Sermon 2093. The Curse and the Curse for Us
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, MAY 26, 1889,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"For as many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse; for itis written, Cursed is everyone who does not continuein all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them. But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight ofGod is evident, for the just shall live by faith. Yet the law is not of faith, but, the man who does them shall live by them.Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us for itis written, Cursed is everyone who hangson a tree, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise ofthe Spirit through faith." Galatians 3:10-14.
THE Apostle tells us, in the eighth verse, that the Gospel was preached to Abraham. Very briefly, very tersely but very fullywas the Gospel proclaimed to him in those words, "In you shall all families of the earth be blessed." The true Gospel is nonew thing, it is as old as the hills. It was heard in Eden, before man was driven from the garden and it has since been repeatedin sundry ways and in many places, even to this day. Oh, that its very antiquity would lead men to venerate it and then tolisten to its voice! It is "Gospel," or good news-the best of news for fallen men. Oh, that they would receive it with gladness!
The Gospel blessing which was thus preached to Abraham and to his seed, came to him by faith. He was justified by his faith,as it is written, "Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him for righteousness." The blessing, which is the soul ofAbraham's Gospel, must come to us in the same way as it did to him, namely, by faith. And if we expect to find it in any otherway, we shall be grievously mistaken. There were some in Paul's day who were "of the works of the Law," and expected to obtainthe blessing through their own doings. But they could not find it. We have many around us who are practically looking forGospel blessings upon legal principles.
The object of our sermon is to show them their certainty of failure. And, at the same time, to make clear that way of faithby which the curse is rolled away and the blessing comes to the chosen seed.
To begin with-our first head is this-Blessedness comes not to those who are of the works of the Law. And the second head willbe, Blessedness comes to those who are of faith. We shall need no other divisions but we shall greatly need the gracious aidof the Holy Spirit that by His Grace these may be plainly and powerfully set forth before our minds. I want so to speak thatyou shall go with me, not in hearing only, but in feeling and in believing, practically taking home and feeling the powerof the Truth of God.
When a minister is studying a sermon, his best preparation comes through his feeling, himself, the power of his subject. Herehearses his discourse before the little audience of his own heart and conscience. And in observing the effect produced,he arrives at some idea of how the Word will operate upon others. He that has run the gauntlet of a Truth of God and feltall the heavy blows which it levels at his own conscience is likely to deliver that Truth to others with tender sympathy andfull assurance. Such a preparation, I think, I have had-and I pray that you may be benefited by it.
I. Let us learn, at the outset, that BLESSEDNESS COMES NOT TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE WORKS OF
First, observe the fact, as the Apostle states it very positively-"As many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse."You cannot be under the curse and yet be partakers of the blessing. A man cannot be in darkness and in light at the same moment-hecannot be under the curse of the Law and under the blessing of the Gospel, too. All who are of the works of the Law are underthe curse and consequently none of them are blessed with faithful Abraham.
Note well the persons spoken of-"As many as are of the works of the Law"-that is, all of you who hope, by the works of theLaw, to commend yourselves to God. We are all "of the works of the Law" by nature, because it is our bounden duty, as creatures,to keep the Law of our Creator. He is our Benefactor, our King, our Lord and God, and He has claims upon us which we oughtnot to disown. He has set forth those claims in the Law of the Ten Commandments and these are binding upon all of us, withoutexception. Because we have disobeyed that Law and denied to God His just claims, our violation of the Law has brought us underits penalty, which is described as "the curse."
No man has always kept all the Law and consequently every man that is of the works of the Law has come under the curse andmust remain under it unless ransomed in the one appointed fashion. If you read those Ten Commandments through, as you shoulddo very carefully, you will have to pause at each one and say, with solemn truthfulness, "I have broken this." Especiallywill this be the case if you remember the truth that the Law is spiritual and deals with thoughts, desires, imaginations,motives-yes, with your nature itself.
Surely you will have to cry, "Guilty! Guilty!" Every way and "guilty" every day. This being the case, you are under the curse.You may have been moral and outwardly commendable. But the heart and intent are what the Lord looks at. And because you havenot loved the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength-and havenot loved your neighbor as yourself-you have come short of the demands of His righteous Law and you are under the curse.
