Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A fruitful laborer

When man once gives his heart to his Master - when once this brutish heart is conquered by divine grace, and becomes a servant of God, of what use he is! Do you see the labor and zeal of Paul? Why, he never grew weary. He was an ox that never fretted under the yoke. He went to the end of many a long furrow and back again, and to the end again. No stripes hindered him; no prisons stopped him. He was not afraid of death itself. He crossed the boisterous sea - no mean feat in those days of unskilful navigation; he traversed the equally dangerous land, suffering perils from robbers, from rivers, from wild beasts, and from false brethren. Like a strong ox he ploughed a heavy soil from morning to evening without complaint. He left no work undone, but he could say at the close of his career, “I have fought a good fight; I have finished my course; I have kept the faith!”

Oh, what a vast amount of good might be done by some of those who are now doing so much mischief! When a sinner is really convinced of sin he cannot think that God himself can ever make anything of him; but you do not know....Just look at that poor fellow sold as a slave, a prey to everything that is evil; it is John Newton: who would expect to hear him in the pulpit... telling of the mighty grace of God? Ah, but the Lord can thus get a double victory over Satan, not merely by capturing Satan’s best men, but by transforming them into captains in the army of the cross. May God grant that some here, who have been like the ox for perverseness and stubbornness, and whose final doom would be to be felled by the pole-axe of death, may be subdued by the great Lion Tamer, who can surely tame the ox. May Jesus come and put his yoke upon your necks, for “his yoke is easy and his burden is light;” and from this day forth may you serve in the kingdom of King Jesus, to the praise of the glory of his grace.

From a sermon entitled "Kicking Against The Pricks," delivered September 9, 1866. Image by Mark Robinson under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The shield of the Eternal

“O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”

When he looked back upon past dangers and deliverances, the good man felt that he should have perished had not the Lord held a shield over his head. In the day of the clash of arms, or of putting on of armor (as some read it), the glorious Lord had been his constant protector. Goliath had his armor-bearer, and so had Saul, and these each one guarded his master; yet the giant and the king both perished, while David, without armor or shield, slew the giant and baffled the tyrant.

The shield of the Eternal is better protection than a helmet of brass. When arrows fly thick and the battle-axe crashes right and left, there is no covering for the head like the power of the Almighty. See how the Child of providence glorifies his Preserver! He calls him not only his salvation, but the strength of it, by whose unrivaled force he had been enabled to outlive the cunning and cruelty of his adversaries. He had obtained a deliverance in which the strength of the Omnipotent was clearly to be seen. This is a grand utterance of praise, a gracious ground of comfort, a prevalent argument in prayer. He that has covered our head aforetime will not now desert us. Wherefore let us fight a good fight, and fear no deadly wound: the Lord God is our shield, and our exceeding great reward.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 140:7 . Image by under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A voice that speaks better things

The blood of Abel was not voiceless, and the blood of Jesus was not dumb; it cried so as to be heard amid the thrones of heaven, and blessed be God, it spoke for us and not against us; it spoke not worse things, as it might well have done, but better things than that of Abel. It did not demand fiercer vengeance than that which fell upon Cain, it did not ask that we might be driven vagabonds and fugitives upon the face of the earth, and to be at last banished from God into hell forever, but it cried, “Father, forgive them,” and it prevailed, and the curse was taken away, and a blessing came to the sons of men.

From a sermon entitled "The Blood of Abel and the Blood of Jesus," delivered September 2, 1866. Image by elbfoto under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The breadth of His love

Do you not think, however, that we most of us fail to see the breadth of Christ’s love in matters of providence? You know what is meant by the breadth of a man’s mind, the breadth of his thought, when he can consider a great many subjects at once, when he has the ability to accomplish many designs and many purposes with one stroke. Now, the breadth of the Savior’s love is just this: there is no part of his people’s interests, which he does not consider, and there is nothing, which concerns their welfare which is not important to him.

