trouble, and then turn round and say? "There I shall have nothing to do with that promise: I only promised to make you do so-and-so, now, I will not fulfil my engagement." Why the man would turn about and call you base to make a promise to lead him to do something and then not fulfil your promise. Now, God has said, "If we confess our sins and trust in Christ, we shall have mercy." You have done it; you have made the most abject and sincere confession, and you do declare that you have no trust but the blood and righteousness of Christ. Now, on the faith of the promise you have been led into this state. Do you imagine when God has brought you through much pain and agony of mind to repent of sin, to give up self-righteousness, and rely on Christ, he will afterwards turn round and tell you he did not mean what he said? It cannot be it cannot be. Suppose, now you were about to engage a man to be your servant, and you say to him, renounce such a situation, give that up; come and take a house in the neighbourhood where I live, and I will take you to be my servant." Suppose he does it, and you then say, "I am glad for your own sake that you have left your master, still I will not take you." What would he say to you? He would say, "I gave up my situation on the faith of your promise, and now, you break it." Ah! but it never can be said of Almighty God, that, if a sinner acted on the faith of his promise, then that promise was not kept. God ceases to be God when he ceases to have mercy upon the soul who seeks pardon through the blood of Christ. No, he is a just God, "Faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

One more aspect of this case. God's justice demands that the sinner should be forgiven if he seeks mercy, for this reason: Christ died on purpose to secure pardon for every seeking soul. Now, I hold it to be an axiom, a self-evident truth, that whatever Christ died for he will have. I cannot believe that when he paid to his Father the price of blood, and groans and tears, he bought something which the Father will not give him. Now, Christ died to purchase the pardon of sin for all those who believe on him, and do you suppose that the Father will rob him of that which be has bought so dearly? No, God were untrue to his own Son, he would break his oath to his well-beloved and only begotten Son, if he were not to give pardon, peace, and purity to every soul that comes to God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Oh, I would that I could preach it as with a tongue of thunder everywhere, God is just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth. God is just to forgive us our sins, if we confess them; just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

III. Now, to close. I must just enter into some little EXPLANATION OF THE TWO GREAT DUTIES THAT ARE TAUGHT IN THE TWO TEXTS. The first duty is faith "believeth in Christ;" the second text is confession "if we confess our sins."

I will begin with confession first. Expect not that God will forgive you until you confess; not in the general confession of a prayer book, but in the particular confession of your own inmost heart. You are not to confess to a priest or a man, unless you have offended against him. In that respect, if you have been an offender against any man, be at peace with him and ask his pardon for aught you have done against him. It is a proof of a noble mind when you can ask pardon of another for having done amiss. Whenever grace comes into the heart it will lead you to make amends for any injury which you have done either by word or deed to any of your fellow-men; and you cannot expect that you shall be forgiven of God until you have forgiven men, and have been ready to make peace with those who are now your enemies. That is a beautiful trait in the character of a true Christian. I have heard of Mr. John Wesley, that he was attended in most of his journeyings by one who loved him very much, and was willing, I believe, to have died for him. Still he was a man of a very stubborn and obstinate disposition, and Mr. Wesley was not perhaps the very kindest man at all times. Upon one occasion he said to this man, "Joseph, take these letters to the post." "I will take them after preaching, sir." "Take them now, Joseph," said Mr. Wesley. "I wish to hear you preach, sir; and there will be sufficient time for the post after service." "I insist upon your going now, Joseph." "I will not go at present" "You won't!" "No, sir." "Then you and I must part," said Mr. Wesley. "Very good, sir." The good men slept over it. Both were early risers. At four o'clock the next morning, the refractory helper was accosted with, "Joseph, have you considered what I said that we must part?" "Yes, sir." "And must we part?" "please yourself, sir." "Will you ask my pardon, Joseph?" "No, sir." "You won't?" "No, sir." "Then I will ask yours, Joseph!" Poor Joseph was instantly melted, and they were at once reconciled. When once the grace of God has entered the heart, a man ought to be ready to seek forgiveness for an injury done to another. There is nothing wrong in a man confessing an offense against a fellow-man, and asking pardon for the wrong he has done him. It you have done aught, then, against any man, leave thy gift before the altar, and go and make peace with him, and then come and make peace with God. You are to make confession of your sin to God. Let that be humble and sincere. You cannot mention every offense, but do not hide one. If you hide one it will be a millstone round your neck to sink you into the lowest hell. Confess that you are vile in your nature, evil in your practice, that in you there is no good thing. Lie as low as ever you can at the footstool of divine grace, and confess that you are a wretch undone unless God have mercy upon you.

Then, the next duty is faith. Whilst thou art lying there in the dust turn thine eye to Christ and say. "Black as I am, and hell-deserving as I confess myself to be, I believe that Jesus Christ died for the penitent; and inasmuch as he died, he died that the penitent might not die. I believe thy merits to be great; I believe thy blood to be efficacious; and more than that, I risk my eternal salvation and yet it is no risk I venture my eternal salvation upon the merit of thy blood. Jesus, I cannot save myself. Cast the skirts of thy blood-red atonement over me. Come, take me in thine arms; come, wrap me in thy crimson vest, and tell me I am thine. I will trust in nothing else but thee. Nothing I can do or ever did shall be my dependence. I rely simply and entirely upon thy mighty cross, upon which thou didst die for sinners."

My dear hearers, as to any probability of your being lost after such a confession and such a faith, I assure you there is neither possibility nor probability thereof. You are saved; you are saved in time, you are saved in eternity. Your sins are forgiven; your iniquities are all put away. In this life you shall be fed, and blessed and kept. Remaining sin within you shall be overcome and conquered; and you shall see his face at the last in glory everlasting, when he shall come in the glory of his Father, and all his holy angels with him. "Whosoever believeth on the Son of God hath eternal life, and shall never come into condemnation." "He that believeth on the Lord Jesus and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not shall be damned."

And now in conclusion, I have tried to tell out simply and plainly the story of how God's justice is satisfied, and has become the sinners friend, and I look for fruit, for where the gospel is simply preached it is never preached in vain. Only let us go home and pray now, that we may know the Saviour. Let us pray that others may know him too. If you are convinced of sin, my dear friends, do not lose a moment. Go to your chamber as soon as you get home, shut to your door, go alone to Jesus, and there repeat your confession, and once more affirm your faith in Christ; and you shall have that peace with God which the world cannot give, and which the world cannot take away. Your troubled conscience shalt find rest: your feet shall be on a rock; and a new song shall be in your mouth, even praise for evermore.

"From whence this fear and unbelief?

Hast thou, O Father, put to grief

Thy spotless Son for me?

And will the righteous Judge of men

Condemn me for that debt of sin,

Which, Lord, was charged on thee?

Complete atonement thou hast made,

And to the utmost farthing paid

Whate'er thy people owed;

How then can wrath on me take place

If shelter'd in thy righteousness,

And sprinkled with thy blood?

If thou hast my discharge procured,

And freely, in my room, endured

The whole of wrath divine;

Payment God cannot twice demand,

First, at my bleeding Surety's hand,

And then again at mine.

Turn, then, my soul unto thy rest!

The merits of thy great High Priest

Speak peace and liberty:

Trust in his efficacious blood;

Nor fear thy banishment from God,

Since Jesus died for thee."

Bibliographical Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on 1 John 1". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/spe/1-john-1.html. 2011.
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