Category Archives: Sanctification

“There is more glory given unto God by coming unto Christ in believing than in keeping the whole law” by John Owen

“Every poor soul that comes by faith unto Christ, gives unto God all that glory which it is His design to manifest and be exalted in;– and what can we do more?

There is more glory given unto God by coming unto Christ in believing than in keeping the whole law; inasmuch as He hath more eminently manifested the holy properties of His nature in the way of salvation by Christ, than in giving of the law.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 424–425.

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“Growth in grace” by John Owen

“Growth in grace, holiness, and obedience, is a growing like unto Christ; and nothing else is so.”

–John Owen, “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ,” The Works of John Owen, Volume 1: The Glory of Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1684/2000), 1: 392.

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“The path of self-sacrifice is the path to glory” by B.B. Warfield

“Our self-abnegation is not for our own sake, but for the sake of others. And thus it is not to mere self-denial that Christ calls us, but specifically to self-sacrifice: not to unselfing ourselves, but to unselfishing ourselves.

Self-denial for its own sake is in its very nature ascetic, monkish. It concentrates our whole attention on self—self-knowledge, self-control—and can therefore eventuate in nothing other than the very apotheosis of selfishness.

At best it succeeds only in subjecting the outer self to the inner self, or the lower self to the higher self; and only the more surely falls into the slough of self-seeking, that it partially conceals the selfishness of its goal by refining its ideal of self and excluding its grosser and more outward elements.

Self-denial, then, drives to the cloister; narrows and contracts the soul; murders within us all innocent desires, dries up all the springs of sympathy, and nurses and coddles our self-importance until we grow so great in our own esteem as to be careless of the trials and sufferings, the joys and aspirations, the strivings and failures and successes of our fellow-men.

Self-denial, thus understood, will make us cold, hard, unsympathetic,—proud, arrogant, self-esteeming,—fanatical, overbearing, cruel. It may make monks and Stoics,—it cannot make Christians.

It is not to this that Christ’s example calls us.

He did not cultivate self, even His divine self: He took no account of self.

He was not led by His divine impulse out of the world, driven back into the recesses of His own soul to brood morbidly over His own needs, until to gain His own seemed worth all sacrifice to Him.

He was led by His love for others into the world, to forget Himself in the needs of others, to sacrifice self once for all upon the altar of sympathy.

Self-sacrifice brought Christ into the world. And self-sacrifice will lead us, His followers, not away from but into the midst of men.

Wherever men suffer, there will we be to comfort.

Wherever men strive, there will we be to help.

Wherever men fail, there will be we to uplift.

Wherever men succeed, there will we be to rejoice.

Self-sacrifice means not indifference to our times and our fellows: it means absorption in them.

It means forgetfulness of self in others.

It means entering into every man’s hopes and fears, longings and despairs: it means manysidedness of spirit, multiform activity, multiplicity of sympathies.

It means richness of development.

It means not that we should live one life, but a thousand lives,—binding ourselves to a thousand souls by the filaments of so loving a sympathy that their lives become ours.

It means that all the experiences of men shall smite our souls and shall beat and batter these stubborn hearts of ours into fitness for their heavenly home.

It is, after all, then, the path to the highest possible development, by which alone we can be made truly men. Not that we shall undertake it with this end in view.

This were to dry up its springs at their source. We cannot be self-consciously self-forgetful, selfishly unselfish.

Only, when we humbly walk this path, seeking truly in it not our own things but those of others, we shall find the promise true, that he who loses his life shall find it.

Only, when, like Christ, and in loving obedience to His call and example, we take no account of ourselves, but freely give ourselves to others, we shall find, each in his measure, the saying true of himself also: ‘Wherefore also God hath highly exalted him.’

The path of self-sacrifice is the path to glory.”

–B.B. Warfield, “Imitating the Incarnation,” in The Saviour of the World (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1916/1991), 268-270. This sermon is from Philippians 2:5-8.

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“We are not to be always going about the world searching out heresies like terrier dogs sniffing for rats” by Charles Spurgeon

“We should avoid everything like the ferocity of bigotry.

There are religious people about, who, I have no doubt, were born of a woman, but appear to have been suckled by a wolf.

I have done them no dishonour: were not Romulus and Remus, the founders of the city of Rome, so fed?

Some warlike men of this order have had power to found dynasties of thought; but human kindness and brotherly love consort better with the kingdom of Christ.

We are not to be always going about the world searching out heresies, like terrier dogs sniffing for rats, and to be always so confident of one’s own infallibility, that we erect ecclesiastical stakes at which to roast all who differ from us.

And, dear brethren, we must acquire certain moral faculties and habits, as well as put aside their opposites. He will never do much for God who has not integrity of spirit.

If we be guided by policy, if there be any mode of action for us but that which is straightforward, we shall make shipwreck before long.

Resolve, dear brethren, that you can be poor, that you can be despised, that you can lose life itself, but that you cannot do a crooked thing.

For you, let the only policy be honesty.

May you also possess the grand moral characteristic of courage.

By this we do not mean impertinence, impudence, or self-conceit; but real courage to do and say calmly the right thing, and to go straight on at all hazards, though there should be none to give you a good word.

I am astonished at the number of Christians who are afraid to speak the truth to their brethren.