Not merely does he think of you, believer, as an immortal being, but as a mortal being too. Do not deny it or doubt it; the very hairs of your head are all numbered. There is nothing that concerns his beloved that is unimportant to our Lord. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and he delighteth in his way.” It were a sad thing for us if this river of love did not cover all our concerns, for what mischief might be wrought for us in that part of our business which did not come under our gracious Lord’s inspection! Oh! believer, rest assured that the heart of Jesus concerns itself about, your meaner affairs; your buying and selling he cares for, your counter and counting-house, your ships and your carts and your horses, and your barley, and your wheat, and your hay, and your straw; your children, your little ones, and everything which concerns you concerns him also. The breadth of his tender love is such that you may go to him in all matters; for in all your afflictions he is afflicted, and like as a father pitieth his children, so doth he pity you.

From a sermon entitled "Heavenly Geometry," delivered August 19, 1866. Image by Dawn Endico under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The harvest is now

Patience is a virtue, but sometimes decision is a greater one. To wait long is well, but not when the harvest is ripe and ready, for then it will lie upon the ground and rot, and so be spoiled. To wait may be well, but not when men are dying, nay, when hell is filling; not when immortal souls are in jeopardy; not when the plague is raging, and we have, today, to stand between the living and the dead, and wave the censer of the gospel of Jesus Christ, that the plague may be stayed.

Four months, indeed; four months! Have there not been months enough already? We have waited long; we have waited till our patience may well have exhausted itself. It was to be four months in the days of our grand-sires; it was to be four months in the days of our fathers; and now it is to be four months still. Oh that we would learn the Savior’s words, and say no longer that “there are four months, and then cometh harvest”! but let us do as he says, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Expect a present blessing; believe that you will have it; go to work to get it, and do not be satisfied unless you do have it.

From a sermon entitled "Fields White For Harvest," delivered July 29, 1866. Image by tskdesign under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Purge out the leaven

Christian, search thyself now and purge out the old leaven. The head of the Jewish household, when the feast of unleavened bread draws nigh, not only puts away the loaves of bread ordinarily used in the household, but takes a candle and searches every part of the house, lest there should be even a crumb of leaven anywhere. He cleanseth it all out, that he may keep the feast not with leavened bread. Now, Christian, as this is God’s visitation, ask for the candle of the Holy Spirit to discover any little sin. Let any little self-indulgence into which we have fallen he conscientiously given up, and for the sake of that dear Savior who denied himself every comfort for us, let us take up our cross and follow him, determined that if the lion shall roar, it shall not be because of any prey in us.

From a sermon entitled "The Voice Of The Cholera," delivered August 12, 1866. Image by Ginny under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 22, 2009

God alone could foretell...

...if the grace of God should leave the best of us, the all-knowing God alone could foretell what we should do. You who are warmest for Christ would become like Laodicea for lukewarmness; you who are sound in the faith would become rotten with error; you who now walk before the Lord in excellency and integrity would be so weak that the first temptation would remove you from your steadfastness. It would be said of us as it was said of that once bright but now fallen star, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning.” Bright as we are when grace shines on us, we are nothing but darkness itself when the Lord withdraws himself.

It was said by the old makers of metaphors that in the soundest pomegranate there are always some rotten seeds, and the whitest swan has a black bill; to which we may add that there are worms under the greenest turf, and dead men’s carcases at the bottom of the calmest seas. In the best Christian there is enough of sin to make him the worst of transgressors if God should leave him. One who knew himself but little wrote that he was so full of Christ that there was no room for the devil, but I thought I saw the cloven foot peeping out even in that boastful speech.

From a sermon entitled "Hezekiah And The Ambassadors, Or Vainglory Rebuked," delivered August 5, 1866. Image by Ginny under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Sing from the heart

“O let the nations be glad and sing for joy,”

...When men know God's way and see his salvation, it brings to their hearts much happiness. Nothing creates gladness so speedily, surely, and abidingly as the salvation of God. Nations never will be glad till they follow the leadership of the great Shepherd; they may shift their modes of government from monarchies to republics, and from republics to communes, but they will retain their wretchedness till they bow before the Lord of all. What a sweet word is that “to sing for Joy!” Some sing for form, others for show, some as a duty, others as an amusement, but to sing from the heart, because overflowing joy must find a vent, this is to sing indeed. Whole nations will do this when Jesus reigns over them in the power of his grace.

