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CMF eZine


The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship.


Author: Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-92) was England's best-known preacher for most of the second half of the nineteenth century.  In 1854, just four years after his conversion, Spurgeon, then only 20, became pastor of London's famed New Park Street Church (formerly pastored by the famous Baptist theologian John Gill).  The congregation quickly outgrew their building, moved to Exeter Hall, then to Surrey Music Hall.  In these venues Spurgeon frequently preached to audiences numbering more than 10,000—all in the days before electronic amplification.  In 1861 the congregation moved permanently to the newly constructed Metropolitan Tabernacle.


Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

Christ's Incarnation, A Quietus to Fear

THE angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” The very object for which He was born, and came into this world, was that He might deliver us from sin. What, then, was it that made us afraid? Were we not afraid of God, because we felt that we were lost through sin? Well, then, here is joy upon joy, for not only has the Lord come among us as a man, but He was made man in order that He might save man from that which separated him from God.

I feel as if the sorrow of my heart would flow forth in a flood of tears over the many sinners who have gone far away from God, and have been spending their lives riotously in various evil ways. I know they are afraid to come back; they think that the Lord will not receive them, and that there is no mercy for such sinners as they have been. But Jesus Christ has come to seek and to save that which was lost. If He does not save, He was born in vain, for the object of His birth was the salvation of sinners. If He shall not be a Saviour, then His mission in coming to this earth has missed its end, for its design was that lost sinners might be saved.

Lost one, lost one, if there were news that an angel had come to save thee, there might be some good cheer in it; but there are better tidings still. God Himself has come; the Infinite, the Almighty, has stooped from the highest heaven that He may pick thee up, a poor undone and worthless worm. Is there not comfort for thee here? Does not the Incarnation of the Saviour take away the horrible dread which hangs over men like a black pall?

The angel described the new-born Saviour as “Christ.” There is His manhood, for it was as man that He was anointed. But the angel also rightly called Him “Christ the Lord.” There is His Godhead. This is the solid truth upon which we plant our foot. Jesus of Nazareth is “very God of very God.” He who was born in Bethlehem’s manger is now, and always was, “over all, God blessed for ever.”

There is no Gospel at all if Christ be not God. It is no news to me to tell me that a great prophet is born. There have been great prophets before; but the world has never been redeemed from evil by mere testimony to the truth, and it never will be. But tell me that God is born, that God Himself has espoused our nature, and taken it into union with Himself, then the bells of my heart ring merry peals, for now may I come to God since God has come to me.

God has sent an Ambassador who inspires no fear. Not with helmet and coat of mail, not with sword or spear, does Heaven’s Herald approach us; but the white flag is held in the hand of a Child, in the hand of One chosen out of the people, in the hand of One who died, in the hand of One who, though He reigns in glory, wears the nailprints still.

O man, God comes to you in the form of one like yourself! Do not be afraid to draw near to the gentle Jesus. Do not imagine that you need to be prepared for an audience with Him, or that you must have the intercession of a saint, or the intervention of priest or minister. Anyone could have come to the Babe in Bethlehem. The hornèd oxen, methinks, ate of the hay on which He slept, and feared not. It is the terror of the Godhead which, oftentimes, keeps the sinner away from reconciliation; but see how the Godhead is graciously concealed in that little Babe, who needed to be wrapped in swaddling-bands like any other new-born child. Who feareth to approach Him? Yet is the Godhead there.

My soul, when thou canst not, for very amazement, stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire, when the Divine glory is like a consuming fire to thy spirit, and the sacred majesty of Heaven is altogether overpowering to thee, then come thou to this Babe, and say, “Yet God is here, and here can I meet Him in the person of His dear Son, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Oh, what bliss there is in the Incarnation of Christ as we remember that therein God’s omnipotence cometh down to man’s feebleness, and infinite majesty stoops to man’s infirmity!

The shepherds were not to find this Babe wrapped in Tyrian purple, nor swathed in choicest fabrics fetched from afar.

      “No crown bedecks His forehead fair,

      No pearl, nor gem, nor silk is there.”

Nor would they discover Him in the marble halls of princes, nor guarded by prætorian legionaries, nor attended by vassal sovereigns; but they would find Him the babe of a peasant woman,—of princely lineage, it is true, but of a family whose stock was dry and forgotten in Israel. The Holy Child was reputed to be the son of a carpenter. If you looked on the humble father and mother, and at the poor bed they had made up, where aforetime oxen had come to feed, you would say, “This is condescension indeed.”