I thank God I can say this, there is no member of my church, no officer of the church, and no man in the world to whom I am afraid to say before his face what I would say behind his back.

Under God I owe my position in my own church to the absence of all policy, and the habit of saying what I mean.

The plan of making things pleasant all round is a perilous as well as a wicked one. If you say one thing to one man, and another to another, they will one day compare notes and find you out, and then you will be despised.

The man of two faces will sooner or later be the object of contempt, and justly so.

Now, above all things, avoid that. If you have anything that you feel you ought to say about a man, let the measure of what you say be this— ‘How much dare I say to his face?’

We must not allow ourselves a word more in censure of any man living.

If that be your rule, your courage will save you from a thousand difficulties, and win you lasting respect.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 78-79.

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“Perhaps a dead cat or two” by Charles Spurgeon

“Brethren, we should cultivate a clear style.

When a man does not make me understand what he means, it is because he does not himself know what he means.

An average hearer, who is unable to follow the course of thought of the preacher, ought not to worry himself, but to blame the preacher, whose business it is to make the matter clear.

If you look down into a well, if it be empty it will appear to be very deep, but if there be water in it you will see its brightness.

I believe that many “deep” preachers are simply so because they are like dry wells with nothing whatever in them, except decaying leaves, a few stones, and perhaps a dead cat or two.

If there be living water in your preaching it may be very deep, but the light of the truth will give clearness to it.

At any rate labour to be plain, so that the truths you teach may be easily received by your hearers.

We must cultivate a cogent as well as a clear style; we must be forceful.

Some imagine that this consists in speaking loudly, but I can assure them they are in error.

Nonsense does not improve by being bellowed.

God does not require us to shout as if we were speaking to three millions when we are only addressing three hundred.

Let us be forcible by reason of the excellence of our matter, and the energy of spirit which we throw into the delivery of it.

In a word, let our speaking be natural and living.

I hope we have forsworn the tricks of professional orators, the strain for effect, the studied climax, the pre-arranged pause, the theatric strut, the mouthing of words, and I know not what besides, which you may see in certain pompous divines who still survive upon the face of the earth.

May such become extinct animals ere long, and may a living, natural, simple way of talking out the gospel be learned by us all; for I am persuaded that such a style is one which God is likely to bless.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, The Sword and Trowel: 1874 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1874), 76.

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“Many preachers are not theologians” by Charles Spurgeon

“Study the Bible, dear brethren, through and through, with all helps that you can possibly obtain.

Remember that the appliances now within the reach of ordinary Christians are much more extensive than they were in our father’s days, and therefore you must be greater Biblical scholars if you would keep in front of your hearers.

Intermeddle with all knowledge; but, above all things, meditate day and night in the law of the Lord.

Be well instructed in theology, and do not regard the sneers of those who rail at it because they are ignorant of it. Many preachers are not theologians, and hence the mistakes which they make.

It cannot do any hurt to the most lively evangelist to be also a sound theologian, and it may often be the means of saving him from gross blunders.

Nowadays, we hear men tear a single sentence of Scripture from its connection, and cry, “Eureka! Eureka!” as if they had found a new truth; and yet they have not discovered a diamond, but only a piece of broken glass.

Had they been able to compare spiritual things with spiritual, had they understood the analogy of the faith, and had they been acquainted with the holy learning of the great Bible students of past ages, they would not have been quite so fast in vaunting their marvellous knowledge.

Let us be thoroughly well acquainted with the great doctrines of the Word of God, and let us be mighty in expounding the Scriptures.

I am sure that no preaching will last so long, or build up a church so well, as the expository.

To renounce altogether the hortatory discourse for the expository, would be running to a preposterous extreme; but I cannot too earnestly assure you that, if your ministries are to be lastingly useful, you must be expositors.

For this purpose, you must understand the Word yourselves, and be able so to comment upon it that the people may be built up by the Word.

Be masters of your Bibles, brethren; whatever other works you have not searched, be at home with the writings of the prophets and apostles.

‘Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.’ (Colossians 3:16)”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 27-28.

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“The picture of a father” by Charles Spurgeon

“Survey the picture of a father who sees his child returning from the error of his way. In the New Testament, you see the portrait Divinely drawn.

When the prodigal was a great way off, his father saw him. Oh, to have quick eyes to spy out the awakened!

The father ran to meet him. Oh, to be eager to help the hopeful!

He fell upon his neck, and kissed him. Oh, for a heart overflowing with love, to joy and rejoice over seeking ones!

As that father was, such should we be; ever loving, and ever on the outlook.

Our eyes, and ears, and feet should ever be given to penitents. Our tears and open arms should be ready for them.

The father in Christ is the man to remember the best robe, and the ring, and the sandals.

He remembers those provisions of grace because he is full of love to the returning one.

Love is a practical theologian, and takes care to deal practically with all the blessings of the covenant, and all the mysteries of revealed truth.

It does not hide away the robe and ring in a treasury of theology; but brings them forth, and puts them on.

O my brethren, as you are the sons of God, be also fathers in God!

Let this be the burning passion of your souls.

Grow to be leaders and champions. God give you the honour of maturity, the glory of strength!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1900/1960), 193-194.

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