“If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” – 2 Timothy 2:13
For Charles Spurgeon, the five “faithful sayings” recorded by Paul were “weighty and important.” In his view, “such golden sayings were minted into proverbs, and passed form hand to hand, enriching all who received them.” And while he believed Paul endorsed many of them, five in particular were “encased in the amber of inspiration.”
Spurgeon cherished these sayings because they struck at “the pith and marrow of the gospel,” and provided “a concise and simple for instructing other,” especially for those who could not preach.
In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon addressed “The sad possibility, and the consoling assurance.” First he took up the “sad possibility…‘If we believe not.’” Here Spurgeon fixed his attention on “the world in general.” First he noted “the rulers [who] believe not,” saying “the truth has very seldom been accepted by the rulers of this world.” Rather, “for the most part the poorest of the poor have been more able to perceive the truth than the greatest of the great have ever been.”
Second, he gave great attention to “the leaders of thought.” Here he lamented those unbelievers who “consider that they are the dictators in the republic of public opinion.” Indeed, such “advanced thinkers” often “twisted,” “coloured,” “adorned,” and “bedaubed” the gospel until it was unrecognizable.
But “the gospel of Jesus Christ was meant to be the plainest truth” in the world. Even if the “rulers,” “advanced thinkers,” and “public opinion” rejected the gospel they could not contradict its “eternal truth.” After all, “Public opinion is not the test and gauge of truth, for it has continually altered, and it will continue to alter.” And so, Spurgeon believed that Christians “must learn to stand alone.”
Indeed, rather being “abreast of the times” and “toned and varied so as to suit the advanced thought” of the age the Christian was to stand “fast and firm to Christ Crucified and salvation by his blood.” Simply, “God’s gospel is not to be altered to suit human whims and fancies.”
Second, Spurgeon addressed “the consoling assurance…‘He abideth faithful.’” This was a great comfort to Spurgeon as the church had “many a time fearfully turned aside,” and yet God remained faithful. Even though churches would be “[diminished]” and “brought low” as they “cease to be evangelical” God would help his church “when she turns to him” and “bless her when she trusts him.” Because Jesus Christ “is a rock” and not “quicksand” the Church’s foundation was sure.
In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon turned his attention to “A glorious impossibility with a sweet inference that may be drawn from it.” First Spurgeon noted “three things God cannot do. He cannot die, he cannot lie, and he cannot be deceived.” Furthermore, these “impossibilities” did not “limit his power” but “[magnified] his majesty.” Also, these glorious impossibilities had glorious implications.
First, it meant that “the Lord Jesus Christ cannot change as to his nature and character towards us.” Indeed, for Christ to “change” would mean moving from “worse” to “better” or from “better” to “worse.” But our perfect Saviour could never become “better” and neither could he become “worse.” This meant that his redemptive love was sure, unfailing, and could never be exhausted by his needy sheep.
Second, it meant that “His word cannot alter.” And so “that same word of mercy” proclaimed by the apostles “still stands the same.” The one gospel would always be the only gospel. Furthermore, since “Jesus is the salvation” of his people it meant that “the atonement is still the same.” Truly, salvation is in Christ alone, and because he never changes the “efficacy” of “his blood” to cleanse sin never diminishes.
Finally, these truths lead Spurgeon to “an inference.” Namely, that God will certainly be faithful to save and preserve those who believe. Spurgeon was convinced that Jesus would never reject a humbled and repentant sinner. And so Spurgeon urged his hearers to go to “God and try him; go and try him….Go and try my Lord and see for yourselves.”
Why you should take up and read:
For Charles Spurgeon, Paul’s five “faithful sayings” were “weighty and important” because they struck at “the pith and marrow of the gospel.” He relished God’s eternal faithfulness, especially in light of the sinful weakness of God’s own people. In this sermon Spurgeon explored the richness of God’s eternal faithfulness in light of sinful human weakness. For those wanting to relish the faithfulness of God please take up and read.
Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:https://www.spurgeon.org/resource-library/sermons/eternal-faithfulness-unaffected-by-human-unbelief#flipbook/
Phillip Ort serves at the Director of The Spurgeon Library at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City where he is also pursuing a Master of Divinity degree.