We have heard hundreds and even thousands sing in chorus, but what will it be to hear whole nations lifting up their voices, as the noise of many waters and like great thunders: When shall the age of song begin? When shall groans and murmurs be exchanged for holy hymns and joyful melodies?

“For thou shalt judge the people righteously.”

Wrong on the part of governors is a fruitful source of national woe, but where the Lord rules, rectitude is supreme. He doeth ill to none. His laws are righteousness itself. He rights all wrongs and releases all who are oppressed. Justice on the throne is a fit cause for national exultation.

“And govern the nations upon earth.”

He will lead them as a shepherd his flock, and through his grace they shall willingly follow, then will there be peace, plenty, and prosperity. It is great condescension on God's part to become the Shepherd of nations, and to govern them for their good: it is a fearful crime when a people who know the salvation of God, apostatize and say to the Lord depart from us. There is some cause for trembling lest our nation should fall into this condemnation; may God forbid.

From "The Treasury of David," exposition of Psalm 67:4. Image by Tambako the Jaguar under Creative Commons license.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Salvation completely by grace

Brethren, to say that we save ourselves is to utter a manifest absurdity. We are called in Scripture “a temple” -a holy temple in the Lord. But shall any one assert that the stones of the edifice were their own architect? Shall it be said that the stones of the building in which we are now assembled cut themselves into their present shape, and then spontaneously came together, and piled this spacious edifice? Should any one assert such a foolish thing, we should be disposed to doubt his sanity; much more may we suspect the spiritual sanity of any man who should venture to affirm that the great temple of the church of God designed and erected itself. No: we believe that God the Father was the architect, sketched the plan, supplies the materials, and will complete the work.

Shall it also be said that those who are redeemed redeemed themselves? That slaves of Satan break their own fetters? Then why was a Redeemer needed at all? How should there be any need for Jesus to descend into the world to redeem those who could redeem themselves? Do you believe that the sheep of God, whom he has taken from between the jaws of the lion, could have rescued themselves? It were a strange thing if such were the case.... We cannot believe that Christ came, to do what the sinners might have done themselves. No....

Shall it be asserted that those who were once dead have spiritually quickened themselves? Can the dead make themselves alive? Who shall assert that Lazarus, rotting in the grave, came forth to life of himself? If it be so said and so believed, then, nay, not even then, will we believe that the dead in sin have ever quickened themselves.... who ever dreamed of creation creating itself?... Now if we have a new creation, there must have been a creator, and it is clear that not being then spiritually created, we could not have assisted in our own new creation, unless, indeed, death can assist life, and non-existence aid in creation. The carnal mind does not assist the Spirit of God in new creating a man, but altogether regeneration is the work of God the Holy Ghost, and the work of renewal is from his unassisted power. Father, Son, and Spirit we then adore, and putting these thoughts together, we would humbly prostrate ourselves at the foot of the throne of the august Majesty, and acknowledge that if saved he alone hath saved us, and unto him be the glory.

From a sermon entitled "Salvation Altogether By Grace," delivered July 29, 1866. Image by Elena Pleskevich under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Let us make the proof of our ministry

Brethren, we have no right to thrust a brother into the ministry until he has first given evidence of his own conversion, and has also given proof not only of being a good average worker but something more. If he cannot labor in the church before he pretends to be a minister, he is good for nothing. If he cannot whilst he is a private member of the church perform all the duties of that position with zeal and energy, and if he is not evidently a consecrated man whilst he is a private Christian, certainly you do not feel the guidance of God’s Holy Spirit to bid him enter the ministry. No man has a right to aspire to come into that office until, like the knights of old, he has first won his spurs, and has shown that he is really devoted to Christ by having served him as others have done.

