Morning, June 26, adapted from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening

“Even you have been made weak as we, you have become like us!” — Isaiah 14:10

What must be the backsliding person’s doom when he finally appears before God? How will he bear that voice, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.; you debased yourself with the world, and departed from me: I also have banished you forever from my presence, and will not have mercy upon you.’”

What will be this miserable person’s shame at the last great day when, before assembled multitudes, the backslider shall be unmasked? See the irreverent, and sinners who never professed religion, lifting themselves up from their beds of fire to point at him. “There he is,” says one, “will he preach the gospel in hell?” “There he is,” says another, “he criticized me for cursing, and was a hypocrite himself!” “Aha!” says another, “here comes a psalm-singing churchgoer–one who was always at his meeting; he is the man who boasted of his being sure of everlasting life; and here he is!” No greater enthusiasm will ever be seen among Satanic tormentors, than in that day when devils drag the hypocrite’s soul down to hell.

Bunyan (in Pilgrim’s Progress) pictures this with massive but awful grandeur of poetry when he speaks of the backdoor to hell. Seven devils bound the miserable person with nine cords, and dragged him from the road to heaven, in which he had once claimed to walk, and thrust him through the backdoor into hell. Mind that back way to hell, you who profess Christ! “Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith.” Look well to your state; see whether you reside in Christ or not. It is the easiest thing in the world to give a lenient verdict when you yourself is to be tried; but at all cost, be just and true here. Be just to all, but be rigorous to examine yourself. Remember that if you fail to build on the Rock, when the house shall fall, great will be the fall of it. May the Lord give you sincerity, faithfulness, and steadiness; and in every day, no matter how evil, may you not be led to turn aside.

My thoughts on this sober devotional:

I’ve been editing these excerpts primarily to clarify Spurgeon’s 1800’s language. Obviously, this devotional is unsettling to those who subscribe to “eternal security.” Let me put it in context with some scriptures. 

We are indeed secure in Christ:

“And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” — John 8:28

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

But there is a warning to those who turn back to the world and life from which they were delivered:

“For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.  Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?  For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.”  It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”  — Hebrews 10:26-31

A prayerful reading of Hebrews 6 would be valuable also. 

“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance,]since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame… But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.  For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.  And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

I believe indeed, that no external force can separate us from Christ.  I do believe, however, that some Christians are seduced away (aided by their pride) into denying Him for other philosophies which better suit their chosen manner of life, and may have a form of godliness, but reject its power to transform them.

My prayer for you and me (and the passages that inspired me to read Spurgeon this year) comes from Ephesians:

Eph. 1:17-19 …that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.    I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Eph. 3:14-19 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

Eph. 6:18-20 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.