Sermon 3356. David's Sublime Consolation
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, MAY 29, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, MAY 23, 1867.
"Although my house is not so with God; yet He has made with me an everlasting Covenant, orderedin all things and sure: forthis is all my salvation, and all my desire, although He makes it not to grow." 2 Samuel 23:5.
NO GOLD but pure gold can stand the fire. And if a man's religion has been a pretentious sham, it is very likely to tumbleto pieces under the rough hand of death. There have been a few hypocrites who have been able to brazen it out, even in thelast solemn article, but these must always be the few. David, at any rate, was never the man who would play the hypocritein the last extremity of death. You can see how true, how deep, how thorough his faith in God must have been, for his dyingbed was by no means an enviable one. His dying pillow was stuffed with sharp thorns. His was a life which, although it hadmuch of Divine Grace about it, yet had much of sinful nature, too. He was dying as we might not wish to die in some respects,but his faith triumphed as we may well desire that our faith may triumph, whatever the outward circumstances of our life ordeath may be! We shall go at once, and without further preface, to consider our text and notice in turn the Psalmist-King'sgrave lament. And then, blessed compensation, his glorious comfort. First, then, we shill ponder, and may the Holy Spiritmake it greatly to profit everyone of us-
I. DAVID'S GRAVE LAMENT.
His house, he declares, was "not so" with God. And the numbers and the power of that house did not grow as he could have wished.Brothers and Sisters, there are some troubles that a man outgrows. There are some childish trials connected with our earlyChristian life which we, without effort, outlive and which in due course pass away. We shall not have to feel-thank God!-everagain the special perils of our youth and of our early manhood. When we have passed into riper years, we leave these thingsbehind us. But there are some troubles which accumulate as we grow. For instance, there is the peculiar trouble alluded toin the text. There are, no doubt, multitudes of cares and trials connected with a family of little children, but every parentknows that the trials connected with little children are as nothing compared with the sorrows of those who have grown-up childrenthat cause them heartache and heartbreak.
We could better afford to bury them one by one in their infancy, than that they should live to dishonor their father's nameand to blaspheme their father's God! The mother might be well satisfied to watch over their sick couches night after nightand to weary herself as though she labored in the very fire for their sakes. We could well put up with the little mistakes,sturbornesses, follies and even sins of their earliest days. But the sting is when, having left our roof, they leave our teaching!When, having gone from our training, they do not abide in it, but plunge into sin and prove to us most sadly that Divine Gracedoes not run in the blood, but that natural depravity most certainly does. Now, this particular form of trial accumulatesas we grow older. Some of us here have not yet come to it. May God grant that we never may, but I know there are some herewhose hairs are plentifully sprinkled with gray, who have this as their daily cross to carry and who look back on all thetroubles of their youth and say that they were as nothing compared with this-the house being amiss with God, the childrenbeing disobedient-the sons and daughters training up their children, but not in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! Thisis a trial which comes when the battle of life, as we think, is almost over and when we might naturally expect to take a littlerepose in the eventide of life, before the dawning of the everlasting morning! This seems to be one of the last thorns thatis thrust into our rest. With some it has been a thorn which, as in the case of David, has pierced their heart in its lastbeats and throbs. I may be addressing some such tonight. At any rate, I am addressing a great many who have need to pray againstthis trial. Oh, it is a dreadful thing-a terrible thing to look for-
ward to, but what must it be to bear, none can tell but those whose hearts have been wrung by the iron hand of such an affliction!-
"How sharper than a serpent's teeth it is To have a thankless child."
David had an Absalom and an Amnon, and a Tamar-of whom the less said the better-and outside his dying chamber door there wasan Adonijah trying to upset his father's last will and testament. And although Solomon was, in some respects, a great dealbetter, yet he was not, in those days, all that might be wished.