I beseech you to remember that this is a matter which concerns you now. "As many as are of the works of the Law are underthe curse." Not only shall you be so in the day when, "Depart, you cursed," will be the final and hopeless doom of the wicked.But today you are under the curse if you are of the works of the Law. If the unsaved could really understand and believe this,they would hardly keep their seats. If you are not by Christ redeemed from the curse of the Law. If you have not, by faith,appropriated His great sacrifice, you are under the present curse of God.
Even the Gospel does not bless you, for, "He that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed on the Sonof God." O my Hearer, I could weep to think that you are under the curse. A deathbed is a dreadful place to an unpardonedsinner. But I am not speaking of a deathbed-I am now talking of the seat where you sit in health and strength. If you areof the works of the Law, that seat now holds a man under the curse. I am not talking now of thieves and murderers and suchlike. I am speaking of as many as are of the works of the Law and especially of those who believe that they are keeping theLaw and are looking for salvation by their obedience.
Those who think that they are not to be numbered with the guilty and need not to be saved by Divine Grace-these are of theworks of the Law by their own choice-and they are under the curse. If you come before God in your own self-righteousness,you are, by that very act and deed, proven to be under the curse. The brand of Cain is not on your brow but the curse is workingin your heart. As this city of London seemed last night and this morning to lie under a cloud charged with tempest, so doesthe man who looks to the Law for life abide under a cloud of wrath which may burst upon him at any moment. Oh, that the gloomand oppression of spirit which comes of that cloud of threat would pain you greatly and drive you to Christ for shelter!
That you may no longer abide in false security, I pray that you, for a few moments, weigh those words, "under the curse."I do not feel as if I could expand them or expound them. But I must simply repeat them-"UNDER THE CURSE!" The Lord make thosewords to pierce your souls! This is not my language, remember. It is not even the word of the Apostle Paul as a man. For hespeaks by inspiration when he says, "As many as are of the works of the Law are under the curse." How shall I pronounce thesewords with sufficient solemnity? When the sermon is printed, in what type shall the printer set up these words, "UNDER THECURSE"?
"The curse causeless shall not come," but this is a curse with a cause of overwhelming conclusiveness. It is a curse thatwas pronounced of old by the authority of the Lord and confirmed by the Amens of assembled Israel. It is, in fact, the essenceof all those curses which of old were declared on Mount Ebal, the rolling thunder of threatened wrath. "As many as are ofthe works of the Law are under the curse," even as the Shorter Catechism puts it, "They have lost communion with God, areunder His wrath and curse and so are made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of Hellforever."
Dare you sleep tonight under the curse? Will you wake tomorrow and go forth to your business under the curse? Can you sportand laugh and frolic under the curse? God grant we may be sufficiently sensible to be filled with anguish at the sound ofthese dreadful words-"under the curse"!
The Apostle goes on to give a Scriptural confirmation of this fact. He says, "For it is written." He is writing a part ofthe New Testament under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But he turns back to the Old and gives authority to his writing byshowing that it always was the mind of the Spirit, "for it is written." If anything is written by the pen of inspiration,it is true, and we accept it as infallible. I hope you are not among those who trifle with the inspiration of any part ofHoly Writ. For if so, this text has no power with you. "It is written" is a thing of omnipotent authority with many of us.
"It is written, Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them."This is the summary of the whole passage in the twenty-seventh chapter of Deuteronomy and also of the eleventh verse of theseventh chapter of that book.
Attend to each word of the passage quoted. There is no exemption of persons. "Cursed is everyone that continues not in allthings that are written in the book of the Law." Every offender comes under the curse. Is it the king, the priest, the nobleman?-heis under the curse. Or is it the poorest of the land-the slave, the beggar, the fallen woman?-sin brings them under the curse.Prince or pariah, it is all the same-if the Law is not perfectly continued in, the curse follows. The sentence is sweeping.There are no exceptions to its killing force. You may have kept the Law in many points but if you have broken it in one, youare under its curse.
If you want to send a message by the telegraphic wire, it may be perfectly sound for one hundred miles but if it is only brokenin one inch, no, if it is simply cut across, you cannot send the message by it. No blessing can come to a man by the Law unlessthe Law has been perfectly kept. But one single infraction of the Law involves the curse. The possibility of blessing on thefooting ofjustice is gone when sin enters in. Thus, every man of every rank and grade and external character, since he hasnot continued in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them, has come under the curse.
