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Believing & not merely seeking – A retro-post by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Saturday, February 17th, 2018

“. . . [T]he seeker after Christ remains disobedient to the great command of the gospel. If he were obedient to the great gospel precept, he would at once cease to be a seeker, and become a happy finder. What is the command of the gospel? ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.’ Properly speaking, Christ is not an object for seeking, he is not far from any of us; like the brazen serpent uplifted by Moses, he is not so much to be looked for as looked at. We have neither to clamber to heaven to find him in the loftiness of his Deity, and bring him down; nor dive . . . to bring him up again from the dead. Thus saith the Lord, ‘The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’

Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. A prayer will reach him, a wish will find him, a groan will pierce his heart—do but confide in him, and he is yours. The first command of the gospel to guilty sinners is not to pray, to search the Scriptures, to attend upon sermons—all these are natural duties, and woe unto the man who neglects any of them; but the command, the special command of the gospel is, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!’ Now, the seeking sinner is disobedient to the command. He is going about hither and thither seeking, but he declines trusting; he is eagerly looking abroad for that which is at home; he is seeking for peace afar off when it is nigh him. He looks east and west to behold a wonder, while the Wonderful, the Saviour, stands at his right hand ready to forgive.

The way of salvation for me as a sinner is simply this, that I, being a sinner, do now put my trust in Christ Jesus the substitute for sinners. God has set forth his crucified Son as the accepted propitiation for sin: the way of salvation is that I accept him for what God has set him forth, namely, as the atonement for my sin, in which I place my sole reliance. Seeing he is God, seeing he took upon himself the nature of man, seeing that as mediator he suffered in the stead of as many as trust in him, I trust him, and I obtain thereby the blessed result of his sufferings—I am in fact thereby saved.

Now, it is some good thing certainly to be a seeker, but it is also an ill thing if I follow my seeking and refuse God’s way of salvation. Hear what the apostle John saith: ‘He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.’ This is no small sin to be guilty of, and it entails no small punishment, for ‘he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’

Suppose that I have been told of a remedy for my disease. Well, it is so far good that I desire to be cured of my deadly malady, it is so far hopeful that I have sent for a physician. But after being informed that there is the one specific for my disease, and that it alone will certainly heal me—if I were still to continue seeking a remedy, or to say I am seeking this one true remedy, I shall remain sick, and ultimately die. I shall never be healed unless I take that which is prescribed: to seek it is not enough, I must actually take it. In seeking, then, there is some good, but oh, how much of evil! Here are gleams and flashes of light, but oh, how dense is the darkness! Here is a little smoke in the flax, but I dare scarcely call it a spark. O seeker for Jesus, think of this, for while I would not discourage thee, yet would I encourage thee to end thy seeking by becoming a believer. Look not at salvation’s cup, but drink of it. Stand not by the fountain’s brim, but wash in it and be clean.”

C. H. Spurgeon, “Seeking for Jesus,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. 16. Originally preached on August 21, 1870. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1870), 470–471. [Italics original.]

So What’s New? – A Guest-post by R.P. Amos

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Behold, I make all things new,” Rev. 21:5

New cars, new smartphones, new technology, new leaders, new homes, new medicines, new clothes, new job and a new spouse are the daily pursuit and dream of many.  Money, education, time, stress, and relationships are spent to gain the rush of something new.  And yet what is new today becomes old tomorrow and the thirst continues unquenched.

However, the believer in Christ Jesus has at least 7 major things called ‘new’ that will never change.  They bring joy.  They endure forever.  And they don’t get old.

  1. New Covenant – “Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (Heb.12:24)

The Old Covenant (Testament) law promised physical blessing or physical cursing in the land of Israel.  The average person would experience such for about 70 years.  But the New Covenant has “better promises.”  It promises spiritual blessings with no cursing.  The promises range from the forgiveness of sins to an eternal heavenly inheritance.