O ye poor, be glad, for Jesus is born in poverty, and cradled in a manger! O ye sons of toil, rejoice, for the Saviour is born of a lowly virgin, and a carpenter is His foster-father! O ye people, oftentimes despised and downtrodden, the Prince of the democracy is born, One chosen out of the people is exalted to the throne! O ye who call yourselves the aristocracy, behold the Prince of the kings of the earth, whose lineage is Divine, and yet there is no room for Him in the inn! Behold, O men, the Son of God, who is bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh; who, in His after life, was intimate with all your griefs, hungered as ye hunger, was weary as ye are weary, and wore humble garments like your own; yea, suffered worse poverty than you do, for He was without a place whereon to lay His head! Let the heavens and the earth be glad, since God hath so fully, so truly come down to man.

Jesus is the Friend of the poor, the sinful, and the unworthy. You, poor ones, need not fear to come unto Him; for He was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger. You have not worse accommodation than He had; you are not poorer than He was. Come and welcome to the poor man’s Prince, to the peasant’s Saviour. Stay not back through fear of your unfitness; the shepherds came to Him in all their déshabille. I read not that they tarried to put on their best garments; but, in the clothes in which they wrapped themselves that cold midnight, they hastened, just as they were, to the young Child’s presence. God looks not at garments, but at hearts; and accepts men when they come to Him with willing spirits, whether they be rich or poor.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 25–29). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

Christ's Incarnation, At the Right Time

PAUL wrote to the Galatians, “When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” The reservoir of time had to be filled by the inflowing of age after age; and when it was full to the brim, the Son of God appeared. Why the world should have remained without Him who is its one great Light for four thousand years after Adam was formed out of the dust of the earth, and why it should have taken that length of time for the Jewish Church to attain her full age, we cannot tell; but this we are plainly told, that Jesus was sent forth “when the fullness of the time was come.” Our Lord did not come before His time, nor behind His time; He was punctual to the appointed hour, and cried, to the exact moment, “Lo, I come.”

We may not curiously pry into the reasons why Christ came just when He did; but we may reverently muse on the great fact. The birth of Jesus is the grandest light of history, the sun in the heavens of all time. It is the pole-star of human destiny, the hinge of chronology, the meeting-place of the waters of the past and the future. Why did it happen just at that moment?

The main reason is, because it was so predicted. There were many prophecies, in the Old Testament Scriptures, which pointed, as with unerring fingers, to the place, the manner, and the time when the Shiloh would come, and the great sacrifice for sin should be offered. Jesus came at the very hour which God had determined.

The omniscient Lord of all appoints the date of every event; all times are in His hand, none are left to chance. There are no loose threads in the providence of God, and no dropped stitches. The great clock of the universe keeps perfect time, and the whole machinery of providence moves with unerring punctuality. It was to be expected that the greatest of all events should be most accurately and wisely timed, and so it was. God willed it to be when and where it was, and that will is to us the ultimate reason.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 23–24). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

The Name of Jesus Indicates His Work

“THOU shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.” He is not called Jesus because He is our Exemplar, though indeed He is perfection itself, and we long to tread in His foot-steps; but He is called Jesus because He has come to seek and to save that which was lost.

He is Christ, too, or the Anointed, but then He is Christ Jesus; that is to say, it is as a Saviour that He is anointed. He is nothing at all if He is not a Saviour. He is anointed to this very end. His very Name is a sham if He does not save His people from their sins.

It is a gracious but very startling fact that our Lord’s connection with His people lies in the direction of their sins. This is amazing condescension. He is called Saviour in connection with His people, but it is in reference to their sins, because it is from their sins that they need to be saved. If they had never sinned, they would never have required a Saviour, and there would have been no Name of Jesus known upon earth.

That is a wonderful text in Galatians 1:4,—did you ever meditate upon it?—“Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” It is true, as Martin Luther says, He never gave Himself for our righteousness, but He did give Himself for our sins. Sin is a horrible evil, a deadly poison, yet it is this which gives Jesus His title when He overcomes it. What a wonder this is! The first link between my soul and Christ is, not my goodness, but my badness; not my merit, but my misery; not my standing, but my falling; not my riches, but my need. He comes to visit His people, yet not to admire their beauties, but to remove their deformities; not to reward their virtues, but to forgive their sins.

