Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Call to Holy Living - Spurgeon

"A Call to Holy Living"—a sermon first preached on Sunday morning, 14 January 1872, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

It is a very great fault in any ministry if the doctrine of justification by faith alone be not most clearly taught. I will go further, and add, that it is not only a great fault, but a fatal one; for souls will never find their way to heaven by a ministry that is indistinct upon the most fundamental of gospel truths.

The merit by which a soul enters heaven is not its own; it is the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am quite sure that you will all hold me guiltless of ever having spoken about this great doctrine in any other than unmistakable language; if I have erred, it is not in that direction.

At the same time, it is a dangerous state of things if doctrine is made to drive out precept, and faith is held up as making holiness a superfluity. Sanctification must not be forgotten or overlaid by justification. We must teach plainly that the faith which saves the soul is not a dead faith, but a faith which operates with purifying effect upon our entire nature, and produces in us fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God.

It is not by personal holiness that a man shall enter heaven, but yet without holiness shall no man see the Lord. It is not by good works that we are justified, but if a man shall continue to live an ungodly life, his "faith" will not justify him; for it is not the faith of God's elect; since that faith is wrought by the Holy Spirit, and conforms men to the image of Christ.

We must learn to place the legal precepts in their right position. They are not the base of the column, but they are the capital of it. Precepts are not given to us as a way to obtain life, but as the way in which to exhibit life.

The commands of Christ are not upon the legal tenor of "this do and live," but upon the gospel system of "live and do this." We are not to be attentive to the precepts in order to be saved, but because we are saved. Our master motive is to be gratitude to him who has saved us with a great salvation.

I am sure that every renewed heart here will feel no opposition to the most holy precepts of our Lord. However severely pure that law may seem to be which we have read just now from this fifth chapter of Matthew, our hearts agree with it, and we ask that we may be so renewed that our lives may be conformed to it. The regenerate never rebel against any precept, saying, "This, is too pure;" on the contrary, our new-born nature is enamoured of its holiness, and we cry, "Thy word is very pure, therefore thy servant loveth it. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes."

Even though we find that when we would do good evil is present with us, yet our inmost soul longs after holiness, and pines to be delivered from every evil way. At any rate, Dear friends, if it be not so with you, you may well question whether you are indeed the children of God. My desire, this morning, is to insist upon the precepts which tend to holiness, and I pray the Holy Spirit to excite desires after a high degree of purity in all believing, hearts.

24 comments:

mark pierson said...

So much for the idea that there is a possibility that a life might not be changed. And this from the preacher who gave a sermon entitled, "Faith So Simple".

Mark

Celestial Fundie said...

If you guys are FG, why don't you link to GES?

And have you considered linking to Unashamed of Grace? We are a FG blog.

And I don't see anything about Zane Hodges here. You ought to give him a mention...

mark pierson said...

Matthew,

The links are there, can't you see them??? We used clear ink. Perhaps that is it. The links blend in too much with the blog background.

:-)

only1way said...

Thanks Mark for another great Spurgeon classic--his topic hit upon one of the supreme difficulties in the Christian life--the difficulty, of course, is not couched in its truth but rather what should the color of holiness be in those who are truly saved--surely it is not the absence of sin since each one of us knows (much to oour grief) that sin's propensity still abides in the Christian's character--it is not the complete death of sins practice since there is still the need for Christians to confess their sins daily -- whta use would that treasured verse in 1John be to us if it were not so -- Spurgeon himself in his sermon entitled "The Fainting Warrior" said it was the supreme agony of every true Chrsitian to know that he should not sin but that he must sin because he is a sinner--I think it does come down to desire -- the spirit is willing but oh the flesh is weak -- do we excuse sin -- no we attempt to mortify it daily -- but is there a Christian on this blog who can claim that he shakes hands with perfection every day -- surely not I --

mark pierson said...

John! It's about time you got your tail back into the blogosphere. There is truth to stand for.

Gayla said...

Nice new blog, guys!

jazzycat said...

Spurgeon really had a gift for explanining salvation which includes sanctification!

Matthew,
We go further than the so-called FG of the GES. We affirm a true free grace that comes from God with power. It converts, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and at death it glorifies. The GES seems to affirm a partial powerless incomplete FG.

jazzycat said...

gayla, and John,
Thanks and good point.

donsands said...

"And I don't see anything about Zane Hodges here. You ought to give him a mention..."

Zane believes a believer, can become an unbelieving believer, and never for certain love Christ.

There's a mention for you Matthew.

jazzycat said...

Don,
That is very good. ;)

Also, Zane Hodges believes the indwelling Holy Spirit can lead a believer to mock God and become an atheist. However, Scripture says the following:

Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Dawn said...

Spurgeon: "It is a very great fault in any ministry if the doctrine of justification by faith alone be not most clearly taught. I will go further, and add, that it is not only a great fault, but a fatal one; for souls will never find their way to heaven by a ministry that is indistinct upon the most fundamental of gospel truths."

I agree that it is most important to teach sound doctrine; however, I fail to understand how, in the Calvinist paradigm, there is the possibility that a person who is of the elect could stand the chance of never finding their way to heaven or that bad teaching could prove fatal to one of the elect. Such a thing is impossible according to Calvinism.

Spurgeon: “At any rate, Dear friends, if it be not so with you, you may well question whether you are indeed the children of God.

How can an unregenerate person “question” whether or not he is indeed a child of God? According to Calvinism, they cannot understand such a thing, it is impossible for them to do so.

