Blog Entry

9 Spurgeon Quotes on Shame

By Joshua Daniels Mar 13, 2020

 

“Where art thou?”

 

Shame is an inherently negative thing. Charles Spurgeon rightly viewed shame as a direct effect of the fall. There was no shame in the Garden of Eden until sin entered it, and with sin came shame. Spurgeon, addressing his congregation as though they were Adam, highlights the shamefulness of the fall of man. Whereas before they had “preferment,” now they have “disgrace.” Instead of “the clothing of angels,” now they are “naked.” Instead of “glory,” now they have “shame,” and in this moment Spurgeon asks “Adam, where art thou?” Or, more pointedly, “sinner, where art thou?” And while our historic parents reached for fig leaves we too often “try to bury [ourselves] in [our] business, so as to forget that urgent enquiry…. Where art thou?”

 

Shame is so abhorrent “to man that it is one of the ingredients of hell itself,” indeed “one of the bitterest drops in that awful cup of misery.” Human nature is such that we will do whatever is in our power to cover up our shame. However, there is nothing that will suffice except for that work which unfolded from Gethsemane to Golgotha. Only when Christ “covers you with the garments of salvation” can shame be taken away, for Christ is the Redeemer. He redeems humanity, and in His infinite power He has redeemed shame itself. What was once “one of the ingredients of hell” is now a tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit to guide men to repentance. Accordingly, Spurgeon believed, “Where the poor broken-hearted sinner lies prostrate in the dust,” that is where Christ “comes in his glory and majesty, and says to him, ‘I am thy salvation...and laid down my life that I might save thee.’” Truly, no one would be able to “see Christ in his glory and majesty” unless “you have first seen yourself in your degradation and shame.”

 

Spurgeon exhorted believers to remember that “by faith we may feel to-night that that spittle on the Savior’s face has washed away the sin from ours. His shame has taken away our sin; that spitting has taken away our guilt.” However, this was not done easily or lightly. He called them to “Think of the King of kings and Lord of lords, having for his adoration the spittle of guilty mouths.” Indeed, he exclaimed in astonishment “Was ever shame like thine, thou King of kings, thou emperor of all worlds.” Spurgeon was right to wonder at the infinite extent of Christ’s shame in light of his infinite glory, for the greater the rank of a person, the greater the shame of his degradation. But whereas Christ suffered dishonor, it was the privilege of the believer to know that “Christ’s shame has taken away your shame; his endurance of the spitting has secured your everlasting honor.”

 

But, such honor only comes after the removal of shame and guilt, and a subsequent covering with Christ’s righteousness. This righteousness was a “raiment rich and rare,” a “perfect covering,” which “really [does] clothe a man so that the shame of his nakedness will never appear.” Now, Spurgeon knew that “man was naked, and is still naked apart from Christ, but in Christ he is covered.” Indeed, not only covered, but also restored to right relationship with the Father, for just as Jesus “descended into our depths to engineer a way from the lowest to the highest,” so too does He lead “the van of the armies of his chosen as they return unto God.” Only through Christ is the guilt of sin is atoned for and the shame of sin covered. In light of this, Spurgeon warned those who reject Christ that “Shame...and everlasting contempt shall be their perpetual inheritance.” But to the believer Spurgeon says “thou shalt never be ashamed, because thy master was ashamed for thee; thou shalt not be confounded, neither shalt thou be put to shame, for he hath taken away thy reproach and borne it on his own visage.” And because Christ has borne our guilt and shame we happily receive “the glory that is to be revealed in Him.” By way of reflection, here are nine Spurgeon quotes on shame.

 

1. “No scorn is too great for sin, it deserves to be loathed, to be treated with contempt, to be dashed over the walls of the universe as a thing unclean, mean, despicable.”

“What scorn, what shame, they poured on him. Blessed One, blessed One, wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us? I think I hear him speak from that sacred head, once wounded, and he says, ‘I must be put to shame, for sin is a shameful thing. No scorn is too great for sin, it deserves to be loathed, to be treated with contempt, to be dashed over the walls of the universe as a thing unclean, mean, despicable.’ Christ, in that great shame of his, teaches us to hate sin, to treat it with contempt, to turn away from it with loathing, for it is a mean thing for a creature to rebel against his Creator, for a man to be an enemy of his God.”

2. “None but Jesus, none but Jesus can make us free indeed.”