O ye sinners,—I mean you real sinners,—not you who call yourselves by that name simply because you are told that is what you are, but you who really feel yourselves to be guilty before God, here is good news for you! O you self-condemned sinners, who feel that, if you are ever to get salvation, Jesus must bring it to you, and be the beginning and the end of it, I pray you to rejoice in this dear, this precious, this blessed Name, for Jesus has come to save you, even you! Go to Him as sinners, call Him “Jesus,” and say to Him, “O Lord Jesus, be Jesus to me, save me, for I need Thy salvation!” Doubt not that He will fulfill His own Name, and exhibit His saving power in you. Only confess to Him your sin, and He will save you from it. Only believe in Him, and He will be your salvation.

What does Paul mean when he says “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”? He means, first, that Jesus came to save them from the punishment of their sin. Their sin shall not be laid to their charge, so that they shall be condemned for it, if they do but trust in Him who was punished in the place of those who were really guilty. That is one thing that Christ Jesus came into the world to do for sinners.

He came, also, to save them from the pollution of their sin, so that, though their mind has been debased, and their taste degraded, and their conscience deadened by sin, He came to take that evil away, and to give them a tender heart, and a hatred of sin, and a love for holiness, and a desire for purity. That is a great work for Him to accomplish, yet Jesus came to do even more than that.

He came, also, to take away our tendencies to sin, those tendencies which are born in us, and which grow up with us. He came by His Spirit to eradicate them, to pluck them up by the roots, and to put within us another principle, which shall fight with the old principle of sin, and overcome it, till Christ alone shall reign, and every thought shall be brought into captivity to Him.

Further, Jesus came to save His people from apostasy. He “came into the world to save sinners,” in the fullest possible sense, by keeping them faithful to the end, so that they shall not go back unto perdition. This is a very important part of the work of Divine grace. To start a man right, is but little; but to keep that man holding on even to the end, is a triumph of almighty grace, and this is what Christ has come to do.

“Christ Jesus came into the world,” not to half save you, not to save you in this, direction or that, and in this light or that, but to save you from your sin, to save you from an angry temper, to save you from pride, to save you from strong drink, to save you from covetousness, to save you from every evil thing, “and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.” This is a glorious truth, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” He came to Bethlehem’s manger, and afterwards to Calvary’s cross, with this as His one business, that He might save sinners. Is He not able to save? Is He not just the Saviour that we need? God and yet man in one adorable Person, He is able to sympathize because He is man, and He is able to save because He is God. Blessed God-man, Jesus Christ, Thou art able and willing to save me, and Thou art able and willing to save all other sinners who will believe in Thee!

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 19–22). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

The Name of Jesus, Common, Yet Unique

THE name Jesus was not at all uncommon among the Jews. Josephus mentions no less than twelve persons who bore that name. Salvation of a certain kind was so longed for by the Jews that their eagerness was seen even in the choice they made of their children’s names. Their little ones were, because of their hopes concerning them, called saviours, yet they were not really saviours.

How common are nominal saviours! “Lo, here,” say some, “is a saviour!” “Lo, there,” cry others, “is another saviour!” All these have the name, but not the power; and now, our Lord Jesus Christ has claimed the title exclusively for Himself. His Name shall be called Jesus, for He alone is a Prince and a Saviour, and He only saves His people from their sins.

Other so-called saviours do but mock the hopes of mankind; they promise fairly, but they utterly deceive all who rely upon them. But this Holy Child, this blessed, glorious “God with us,” has truly brought us salvation, and He saith, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” This Jesus of Nazareth, the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, is the one and only Saviour. He, and none but He, shall save His people. He, and not another, shall save them by His own act and deed. Singly and unaided, He shall save His people. Personally, and not by another, in His own Name, and on His own behalf, He shall, by Himself, purge away His people’s sins.