The fact is that, taken as a whole, they were a bad set. Was it any wonder that they should be such? David had himself verymuch to blame for it, for polygamy can never by any possibility work well. Jacob's trouble arose out of that and no doubtDavid's troubles began there, too. And this must have been the sting about it to David, that some of his children could quotetheir father's example for their sins! Not but what his life had had in it very many virtues, but children will cover theireyes and not observe those things when it does not suit their whim to see them. But if there is a fault in the parent, thereis none more quick than the child to spy it out and to make the fall-the mistake of the parent which was pardoned, becausewept over-to be the one outstanding mark of that parent's character and in that, alone, to imitate it.
Now, my Brothers and Sisters, at such a time, when we are stung with such a trouble so near to us-for the troubles of ourown house ought always to affect us more than any other-there we get our first comforts around the family hearth and therewe must expect to have our sweetest joys and our deepest pangs! When, I say, we have this affliction and have in it that dropof gall of knowing that we, ourselves, are somewhat responsible for the whole matter and that we cannot throw it upon DivineSovereignty, but must take some measure of it to ourselves-oh, it will be glorious faith if still, with all those pangs andgriefs in their utmost bitterness, we can say, "Yet He has made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things andsure, for this is all my salvation and all my desire." Believe me, it is one thing to read that text, but quite another thingto feel it! And it is one thing to suppose ourselves under these circumstances, rejoicing in the Lord, but quite another thingto come into these depths-these very depths-with God's waves and billows going over us and yet, by joyous faith, to lift ourhead out of the waves and sing with bravest confidence in our God!
Now we shall be allowed, since David's is but one case among many, to show that apart from the family-supposing that to beright-that there may still be other forms of poignant sorrow under which we may labor and in which our only relief will beto triumph in God's Covenant faithfulness to our souls!
The trial to some of us will come possibly from the Church. The faithful minister makes the Church that he serves his family.The earnest deacon, the truly-called elder, considers the Church, too, to be his household. The excellent and devoted conductorsof the Bible classes, and Sunday school classes will come in the faith and love of sanctified souls to look upon those undertheir charge as children committed to them as a sacred trust, to train and nurture in Christian life and conduct. And someof us can say, who have known it, that it is a grief that cuts very deep into the soul when the Church, or the class, or whateverour circle of service, is not so with God as we could desire! When we think of some who backslide. When we hear of some, aswe have heard time and again, who fall into open sin and, worst of all, into cruel un-kindness to the very person who wasthe means of their conversion, but of whom it is not now possible for them to say anything too bad or too unkind because theythink they have received further illumination, and have learned something which God grant they may unlearn-whenever thesethings occur and they occur very frequently in a large Church and occur very painfully in a small one-they throw the minister,they throw the Sunday school teacher, they throw the earnest worker of any sort flat on his face, and they make him shed manytears and cry out to God in the bitterness of his soul, "You do not make my Church grow. You do not make my Church to be asI would have it to be-like Yourself. You do not give me the sheaves which I long to reap, nor the souls to be saved whichI long to win."
It is a great and deep sorrow and it is a great blessing if, at such times, we can come back to this, "Yet He has made withme an everlasting Covenant." You know it is that precious Doctrine which is meant to keep us quiet when we are succeeding,for the Lord Jesus said to His Apostles when they came back overjoyed and said, "Lord, even the devils are subject to us"-"Ah,nevertheless, rejoice not in this. Do not make this the mainstay of your joy, but rather rejoice that your names are writtenin Heaven." Well, when it is not so with us as we would wish, but we have to experience the very
opposite, I think that then I can hear our Lord saying, "Nevertheless, be not brokenhearted about this, but rather rejoicethat your names are written in Heaven, that My Covenant with you is everlasting."