Observe that there is no limit of time. It says, "continues not." What if a man should have kept the Law, in his own judgment,for many years? His service is not over. Men join our army for a certain number of years and then they are discharged. Buta man is under the Law so long as he lives-he cannot escape from under its yoke by the mere lapse of time. And so, if we hadaccomplished obedience for twenty years, yet still, if in the next year we broke the Law, we should come under its curse.A thief is not excused because he was up to now honest, nor a murderer because at some prior time he had not shed blood.
He that "continues not" comes under the lash. My conscience clearly sees the utter impossibility of my ever obtaining justificationby the works of the Law. If, up till now, I had never sinned, which, alas, is very, very far from being the case, yet I shouldstill stand in jeopardy every hour. For, being tempted, I should yet fall and perish if my footing were that of the Law. Eventhe just could not live by legal principles. Their only hope is to live by faith. As for us defiled and polluted sinners,we are, from the beginning, out of the running, if the race is by works-no lapse of time will enable us to start. And if wedid start, no time would arrive when we could say, "It is finished."
A Methuselah would be under the Law in his nine hundredth year. Still might the curse fall on him, even though, up till then,he had stood firm. Thus says the Lord, "When the righteous turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, he shalleven die thereby." On that footing none of us could hope to remain free from the curse. But the case is worse-for if we areof the works of Law-we are already under the curse.
Observe that there is no indulgence as to certain sins. "Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things." What a rangethese words have! Yet they do not so much concern ceremonial things as the moral conduct of daily life. If you will turn toDeuteronomy 27, from which Paul is quoting, you will find that the works which are mentioned in detail as bringing the curse, are not worksof worship, oblation, and ritual-but of morality or immorality-works which concern the moral law. We must continue in thekeeping of the Ten Commandments and abide in the spirit of them in "all things." Or, if not, it is utterly impossible thatthe Law can ever save us-all it can do is to put us under its curse.
Once more, here is no narrowing of the demand. It is put, "Cursed is everyone that continues not in all things that are writtenin the book of the Law to do them." If a man does nothing wrong, yet if he fails to do that which is right, he is guilty.Omission is as truly a defect as commission. He misses the mark who shoots beyond it or falls short of it. If you
make a single omission of duty on the footing of Law you are a lost man. If you have omitted, at any time, to love the Lordyour God with the whole force and intensity of your nature, if you have omitted in any degree to love your neighbor as yourself,you have committed a breach of the Law.
Not to obey is to disobey. Who can plead innocence, if this is so? How cutting is the sentence, "Cursed is everyone that continuesnot in all things which are written in the book of the Law to do them"! It is an awful passage! It seems to me to shut upthe gate of hope by works-yes, to nail it up tight. I bless God it does fasten this door effectually. For if there seemedto be half a chance of getting through it, we should find men still struggling for entrance.
Salvation by self is man's darling hope-salvation by doings, feelings, or something or other of their own, is the favoritedelusion of sinners. We may bless God that He has rolled a great stone at the mouth of the grave of legal hope. He has dashedin pieces as with a rod of iron the earthen vessel which held the treasures of our conceit. "By the works of the Law shallno flesh be justified."
To complete this, the Apostle gives us a piece of what I must call side evidence. He has stated the fact and confirmed itby Scripture. He now gives side evidence from other Scriptures. Some might say, "There have been just men-men have been justifiedin the sight of God." Yes, says Paul, turning to one passage out of very many which he might have quoted from Holy Scripture,the Lord says by His servant Habakkuk, "The just shall live by faith." The only just men that ever have existed since theFall have been justified by faith. And that their faith was of the essence of their justification is clear, since they livedby faith.
It is not said that the just shall rejoice by faith but they shall "live by faith." Their very existence as just men hungupon their faith. They had no life before God except as they believed and lived. The Apostle argues that since the just menof the Old Covenant were justified by faith, it is clear we cannot be justified by the Law. For the Law is not of faith, sincethe Law says nothing of believing but speaks only of doing. The Law speaks nothing of Divine Grace, nothing of mercy, butonly of justice and merit.
