Charles H. Spurgeon   (1834 – 1892)

“There are some professing Christians who can speak of themselves in terms of admiration; but, from my inmost heart, I loathe such speeches more and more every day that I live. Those who talk in such a boastful fashion must be constituted very differently from me. While they are congratulating themselves, I have to lie humbly at the foot of Christ’s Cross, and marvel that I am saved at all, for I know that I am saved. I have to wonder that I do not believe Christ more, and equally wonder that I am privileged to believe in Him at all—to wonder that I do not love Him more, and equally to wonder that I love Him at all—to wonder that I am not holier, and equally to wonder that I have any desire to be holy at all considering what a polluted debased, depraved nature I find still within my soul, notwithstanding all that divine grace has done in me. If God were ever to allow the fountains of the great deeps of depravity to break up in the best man that lives, he would make as bad a devil as the devil himself is. I care nothing for what these boasters say concerning their own perfections; I feel sure that they do not know themselves, or they could not talk as they often do. There is tinder enough in the saint who is nearest to heaven to kindle another hell if God should but permit a spark to fall upon it. In the very best of men there is an infernal and well-nigh infinite depth of depravity. Some Christians never seem to find this out. I almost wish that they might not do so, for it is a painful discovery for anyone to make; but it has the beneficial effect of making us cease from trusting in ourselves, and causing us to glory only in the Lord.”  – Charles H. Spurgeon   (1834 – 1892)

Charles H. Spurgeon was an anointed orator and prolific author. His sermons were said to hold his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London where he was the Pastor for 38 years. He was also known for his outspoken opposition to the open-minded and matter-of-fact theological tendencies in the Church of his day. (Hmmmm)

Spurgeon did not mince words when it came to his disdain for self-centered Christians or as he put it, “professing Christians who can speak of themselves in terms of admiration”.

Charles marveled at the wonder of his own salvation. I like his dichotomies:

  • I have to wonder that I do not believe Christ more, and equally wonder that I am privileged to believe in Him at all
  • I have to wonder that I do not love Him more, and equally to wonder that I love Him at all
  • I have to wonder that I am not holier, and equally to wonder that I have any desire to be holy at all

Me too, Charles. Me too.

Spurgeon laments that, “In the very best of men there is an infernal and well-nigh infinite depth of depravity. Some Christians never seem to find this out”.

How true.

We are all depraved. At home with our self-absorption and imagining our every desire should be met. I, Me & Mine. I think we’ve forgotten that we are the “creature” not the “creator”. I am a created being. What can I really know about myself that God does not already know?

It just so happens that I have been blessed with a life filled with affirmation (and, sometimes admiration as well). I regularly experience showers of kind and flattering words. To be honest, I like it. Who wouldn’t?

But the longer I live, the more necessary I find it to expose the ugliness of my own depravity. I recognize the treachery of my heart (human nature) and my propensity for wickedness. The duplicity inside of me exposes not only my appetite for sin but my ability to excuse it. Openly acknowledging that I will always struggle with the “sin-nature” is liberating. It reminds me that I am at the mercy of my Heavenly Father every day and makes me grateful for the grace He has shown me.

The Apostle Paul understood this very well. He said,

12-16 I am deeply grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ (to whom I owe all that I have accomplished) for trusting me enough to appoint me his minister, despite the fact that I had previously blasphemed his name, persecuted his Church and damaged his cause. I believe he was merciful to me because what I did was done in the ignorance of a man without faith, and then he poured out his grace upon me, giving me tremendous faith in, and love for, himself. This statement is completely reliable and should be universally accepted:—“Christ Jesus entered the world to rescue sinners”. I realize that I was the worst of them all, and that because of this very fact God was particularly merciful to me. It was a kind of demonstration of the extent of Christ’s patience towards the worst of men; to serve as an example to all whom in the future should trust him for eternal life”. 1 Timothy 1:15 – J.B. Phillips New Testament –

Paul looked at himself as being among the worst of men. He attributes his rescue to the Mercy, Grace, Faith and Love of God. Jesus Christ, he says, entered this world to rescue bad people. Like Paul, we are all bad people in need of reclamation.

Paul also observed that it is human nature to know what is right and yet to still often practice evil.

21-25 “When I come up against the Law I want to do good, but in practice I do evil. My conscious mind whole-heartedly endorses the Law, yet I observe an entirely different principle at work in my nature. This is in continual conflict with my conscious attitude, and makes me an unwilling prisoner to the law of sin and death. In my mind I am God’s willing servant, but in my own nature I am bound fast, as I say, to the law of sin and death. It is an agonizing situation, and who on earth can set me free from the clutches of my sinful nature? I thank God there is a way out through Jesus Christ our Lord”.   – Romans 7:24 -J.B. Phillips New Testament –

Who on earth can set me free from the control of my sinful nature?

Who indeed. Clergy, Governments and Gurus are all useless when it comes to freeing the human spirit. There is one solution. Freedom comes only “through Jesus Christ our Lord”.

 1-2 “No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2 – J.B. Phillips New Testament –

God has secured my drifting heart to Himself through Jesus Christ. He has shown me the way out from under the weight (vicious circle) of religion and its laws. In Jesus, I have found a new “spiritual principle of life”. I am now in right standing with God simply because he loves me. I am no longer a prisoner of my fallen nature. That malevolent side of me is still lurking inside but the Holy Spirit in now in control. The power of the Holy Spirit has made me free from the power of sin and death. As long as I continue to walk in harmony with the Holy Spirit my wicked nature is kept in check. I can do all things because Christ strengthens me. I am nothing without Him.

© 2014 by Joseph A Cerreta, all rights reserved.  Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD is an author,
broadcaster, popular Bible teacher, and the founding Pastor of Living Faith Christian
Fellowship in Holiday, Florida.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s