But the new covenant in Christ Jesus is also a “better covenant” by the terms it offers.  The Old gave the blessings only – if – one obeyed the rules; otherwise it would be the promised cursing.  That’s why Israel ended up cursed for it was based on man’s ability to perform according to God’s holy standard.  The new covenant is embraced by an act of faith in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord.  The promises are based on what God will do by what Christ did, not what we do.  (See Deut. 28 / Eph. 1-3 / 1 Pet. 1:4 / Heb. 8-10)

  1. New Creature – “in Christ, he is a new creature” [creation] (2 Cor. 5:17)

When one puts their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ he is baptized with the Spirit into a union with the living Lord.  He is an actual member of the body of the eternal Christ as the life of Christ is in him.  Being connected to the Son of God he is now one with Christ.  God now accepts him in Christ – because God has accepted Christ with full privilege.  The old status, destiny, principle of relationship and way to perform has forever changed.  He is a new co-heir with Christ Jesus of all the glory that is ahead.

The one “in Christ Jesus” now has: a new Integrity (holy) – a new Validity (accepted) – a new Amnesty (forgiveness) – a new Eternity (heavenly kingdom) – a new Vitality (Spirit-life) – a new Identity (sons of God) – a new Unity (part of the one body).  (Eph. 1-3, Gal. 3:26-28, 4:6-7, Col. 1:13 / 2 Cor. 3:17 – “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”)

  1. New Man – “…to make in Himself…one new man”                                 (Eph. 2:15)

The new man is God’s creation by His workmanship.  Rather than being dead in our sins (a mind with no life to understand and know God) the believer now has been renewed in knowledge and understanding of God.  “The new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” Col. 3:10.  (Also 1 John 5:20 / 1 Cor. 2:10-16)

With that renewed knowledge the believer has the nature and ability of holiness, “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Eph. 4:24.

  1. New Way – “a new and living way…He hath consecrated for us”          (Heb:10:20)

No longer is there a closed door (the veil) that keeps one from the presence of God with the exception of an ordained religious man.  That door has been opened when Christ’s blood was given to take away all our sin.   Because the Lord Jesus is alive and seated, not in a holy city on earth but in the heavenly Jerusalem next to God, every believer can come through Him to directly commune with God – apart from a human man on earth.

The believer also does not have to come to a holy temple building on earth to be in God’s presence.  This is because he is now a living spiritual stone that is part of the new temple of God  – which is a body of Spirit-indwelt people – not a pile of rocks.  Believers are God’s sanctuary!  (See Heb. 10:19-21, Matt. 27:51, Eph. 2:20-22 / 1 Pet. 2:5, 1 Cor. 3:16-17)

  1. New Commandment – “A new commandment I give unto you”     (John 13:34)

The new commandment is not a “thou shalt not” but a ‘thou shalt’.  It is not only to love your neighbor as yourself but also to love one another in Christ’s body as Jesus loved you.  His love was a sacrificial love that gave Himself.  His love is enduring, patient, longsuffering – and in truth.  This love is now in our hearts, not just a rule on stone.  And love never fails.  It’s even greater than faith and hope.  (See Eph. 5:2 / Rom. 5:5 / 1 Cor. 13:13)

  1. New Song – “And they sung a new song saying, Thou art worthy” (Rev. 5:9)

Israel sang a victory song unto the Lord when they were redeemed (freed) from slavery.  After the blood was applied from the Passover lamb, Pharaoh finally released them from Egypt.  In exuberant song they rejoiced that their masters sank as a stone in the waters and were drowned in the Red Sea.  They could enjoy life for a few years.  (Exo. 15)

The new song is sung not only by believing Jews but also by their former enemies, people from every nation. The theme of the excitement is that the Lord Jesus is their lamb and has redeemed them from the slavery and judgment of sin by His own life’s blood.  They are God’s kingdom of priests to reign on the earth eternally.  This new victory song will be sung in heaven right before the Lord returns to destroy unrepentant sinners.  Then His saints will have freedom on earth, but the new song begins now in faith, (Rev. 5:1-10).

