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All of Grace
An Earnest Word for Those Who Are Seeking Salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ
By C. H. Spurgeon
Moody PublishersCopyright © 2010 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago
All rights reserved.
He who spoke and wrote this message will be greatly disappointed if it does not lead many to the Lord Jesus. It is sent forth in childlike dependence upon the power of God the Holy Spirit, to use it in the conversion of millions, if He so pleases. No doubt many poor men and women will take up this little volume, and the Lord will visit them with grace. To answer this end, the very plainest language has been chosen, and many simple expressions have been used. But if those of wealth and rank should glance at this book, the Holy Spirit can impress them also, since that which can be understood by the unlettered is nonetheless attractive to the instructed. Oh that some might read it who will become great winners of souls!
Who knows how many will find their way to peace by what they read here? A more important question for you is this: Will you be one of them?
A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time after that a great art critic had found much fault with its design. "But," said he, "do many thirsty persons drink at it?" Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and children, quenched their thirst at this fountain, and he smiled and said that he was not troubled by the critic's observation. He only hoped that on some sultry summer's day the critic himself might fill the cup and be refreshed and praise the name of the Lord.
Here is my fountain, and here is my cup. Find fault if you wish, but do drink of the water of life. I only care for this. I would rather bless the soul of the poorest street cleaner or rag-gatherer than please a prince and fail to convert him to God.
Do you mean business in reading these pages? If so, we are agreed at the outset; but nothing short of your finding Christ and heaven is the business aimed at here. Oh that we may seek this together! I do so by dedicating this little book with prayer. Will you not join me by looking up to God and asking Him to bless you while you read? Providence has put these pages before you, you have a little spare time in which to read them, and you feel willing to give them your attention. These are good signs. Who knows but that the time of blessing is come for you? At any rate, "The Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts" (Hebrews 3:7–8).CHAPTER 2
What Are We At?
I heard a story; I think it came from the north country. A minister called upon a poor woman, intending to give her help, for he knew that she was very poor. With his money in his hand, he knocked at the door; but she did not answer. He concluded she was not at home, and went his way. A little later he met her at the church and told her that he had remembered her need: "I called at your house and knocked several times, and I suppose you were not at home, for I had no answer." "At what hour did you call, sir?" "It was about noon." "Oh, dear," she said, "I heard you, sir, and I am so sorry I did not answer, but I thought it was the man calling for the rent." Many poor women know what this meant. Now, it is my desire to be heard, and therefore I want to say that I am not calling for the rent; indeed, it is not the object of this book to ask anything of you, but to tell you that salvation is all of grace, which means, free, gratis, for nothing.
Often when we are anxious to win attention, our hearer thinks, "Oh! Now I am going to be told my duty. It is the man calling for that which is due to God, and I am sure I have nothing to pay it with. I will not be at home." No, this book does not come to make a demand upon you, but to bring you something. We are not going to talk about law and duty and punishment, but about love and goodness and forgiveness and mercy and eternal life. Do not, therefore, act as if you were not at home; do not turn a deaf ear or a careless heart. I am asking nothing of you in the name of God or man. It is not my intent to make any requirement at your hands, but I come in God's name to bring you a free gift which it shall be to your present and eternal joy to receive.
Open the door and let my pleadings enter. "Come now, and let us reason together" (Isaiah 1:18). The Lord Himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door, for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. It may be that the hour is come in which you shall enter upon that new life which is the beginning of heaven. "Faith cometh by hearing" (Romans 10:17), and reading is a type of hearing; faith may come to you while you are reading this book. Why not? O blessed Spirit of all grace, make it so!CHAPTER 3
God Justifieth the Ungodly
This message is for you. You will find the text in Romans 4:5, "To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
I call your attention to those words, "Him that justifieth the ungodly." They seem to me to be very wonderful words.