Beloved, you may not have either of the two sorrows I have spoken of, but if you are a child of God, you will have fellowshipwith a third, namely, the inward state of your own soul
In a certain very special sense, that is the definite household of everyone of us. These powers and passions, imaginings andemotions, thoughts and desires-these are, so to speak, the children of your house, and I am afraid that most of us will haveto say, "Although my house is not so with God." I read a book the other day written by a Brother whom I very highly esteemand, indeed, reverence for his holiness, excellence and usefulness. But when I found him speaking of himself as living inperfect allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and perfect love to Him-and as having continued so for 20 years without sin-Imust confess that I thought he must either use language in a different way from that in which I use it, or else that he andI must have very different kinds of hearts, for I do not find it as he said! I believe I have sincerely strived to serve myMaster, and have served Him so as to have had given me many seals of my service, but I never did serve Him in such a way asto be satisfied with my service! I never could dare to feel content with a prayer I ever prayed, or a sermon I ever preached!I have always cultivated the idea that if I were to feel satisfied, I would be proud-and that if I did feel content, I wouldbe doing wrong-and so I have rather strived against the feeling of being satisfied with anything within me-but have triedto continually feel that I still have enemies to drive out of the Canaan of my heart and corruptions still to subdue, glorifyingGod for anything that I could see that was gracious, but trying, at any rate, to mourn and lament over what was my own-andthere is a good deal of that-and I find, if anything, more of it now than ever, not that there is more, but as we grow inGrace I think we perceive it more clearly! A room is not more dusty when it is shut up than it is when the sun shines in throughthe little crevice in the shutter, where the beam of sunlight comes through. There is no more dust in that particular partof the room where the sun shines in than there is anywhere else, and yet how very full of dust that slanting sunbeam seemsto be! The room is not more dusty there, but there is more light there than anywhere else. So it seems that the very comingin of light to the soul reveals more and more of the evil things, the spiritual ugliness that yet lurks there and which Ifear will be there until the Lord takes us Home! It is very pitiable to see so many persons perfectly content to be so veryimperfect, sitting down as though they-knowing they cannot here be absolutely perfect-have no desire to "grow in Grace, andin the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." It does such persons good to hear a sermon on the Doctrine of ScripturalPerfection! If it does not make them angry with it, it does them good, for it makes them see that there is something betterto be obtained in this world than they have ever yet dreamed and so stimulates their ambition! But for all that, I would stilllike to see a perfect man-and I would like to see Satan and he have a turn of conflict! And if Satan did not somehow or otherget the better of him, I would be mistaken and surprised!
For this I know, that when we are most watchful and most guarded, temptations will still overtake us and surely these menmust have some tragically unguarded moments. Ah, Brothers and Sisters, it will not do! "Oh, wretched man that I am, who shalldeliver me from the body of this death?" is as certainly the cry of the Christian as the rest of the sentence, "I thank Godthrough Jesus Christ our Lord." It is, none the less, a sorrow to a truly sanctified soul, not to be sanctified perfectly.It is a most bitter grief to conceive that there should be any sin dwelling in him. It is his cross and his burden and, therefore,at such times when the burden is heaviest, it is a gracious thing for faith to be able to say, "Although my heart is not sowith God as I would have it and I do not live so near to Him as I could desire, nor serve Him as I wish, yet still, for allthat, I am a sinner saved by Grace, and He has made with me, unworthy me, an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things andsure."
The beauty of the comfort of the text is that it is set boldly, strikingly, upon so black a foil! In David's case a sorrowof the bitterest kind is associated with a joy of the sweetest description! What I am driving at is this-whether it is familytrouble, Church trouble, or inward spiritual trouble arising from personal experience, it is the work, boast and glory offaith to be able to see light in the midst of the darkness, to find a way through the sea and a path through the desert- andto sing-"Though this is not what I would have it, nor that, nor the other thing, nor a thousand things, yet has He made withme an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure"!
I shall not stay to say anything about the latter part of the verse, namely, about the house not growing. David did not seehis family grow in the estimation of the people, grow in strength, grow in numbers. It is a great sorrow not to see our familiesgrowing up in piety and advancing in holiness-a great grief not to see our Churches making steady progress-and a heavy trouble,most of all, not to see our own hearts growing in love and other Divine Graces, and so going onward towards ripe maturityof blessed character.