He shall do all the work, and leave none of it undone; He shall begin it, carry it on, and complete it; and therefore is His Name called Jesus, because He shall fully, entirely, and perfectly, save His people from their sins. The name Jesus has been, in a minor sense, applied to others aforetime; but now, henceforth, no one else may wear it, since there is no other Saviour but Christ the Lord; “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 17–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

Room For Christ Jesus

Room For Christ Jesus

Room For Christ Jesus

THE palace, the forum, and the inn, had no room for Christ; have you room for Him? “Well,” says one, “I have room for Him, but I am not worthy that He should come to me.” Ah! I did not ask about your worthiness; have you room for Him? “Oh!” says another, “I have an aching void the world can never fill.” Ah! I see that you have room for Christ. “Oh, but the room I have in my heart is so base!” So was the manger at Bethlehem. “But it is so despicable.” So was the manger a thing to be despised. “Ah! but my heart is so foul.” So, perhaps, the manger may have been. “Oh, but I feel it is a place not at all fit for Christ!” Nor was the manger a place fit for Him, and yet there was He laid. “Oh! but I have been such a great sinner; I feel as if my heart had been a den of evil beasts.” Well, the manger had been a place where beasts had fed.

I repeat the question,—Have you room for Christ in your heart? Never mind what your past life has been; He can forget and forgive. It mattereth not what even thy present state may be if thou sincerely mournest thy sinfulness. If thou hast but room for Christ, He will come, and be thy Guest. Do not say, I pray you, “I hope I shall have room for Him;” the Gospel message is, “To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation;” “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” Make room for Jesus! Make room for Jesus now!

“Oh!” saith one, “I have room for Him, but will He come to me?” Will He come? Do you but set the door of your heart open, do you but say, “Jesus Master, all unworthy and unclean, I look to Thee; I trust in Thee; come Thou, and dwell within my heart;” and He will come to thee, and He will cleanse the manger of thy heart; nay, more, He will transform it into a golden throne, and there He will sit and reign for ever and ever. I rejoice that I have such a free Christ, such a precious loving Jesus to make known; One who is willing to find a home in every humble heart that will receive Him. Oh! it will be a happy day for you when you shall be enabled to take Him in your arms, and receive Him as the Consolation of Israel. You may then look forward even to death with joy, and say, with good old Simeon, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.”

My Master wants room; and I, as His herald, cry aloud, “Room for the Savior! Room! Here is my royal Master, have you room for Him? Here is the Son of God made flesh, have you room for Him? Here is He who can forgive all sin, have you room for Him? Here is He who can take you up out of the horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, have you room for Him? Here is He who, when He cometh in to your soul, will never go out again; but will abide with you for ever, to make your heart a heaven of joy and bliss through His presence? Have you not room for Him?” That is all He asks, room. Your emptiness, your nothingness, your want of feeling, your want of goodness, your want of grace,—all these will be but room for Him.

John tells us that, “as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God;” and in the last great day, the Lord Jesus will say to those on His right hand, “I was a stranger, and ye took Me in.” Is it not a strange thing that “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him,” and yet He was a stranger in it? Yet it is not a whit more strange than true; for, when He was born, there was no room for Him in the inn. Inns had open doors for ordinary strangers, but not for Him; for He was a greater stranger than any of those who were around Him. It was Bethlehem of David, the seat of the ancient family to which He belonged; but, alas! He had become “a stranger unto His brethren, and an alien unto His mother’s children,” and no door was opened unto Him.

Soon, there was no safe room for Him in the village itself, for Herod the king sought the young Child’s life, and He must flee into Egypt, to be a stranger in a strange land, and worse than a stranger,—an exile and a fugitive from the land whereof by birthright He was King. On His return, and on His appearing in public, there was still no room for Him among the great mass of the people. He came to His own Israel, to whom prophets had revealed Him, and types had set Him forth; but they would not receive Him. “He was despised and rejected of men.” He was the Man “whom men abhorred;” whom they so much detested that they cried, “Away with Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Jew and Gentile conspired to prove how truly He was a stranger; the Jew said, “As for this fellow, we know not from whence He is;” and the Roman asked Him, “Whence art Thou?”