Let me say that it would be a very great mercy for this Christian church if some persons would not take this last place at all, but would be content to stop in the second one. There are many men who when set apart to the Christian ministry are a drag and burden to the churches as well as to other people, who if they had but given up themselves as ordinary members to Christian service might have been a very great blessing and honor to the church. One of the kindest pieces of advice I could give to some of our ministerial friends would be, “Go home, brother; take off your black coat and your white tie, and put yourself into some honest way of getting a living; just think whether you were not more serviceable to the church when you were a carpenter or a tradesman, and when you were earning a considerable sum of money at your own ordinary avocation, than you are now, when you are necessarily dependent upon the gifts and liberality of God’s servants without having the ability and the talent which are necessary to make you a leader in the Lord’s host.” I pray the day may come when we shall all see this, and never think of giving ourselves to the ministry before conversion, and even then aspire not after special work until first of all we have proved that we can serve the Lord in our ordinary life.

From a sermon entitled "Peter's Three Calls."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Beauty in the Details

You know, brethren, it is the details in which lies the beauty. If I trust Jesus as my Savior I shall be saved, but the enjoyment of faith comes from knowing him in his person, in his offices, in his work, in his present, and past, and future. We perceive his true beauty, by studying him, and observing him carefully, and with holy watchfulness. So it is with the doctrines; the mere whole of the doctrine... is blessed, but it is when we come to take the doctrine to pieces that we gain the purest enjoyment.

“Yes,” says the clown, as he looks at a fine painting, such, for instance, as Paul Potter’s famous Bull at the Hague, “it’s a rare picture certainly,” and then he goes away. But the artist sits down and studies its details. There is to him a beauty in every touch and shade, which he understands and appreciates. Many believers have light enough to know the faith in its bare outline, but they have not observed the filling up, and the minutiae wherein the sweetest comfort will always be found by the spiritually educated child of God. They can see, but they “see men as trees, walking.”

From a sermon entitled "Seeing And Not Seeing, Or Men As Trees Walking" delivered July 22, 1866. Image by Martin Gommel under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When you plead the Name of Christ

Suppose you should give a man your checkbook signed with your own name and left blank, to be filled up as he chose; that would be very nearly what Jesus has done in these words, “If ye ask anything in my name, I will give it you.” If I had a good name at the bottom of the cheque, I should be sure that I should get it cashed when I went to the banker with it; so when you have got Christ’s name, to whom the very justice of God hath become a debtor, and whose merits have claims with the Most High, when you have Christ’s name there is no need to speak with fear and trembling and bated breath.

Oh, waver not and let not faith stagger! When thou pleadest the name of Christ thou pleadest that which shakes the gates of hell, and which the hosts of heaven obey, and God himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea.

From a sermon entitled "Order And Argument In Prayer," delivered July 15, 1866. Image by Michael Peligto under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The penalty of sin has been discharged

There is no power in sin to condemn the believer now. “What,” saith one, “doth not sin condemn every man at whose door it lies?” Certainly it doth - sin condemns every man with whom it is found; but in the case of the believer sin is not imputed, not laid at his door, for David saith, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered; blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”

The sin of the believer was laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ, “for the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” And from that day forward the penalty of sin has been discharged and removed by the Redeemer’s having endured it himself. The black cloud of my sin has no rain in it; it has emptied out its rain upon Christ.

From a sermon entitled "Sin Condemned and Executed by Christ Jesus," delivered July 8, 1866. Image by Niklas Sjöblom under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Trust Him now

If thou dost now trust Christ fall before him and say, “Savior, God, deliver me. By thy life and by thy death, by thy griefs and passion, by thy resurrection and thy pleading at thy Father’s throne, deliver me. I trust thee to deliver me, I cast myself upon thee!”

If you do this you are saved-you are saved now-you have no sin in God’s book- every sin is blotted out, and therefore being justified by faith, you shall have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But you reply, “My sins are very great.” Yes, but however great thy sin, it matters not. The same hand which can receipt a little bill can receipt a great one-it takes no more, when the money is paid. Now, Christ has paid all the debts of those that trust him, and he can readily forgive you. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

“Yes, but,” saith another, “it is my propensity to sin that I am afraid of. How shall I ever break the neck of my corruptions?” You will never do it, but he will. Do you not remember that when they pierced his side there flowed blood-that was for pardon; and there flowed water-what was that for? That was for cleansing. He will be of sin the double cure. Is it some sin or some lust that you would conquer, or an angry disposition? Take it to him; those vipers die at the sight of Christ. There is no form of sinfulness to which you are habituated which Christ cannot, remove. You must give it up, remember, there is no going to heaven and keeping your sins, you must give them all up; but then you are not to give them up in your own strength. You shall receive a strength, which shall make you more than a man: you shall be a man with God living in you, for the Holy Ghost dwelleth in us, we are temples of God. When God dwells in the temple he can purge out great deal which we cannot purge out, and make us clean though otherwise we must have remained impure.