Having thus spoken of David's great lament, we now turn with joyful relief to speak of-
II. DAVID'S GLORIOUS COMFORT.
As I said before, we will only give you a few plain, practical thoughts, praying the Holy Spirit to make them of Divine Power.The glorious comfort which David found lay in the Covenant which God had made with him. With David it was a Covenant of royaltyfor himself and for his seed, but we believed he also had a further vision of the Covenant of Grace. At any rate, we of theGospel dispensation must do so, for though we shall not have earthly thrones, yet under Christ's Covenant we are made kingsand priests unto God!
Now, let us suppose ourselves to be sitting down alone, soliloquizing over all our griefs. There is a burden upon our mindand this thought crosses us-"Yet" I have a, "yet," to set over against my "although." I have a heavy, "although," to mar myprospects, but I have a delightful, inspiring, "yet," to shed its light upon them-"Yet has He made with me a Covenant."
Observe, first, that this Covenant made with us is a Covenant of pure Grace. It would scarcely console Adam to think of theCovenant under which he was-the Covenant of Works. It would be very sorry consolation to think of the Covenant of Works now,for we have all broken it and all that remains to us of its provisions is its curse! But we rejoice to know that that Covenantof Works is, as far as we are concerned, fulfilled completely by Jesus Christ-and there remains nothing but God's side ofit to be fulfilled! Christ undertook our side of it and He declared, "It is finished," when He gave up the ghost. Man's sideof the Covenant of Grace is fulfilled and, therefore, the Covenant stands now solely and only as a Covenant of pure and unconditionalpromise on the part of God towards His elect people! A delightful thought is this, for on these terms it is truly a Covenantof Grace. "I will and they shall-I will give them a new heart, and a right spirit, and they shall walk in My ways. I willpurge, and wash, and cleanse them, and they shall be clean." It is a Covenant without, "ifs," or, "buts," or, "perhapses,"in it because its elements are unalloyed Grace-Grace, Grace, Grace, and not a single jot or tittle of merit in it! Now, Believerin Christ, you are under such a Covenant, a Covenant which is all promise to you and no threats! Ought not this to cheer andcomfort you? These dark afflictions-what are they? You can say, as one of old said, "Strike now, Lord, if You will, for Iam forgiven! Now do what You will with me, for I am Your child."-
"If sin is pardoned, I'm secure! Death has no sting beside."
Nor has life any, either, for the worst sting is gone, sin is removed and I am saved! Now, Lord, I leave everything in Yourhands, making no conditions or stipulations, but will be pleased, or strive to be pleased, with all Your will provides, sinceI know that the threats are all gone and there remains for me nothing but promises full of boundless mercy which then shallbe my heritage!"
The next thought is, that this Covenant is made with me. Beloved, I cannot preach on this as I would, but I pray that theHoly Spirit may bring home to your souls both the power and sweetness of the thought, "Yet has he made with me an everlastingCovenant." The Doctrines in themselves are delightful, but it is the personal interest in and realization of the Doctrinesthat give real delight!. The Covenant-oh, yes, that is the Well of Bethlehem-but it is "within the gate." But a Covenant madewith me. Ah, that is the water from the well rippling at my very lips! I drink it and am completely refreshed! It would bepleasant to hear of a Covenant made with ten thousand men, that they might be saved, and our common humanity might make usrejoice therein. A Covenant made with countless millions might well make us glad to overflowing, but, after all, it is notselfish, but only laudable as the law of self-preservation God has Himself implanted in us, for us most of all to rejoicein our own personal faith in Christ, our personal property in the Covenant of which He is the Surety! "Yet He has made withme." You know, sometimes, when I am thinking of God's mercy, trying to get a grip of my adoption and my acceptance in theBeloved, I find myself crying and at other times laughing. It seems such a wonder that an "heir of wrath" should be made anheir of Heaven-an enemy of God made to be His own Dear son to whom He has made absolute promises of Infinite Love and unutterableGrace! Surely this ought to make our hearts leap like the heart of a warrior when the battle has come to a close and the victoryhas been won! How joyous ought to be the Chris-
tian's life! There ought to be a sacred exhilaration, a holy riot in our spiritual life at the thought that God has personallymade with us-unworthy, sinful, but pardoned and accepted men and women-"a Covenant ordered in all things and sure."
