C. H. Spurgeon, (Morning and Evening)
If we would rightly "acquaint ourselves with God, and be at peace," we must KNOW Him as He has revealed Himself, (not only in those qualities that makes Him what He is and His having real existence as a pure Spirit Being) but also in the plurality of His Persons. God said, "Let US make man in OUR own image." Let not man be content until he knows something of the "US" from Whom his own being was derived.
Endeavor to know the FATHER; bury your head in His bosom in deep repentance, and confess that you are not worthy to be called His son; receive the kiss of His love; let the ring which is the token of His eternal faithfulness be on your finger; sit at His table and let your heart make merry in His grace.
Then press forward and seek to know much of THE SON OF GOD who is the brightness of His Father's glory, and yet in unspeakable condescension of grace became man for our sakes; KNOW HIM in the singular complexity of His nature: eternal God, and yet suffering, finite man; follow Him as He walks the waters with the steps of Deity, and as He sits upon the well in the weariness of humanity. Be not satisfied unless you KNOW much of Jesus Christ as your Friend, Brother, Husband, your all.
Forget not THE HOLY SPIRIT; endeavor to obtain a clear view of His nature and character, His Attributes, and His works. Behold that Spirit of the Lord, who first of all moved upon chaos, and brought forth order(Genesis 1); who now visits our soul, and creates the order of holiness ( II Cor. 4:6).
Behold Him as the Lord and giver of spiritual life, the Illuminator, the Instructor, the Comforter, and the Sanctifier. Behold Him as, like holy unction, He descends upon the head of Jesus, and then afterwards rests upon you who are Christ's body. Such an intelligent, scriptural, and experimental belief in the Trinity in Unity is yours if you truly KNOW GOD; and such KNOWLEDGE BRINGS PEACE INDEED.
Nay, more, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne.
"Neither pray I for these alone," saith the great Intercessor, "but FOR
THEM ALSO WHICH SHALL BELIEVE on Me through your word." Poor, ignorant souls,
they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are
on His breastplate, and ere long they must bow the stubborn knee, breathing the
penitential sigh before the throne of grace. "The time of figs is not yet come."
The predestinated moment has not struck; but, when it comes, THEY SHALL OBEY, for
God will have His own; THEY MUST, for the Spirit is not to be withstood when He
cometh forth in the fulness of power. THEY MUST become the willing servants of God.
"My people shall be willing in the day of my power." "He shall justify
many." "He shall see the travail of His soul." "I will divide Him a
portion with the great..."
C. H. Spurgeon
"I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus: Thou hast chastised me,...turn me, and I shall be turned; for Thou art the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed...I was ashamed, yea even confounded..." (Jeremiah 31)
There is but ONE turning point which will secure salvation and eternal life; and that is what we call CONVERSION, which is the FIRST APPARENT RESULT OF REGENERATION, or THE NEW BIRTH. The man is renewed, the current of his life is turned; he is converted. The Bible must have been written by the Creator, for nobody but the Lord Who created men could know so much about them. This Book reveals the secrets of all hearts; it unveils our private thoughts.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, CONVERTING THE SOUL."
Concerning the man here described, we note that he is in a state of great sorrow for himself...not about the death or poverty, not about his lot in life, no, HE BEMOANS HIMSELF. What am I? Where am I O soul? Alas, I have lost myself. But happy is the man in such a state when he throws himself upon God, if my afflictions are yet too feeble, set omnipotent grace to work. Turn me, and I shall be turned. No one can help me, I appeal to Thee, You made me, You can make me anew. I pray Thee, exercise thine own power, and renew this poor broken, defiled creature. Fashion me according to Thy mind, that I may answer (conform) to Thy purposes.
Now look at this man following that turning point: "Surely AFTER THAT I WAS TURNED, I REPENTED." Not many moments after Ephraim had said, "THOU ART THE LORD MY GOD", he felt he was turned. In quickening the soul from its death in sin, there must be a moment in whch the sinner is dead, and another in which he lives. The actual transition from death unto life must be instantaneous, though the signs (fruits, evidences) of it may be gradual. The dead man lives at once; the condemned man is in an instant pardoned THE MAIN POINT IS TO BE TURNED; to know the TIME AND THE PLACE is a secondary matter. Yet I say, some of us know when WE WERE TURNED, and the reason why we remember is that REPENTANCE CAME WITH THE TURNING. "The heart of stone was turned to flesh" and the rocky heart smitten by the divine rod, gushed forth floods of penitential grief. "I repented", says he, "I changed my mind about a thousand things: I loved what I had hated, I hated what I once loved; I loathed what had been called my pleasure; I longed for what I had despised as being dull and dreary. I felt deep sorrow for my sin and I quitted it to follow obedience and holiness." Repentance is a sweet and sure evidence of a DIVINE CONVERSION.