If anything that may be called mercy is due to men, it is clearly not mercy but justice. For all that is due is of justice.The Law speaks not of believing, it speaks only of doing-"The man that does those things shall live in them." The one teachingof the Law is-"Obey and live. Disobey and die." Inasmuch as those who did live unto God lived by their faith, it is clearit was not by the works of the Law. Thus the Apostle argues, negatively and positively, showing how men were not justifiedand showing how they were justified. And thus he makes it plain as a pikestaff that by the works of the Law shall no fleshbe justified in the sight of God.
My dear Hearers, let us deal faithfully and personally with the solemn Truth of God now before us. I pray that everyone mayexamine himself to see whether he is of the works of the Law. Are we legal in our feelings? Are we relying upon self and itsdoings? Does anyone among us feel that there is not in London a more deserving person than himself? Because he is attendsChurch or Chapel regularly, does he think himself accepted of the Lord? Because of confirmation, or Baptism, or attendanceof the sacrament, does he hope to be saved? Because of his decent and respectable life, does he reckon himself just?
If such is the hope of anyone of you, you are confessedly, "of the works of the Law," and it is not my word but the Word ofthe Lord, that you are under the curse. Think of this, you who are so very good, so free from fault! There is nothing elsefor you but the curse. You are not in the same way as those men who are mentioned in the Scriptures as justified. For theylived by faith and you hope to live by works. As you are not in the same way, neither will you come to the same end. It isa thought which vexes you and possibly even makes you angry-that you should be under the curse. But it will be well for youto know the truth, however black it looks. Nothing remains but a fearful judgment. For where there is even now a curse, whatelse can there be but fiery indignation at the last?
We will stay no longer upon this most searching Truth of God. Alas, I cannot bring it home to the conscience! It needs a miracleof Divine Grace to get this Truth into the heart of man and to make him feel the full terror of it. It is so repugnant toour proud human nature that we incline to any error which will obscure it. Come, Holy Spirit, with Your Divine light and flashthis Truth of God upon the sinner's eyes in such a way that he must see it!
II. Secondly, THIS BLESSEDNESS COMES TO THOSE WHO ARE OF FAITH, even to those who look for salvation to the Lord Jesus, inwhom God declares Himself to be just and the Justifier of him that believes.
On this point I shall run on much the same lines as under the first division of the subject. Here we have a blessed fact-"Christhas redeemed us from the curse of the Law." If the former tog, that we are under the curse, should make us sit uneasily, thisblessed doctrine should make us dance for joy! The ransom is paid. We are free! "Christ has redeemed us." That is, so manyas believe in Him. He has "redeemed us from the curse of the Law." "He has bought us out from under the curse." Our deliverancefrom the curse is by a process similar to that by which slaves are set free, namely, by their being bought with a price.
We are not merely delivered from the curse by a moral change in us but by a redemptive work for us. Christ was slain and hasredeemed us to God by His blood. A ransomed captive is by the ransom justly freed and has a right to his freedom which nonemay question. You that believe in Jesus are freed from the curse of the Law and justly freed from it. The Law cannot curseyou, though you have broken it and in your own persons incurred its penalty. Since you are in Christ Jesus, the Law has nota word to say against you. The reason we will show you directly, but the fact is so, and therein you should rejoice. "He thatbelieves in Him is not condemned."
So far from being condemned, the Believer is, "accepted in the Beloved," and this is our happy privilege at this hour. Letus rejoice in God and rest in peace, being justified by faith.
But then the Apostle goes on to show the manner of it. The fact is clear-oh, for a grip of it! The manner of our deliveranceis this-"Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us." I do not understand language at all,unless this means substitution. Christ was made a curse for us. That is to say, in our place He bore our sins and the cursewhich came of it. The curse of the Law, which otherwise must have fallen upon us, fell upon the Anointed of the Lord, whostood Sponsor for us.
Jesus was accursed of men. Oh, how they hated and loathed Him! How clamorously the Jews cried, "Away with Him! Crucify Him,crucify Him!" The curse of men might have been of small account, though it cost our Lord many a sorrow. But His Father hidHis face from Him! Do you hear that bitterest of all bitter cries, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" Here is thewormwood and the gall, the quintessence of woe. He was All-blessed, yet He was made a curse. In Him was no sin, yet, "He madeHim to be sin for us." He was always in Himself the Beloved of the Father. But when He stood in the sinner's place, a voicewas heard, "Awake, O sword, against My shepherd and against the man that is my Fellow, says the Lord."