There is a very poor man in this place, just come from his labor. He has not even had time to go home to wash his face. Heis very poor. If you could see his room, there is very little furniture in it and the wages he earns come to a very little.He has been poor for years and years. You, perhaps, would scarcely notice him. He is a mere drudge, a weight lifter, a carrier,one of the despised "masses" and yet God has made with him an everlasting Covenant! Why, what a contrast between the partiesto this Covenant! Here is the Infinite and Eternal God with all the blazing splendor of His Deity-and He has made a Covenantwith this poor despised child of poverty and toil! Well, now, if you come to think of it, there is no difference in spiritualneed between the crossing-sweeper and the millionaire! They are only two frail mortals, with a little difference in theircircumstances and surroundings, but there is no difference when they go to their last resting place, and they sleep in thelap of mother earth! And yet, with either or both, God is ready to make an everlasting Covenant-with such insignificant ones,with you and me! Oh, dear Christian Brothers and Sisters, here is the music of it-"with me." Now, may your faith lay her handon the dear Savior's head afresh, look to Christ anew, see His blood flowing for you, wash again and feel that you are cleanand then say, "Yet He has made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure."
It may increase our joy to remember the Person who has made this Covenant. If the Covenant had been made with men, it mighthave been kept, or it might not have been-for the surest treaties have been broken-and when men have been bound with fetters,the proverb has not always been proved true, "Fast bind, fast find," but men have slipped through a thousand nooses and havebeen untrustworthy even when solemn oaths and obligations have been used to bind them down! But God is true, so true thatwe might take His Word at once, and yet since He knew our unbelief, He has been pleased to give us "two immutable things,wherein it is impossible for God to lie that we might have strong consolation who have fled for refuge to the hope set beforeus." He has done this, He who has not twice destroyed the earth with a flood, notwithstanding all her sins! He who settledthe mountains and fixed the hills in their sockets has said that the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, butthat His love shall not depart from us, neither shall His Covenant be removed from us. He has said it whose power is equalto His Truth, whose love, with golden hands, encircles both His power and His faithfulness. He has said it who never knowsthe shadow of a change, the sun without a parallax and without a tropic. He has said it, the great I AM has made with us aCovenant of Grace!
Then comes the thrilling Truth of God-"an everlasting Covenant" We must not, above all things, leave that out! It is the durationof the mercy which is always the great theme of joy to the Christian. I do not know where my brethren get their comfort from,who believe in a temporary Covenant of Grace. I am not disposed to controvert with them because if they like it and can getany comfort out of it, I am very glad that somebody should. But it is a kind of land I should never think of plowing, norshould I ever wish to add to my farm! I shall never be tempted to covet that as Ahab covets Naboth's vineyard. That systemof theology seems to me to play fast and loose with Divine things and make man stronger than God-and so I am content not todesire its possession. I suppose I am a greater sinner than they and have more need of Grace and I come back to my Master'spower alone to keep me, rather than depend on my own strength to keep myself. And here are my comfort and joy, that if Godhas made a Covenant with me, He has not done it for today or tomorrow and next week, or even next year, but for all eternity!When the hair turns gray, the Covenant will still be young! And when the pulse beats low and the death sweat shall stand onour brow, the Covenant will be as full of life as in our early days when first we knew the Lord. It is "an everlasting Covenant,"and everlasting in the respect of its being made with me, not a Covenant which is everlasting, but which changes with personsand is first with one and then with another. "He has made with me an everlasting Covenant.'"