Then came further instruction. The Holy Spirit comes with further instruction from the Word. But out of that came deeper regret and a more complete self-abasement. God takes us into His school, and He begins to show us the evil of sin-the great iniquity of rebelling against a God so good, so kind; against a law so just, so righteous; and then we begin to abhor ourselves. Especially does the Holy Spirit instruct us as to the Person, and work, and love, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this makes us loathe ourselves even more. Nothing makes a man smite upon his own breast with a deep sorrow for sin like knowing the grace of God as it is revealed in the life, suffering and death of the Son of God
NOW AT THIS TURNING POINT,WE HEAR GOD SPEAK:"Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child...I do earnestly remember him...I will surely have mercy on him, saith the Lord." He bends over His crushed one, and cries, "This is my son". The sinner that despairs of self-salvation is "my dear son." We read in a place about joy in heaven among angels over returning sinners. BUT IT ACTUALLY SAYS:
"There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that REPENTETH." What a marvel that a thrice holy Lord should ever take pleasure in a repenting sinner! Yet a sinner on his knees is a delight to the heart of the All-merciful. I do believe that the great Lord would rather turn His eyes away from angels than fail to look upon a weeping pleader, crying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner." "To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." (Isaiah 66:2)
Notice, The Lord says, "Since I spake against him, I do earnestly remember him still." Think of that, God in earnest, what a wonderful concept here set forth. God in earnest over one moaning sinner. God earnest in thoughts of love, even when he bids the preacher tell the offender of the wrath to come. He says, Go thunder at him, and let loose the lightnings of the law upon him; and yet I earnestly remember him still. Go, providence and frustrate him and his plans. "I do earnestly remember him still." God is never more earnest to save a soul than when he is dealing roughly with him.
How I wish I could put my thoughts into your hearts at once instead of having to dilute them by my words, and then see their strength watered down as they pass though your ears and your understanding, and at last filter drops into your hearts. May the Lord put His own thoughts into your souls by His holy Spirit, that you may know, in some measure, what His earnest remembrance means.
SURELY: "I will SURELY have mercy upon him" saith the Lord.
As surely as you have been ashamed in abhoring yourself, so SURELY does He put away your reproach. What great mercy, what full mercy, what eternal mercy is this. Yield your stubborn hearts, be captives in the embrace of Divine compassion.
WHEN THE REBEL IS MOVED WITH REPENTANCE,
"REPENTANCE IS A GRACE RECEIVED, NOT A WORK ACHIEVED."
(If you are a believer, you have a right to the same fellowship with God as the apostles had, you have the same perfect cleansing of the blood, the same adoption, the same regeneration, you stand in the same place of love and acceptance, and shall be blessed with the same blessings on earth, and you shall enter into the same joy at the right hand of God. Trust in Christ is the invariable and infallible mark of the saved ones.)
(BUT) This trust in Christ is no empty notion. The trust in Christ which saves the soul is no idle sentiment, but a strong, vital active principle, having a living and conquering power within it.
1. True trust in Christ is an entire reliance upon Him. This day, if you trust Christ, you rest the whole weight and stress of your souls affairs upon Him. Looking at your sin and your sinfulness, looking at the past, the present, and the future, looking at death and at judgment, you deliberately believe that Christ is equal (to them all).. It must be an absolute severance from all reliance upon your past merit, or upon your present resolutions, or upon your future expectations of what you shall be or do. You must be done with all other trust if Christ is to be your confidence.
2. A saving trust leads us to accept Christ in ALL HIS OFFICES. He is not only our Priest to put away our sin, but our Prophet to remove our ignorance, and King to subdue our rebellions. If as Priest He purges the conscience, as Prophet He must direct the intellect, and as King He must rule the life....There is no wholehearted trust in Christ unless Christ is taken as a whole...You must take Him as He is revealed in the Scriptures.
3. This trust includes obedience to Him: We have not trusted Him at all unless we are prepared to accept His commands as the rule of our lives....Obedience is the necessary outcome of true and real faith, and there is no trust where there is no obedience. Some of you fancy that you are to trust Christ, and then do what you like. You believe a lie, for such is not the teaching of Gods word. The faith which saves is a faith which obeys....We must follow Christs directions, if we would receive His promises.
If I refuse to accept Christ as my Captain, how can I claim Him as my Saviour?
Please e-mail Dr. John C. Shafer for answers to any questions you may have, or requests for study materials.