Perhaps the strangest thing of all, and the greatest wonder of all, is that this Heavenly Stranger should be willing to be received by us, and that He should deign to dwell in our hearts. Such an One as Jesus in such an one as I am! The King of glory in a sinner’s bosom! This is a miracle of grace; yet the manner of accomplishing it is simple enough. A humble, repenting faith opens the door, and Jesus enters the heart at once. Love shuts to the door with the hand of penitence, and holy watchfulness keeps out intruders. Thus is the promise made good, “If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Meditation, contemplation, prayer, praise, and daily obedience, keep the house in order for the Lord; and then follows the consecration of our entire nature to His use as a temple; the dedication of spirit, soul, and body, and all their powers, as holy vessels of the sanctuary; the writing of “Holiness unto the Lord” upon all that is about us, till our every-day garments become vestments, our meals sacraments, our life a ministry, and ourselves priests unto the Most High God. Oh, the supreme condescension of this indwelling of Christ! He never dwelt in angel, but He resides in a contrite spirit. There is a world of meaning in the Redeemer’s words concerning His disciples, “I in them.” May we know the meaning of them as Paul translates and applies them, “Christ in you, the hope of glory”!

The moment Christ is received into our hearts by faith, we are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of faith; for the Lord adopts us, and puts us among His children. It is a splendid act of Divine grace, that He should take us, who were heirs of wrath, and make us heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. Such honor have all the saints, even all that believe on Christ’s Name.

Then, when Christ is in us, we search out opportunities of bringing prodigals, strangers, and outcasts to the great Father’s house. Our love goes out to all mankind, and our hand is closed against none; if so be we are made like to God, as little children are like their father. Oh, sweet result of entertaining the Son of God by faith! He dwells in us, and we gaze upon Him in holy fellowship; so that “we all with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

“Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” May we daily feel the power of Jesus within our hearts, transforming our whole character, and making us to be more and more manifestly the children of God! When our Lord asks concerning us, “What manner of men were they?” may even His enemies and ours be compelled to answer, “As Thou art, so were they: each one resembled the children of a King.” Then shall Jesus be admired in all them that believe, for men shall see in all the children of His great family the Divine Stranger’s gracious and glorious handiwork.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 137–142). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

The Name of Jesus, Prized by His People

The Name of Jesus, Prized by His People

The Name of Jesus, Prized by His People

THE Name of Jesus, chosen by God for His Son, is also given to Him by all who truly know Him, and they give it to Him heartily, zealously, boldly. All of us call Him Jesus if we really know Him, and we are resolved to publish His Name abroad as long as we live. If He was Jesus in the cradle, what is He now that He is exalted in the highest heavens? As Emmanuel, God with us, His very Incarnation made Him Jesus, the Saviour of men; but what shall we say of Him now that, in addition to His Incarnation, we have His Atonement; and beside His Atonement, His Resurrection; and beyond that, His Ascension; and, to crown all, His perpetual Intercession?

How grandly does the title of Saviour befit Him now that He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them! If in the arms of His mother He was the Saviour, what is He now that He sitteth upon the throne of God? If wrapped in swaddling-bands He was Jesus, the Saviour, what is He now that the heavens have received Him? If in the workshop of Nazareth, and sitting in the temple among the doctors, He was Jesus, the Saviour, what is He now that His infancy and childhood are over, and He is exalted far above all principalities and powers? If He was Jesus when on the cross, presenting Himself as an offering for His people, what is He now that He hath by one sacrifice perfected for ever them that are set apart? What is He now that He sits at the right hand of God, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool?
Let all who trust in Him unite in calling our Lord by this tender human Name of Jesus. Did He not call all believers by the endearing titles of mother, and sister, and brother? Then we, too, will call Him Jesus.

      “Jesus, Name all names above,
         Jesus best and nearest;
      Jesus, fount of perfect love,
         Holiest, tenderest, dearest;
      Jesus, source of grace completed,
         Jesus holiest, sweetest;
      Jesus, Saviour all Divine,
         Thine’s the Name, and only Thine.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 15–16). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

The Name of Jesus, God-Given

The Name of Jesus, God-Given

The Name of Jesus, God-Given

THE first angel, who appeared to the shepherds, gave them this message, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” That word “Saviour” reminds us of what the angel of the Lord said to Joseph, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

The condition of Joseph, when he heard this Name for the first time, is not altogether without instruction. The angel spake to him “in a dream.” That Name is so soft and sweet that it breaks no man’s rest, but rather yields a peace unrivalled,—“the peace of God.” With such a dream, Joseph’s sleep was even more blessed than his waking.