“Still,” says another, “I have such a want of tenderness this morning. I have not thought about these things, I have lived a careless giddy life; must I not give some week or month or two to the consideration of these things, and then come to Christ? Must I not go home and humble myself before God, and then believe and love?” My dear hearer, do what thou wilt after trusting, but trusting is the immediate remedy this morning. Now is the accepted time: now is the day of salvation.

From a sermon entitled "Seeing is not Believing, but Believing is Seeing," delivered July 1, 1866. Image by netlancer2006 under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The enemy of timidity

Another common weakness among Christians is timidity. Modesty is beautiful, but it may degenerate to cowardice. It is well to be humble, it is never well to be weakly fearful. Some are always afraid, they dare not try this, and dare not try that; and if they happen to be placed in office where they can influence others by their counsels, they are shockingly bad officers, because they are always keeping the church back from victory from a fear of defeat. What is a sure cure for timidity? Faith, belief in the truth, in the right, in God, in invisible energy, in helps which we cannot see, and aids which we should not have dreamed or. This shakes off timidity.

Take as a specimen Barak. Barak is slow to go up against the enemies of God, till Deborah the mother of Israel says she will go with him. Woman sometimes lends superior courage to man, and the weaker sex proves itself the stronger. Look at Barak; after he has once believed in the power of God, he marches to the fight and wins the victory, and is commemorated in soul-stirring words by the poetess, “Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song; arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam.” Mighty to conquer was the man who was timid to fight: when faith gave him courage, it made him triumph.

From a sermon entitled "God's Cure For Man's Weakness," delivered June 24, 1866. Image by Mike Richardson under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Gardener

“Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it.”

God's visits leave a blessing behind; this is more than can be said of every visitor. When the Lord goes on visitations of mercy, he has abundance of necessary things for all his needy creatures. He is represented here as going round the earth, as a gardener surveys his garden, and as giving water to every plant that requires it, and that not in small quantities, but until the earth is drenched and soaked with a rich supply of refreshment. O Lord, in this manner visit thy church, and my poor, parched, and withering piety. Make thy grace to overflow towards my graces; water me, for no plant of thy garden needs it more.

From The Treasury of David, exposition of Psalm 65:9. Image by John Haslam under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 8, 2009

My only opportunity for conquering

The soldier wants to distinguish himself; he wants to rise out of the ranks; he wants to be promoted. He hardly expects an opportunity of doing this in time of peace; but the officer rises when in time of war he leads a successful charge. And so it is with the Christian soldier. I make no advance while I am not fighting. I cannot win if I am not warring. My only opportunity for conquering is when I am fighting. If I run away when there is a chance of winning the crown, then I am like the ship that does not come out of harbour when there is a fair wind, or like the man who does not avail himself of the high tide to get his vessel over the bar at the harbour’s mouth. I cannot win without fighting, and therefore I thank God when the trial comes, and count it a joy when I fall into manifold temptations, because now I may add to my faith one virtue after another, till my Christian character is all complete. To throw away the time of conflict is to throw away the crown.

From a sermon entitled "Turning Back in the Day of Battle." Image by Jurek Durczak under Creative Commons License.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Spiritual Worship

...the Savior goes on to say that they who worship God are to worship him “in spirit.” No longer with the visible sacrifice of a lamb, but inwardly trusting in him who is the Lamb of God’s passover; no more with sprinkled blood of goats, but heartily relying upon the blood once shed for many; no longer worshipping God with ephod, breastplate, and mitre, but with prostrate soul, with uplifted faith, and with the faculties not of the body but of the inward spirit. We who worship God under the Christian dispensation are no longer to fancy that bodily exercise in worship profiteth anything, that genuflections and contortions are of any value, but that acceptable worship is wholly mental, inward, and spiritual.