“Mark thee, man, if thou wilt come to Christ thou shalt be free this moment from every sort of bondage, but if thou wilt go hither and thither, and try this and that, and the other, thou shalt find all thy tryings end in disappointment, and thou shalt lie down in sorrow and in shame, for none but Jesus, none but Jesus can make us free indeed.”

3. “Come and see this spectacle of love. It is none other than the Lord of heaven who must die to vindicate the jealous purity of the divine government.”

“Come and see this spectacle of love. It is none other than the Lord of heaven who must die to vindicate the jealous purity of the divine government. Is he God’s only begotten Son, and must he bear man’s guilt? Miracle of miracles! Must the spotless Son bear human guilt? He must! He did! Tell it, and let heaven be astonished still, though it has heard the wonder near two thousand years. Upon him who never sinned the Lord hath laid our iniquities. Bearing that guilt, must he suffer? He must. If God loves his people his Son must suffer in their stead, must suffer shame, must suffer desertion, must suffer death. What, die? Incarnate Deity be put to death? A felon’s death? Can this be? It has been! It is finished.”

4. “We deserve eternal shame and contempt because of our sin, but he took all that shame upon himself, and made this wonderful exchange.”

“We deserve eternal shame and contempt because of our sin, but he took all that shame upon himself, and made this wonderful exchange. As he put on the rags of our shame, he said to us, ‘Take my glittering vesture, and wear it!’ and now, the glory which he had with the Father from eternity, he has put upon his people, that they may be like him, and may be with him where he is for ever and ever.”

5. “Our sin is our shame, and it is well that our Lord has found a complete covering for it.”

6. “Man was naked, and still is apart from Christ, but in Christ he is covered.”

“Then next he brings forth raiment rich and rare; perfect coverings, such as do really clothe a man so that the shame of his nakedness will never appear. I like that expression. It is very plain, but what suggestions there are in it! for our sin is our shame, and it is well that the Lord has found a complete covering for it. Sin brought nakedness upon us, and shame is the result; but he who hath Christ hath lost both sin and shame, for the blood of Jesus removes guilt from the soul and terror from the conscience. Man was naked, and is still naked apart from Christ, but in Christ he is covered, and has become comely before the Lord.”

7. “The death of Christ is our death for sin; but the life of Christ is our life unto holiness. The shame of Christ was our shame, and the triumph of Christ is our triumph.”

“Think of your Savior as your God, clothed with all power and authority. Surely this should urge you to quicken your pace, and never to become weary or faint. You began by looking to him as a sufferer, persevere by looking to him as a victor. ‘Be of good cheer,’ said he, ‘I have overcome the world.’ In that fact he gives you an assurance of your own victory. The seed of the woman has bruised the serpent’s head, and therefore the Lord will tread Satan under your feet shortly. The death of Christ is our death for sin; but the life of Christ is our life unto holiness. The shame of Christ was our shame, and the triumph of Christ is our triumph. Wherefore, looking unto Jesus let us run.”

8. “No measure of sin in your past life can deprive you of this promise….‘Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.’”

“No measure of sin in your past life can deprive you of this promise. ‘Whosoever believeth on him,’ though he had been a murderer, or a thief, or a drunkard, or an adulterer, or a liar, or a blasphemer, shall find his faith removing his sins through the blood of Jesus, and renewing his heart by the Holy Spirit. ‘Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.’ Says one, ‘I shall always be ashamed that I have so greatly transgressed.’ Yes, I know; but still you shall be so perfectly pardoned that your sin shall be blotted out, and you shall not remember the shame of your youth.”

9. “Holy shame ought to be upon us whenever we stand before the Lord.”

“Such holy shame ought to be upon us whenever we stand before the Lord to minister unto him. Is it not said, ‘Thou shalt be ashamed and confounded, and never open thy mouth any more?’ Not because of a servile dread of God, but out of an overwhelming sense of his unutterable love we blush to be so highly favored. This reverence, this shamefacedness, should come upon us when we recollect what we were. When you stand up in a prayer-meeting and pray, dear friends, some of you cannot help recollecting the time when you could swear or sing a questionable song. You are accepted among your brethren and honored by them, but the time was when you kept very different company: do you not blush as you think of it?”

 


Joshua Daniels received his M.Div. from MBTS while serving as a Spurgeon Scholar and is currently pursuing his Th.M. at MBTS.