The Name of Jesus has evermore this power, for, to those who know its preciousness, it unveils a glory brighter than dreams have ever imaged. Under its wondrous spell, young men see visions, and old men dream dreams; and these do not mock them, as ordinary dreams do, but they are faithful and true prophecies of what shall surely come to pass. This Name brings before our minds a vision of glory, in the latter days, when Jesus shall reign from pole to pole; and yet another vision of glory unutterable when His people shall be with Him where He is, and shall reign with Him for ever and ever.

The Name of Jesus was comforting at the first mention of it by the angel of the Lord, because of the words with which it was accompanied; for they were meant to remove perplexity and anxiety from Joseph’s mind. The angel said to him, “Fear not;” and, truly, no name can banish fear like the Name of Jesus; it is the beginning of hope, and the end of despair.

It is worthy of note that the angel commenced his message to the shepherds in a similar way: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Let the sinner but hear of “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” and, straightway, he hopes to live, he rises out of the deadly lethargy of his hopelessness, and, looking upward, he sees a reconciled God, and fears no longer.

This Name of Jesus appears to us even more full of rare delights when we meditate upon the infinite preciousness of the glorious Person to whom it was assigned. Ah, here is a Jonathan’s wood dripping with honey from every bough, and he that tasteth it shall have his eyes enlightened! We have no common Saviour, for neither earth nor Heaven could produce His equal. At the time when the Name was given to Him by God, Jesus had not been seen by mortal eyes, for He lay as yet concealed from human gaze; but soon He came forth, having been born of Mary by the power of the Holy Ghost,—the matchless Holy Child Jesus. He bore our nature, but not our corruption. He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, but yet in His flesh there was no sin. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” This Holy One is the Son of God, and yet He is the Son of man; this surpassing excellence of nature makes His Name most precious.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 12–14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

The Angels' Song, The Final Note

The Angels' Song, The Final Note

The Angels' Song, The Final Note

“GOOD will toward men.” Wise men have thought, from what they have seen in Creation, that God had much good will toward men, or else His works would never have been so constructed as they are for their comfort; yet I never heard of any man who was willing to risk his soul’s salvation upon such a faint hope as that. But I have not only heard of thousands, I know thousands, who are quite sure that God has good will toward men; and if you ask them the reason for their confidence, they will give you a full and satisfactory answer. They will say, “God has good will toward men, for He gave His Son to die for them.” No greater proof of kindness between the Creator and His subjects can possibly be afforded than when the Creator gives His only-begotten and well-beloved Son to die in the place and stead of guilty sinners.

Though the first note of the angels’ song is Godlike, and though the second note is peaceful, this third note melts my heart the most. Some seem to think of God as if He were an austere being who hated all mankind. Others picture Him as a mere abstraction, taking no interest in our affairs. But this angelic message assures us that God has “good will toward men.”

You know what “good will” means. Well, all that it means, and more, God has to you, ye sons and daughters of Adam. Poor sinner, thou hast broken His laws; thou art half afraid to come to the throne of His mercy, lest He should spurn thee; hear thou this, and be comforted,—God has good will toward men, so good a will that He has said, and said it with an oath, too, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live;”—so good a will, moreover, that He has even condescended to say, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” And if you say, “Lord, how shall I know that Thou hast this good will towards me,” He points to the manger, and says, “Sinner, if I had not had good will towards thee, would I have parted with My beloved Son? If I had not had good will towards the human race, would I have given up My Son to become one of that race, that He might, by so doing, redeem from death as many of them as would believe on Him?

Ye who doubt the love of God to guilty men, look away to that glorious circle of angels; see the blaze of glory lighting up the midnight sky; listen to their wondrous song, and let your doubts die in that sweet music, and be buried in a shroud of harmony. The angels’ song assures us that God has good will toward men; He is willing to pardon; He does pass by iniquity, transgression, and sin. And if Satan shall try to insinuate such a doubt as this, “But though God hath good will toward men, yet He cannot violate His justice, therefore His mercy may be ineffective, and you may die;” then listen to that first note of the song, “Glory to God in the highest,” and reply to Satan and all his temptations that, when God shows good will to a penitent sinner, there is not only peace in the sinner’s heart and conscience, but glory is brought to every attribute of God, so He can be just, and yet justify the sinner who believeth in Jesus, and so glorify Himself while saving him.