  1. New Heavens and earth – “I saw a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1)

The hope for the future is not reformation of present politics or environmental climate control but re-creation.  Because unrepentant sinners and Satan will be removed and cast into the lake of fire there will be some things missing.  War is gone.  Disease is gone.  Suffering is gone.  Death is gone.  Pain, sorrow and tears are gone, too.  (Rev. 21:1-5)

While things are gone there will be some things present.  God will be there.  The Lord and His bride will be there.  The tree of life will be there in a gorgeous and peaceful environment.  God’s glory in Christ Jesus will be there and be so bright that there will be no need of the sun.  There is no night there because eternal light is shining.  Yes, there will be peace on earth and good will toward men – and unto the Lord Jesus.  (Rev. 21-22)

We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

2 Peter 3:13

Here Comes The Son

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Antarctic sunrise

  The Atlantic magazine’s website recently ran a story on the return of the sun to Antarctica after 90 days of night.[i] Antonio Litterio, a researcher at the Concordia Research Station, eloquently described this event, personifying the sun in this way:

I knew that today you’d come looking for me. Over these past few nights, I’ve looked out of the window, captivated by the beautiful starry sky. But in my mind I was thinking of you and how I would soon see you again. Human beings need light to feel calm and to live: light really is life. Wanting to see you again was not about wanting to feel closer to the end of my time here; it was about recharging my batteries. Over the past few days, even that warm glow has given me so much energy. Seeing you now, entering my bedroom in the morning, is a beautiful awakening…Today, seeing the light after so long, for those few minutes the Sun lingered above the horizon, I felt something that was a mixture of a mother’s caress, the warmth of a hug, and the peace and energy radiating from someone important to you. At the precise moment when the Sun reached the end of its arc, settling on the horizon, we looked at each other and there was nothing left to say. I’ve missed you…[ii]

On the basic level of human emotion these are beautiful and understandable sentiments. If one has been bereft of sunlight for three months, it is bound to depress one’s mood. Conversely, that bright orb’s return would naturally be greeted with joy by any right thinking person. Having said that, Litterio’s comments echoed other famous words that speak of a higher light than the burning mass of hydrogen that naturally illuminates planet earth and the surrounding solar system. As John the beloved apostle wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4.)

Trees, Life, & Light

Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, John makes frequent use of images from the Pentateuch[iii] – especially the Tabernacle of Exodus (e.g. Rev. 1:12; Rev. 6:9; Rev. 8:3; the symbolism of the table of showbread underlies Jn. 6:32-33, etc.) The lampstand, the only light-source for the Holy place, evokes arboreal imagery. Like a tree it has branches, fruit, buds, and flowers (Ex. 25:31-40.) The imagery hearkens back to the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil in Eden (Gen. 2:9, 17.) It unites life and light in one object. John draws on this to describe the role of Christ as both life-giver and light-giver. But what do life and light really mean?

The Light Of The World

Life and light are vitally connected. Life in the Bible transcends mere existence. The goal of life is relational. One commentator makes the essential connection in Christ that John 1:4 speaks of:

He was the well-spring of life, from which every form of life—physical, intellectual, moral, spiritual, eternal,—flows.…Creation leads on to life, and life leads on to light. Without life creation would be unintelligible; without light all but the lowest forms of life would be impossible…the one true Light, absolute Truth both intellectual and moral, free from ignorance and free from stain. The Source of Life is the Source of Light: He gives the power to know what is morally good.[iv]

The real meaning of life entails knowing one’s creator. As Christ says: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (Jn. 17:3.) Likewise, light connotes both truth and purity in the Bible (Ps. 119:130.) “…In your light we see light,” says the Psalmist (Ps. 36:9.) The true God wants people to know Him; therefore, He has revealed Himself in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:14-18.)