Are you not surprised that there should be such an expression as that in the Bible, "That justifieth the ungodly"? I have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He takes to Himself the title of "Him that justifieth the ungodly." He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve no favor. Did you think that salvation was for the good and that God's grace was for the pure and holy who are free from sin? Perhaps you think that if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and maybe you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of enjoying His favor. You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: "Him that justifieth the ungodly." I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly believe that there must be something in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that "there is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). He knows that "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6), and, therefore, the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness with him, but to bestow them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us so; he justifieth the ungodly.
When a lawyer comes into court, if he is an honest man, he desires to plead the case of an innocent person and justify him before the court from the things which are falsely laid to his charge. It should be the lawyer's object to justify the innocent person, and he should not attempt to screen the guilty party. It is not man's right nor in his power to truly justify the guilty. This is a miracle reserved for the Lord alone. God, the infinitely just Sovereign, knows that there is not a just man upon earth who does good and does not sin. Therefore, in the infinite sovereignty of His divine nature and in the splendor of His ineffable love, He undertakes the task, not so much of justifying the just as of justifying the ungodly. God has devised ways and means of making the ungodly man to stand justly accepted before Him. He has set up a system by which with perfect justice He can treat the guilty as if he had been free from offence; yes, can treat him as if he were wholly free from sin. He justifieth the ungodly.
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is a very surprising thing, a thing to be marveled at most of all by those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me, even to this day, the greatest wonder that I ever heard of that God should ever justify me. I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of corruption, and a heap of sin apart from His almighty love. I know and am fully assured that I am justified by faith which is in Christ Jesus, and I am treated as if I had been perfectly just and made an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. And yet, by nature I must take my place among the most sinful. I, who am altogether undeserving, am treated as if I had been deserving. I am loved with as much love as if I had always been godly, whereas before I was ungodly. Who can help being astonished at this? Gratitude for such favor stands dressed in robes of wonder.
Now, while this is very surprising, I want you to notice how available it makes the Gospel to you and to me. If God justifieth the ungodly, then He can justify you. Is not that the very kind of person that you are? If you are unconverted at this moment, it is a very proper description of you. You have lived without God; you have been the reverse of godly. In one word, you have been and are ungodly. Perhaps you have not even attended a place of worship on Sunday, but have lived in disregard of God's day and house and Word. This proves you to have been ungodly. Sadder still, it may be you have even tried to doubt God's existence and have gone the length of saying that you did so. You have lived on this fair earth which is full of the tokens of God's presence, and all the while you have shut your eyes to the clear evidences of His power and Godhead. You have lived as if there were no God. Indeed, you would have been very pleased if you could have positively demonstrated to yourself that there was no God whatever. Possibly you have lived a great many years in this way so that you are now pretty well settled in your ways, and yet God is not in any of them. If you were labeled ungodly, it would describe you as well as if the sea were to be labeled salt water. Would it not? Possibly you are a person of another sort. You have regularly attended to all the outward forms of religion, and yet you have had no heart in them at all, but have been really ungodly. Though meeting with the people of God, you have never met with God for yourself; you have been in the choir, and yet have not praised the Lord with your heart. You have lived without any love to God in your heart, or regard to His commands in your life. Well, you are just the kind of person to whom this Gospel is sent, this Gospel which says that God justifieth the ungodly. It is very wonderful, but it is happily available for you. It just suits you. Does it not? How I wish that you would accept it! If you are a sensible person, you will see the remarkable grace of God in providing for someone such as you are, and you will say to yourself, "Justify the ungodly! Why, then, should not I be justified, and justified at once?"
Now, observe further, that it must be so. The salvation of God is for those who do not deserve it and have no preparation for it. It is reasonable that the statement should be put in the Bible, for no others need justifying but those who have no justification of their own. If any of you are perfectly righteous, you want no justifying. You feel that you are doing your duty well, and almost putting heaven under an obligation to you. What do you want with a Saviour or with mercy? What do you want with justification? You will be tired of this book by this time, for it will have no interest to you.