Oh, Christian, rejoice! Do not be afraid of rejoicing in that Doctrine of the safety of the saints. Depend upon it, thoughsome have used it to their own destruction and their end shall be terrible for having perverted the Truth of God to make ita cloak for sin, yet the children of God have always found that when they are most happy they can be most active! When theyfeel most safe they are most grateful and when they are most grateful they are most courageous and the most self-sacrificing!Do not be afraid of knowing that you are safe in Christ, for if your thoughts are troubled about your eternal security, youwill not be able to give the integrity of your manhood and womanhood to the cause of God. But if you know that you are saved,if you are sure of it, if you know that your ship can never be driven on the rocks, if you can give your whole selves, body,soul and spirit unreservedly to God, out of no legal motives, but under the Divine constraints of gratitude, gratitude toeternal love-you are the man or woman who God the Spirit can make into a fine strong Christian! But if you are forever strugglingand striving, now believing, now doubting and thinking that your safety depends on something you can do, and that the wholematter may possibly tumble down-you will get no joy out of your salvation and will forever be a self-seeker of a certain kind.But grasp the Truth of God that your salvation is finished once and for all and you can then say, no sing, "Now for the loveI bear His name, my whole spirit, my whole time, talents, substance-all shall be laid upon the altar of Him who loved me andgave Himself for me."-
"Loved of my God, for Him again,
With love intense I burn-
Chosen of Him ere time began,
I choose Him in return."
And now note, very briefly, indeed, that this everlasting Covenant is ordered and sure. This, too, should fill us with holymusing and sacred exultation. It is so ordered that Divine Justice is not infringed, while Divine Mercy is magnified! It isso ordered that the safety of the soul is secured, and yet the soul is delivered from its sin-so ordered that holiness excludesthe sinful from Heaven and yet the sinful are admitted, having been washed in the precious blood of the Covenant. "Orderedin all things"-its great things and its little things! Every wheel and every cog of every wheel, was in the mind of the DivineArtificer and has been placed in its proper position to work out the Divine result! Ordered with regard to the past, the presentand the future! Ordered with regard to Nature and to Providence-ordered with regard to my body and my soul-ordered as to theperfection of my Divine manhood before the Throne of God!
It is ordered in all things and is, therefore, sure. It would not have been sure had it not been well ordered, but being wellordered and fixed according to the truest Law of God, there is no fear of any division of its parts or any dislocation ofits members! It will never be a house divided against itself. You know that when a house has no order in it, nothing can berelied upon. Wills run contrary to one another and discord reigns. But there is nothing of the kind in the Covenant of Grace.There are no conflicting elements. All the elements are of one kind. Boasting is excluded. Human merit is cast out. It hasGrace for its Alpha and Grace for its Omega. It has Grace for its foundation and the topstone shall be brought forth withshouts of, "Grace, Grace," unto it. Infinite Wisdom planned it and so the ideas of human fallibility and mistake have beenexcluded from it. "Ordered in all things and sure."
Let our souls then fall back upon this Truth with the exclamation of David, "This is all my salvation and all my desire."If, indeed, God has made such a Covenant with me, then I am saved. I rest upon Christ whom God has said He has set forth tobe a Covenant for the people-a Leader and Commander to the people. My dear Friends, are you all trusting in Christ alone?Is He all your salvation? Is He all your desire? I think that is one of the ways by which to discover the true sons of Zionfrom those that are not so-by seeing whether Christ is all their salvation! There are some who save a little corner for somethingelse besides Christ. Beloved, it must come to this-if you and I are ever saved-that Christ as He is revealed in the Covenantof Grace must be all our salvation! He must be made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption!Christ is ALL! Oh, what blessed Truth that is! How it drives all priestcraft out of the world! How it makes absurd and profaneall pretended soul-saying ceremonies! How it brings us to the Savior, simply and alone to Him, "This is all my salvation"-whatChrist has done for me and what God promises to give me as the result of what Christ has done in fulfilling the Covenant ofGrace on my behalf-this is all my salvation!
