Blog Entry

Spurgeon for Doubting Christians

By Drake Osborn Feb 13, 2018

Did you know that even Charles Spurgeon at times doubted his salvation? Although he spilled mountains of ink pleading with sinners to trust Christ’s work as final and sure, the Prince of Preachers often struggled with an inability to sense and feel the surety of God’s love for him.

I must confess here, with sorrow, that I have seasons of despondency and depression of spirit, which I trust none of you are called to suffer, and at such times I have doubted my interest in Christ, my calling my election, my perseverance, my Savior’s blood, and my Father’s love.

Charles knew that it is always the tendency of the sinful human heart to doubt so great a gift as salvation. What is the cure for such doubt? What are Christians to do when they despair of saving grace, and it seems as if the love of God is far off? The cure for Spurgeon was seeing the face of Christ by hearing the gospel.

I have told you before that, some years ago, I felt a great depression of spirit; I knew whom I had believed; but, somehow, I could not get the comfort out of the truth I preached. I even began to wonder whether I was really saved; and, having a holiday, and being away from home, I went to the Wesleyan Chapel, and a local preacher occupied the pulpit that morning. While he preached a sermon full of the gospel, the tears flowed from my eyes, and I was in such a perfect delirium of joy on hearing the gospel, which I so seldom have an opportunity of doing, that I said, “Oh, yes, there is spiritual life within me, for the gospel can touch my heart, and stir my soul.”

Believe it or not, Charles Spurgeon was just as much a sinner as you and I. Gloriously, he also had the same savior. The same gospel well that allowed Spurgeon to enjoy the waters of assurance in his day is deep enough and full enough to provide the same blessing for every doubting Christian.

Do you doubt God’s love for you? Do you doubt the security of your salvation? Let this old Victorian preacher point you to Jesus Christ, the full expression of divine love and the purchaser of rock-solid salvation.

Here are 7 quotes for the doubting Christian:

 

“I find it very convenient to come every day to Christ as a sinner – as I came at first. “You are no saint” says the devil. Well, if I am not, I am a sinner, and Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Sink or swim, there I go – other hope I have none.”

 

“In the divine decree that never changes, in the divine heart that never alters, in the divine memory that never fails, in the divine thought that never forgets, all the names of the godly are written.”

 

“The spiritual life which is in the believer at this moment is the same life which shall be in him in heaven. “

 

“You need not fear hell if you trust in Jesus, for Christ has suffered the punishment of your sin; and as far as you are concerned hell is not. There are no flames of wrath for you, they spent themselves upon the Savior.”

 

"The Lord has given you that salvation which can never be taken away from you."

 

“If you are really saved, brethren, not a hair of your heads belongs to yourselves: Christ’s blood has either bought you or it has not, and if it has, then you are altogether Christ’s, every bit of you, and you are neither to eat nor drink, nor sleep, but for Christ.”

 

“Our ground of trust is not to be found in our experience, but in the person and work of our Lord Jesus.”

 

Hope in Christ

What is the sum of all assurance? Simply put, resting on Jesus alone. In the end, all other grounds for assurance fade away. He is the "rock" upon which to build. No promise, act, gift, or sign can last unto eternity, unless it is given by God who neither changes or fails. Spurgeon knew this well. This is why every sermon he preached dripped with the substance of Christ — he was sure that Jesus and his work was and is a sure and eternal foundation. Hear this last word, doubting Christian: throw all your hope on Jesus Christ, and throw the rest out!

We can no more be saved by our feelings than by our works. “Oh, but,” saith another, “I have confidence that I am saved, for I have had a wonderful dream, and, moreover, I heard a voice, and saw a vision.” Rubbish all! Dreams, visions, voices! Throw them all away. There is not the slightest reliance to be placed upon them. “What, not if I saw Christ?” No, certainly not, for vast multitudes saw him in the days of his flesh, and died and perished after all. “But surely a dream will save me.” It will give you a dreamy hope, and when you awake in the next world your dream will be gone. The one thing to rest upon is the more sure word of testimony: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and whosoever believeth in him is not condemned. I believe in him, and, therefore, I am not condemned. Why do I believe my sin to be forgiven? Because Jesus died to put away the sins of believers, and there is no condemnation to those who are in him. Why do I believe myself to be justified? Because he that believeth is justified; the word of God says so. How do I know that I am saved? Because Jesus Christ has declared that whosoever believeth in him is not condemned. To believe in him is to trust in him, to make him my foundation. I do trust in him, he is my foundation, and I am saved, or else his word is not true. I know that his word is true, and therefore I am at rest. It is written, “He that believeth in him hath everlasting life.” I believe in him, therefore I have everlasting life. I have his promise that I shall never perish, neither shall any pluck me out of his hand; therefore I shall never perish, neither shall any separate me from his love. You see, then, there is no hope of salvation but what is fixed upon Christ alone; and I do invite and entreat you, if any of you have any hope which goes beyond Christ or beside Christ, get rid of it, throw it on a dunghill, and loathe it as an insult to God.


Drake Osborn works as a research assistant at The Spurgeon Library in Kansas City, where he is pursuing a Master of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves as a pastoral resident at Emmaus Church. He also blogs regularly at drakeosborn.com, and you can follow him on twitter.

Thanks to Spurgeon scholar Ed Romine for helping to compile quotes.