"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all," and then, "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him. He has put Him to grief."I do not like to use a word of my own, in trying to open up this mystery-I will not even try to explain it but will bid youlook down into the depths of it for yourselves. He was "made a curse for us"-he was not such by nature. It needed a specialarrangement to put Him in that condition. Not only did the curse pass over Him in its results but the word says, "He was madea curse." It is wonderfully expressive. And yet more wonderfully it veils the inexpressible.
"He was made a curse." O You Divine Son of God! You ever-blessed One, you perfect One! You altogether lovely One, how cansuch words apply to You? Yet they do apply, for the Holy Spirit speaks of You in this wise. Here is our hope and here ourjoy, even in this abyss of woe-"He was made a curse for us." The penal consequences of sin were so visited upon the greatSubstitute that He vindicated the Law of God in the highest conceivable manner. Remember those words-"Who His own self boreour sins in His own body on the tree."
These are the echo of that Prophetic sentence-"The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." "He bore the sin of many.""Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world." He bore our sins that He might bear them away by the factof bearing them Himself. This is the central doctrine of the Gospel. And although today it is slighted, here I stand, by God'sGrace, to declare it in plain terms while my tongue can move. I know no other hope for lost men but this-that the justiceof God has been vindicated by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and it is by faith in Him that men are delivered from thecurse of the Law, because He was made a curse for them.
The Apostle, speaking in this second part, as it were, in the same way as in the former portion, goes on to confirm this byScripture. He says again, "For it is written." Beloved, that is the nail on which everything must hang-"It is written," "Itis written." Never let us get away from, "It is written." May we hold fast to God's Word, if we give up everything else! "Itis written, Cursed is everyone that hangs on a tree." Read the twenty-third verse of the twenty-first chapter of Deuteronomy.The instructed in Jewish manners and customs tell us that the usual way of putting to death by
the Jews was by stoning and a person who committed murder was stoned to death usually and he was afterwards hanged upon atree.
He was hanged up that men might see that he was taken from the earth and that the curse of God was upon him for his crime.The Law was that he should not remain on the tree after sundown and this Law saved the Jews from that barbarity which oncedefaced our own country-leaving the body of the hanged in chains year after year. God's Law stipulated a man who had committedmurder was to hung up till the sun went down. And then he was buried and, if I remember rightly, they usually buried the treeand the nails and the garments of the criminal, that the memory of him might be put away and the land should not be polluted.
This being the case, it was remarkable that our Lord should die by a death which was evidently intended in the Divine decreeto exhibit Him as made a curse. The felon's hanging, the mode of death for slaves, was adopted by the Roman governor, whoknew nothing whatever of the Divine purpose but yet carried it out. By the mode of His death our Lord was exhibited as "madea curse for us."
Oh, look you to the Crucified! While the darkness gathers around us on this murky morning, let it remind you of the gloomwhich gathered around your Savior. Remember the hour when the concentrated essence of darkness and of eternal night gatheredabout His blessed Person while He hung exposed to death upon the tree. Darkness was the most fit surrounding for the agonywhich racked His soul. Our Lord endured within Him a darkness greater than that without Him.
The darkness seemed to say that His griefs could not be seen or understood of men. He suffered within the sacred chamber ofan impenetrable midday midnight. None could see the heights and depths of what was meant by His being "made a curse"-
"There my God bore all my guilt
This through Divine Grace can be believed. But the horrors which He felt Are too vast to be conceived."
Notice, furthermore, the consequence of all this-"That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ."Our Lord Jesus Christ was made a curse for us that He might deliver us from the curse of the Law, and that in consequencewe might be blessed. The flood of blessing was ready to flow along its channel but the riverbed was blocked by a huge rock.The stream was dammed up by our iniquity. What was to be done? The hindrance could only be moved by that great Lord, whosehands were pierced and whose feet were nailed to the Cross. He, by His great self-sacrificing act of love, lifted the rockfrom its place, cast it away and enabled the stream of blessing to flow freely down to us.