And now, Sinner, you who have never come to Christ, remember that this must be all your salvation if ever you are saved. Anddoes not this cheer you? You thought you were to get some good feelings. You need not. You may come to Christ for them. "Oh,"you say, "but I must repent." He is exalted on high to give you repentance. It is His work to give you repentance! Come toHim as you are, with nothing of your own, and rest wholly in Him. And you have then, in your soul, the true sign of God'selecting love. If you rest wholly upon Jesus, do not trouble your head about either the glorious past or the glorious future,but rejoice now! To lay hold on Christ is to lay hold on everlasting love and to find a resting place that shall last youwhen the world has melted away like a moment's foam dissolves into the wave that bears it and is gone forever. Rest in Godpatiently-with your whole soul relying upon the merit of Jesus-and the everlasting Covenant is yours!
And the text closes with saying-"and all my desire." "I do not want anything else to rest upon. But this one thing do I covet-noother source of joy than this." So David seems to say. Ah, but some of you Christian people cannot say, "This is all my desire"Your desire is to make a great deal of money! Your desire is to dress so that people may think you a person of great tasteand refinement! Or your desire is to be respectable, or your desire is to be something far away from the thoughts of God!You smile, but it is really not at all a thing at which to smile. It is a great pity that so many whom we would hope to beChristian people do not find their chief delights in God and do not let their desires end in Him. This is a sad, sad thing.If there were a wife here who found her greatest pleasure in somebody else's company rather than her husband's, it would bea very great disgrace to her. And it is a terrible dishonor to a Christian when, in order to get his pleasures, he has toget out of the circle of communion with Christ! I have heard of such Christians. "Oh," they say, "well, we try to be circumspectand so on, as a matter of duty, but may we not enjoy ourselves?"
Well, but where-where-where? You do not like to say where and I will not press the question, but there are some who enjoythemselves most when they are where Christ would not go-no, where Christ would not have them go and where they would not likeChrist to come and find them there! Now, question yourselves whether you belong to Christ at all if that is the case, forour sweetest pleasures, if we are true Christians, we find when we are most conformed to Christ, doing His will most conscientiouslyin His sight, most denying ourselves and most completely giving up our own wills and wishes, after a carnal sort, that thewill of Christ may reign in our mortal bodies to His Glory! "This is all my salvation and all my desire." Let others roamthrough the world as they may, but the soul of the Christian is satisfied at home. He can say, in the words of our hymn-
"I need not go abroad for joy,
I have a peace at home!
My sighs are turned into songs,
My heart has ceased to roam.
Down from above the Blessed Dove
Has come into my breast,
To witness there eternal love,
And give my spirit rest."
So may it be with you, for Jesus' sake. Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ROMANS3:9.
Verses 9, 10. What then? Are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that theyare all under sin. As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none that understands, there is none thatseeks after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that does good, no,not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher: with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips.Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways.And the way of peace have they not known.' There is no fear of God before their eyes. This is a description of man given byProphets in the olden times. "Now," says Paul, "we know that what things soever the Law says, it says to them who are underthe Law." So that this is a description of the Jews, a description of the people who had the Light of God, the best peoplethat were then upon the face of the earth-and if these are the good people- where are the Gentiles, the bad ones without theLight?
19, 22. Now we know that what things soever the Law says, it says to them who are under the Law; that every mouth may be stoppedand all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in Hissight for by the La w is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifested, being witnessedby the La w and the Prophets-even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto alland upon all them thatbelieve-for there is no difference. There is no righteousness of works on the face of the earth. The Law, itself, describesmen as being sinful from their throat to their feet. Almost every member of the
body is mentioned and described as being foul with sin! But, says Paul, there is another righteousness on the face of theearth-and that is the righteousness of God's Grace, which comes through believing in Christ!
23, 31. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His Grace through the redemptionthat is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousnessfor the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness:that He might be just, and the justifer of him which believes in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what Law?Of works? No, but by the Law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law.Is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also- seeing it is one God, which shalljustify the circumcision by faith and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid!Yes, we establish the Law.