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Friday, August 18, 2017
Date Posted:

C. H. Spurgeon

The Priest Is Dispensed With! Part 2

C. H. Spurgeon

II. Secondly, How KNOW WE THAT BELIEVERS ARE SAVED? For that seems to be a grave  question with some.  “I trust Jesus, I be­lieve in him with all my heart, but am I saved?”  My dear friend, you ought not to raise that question, for it is finally settled by divine authority: but as you do raise it let us answer it for you very briefly. We know and are sure that every believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is saved, because God says so, and is not that enough? God declares in his word, even in that sure word of testimony, whereunto ye do well to take as onto a light that shineth in a dark place, that every be­liever in Jesus Christ is saved.  The passages in which this is stated are far too many for us to quote them all; only let us note that memorable one at the close of Mark's gospel,   “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned.”  The believer is saved, you have in those verses God's word for it.  True, the believer is bound to profess his faith by baptism, which follows upon his faith; but the second sentence shows that the faith is the all‑important matter, for it is added, “He that believeth not shall be damned”: faith being the vital thing which, if omitted, will involve damnation.  How the whole of John's Gospel teems with this truth. Turn to the blessed third of John, and see how wondrously clear it is.  In the sixteenth verse, for instance: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten  Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have ever­ lasting life.”  Read the eighteenth:  “He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."  Follow on to the thirty‑sixth verse:  “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”  Can anything be more plain and posi­tive?  Assuredly he that believes in Jesus is a saved man?  Turn to the tenth chapter of Romans. I shall only give you passages in which the truth is conspicuous as the sun in the heavens. Paul says in the fourth verse: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven?  (that is to bring Christ down from above:) or, Who shall descend into the deep?  (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it?  The word is nigh thee, even in thy month, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou wilt confess with thy month the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead thou shalt be saved.”  He rejects all idea of salvation by works, and lays all the stress upon believing in a risen Saviour.  To the like purpose speaks the apostle in Romans i. 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”  This, indeed, is the great reason why the Bible is written, that we may believe on the Lord Jesus and have life through his name. So John tells us in the twentieth chapter of his Gospel and the thirtieth, verse. See ye not then, brethren, if you believe in Jesus you are saved certainly, and are ye not sure that it is so, because God declares it? If we from henceforth had no other witness, is not the witness of the Lord sufficient?  It seems to me to be the essence of unbelief for a man to want a minister to tell him that if he believes he is saved, when God solemnly affirms that it is so. I could not conceive myself so forsaken of God as to assume that I could assure my fellow man of his pardon, and affect to pronounce absolution by authority committed to me. Surely this were presumption to be answered for at the last great day. God forgive those who are guilty of it.

Again, we know on the authority of Scripture that believers are saved, because the privileges which are ascribed to them prove that they are in a saved condition. Let us read in John again.  John goes to the very root of every matter, and in chapter i. 12 he tells us,  “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”  See, brethren, everyone that believes on the name of Jesus is a son of God, and how can a son of God be a lost soul?  Will he cast away his own children? God forbid!  In the same gospel, chapter v. 24, Christ himself tells us, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  He is gone out, then, of the region of death and condemnation into that of life and acceptance, and surely no one will say that such a man is not saved.  Our Lord tells us, too, that every one that believes in him has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, which could not be if he were not saved.  Look at chapter vii. 38: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive.” So that the Holy Spirit dwells in every believer, and where the Holy Spirit abides salvation is certainly enjoyed. Our Lord also promises the resurrection to every believer. Read John xi. 25, that glorious passage, wherein Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”  Resurrection to eternal life is not the portion of the unsaved, for they “shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on them.”  You see that John's gospel is rich with this precious doctrine. Nor does he alone thus reveal the blessed results of faith: Paul also speaks of these privileges in all his epistles. If you turn to the Romans, how full that epistle is of the same truth. “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  You remember the passage we read just now in the Epistle of John:  “This is the victory which overcometh the world, even our faith,” so that faith brings us victory from day to day, even as faith at the very outset brings us remission of sin, as the apostle tells us in the Acts X. 43.  But I need not multiply proof texts, it would have required several sermons to sum up the privileges of believers, privileges quite inconsistent with the idea that a believer can be an unsaved man. You can find these for yourselves, for they are as plentiful in Scripture as ears of corn in harvest. Everywhere there are such privileges ascribed to believers as could not be ascribed to them if they were not saved souls.

Once again, the whole tone of  Scripture regards the believer as a saved man.  “Believers” is a common synonym for saints, for sanctified persons; and truth to say the epistles are written to believers, for they are written to the churches, and churches are but assemblages of believers.  The Lord looks upon men as divided into believers and unbelievers, and between those two there is a gulf of difference as great as that between the Israelites and the Egyptians in the day when the pillar gave light to Israel but darkness to the hosts of Egypt.  Believest thou in Jesus? Thou art in the favour of God.  Dost thou not believe in him? Then no priest can help thee, nor canst thou help thyself; thou art lost and ruined and undone. The only way of escape is that thou believe in Jesus Christ.

Brethren, when the Word of God tells us so positively that having believed we are saved, can you see any earthly use in going to a person who says he is authorised of God, and asking him whether you are saved or not?  I cannot for one. I think it far easier by God's grace to believe in Jesus than to believe in these begowned and bedizened clerics: and to believe in Jesus and in them too is like seeing by the light of the sun aided by the lamp of the glowworm.  What can the little men be at?  In the bad old times in the south a free negro was forced to carry his papers about with him, but in that blessed day when the Jubilee trumpet sounded, and every African throughout the States was free, I can hardly imagine some little squire or country judge saying to the emancipated negro, “Sam, I will make out papers for you, and for your consolation I will put my name, ‘Jeremiah Stiggins’, at the bottom.”  Why, the emancipated negro would have said, “I have seen the proclamation which has the name of Abraham Lincoln, the President of the United States, at its foot, and I do not care a button for your name or anybody else's.” Having believed in the Lord Jesus, I have salvation upon the authority of the Word of God, and on the Holy Ghost's authority I know that there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, and therefore I would not thank an angel for his oath if he tendered it in confirmation. When the little man in the surplice comes to me and says, “I will give you a certificate that you are absolved;” I reply,  “I am very much obliged to you, but there are softer heads than mine, and you had better exercise your arts upon them; you cannot excite in me any feeling but that of pity, bordering on contempt.”  Before God the whole business is blasphemy, and before Christian men it is foolery and worse.

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