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 9–11). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

 

The Angels' Song, The Added Stanza

The Angels' Song, The Added Stanza

The Angels' Song, The Added Stanza

“GLORY to God in the highest,” was an old, old song to the angels; they had sung that strain before the foundation of the world. But, now, they sang as it were a new song before the throne of God, and in the ears of mortal men, for they added this stanza, “and on earth peace.”

They did not sing like that in the Garden of Eden. There was peace there, but it seemed to be a matter of course, and to be a thing scarcely needing to be mentioned in their song. There was more than peace there, for there was also glory to God. But man had fallen, and since the day when the Lord God drove him out of Eden, and placed the cherubim with a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life, there had been no peace on earth, save in the breasts of believers, who had obtained peace of heart and conscience even from the promise of the Incarnation of Christ.

Wars had raged unto the ends of the earth; men had slaughtered one another, heaps on heaps. There had been strife within as well as struggles without. Conscience had fought with man, and Satan had tormented him with sinful thoughts. There had been no peace on earth since Adam fell.

But, now, when the new-born King made His appearance, the swaddling-band with which He was wrapped up was the white flag of peace. That manger was the place where the treaty was signed, whereby warfare should be stopped between man’s conscience and himself, and between man’s conscience and his God. Then it was that the trumpet of the heavenly herald was blown aloud, and the royal proclamation was made, “Sheathe thy sword, O man, sheathe thy sword, O conscience, for God has provided a way by which He can be at peace with man, and by which man can be at peace with God, and with his own conscience, too!”

The Gospel of the grace of God promises peace to every man who accepts it; where else can peace be found, but in the message of Jesus? And what a peace it is! It is like a river, and the righteousness of it is like the waves of the sea. It is “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, which shall keep our hearts arid minds through Christ Jesus.” This sacred peace between the soul pardoned and God the Pardoner, this marvellous “at-one-ment” between the guilty sinner and his righteous Judge, this it was of which the angels sang when they said, “Peace on earth.”

Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 7–8). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)

 

The Angels' Song, Its Opening Note

The Angels' Song, Its Opening Note

The Angels' Song, Its Opening Note

“GLORY to God in the highest.”  The instructive lesson to be learned from this opening note of the angels’ song is, that salvation is God’s highest glory.  He is glorified in every dewdrop that twinkles in the morning sunshine. He is magnified in every wood flower that blossoms in the copse, although it is born to blush unseen of man, and may seem to waste its sweetness on the forest air. God is glorified in every bird that warbles on the trees, and in every lamb that skips in the meadows. Do not the fishes in the sea praise Him? From the tiny minnow to the huge leviathan, do not all creatures that swim in the waters laud and magnify His great Name? Do not all created things extol Him? Is there aught beneath the sky, save man, that doth not glorify God? Do not the stars exalt Him, when they write His Name in golden letters upon the azure of heaven? Do not the lightnings adore Him when they flash His brightness in arrows of light piercing the midnight darkness? Do not the thunderpeals extol Him when they roll like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not all things that He hath made, from the least even to the greatest, exalt Him?

But sing, sing, O universe, till thou hast exhausted thyself, yet thou canst not chant an anthem so sweet as the song of Incarnation! Though Creation may be a majestic organ of praise, it cannot reach the compass of the golden canticle,—Incarnation! There is more melody in Jesus in the manger than in the whole sublime oratorio of the Creation. There is more grandeur in the song that heralds the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem than there is in worlds on worlds rolling in silent grandeur around the throne of the Most High.

Pause, reader, for a minute, and consider this great truth. See how every one of the Divine attributes is here magnified. Lo, what wisdom is here! The Eternal becomes man in order that God may be just, and yet be the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. What power also is here, for where is power so great as when it concealeth itself? What power, that God should unrobe Himself for a while, and become man! Behold, too, what love is thus revealed to us when Jesus becomes a man; and what faithfulness! How many promises and prophecies are this day fulfilled! How many solemn obligations are this hour discharged! Tell me one attribute of God that you say is not manifest in Jesus; and your ignorance shall be to me the reason why you have not seen it to be so. The whole of God is glorified in Christ; and though some part of the Name of God is written in the material universe, it is best read in Him who was the Son of man, and also the Son of God.


Spurgeon, C. H. (2009). Christ’s Incarnation: The foundation of Christianity (pp. 5–6). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software. (Public Domain)


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