This day there is no curse for the Believer. But every blessing awaits him. All who are in Christ, the great seed of Abraham,are blessed with faithful Abraham. The Covenant may be summed up in this one word-Blessing, blessing, blessing-blessing forthe Believer and blessing through him. What was the blessing of Abraham? It was, first, justification. It was "accounted tohim for righteousness." God counts them righteous who believe in Jesus. He not only absolves you from sin but He justifiesyou, accounts you as having kept the Law. Oh, rejoice in this and be glad!
The next blessing to Abraham was the promise. God had given him a great promise of a spiritual inheritance. To us the HolySpirit is the earnest of that future inheritance-and Christ has so worked for us, "that we might receive the promise of theSpirit through faith." Wherever the Spirit of God dwells, the covenant is fulfilled-you have in the Spirit the foretaste ofthe promised rest, you have the initial stages of the promised perfection-you have the dawn of the promised glory. The Spiritis the earnest of the inheritance till the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His Glory.
Beloved, see what has come to you, then, through the substitutionary work of Christ! Justification is yours as truly as itwas Abraham's, and you are as assuredly justified as Abraham was. The promise also comes to you even as it did to Abraham.For you are Abraham's seed in Christ and you are blessed with faithful Abraham. You may rejoice, therefore, with joy unspeakableand full of glory. All this, you observe, is by faith-"That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."
O dear Hearers, I am very sorry for some of you-for you have no faith and therefore no Grace. Why should not my sorrow beturned into joy? May God the Holy Spirit lead you to believe in Christ Jesus today! My wonder is that any believe, from onepoint of view. And then my next wonder is that anybody should not believe. Is it not marvelous that God
should give His own dear Son, God, like Himself? And that God should thus come among men and put on human flesh and blood-andthat in His wonderfully complex Person He should bear the consequences of our sin?
It is a miracle that God should, by suffering, magnify His own Law and that the Supreme Judge should Himself bear the curse,instead of the culprit, and thus vindicate the principles of eternal rectitude. Even Hell itself could not more fully provethe displeasure of God against evil, nor make the moral government of the universe more honorable. The doctrine of Substitutionmust be true. It could not have been invented by human wit. Prima facie it bears the mark of the Truth of God upon it.
It is the most wonderful story that ever was told-God Himself condescends to suffer in the place of His enemies. He bearsthe sin of those who are rebels against His Divine authority-and without injury to His justice or taint upon His righteousness-Hepardons sin and receives the sinner into favor. Herein is love, indeed! Here is justice truly vindicated and great love glorified.Love both devised the plan and carried it out and this day love makes it effectual in all who believe in Jesus.
my Hearers, I cannot be content to preach this glorious Truth of God to you. I hunger and thirst that you may receive it!Oh, that you would now look to Jesus and live! Behold Him on the Cross! Behold your God, whom you have offended, clothed inyour nature and dying in your place, that you may live! The serpent of brass is on the pole-the serpent has bitten the people,they are ready to die. And lo, on the pole another serpent is uplifted. The curse destroys you. The Lord uplifts Him who wasmade a curse.
Those who looked to the brazen serpent found life and healing in that look. And even so, there is life from sin by lookingto Him who was made sin for us. Though the serpent's poison was deadly, its bites were cured by a look at the brazen serpent.And even so, my Lord becomes a man and, as a man, bears our sin in His own body on the tree, that He might from that treecry to guilty men, "Look unto Me and be you saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God and there is none else."
Oh, that you would look to Jesus by faith! I began by lamenting that we are under the curse. But if you will trust in my Lord,I shall conclude by bidding you rejoice that, "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the Law."
1 have done when I just say these two or three practical words-Humbly let us own the great evil of sin. What a horrible thingsin must be, that it should compel God to curse His creatures! God is Love but even love curses sin. God is full of pity andcompassion. But this very God must curse those who hope to be saved by His Law and yet break that Law. Child of God, do youever trifle with sin? Cease from that fatal folly. For God does not trifle with it-He curses it.
Man, see what a polluting thing your sin must be, since there is no removing it except by the blood of the only begottenSon of God! If you have ever had faint views of your own guilt, cease from them at once. Only by the interposition of GodHimself could you be saved from guilt. How great that guilt! Lie low before your Lord. Confess your sin with a broken heart.Wonder that your heart is not more broken than it is and that you have not a greater horror of its tremendous, its infinite,evil.
