Morning, December 4, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“I have many people in this city.” — Acts 18:10
This should be a great encouragement to try to do good, since God has among the vilest of the vile, the most degenerate, the most depraved and drunken, an elect people who must be saved. When you take the Word to them, you do so because God has ordained you to be the messenger of life to their souls, and they must receive it, for so the decree of predestination runs. They are as much redeemed by blood as the saints before the eternal throne. They are Christ’s property, and yet perhaps they are lovers of the tavern, and haters of holiness; but if Jesus Christ purchased them he will have them. God is not unfaithful to forget the price which his Son has paid. He will not suffer his substitution to be in any case an ineffective, dead thing. Tens of thousands of redeemed ones are not regenerated yet, but regenerated they must be; and this is our comfort when we go forth to them with the life giving Word of God.
And in addition, these ungodly ones are prayed for by Christ before the throne. “Neither pray I for these alone,” say the great Intercessor, “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Poor, ignorant souls, they know nothing about prayer for themselves, but Jesus prays for them. Their names are on his breastplate, and before long they must bow their stubborn knee, breathing the penitent sigh before the throne of grace. “The time of figs is not yet.” The predestined moment has not struck; but, when it comes, they shall obey, for God will have his own; they must, for the Spirit is not to be withstood when he comes forth with fullness of power–they must become the willing servants of the living God. “My people shall be willing in the day of my power.” “He shall justify many.” “He shall see of the travail of his soul.” “I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong.”
Editor’s note: Calvinist predetermination was an integral part of the theological fabric of Spurgeon’s day, and although both Calvinists and Armenians embrace Spurgeon, here he sways towards the Calvinists. When I was a young Christian (over 4 decades ago now) I had all this figured out.
After years of study and prayer, I now know far less than I thought I did then. The attributes of God that challenge me most are His Eternity, His Omniscience, and His Incomprehensibility, all of which place Him outside of the stream of time that so closely binds our thought processes and our existence. Nothing is “yet to happen” for God; He has never had a thought occur to him; He’s never been surprised. It is simple for Him to declare who is part of the “elect,” because it is impossible for Him not to know the His children down to the last molecule. To God, no one is predetermined, because to Him there is neither pre- nor post-, no then and now, but for our benefit and limited comprehension all Scripture is revealed to us to the extent which we can understand framed within the constraints of time and our puny minds.
We understand the nature of man only slightly more than we understand God’s nature (1
Corinthians 2) and in no sense do we comprehend either. We are never commended for our understanding, but rather for our obedience. God has indeed ordained us to be messengers of life (because He says he has); people are exhorted to call upon the name of the Lord, and believe in Him, (because He says they should). We are encouraged to choose to follow Him (because He has paid the price for us to do so.)