If any of you are giving yourselves such proud airs, listen to me for a little while. You will be lost as sure as you are alive. You righteous men, whose righteousness is all of your own working, are either deceivers or deceived, for the Scripture cannot lie and it says plainly, "There is none righteous, no, not one." In any case, I have no Gospel to preach to the self-righteous, no, not a word. Jesus Christ Himself came not to call the righteous, and I am not going to do what He did not do. If I called you, you would not come; therefore, I will not call you. No, I ask you rather to look at that righteousness of yours till you see what a delusion it is. It is not half so substantial as a cobweb. Be finished with it! Flee from it! Believe that the only persons that can need justification are those who are not just in themselves. They need something to be done for them to make them just before the judgment seat of God. Depend upon it, the Lord only does that which is needful. Infinite wisdom never attempts that which is unnecessary. Jesus never undertakes that which is superfluous. To make him just who is just is no work for God; that were a labor for a fool. But to make him just who is unjust, that is work for infinite love and mercy. To justify the ungodly is a miracle worthy of God, and it is.
Now, look. If there be anywhere in the world a physician who has discovered sure and precious remedies, to whom is that physician sent? To those who are perfectly healthy? I think not. Put him down in a district where there are no sick persons, and he feels that he is not in his place. There is nothing for him to do. "They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick" (Mark 2:17). Is it not equally clear that the great remedies of grace and redemption are for the sick in soul? They cannot be for the whole, for they cannot be of use to such. If you feel that you are spiritually sick, the Physician has come into the world for you. If you are altogether undone by reason of your sin, you are the very person aimed at in the plan of salvation. I say that the Lord of love had just such as you are in His eye when He arranged the system of grace. Suppose a man of generous spirit were to resolve to forgive all those who were indebted to him; it is clear that this can only apply to those really in his debt. One person owes him a thousand pounds, and another owes him fifty pounds; each one has but to have his bill receipted, and the liability is wiped out. But the most generous person cannot forgive the debts of those who do not owe him anything. It is out of the power of Omnipotence to forgive where there is no sin. Pardon, therefore, cannot be for you who have no sin. Pardon must be for the guilty. Forgiveness must be for the sinful. It would be absurd to talk of forgiving those who do not need forgiveness or pardoning those who have never offended.
Do you think that you must be lost because you are a sinner? This is the reason why you can be saved. Because you realize that you are a sinner, I would encourage you to believe that grace is ordained for such as you. One hymn writer even dared to say:
A sinner is a sacred thing: The Holy Ghost hath made him so.
It is true that Jesus seeks and saves that which is lost. He died and made a real atonement for real sinners. When men are not playing with words or calling themselves "miserable sinners" in false humility, I feel overjoyed to meet with them. I would be glad to talk all night to bona fide sinners. The inn of mercy never closes its doors upon such, neither on weekdays nor on Sunday. Our Lord Jesus did not die for imaginary sins, but His heart's blood was spilled to wash out deep crimson stains which nothing else can remove.
He that is a dirty sinner is the kind of man that Jesus Christ came to make clean. A Gospel preacher on one occasion preached a sermon from, "Now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees" (Luke 3:9), and he delivered such a sermon that one of his hearers said to him, "One would have thought that you had been preaching to criminals. Your sermon ought to have been delivered in the county jail." "Oh, no," said the good man, "if I were preaching in the county jail, I should not preach from that text, there I should preach 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners' (1 Timothy 1:15). This is true." The Law is for the self-righteous, to humble their pride; the Gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair.
If you are not lost, what do you want with a Saviour? Should the shepherd go after those who never went astray? Why should the woman sweep her house for the pieces of money that were never out of her purse? No, the medicine is for the diseased; the quickening is for the dead; the pardon is for the guilty; liberation is for those who are bound; the opening of eyes is for those who are blind. How can the Saviour and His death upon the cross and the Gospel of pardon be accounted for unless they be upon the supposition that men are guilty and worthy of condemnation? The sinner is the Gospel's reason for existence. If you are undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving, you are the sort of man for whom the Gospel is ordained and arranged and proclaimed. God justifies the ungodly.
Excerpted from All of Grace by C. H. Spurgeon. Copyright © 2010 The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
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