Next, let me say to you, heartily accept the way of salvation by faith in Christ. I cannot make out why men quarrel with justificationby faith as they now do. There is an old proverb which says, "It is a pity for any man to quarrel with his bread and butter."But to quarrel with the means of your livelihood is nothing in folly compared with laughing at God's way of salvation. Whydo you refuse a method so simple, so just to God, so safe to man? Why do men desire to find fault with it? I am very old-fashioned,so they say. But does their new fashion offer men anything better than the old way?
1 am not too old to learn. But I am not so young as willingly to go further and fare worse. I cannot see what there is inthe new theology which even pretends to be better than the old. I suppose that eminent Divine is eminently superior to mewho is so orthodox as to say that our Lord Jesus Christ by His death did something or other, he does not know what, whichin some way or other, he does not quite know how, is connected with the reconciliation of man to God. This is rather a cloudyGospel. I do not think that such a dim statement would cheer a mouse, much less a broken-hearted, dying sinner.
I do not see that his plan, or want of plan, has any glory over that which I declare to you. But he is orthodox-very manyof his Brethren go far further and altogether deny the expiatory sacrifice. I cannot pretend to have fellowship with such-theytake from me my hope. I was a broken-hearted sinner, crushed under guilt, crying out in despair and expect-
ing soon to be in Hell. And it was only when I learned that the Lord Jesus suffered in my place that I found peace of conscience.
Substitution is still the rock on which I build and I know of no other on which a man can wisely base his hope for eternity.Comfort in the Cross I have never lost, and I am not going to cast away my confidence in it to please the philosophers ofthe season. The old farmer would not change his horse, "For," he said, "I have not seen a nag that will carry me better thanmy own." The doctrine of the Cross has carried me so far without a stumble and I hope to enter Heaven by its means. I am gladto sing with the children-
"He knew how wicked we had been,
And knew that God must punish sin-
So, out of pity, Jesus said
He'd bear the punishment instead." Glorious atonement! Accept it, poor Soul! Do not let the devil set you laughing at youronly hope. This is the available way of salvation for you, you lost one! You self-condemned one-this is a way which will suityou! If you are so very good and so very wise, I know that this gracious method will not attract you. You will kick at it.This does not make me think any the less of it. For I remember that our Lord is set to be a stone of stumbling and a rockof offense to those who stumble at His Word, being disobedient. If you will not have Him, do not deceive yourselves-we neverthought you would.
You do but prove that the Father has hid these things from the wise and prudent and has revealed them unto babes. You comenot to Him because you are not of His sheep, as He said unto you. If you were brought low and felt your need of Him, thenshould we hope that Jesus reckoned you among His redeemed. If you would hear His voice and follow Him, then should we knowthat you belonged to the Good Shepherd who laid down His life for the sheep. But as you disregard Him, you will be drivenaway with the goats.
Further, let us now gratefully extol our Redeemer. Join all of you to magnify the Lord your Savior. We do not praise Him halfas much as we ought. I might even ask, Do we say anything about Him? Six days in the week we talk about all sorts of thingsand say little or nothing about Him and yet He has redeemed us. The fact of His being made a curse for us ought to fill ourmouths with thanksgiving and our tongues with singing all the day long. Blessed be the Redeemer's name! "He loved me and gaveHimself for me." Extol Him now and evermore-if you have not done so before, begin at once. Get your music ready. "O sing untothe Lord a new song."
Then go and tell other people about your Lord's redemption. The theme will win attention if properly set forth. Let no onewithin fifty miles of you be without a knowledge of this great redemption by Christ's being made a curse for us. Men try tohide this Truth of God-therefore let us cause it to shine out everywhere. Vindicate the name of your great Lord by tellingeverybody that He has redeemed us from the curse of the Law, being made a curse for us.
If I could set you all preaching this blessed doctrine, I should rejoice, indeed. Rest in it and rejoice in it, and then repeatit till others also know and believe it. Even now the day begins to brighten up, the murky darkness is abating-I hope ourhearts will rejoice in harmony with the day. The Lord send us out into a world delivered from darkness. May we make it brighterby setting before it this great Truth of God! To our glorious Substitute be glory forever and ever! Amen.