But he adds, lest there should seem an omission in the description, “must worship him in spirit and in truth;” for though we should profess to worship God only with the spirit and so despise forms, yet unless the soul shall truly love, and really adore, and sincerely bow, our worship will be as unacceptable as though it were formal and outward.

From a sermon entitled "The Axe At The Root," delivered June 17, 1866. Image by Calum Davidson under Creative Commons License.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The spotless Lamb of God

"All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." - Isaiah 53:6.

The Lord Jesus Christ would have been incapable of receiving the sin of all his people as their substitute had he been himself a sinner: but he was, as to his divine nature, worthy to be hymned as “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth;” and, as to his human nature, he was by miraculous conception free from all original sin, and in the holiness of his life he was such that he was the spotless Lamb of God, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and therefore he was on all accounts capable of standing in the room, place, and stead of sinful men.

From a sermon entitled "Sin Laid On Jesus," delivered June 10, 1866. Image by Calum Davidson under Creative Commons License.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

In that garden

God only knows the soul-anguish of the Savior when he sweat great drops of blood; angels saw it, but yet they understood it not. They must have wondered more when they saw the Lord of life and glory sorrowful with exceeding sorrowfulness, even unto death, than when they saw this round world spring into beautiful existence from nothingness, or when they saw Jehovah garnish the heavens with his Spirit, and with his hand form the crooked serpent. Brethren, we cannot expect to know the length and breadth and height of these things, but as our own experience deepens and darkens we shall know more and more of what Christ suffered in the garden.

From a sermon entitled "The Garden Of The Soul." Image by doug88888 under Creative Commons License.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why we trust Him

...we trust him because of the evident truthfulness of his character. We have read the four evangelists through, and we find him scorning every subterfuge. His character seems to us to be resplendent with truth. We think that no exaggeration was used when it was said, “And we beheld his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Our Lord seems to us to be the most tender of men, and the most truthful of men, too. We cannot believe that he would lie. Moreover, when we consider him to be God we understand that God cannot lie, and we feel inclined to think that every promise he has given will be kept, and that if he undertakes to save, heaven and earth may pass away, but he will do what he has promised.

Now we think this is a good reason for our confidence if there were no other. Could we suspect the Savior we should find it difficult to trust him; but as we cannot imagine a cause for suspecting him, we (and oh that you may be brought to the same pass!) feel shut up to believing him, and when he says, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” we trust him, and we get rest, and we believe that if you trust him you will get rest too. Millions of spirits before the throne all bear witness to the trustworthiness of Christ. He did not fail one of them - Mary Magdalen or the thief on the cross, or Saul of Tarsus, or even blaspheming Peter - they have all found him able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him. And we therefore believe him because of his nature, and of the trustfulness of his character.

From a sermon entitled "Joy And Peace In Believing," delivered May 20, 1866. Image by Paulo Brandão under Creative Commons License.

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Foundational Doctrine

What is the foundation doctrine? I shall not shock any one of you if I say that it is admitted by all evangelical Christians that the standing or falling in the church is that of justification by faith. The church which holds that doctrine is in the body; the church which is tampering with that doctrine is not in the body. I will not merely say the church that is not holding it, but the church that is not holding it in the most distinct form is not to be acknowledged as a part of the body of Christ; for this is such a truth that it must not be hidden, and to obscure those words, legible in their own light - ”Believe and live” - is to commit high treason against the majesty of God, and to make one’s self an outlaw from God and from mercy.

The great standing or falling doctrine, then, is this - “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God;” “Therefore we are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.” We hold that it is of faith that it might be of grace through Christ Jesus. Holding this truth, that every soul who believes in Christ is thereby made a partaker of the merit of his passion and is saved, what joy and peace are opened up to us!

From a sermon entitled "An Immovable Foundation," delivered May 13, 1866. Image by Paulo Brandão under Creative Commons License.