He wants His creatures to walk with Him in pure and true fellowship (1 Jn. 1:5-7.) Elsewhere John writes: “The life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” (1 Jn. 1:2-4.) Knowing truth depends upon knowing God and sharing in His life.

Wandering In The Dark

Life is to be lived in the light of God’s truth and holiness. He is the One who reveals how the world actually is, and what mankind ought to live for. Until one knows Christ by faith, spiritual darkness is one’s inevitable lot (Mt. 6:23; Jn. 1:5.) In fact, people love darkness (Jn. 3:19.) Apart from Christ’s saving work, the human mind is darkened (Rom. 1:21) and alienated from the righteous thought patterns of its Maker (Eph. 4:18.) Spurgeon powerfully depicts the lost man’s darkness:

Now, the power of sin is just like that. It hides from the human mind what that mind ought to see. The man is lost, but he does not know it; he cannot see the rocks that are just ahead. The man has soon to stand before the bar of God and receive his sentence, but he does not know it; I mean his heart does not know it. He trifles on, caring for none of these things…No matter how rich may be the mercy, nor how pure the consolation, he knows nothing at all about them, for he is in the dark. It is all dark, dark, dark with him, amid the blaze of noon.[v]

But after trusting Christ as Lord and Savior, the believer is delivered from “the power of darkness and conveyed [them] into the kingdom of the Son of His love” (Col. 1:13.) Conder poetically puts it thus:

Brightness of uncreated light;

The heart of God revealed:

Divine, O Son of God, art Thou,

In Thee God’s fulness find we now.[vi]

The Lord directly states it this way: “…I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Jn. 8:12, boldface mine.) As McGee explains: “This world today is in spiritual darkness, and the Lord Jesus Christ has brought the only light there is in the world. He is the light.”[vii] Ryle agrees in these words: “There has never been any spiritual life or light enjoyed by men, excepting from Christ.”[viii]

Out Of The Darkness Into The Light

Mr. Litterio was correct in connecting life and light, but he failed to note that this principle works on a higher level as well. The sun was created by the Creator of all life. He providentially uses it for mankind’s good (Mt. 5:45.) Until one knows the Son of God, however, life is unremitting night. It involves unceasingly groping in the darkness, perpetually wondering what is behind the dim unknown.[ix] To die without the Lord is to enter the eternal night of outer darkness (Mt. 25:30.) Thankfully, the Lord Jesus offers Himself as “the light of the world” to whoever will believe. As a classic hymn urges us:

Come to the Light,

‘Tis shining for thee;

Sweetly the Light has dawned upon me.

Once I was blind, but now I can see –

The Light of the world is Jesus.[x]


[i] Rebecca J. Rosen, “The Sun rises again over Antarctica,” The Atlantic, published 13 August, 2013; found here: Accessed on 13 August 2013.

[ii] Antonio Literrio, “Return to sunlight,” blog post, 12 August, 2013; Found here: Accessed on 8/13/13. [Boldface mine.]

[iii] The first 5 books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy.

[iv] A. Plummer, The Gospel According to S. John, Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1896), 65-66.

[v] C. H. Spurgeon, “Deliverance from the power of darkness,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. LIX. Originally preached on November 29, 1866. (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1913), 376–377.

[vi] Josiah Conder, “Thou art the everlasting word”; located here: Accessed on 8/14/13.

[vii] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, comment on Jn. 1:4, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 373.

[viii] J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1. (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1879), 12.


Careless seems the great Avenger; history’s pages but record
One death-grapple in the darkness ’twixt old systems and the Word;
Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,—
Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.

James Russell Lowell, “The Present Crisis,” located here: Accessed on 8/14/13. [Boldface mine.]

[x] P.P. Bliss, “The Light of the world is Jesus,” located here: Accessed on 8/14/13.

*Photo found here: Accessed on 8/15/13.