I agree with what Spurgeon has written, but he preaches like an Arminian; but then, so does my very Calvinist pastor and my very Calvinist Sunday school teacher; both of whom my husband and I deeply respect. :-)

jazzycat said...

Dawn,
I agree that it is most important to teach sound doctrine; however, I fail to understand how, in the Calvinist paradigm,.......

No disrespect, but you do seem to not understand much about the Calvinist paradigm. True doctrine, evangelism, sound preaching, etc. are just as important in Calvinism as they are in Arminianism.

mark pierson said...

Dawn,
In your side-bar at your blog there is a link to a site called "Examining Calvinism". In that site the writer, who is against the DoG, tells people to become familiar with the opposing view point, to know it well. I don't believe that you know Calvinism well, not at all. Your arguments display that fact. Sorry, friend.

Dawn said...

I understand it, I just think it is contradictory and inconsistent.

Dawn said...

Can you please explain how Spurgeon could say such impossible things? How can one examine himself to see if he is of the faith? How could someone be concerned with truly bad theology if the elect are going to be saved anyway? It seems to me he shouldn't be saying these particular things since they are impossible.

donsands said...

Dawn,
How do you interpret Paul's words to us in his epistle to the Romans, chapter nine verses 18&19?


"Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.
You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?"

jazzycat said...

Dawn,
You said……..
Can you please explain how Spurgeon could say such impossible things? How can one examine himself to see if he is of the faith? How could someone be concerned with truly bad theology if the elect are going to be saved anyway?

answer Q1:
Perhaps Spurgeon got it from the Apostle John when he said the following in 1 John:
1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John gives many attributes of a Christian so perhaps that is good place to look.

answer Q2:
I am repeating myself with this answer and this is why we contend that you really do not understand Calvinism. Once again, God uses the external call of preaching and evangelism to bring the elect to faith, therefore sound theology is crucial in giving the elect the information needed for the H.S. to apply the effectual call. The bible is full of exhortations to teach sound doctrine and to discern and avoid false teachers.

Dawn said...

Donsands, Romans 9:18-19 means that God gives mercy to those who do not reject the gospel and hardens those who do; however, that does not mean that God won't lift that hardening and give grace again. Having said that, there does come a time when they will be hardened for good and only God knows who these people are and when He will no longer draw them. The reason God finds fault is because of their rejection of the gospel once they've been enlightened to the truth.

Dawn said...

Sorry, Wayne, but this is what Spurgeon said:

"Even though we find that when we would do good evil is present with us, yet our inmost soul longs after holiness, and pines to be delivered from every evil way. At any rate, Dear friends, if it be NOT so with YOU, YOU may well question whether you are indeed the children of God." (emphasis added)

Spurgeon is making a plea to the UNregenerate who, according to his theology, CANNOT understand. I find that rather inconsistent and contradictory.

Wayne, you said, "I am repeating myself with this answer and this is why we contend that you really do not understand Calvinism. Once again, God uses the external call of preaching and evangelism to bring the elect to faith, therefore sound theology is crucial in giving the elect the information needed for the H.S. to apply the effectual call. The bible is full of exhortations to teach sound doctrine and to discern and avoid false teachers."

And I'm repeating myself. I completley understand Calvinism. I just don't see how you all don't see the inconsistencies and contradictions of such a theology and why you all speak like Arminians. Apparently, according to Calvinism, there is no way that the elect will be affected by bad theology as they obviously ARE going to hear good teachers eventually. Apparently, God has ordained all this bad theology stuff so it doesn't really matter. It's all done by His will and His timing and through His means. Right? So what's the big concern? Isn't God in complete control? Doesn't he control the thoughts and actions of every person?...according to Calvinism, that is.

donsands said...

"Romans 9:18-19 means that God gives mercy to those who do not reject the gospel and hardens those who do"

So the Potter depends on the clay to either reject, or not reject His hands to mold them?

jazzycat said...

Dawn,
It is not inconsistent or contridictory to make a gospel call or plea to the unregenerate. God uses this call to apply the effectual call. We do not know who God will quicken and change to understand this call. God opened Lydia's heart is an example. My goodness, you may not believe this, but it is certainly not contridictory.

jazzycat said...

Dawn,
You said.....
Apparently, according to Calvinism, there is no way that the elect will be affected by bad theology as they obviously ARE going to hear good teachers eventually..... etc. etc.

You are describing what is known as hyper-Calvinism, which I reject completely. In this view, we have no responsibility for anything in evangelism. There is no need to pray, or evangelize, or promote good theology or anything. I have never really ran into anyone with such thinking. If I do, then we can go as team and refute their error together.

mark pierson said...

Dawn,

What is contradictory about a godly pastor, one with God-implanted desires, challenging his hearers to a right relationship with God? The church has within people who are not right with God, but think that they are. Spurgeon's heart-plea will go out - the elect among those not right with God will be challenged accordingly; the rest will simply go on in believing a lie.

mark pierson said...

Dawn says,

"Donsands, Romans 9:18-19 means that God gives mercy to those who do not reject the gospel and hardens those who do;"
===========
Romans 3:11 - There is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. Vs 12 - they have all turned aside...

If there were such a thing as "prevenient grace" it would receive some mention from Paul at this point. But, alas! no mention at all.

Also, Ephesians 2:1-3 is clear - all are dead in trespasses and sins (minus the life of God, Eph.4:18),all walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince and power of the air, the spirit who works in the sons of disobedience (all men), conducting themselves in the lusts of the flesh and mind, and are by nature children of wrath. Again, there would be mention of prevenient grace here if such a thing existed. But, no. Instead it says that the remedy is that God has made us alive together with Christ - REGENERATION.