|All Of Grace|
|Topic: Salvation||Type: Book Chapter||Author: C. H. Spurgeon|
Notice the security which Paul confidently expected for all the saints. He says, Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ [1CO 1:8]. This is the kind of confirmation which is to be desired above all things. It supposes that the persons are right, and it proposes to confirm them in the right. It would be an awful thing to confirm a man in ways of sin and error. Think of a confirmed drunkard or a confirmed thief or a confirmed liar. It would be a deplorable thing for a man to be confirmed in unbelief and ungodliness. Divine confirmation can only be enjoyed by those to whom the grace of God has been already manifested. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. He Who gives faith strengthens and establishes it; He Who kindles love in us preserves it and increases its flame. What He makes us to know by His first teaching, the Holy Spirit causes us to know with greater clearness and certainty by still further instruction. Holy acts are confirmed till they become habits, and holy feelings are confirmed till they become abiding conditions. Experience and practice confirm our beliefs, and our resolutions. Both our joys and our sorrows, our successes and our failures, are sanctified to the selfsame end, even as the tree is helped to take root both by the soft showers and the rough winds. The mind is instructed, and in its growing knowledge it gathers reasons for persevering in the good way. The heart is comforted, and so it is made to cling more closely to the consoling truth. The grip grows tighter, the tread grows firmer, and the man himself becomes more solid and substantial.
This is not a merely natural growth but is as distinct a work of the Spirit as conversion. The Lord will surely give it to those who are relying upon Him for eternal life. By His inward working He will deliver us from being "unstable as water" and cause us to be rooted and grounded. This building us up into Christ Jesus and causing us to abide in Him is a part of the method by which He saves us. You may daily look for this, and you shall not be disappointed. He Whom you trust will make you to be as a tree planted by the rivers of waters, so preserved that even your leaf shall not wither.
What a strength to a church is a confirmed Christian! He is a comfort to the sorrowful and a help to the weak. Would you not like to be such? Confirmed believers are pillars in the house of our God. These are not carried away by every wind of doctrine nor overthrown by sudden temptation. They are a great stay to others and act as anchors in the time of church trouble. You who are beginning the holy life hardly dare to hope that you will become like them. But you need not fear; the good Lord will work in you as well as in them. One of these days you who are now a "baby" in Christ shall be a "father" in the Church. Hope for this great thing, but hope for it as a gift of grace and not as the wages of work or as the product of your own energy.
The apostle Paul speaks of these people as to be confirmed unto the end. He expected the grace of God to preserve them personally to the end of their lives, or till the Lord Jesus should come. Indeed, he expected that the whole Church of God in every place and in all time would be kept to the end of the age, till the Lord Jesus as the Bridegroom would come to celebrate the wedding feast with His perfected Bride. All who are in Christ will be confirmed in Him till that illustrious day. Has He not said, Because I live, you shall live also [JOH 14:19]? He also said, I give unto them [my sheep] eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand [JOH 10:28]. He Who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [PHI 1:6]. The work of grace in the soul is not a superficial reformation; the life implanted as the new birth comes of a living and incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever. And the promises of God made to believers are not of a transient character, but involve for their fulfillment the believers holding on his way till he comes to endless glory. We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation [1PE 1:5]. The righteous also shall hold on his way [JOB 17:9]. Not as the result of our own merit or strength, but as a gift of free and undeserved favor those who believe are preserved in Christ Jesus [JUD 1]. Of the sheep of His fold Jesus will lose none; no member of His Body shall die; no gem of His treasure shall be missing in the day when He makes up His jewels. The salvation which is received by faith is not a thing of months and years, for our Lord Jesus has obtained eternal redemption for us [HEB 9:12], and that which is eternal cannot come to an end.
Paul also declares his expectation that the Corinthian saints would be confirmed to the end blameless. [See 1CO 1:8]. This blamelessness is a precious part of our keeping. To be kept holy is better than merely to be kept safe. It is a dreadful thing when you see religious people blundering out of one dishonor into another; they have not believed in the power of our Lord to make them blameless. The lives of some professing Christians are a series of stumbles; they are never quite down, and yet they are seldom on their feet. This is not a fit thing for a believer. He is invited to walk with God; by faith he can attain steady perseverance in holiness, and he should do so. The Lord is able, not only to save us from Hell, but to keep us from falling. We need not yield to temptation. Is it not written, Sin shall not have dominion over you [ROM 6:14]? The Lord is able to keep the feet of His saints, and He will do it if we will trust Him to do so. We need not defile our garments; we may by His grace keep them unspotted from the world. We are bound to do this, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord [HEB 12:14].
The apostle prophesied for these believers that which he would have us seek after-that we may be preserved blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ [1CO 1:8]. The American Standard Version has "unreproveable" instead of "blameless." Possibly a better rendering would be "unimpeachable." God grant that in that last great day we may stand free from all charge, that none in the whole universe may dare to challenge our claim to be the redeemed of the Lord. We have sins and infirmities to mourn over, but these are not the kind of faults which would prove us to be out of Christ. We shall be clear of hypocrisy, deceit, hatred and delight in sin, for these things would be fatal charges.
Despite our failings, the Holy Spirit can work in us a character spotless before men so that, like Daniel, we shall furnish no occasion for accusing tongues, except in the matter of our religion. Multitudes of godly men and women have exhibited lives so transparent, so consistent throughout, that none could say anything against them. The Lord will be able to say of many a believer, as he did of Job when Satan stood before Him, Have you considered my servant, . . . a perfect and an upright man, one who fears God, and hates evil? [JOB 1:8]. This is what you must look for at the Lords hands. This is the triumph of the saints, to continue to follow the Lamb wherever He goes, maintaining our integrity as before the living God. May we never turn aside into crooked ways and give cause to the adversary to blaspheme. Of the true believer it is written, He . . . keeps him and that wicked one touches him not [1JO 5:18]. May it be so written concerning us!
If you are just beginning in the divine life, the Lord can give you an irreproachable character. Even though in your past life you may have gone far into sin, the Lord can altogether deliver you from the power of former habits and make you an example of virtue. Not only can He make you moral, but He can make you abhor every false way and follow after all that is saintly. Do not doubt it. The chief of sinners need not be a step behind the purest of the saints. Believe this, and according to your faith shall it be unto you.
Oh, what a joy it will be to be found blameless in the day of judgment! We sing not amiss when we join in that charming hymn:
Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who aught to my charge shall lay?
While by my Lord absolved I am,
From sins tremendous curse and blame.
What bliss it will be to enjoy that dauntless courage when Heaven and Earth shall flee away from the face of the Judge of all! This bliss shall be the portion of everyone who looks alone to the grace of God in Christ Jesus and in that sacred might wages continual war with all sin.
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This Page Last Updated: 12/10/98 A. Allison Lewis firstname.lastname@example.org