Blog Entries

Sermon of the Week: No. 958, “Dei Gratia”

Phillip Ort September 27, 2018

“In every jot and every tittle of our heavenly charta, grace guided the pen. From first to last salvation is free.”


Grace.  For Charles Spurgeon, God’s superabounding, overflowing grace was man’s “star of hope,” “wellspring of life,” and the “seed of his future bliss.” He believed that “No truth is more plainly taught” than this: “the salvation of sinners is entirely owing to the grace of God.”


In Spurgeon’s view, men were “lost by their own works,” but “saved through the free favour of God.” Man’s ruin was “justly merited” while his salvation was the “result of the unmerited mercy of God.” However, Spurgeon lamented that “plain as this truth is,” it was “frequently forgotten.”


According to Spurgeon, sinners evidenced forgetfulness by “[seeking] salvation by the works of the law.” Unfortunately, too many tried to “entrench themselves” behind the “tottering fence of their own righteousness.” In forsaking grace they had traded the “star of hope” for filthy rags.


In the first section of his sermon, Spurgeon outlines how “In Salvation as a whole we see the glory of God’s grace.” Here he noted that each of God’s attributes had its “own appropriate opportunity” for display. Furthermore, since each of God’s attributes was prism for magnifying his glory every facet required attention, especially grace.


In the second section of his sermon, Spurgeon claimed since salvation as a whole is of grace, then “This is true of each detail of salvation.” Rehearsing the history of salvation Spurgeon first examined God’s “election” of sinners. Here he boldly stated that “If any man is chosen” it was not because of “natural worthiness,” a “claim to preference,” or any “essential excellence” in the person. Rather, it was all of grace.


Second, Spurgeon focused on “redemption,” how Christ ransomed his people form the “curse of the law” by being “made a curse for them.” Indeed, so precious was the sacrifice of Christ that Spurgeon called it “blasphemy” to associate “merit” with it in any way. Furthermore, even if man had kept the Law “we should still have only done what was our duty to have done” and there would have been no merit such that “Christ should die for us.”


Third, Spurgeon reveled in “effectual calling.” While Spurgeon believed that every gospel call was “gracious,” he also believed that the Holy Spirit graciously “makes the unwilling willing, and corrects the obstinacy of our hearts.” At this Spurgeon reflectively marveled at the love of God which “constrained you and me to come and be saved when we so long stood out against it.”


Finally, Spurgeon celebrated the “pardon and justification” which would then be “freely given” upon belief in Jesus Christ. The contrast was stark. While “No man has any claim on God,” and while no one’s “own merit avails him,” it was “grace that makes the dead soul live” and “grace that which keeps the living soul alive.” Thus, from “foundation to pinnacle” Spurgeon compelled to say that “our salvation is all of grace.”


In the third section of his sermon Spurgeon asserted that “The peculiar glories of grace ought to be pointed out.” First, he claimed that “it is a peculiar glory of grace that it is sovereign.” Claiming that fallen man has no rights but to “suffer the infliction of justice.” Spurgeon saw the intervening of God as sovereign graciousness.


Second, Spurgeon articulated that “Another glory of this grace is its entire freeness.” That is, one who had so “utterly departed” form God had entirely lost “the favour of God.” In this way God’s grace was not constrained by any outside factor.


Third, grace was glorious for its “unfailing continuance.” As Spurgeon said, “Where once the grace of God has fallen, it is never taken away.” Indeed, the “unchanging” grace and “mercy which endureth forever” were secured by the character of the unchanging and faithful God.


Finally, grace was glorified for being “unalloyed and unmingled.” On this point Spurgeon believed “God’s grace in saving souls rules alone,” and “Human merit does not intrude here.” In salvation grace was “Alpha and Omega.” No “mortal finger” could interfere with her work. Furthermore, grace never “slighted” God’s other attributes, instead “[tending] to illustrate all the other glories of the divine character.”


In the fourth section of his sermon, Spurgeon concluded that “This grace ought to be the subject of praise.” He also encouraged his congregation to holiness, saying, “let all men see the result of grace in you!”


Finally, in the fifth section of his sermon Spurgeon made his evangelistic appeal, saying, “The truth which we have tried fully to preach, is the great ground of hope for sinners.” No matter how vile, Spurgeon was convinced that God’s grace was mighty to save. Furthermore, great sinners had great hope, for “God saves the greatest of sinners, because they glorify his grace the most.”


Why you should take up and read:


As Spurgeon said, “From first to last salvation is free.” Whereas man had no right to mercy, only judgment, God bestowed the riches of his grace in salvation through Jesus Christ. Even great sinners had cause for hope, for the salvation of great sinners “[glorifies] his grace the most.” For a classic reflection upon the grace of God let the reader take up and read.


Here is the link to the Sermon of the Week:

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.