Saturday, December 03, 2005

Solid-gold Spurgeon: sheep who shall never perish

As I enjoyed our church's men's fellowship this morning, something I read years ago in Spurgeon was brought to mind. Because I have had many struggles with assurance, Spurgeon's Biblical reasoning on the Scriptural doctrines of salvation have given me great comfort and encouragement. One particular passage in one particular sermon connected solidly with me, and has stayed with me and come to heart often. Perhaps this excerpt will do the same for you.

The sermon title was "The Security of Believers; Or, Sheep Who Shall Never Perish." It was preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle on September 5, 1889. Here was the text:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,1 is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one."
(John 10:27-30)
Here is the part that vividly remains with me still, some 25-30 years after first reading it, with my personal highlights emphasized:

Now we must go a step farther. We have no time to urge these arguments at any great length. They are safe, next, by outer injuries being prevented. "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Many will pluck at them, but none shall pluck them away. The devil will give many a horrible pluck and pull, to get them away; but out of the great Shepherd’s hand he shall never take them. Their old companions, and the memory of their old sins will come, and pluck at them very hard, and very cunningly; but the Savior says, "None shall pluck them out of my hand." So, first, here is their security: they are in his hand; that is, in his possession, and he grasps them, as a man holds a thing in his hand, and says, "It is mine." Neither shall any take them away from being under his protection. Never shall they be plucked away from Christ. When he says this, he pledges his honor to preserve them, for if it could be that one were plucked out of his hand, then would the devils in hell rejoice, and say, "He could not keep them. He said that he would, but he could not. We have managed to pluck this one, or that one, out of the pierced hand of their Redeemer." But such a horrible exultation shall never be heard throughout the ages of eternity. "They shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand."

Some one wickedly said, "They may get out of his hand themselves." But how can this be true, when the first sentence is, "They shall never perish"? Treat Scripture honestly and candidly, and you will admit that the promise "they shall never perish" shuts out the idea of perishing by going out of the Lord’s hand by their own act and deed. "They shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." Who is to loosen the clasp of that hand which was pierced with the nail for me? My Lord Jesus bought me too dearly ever to let me go. He loves me so well that his whole omnipotence will work with that hand, and unless there is something greater than Godhead, I cannot be plucked away from that dear, fastholding grip.
What glorious encouragement. I've found none who can improve on Spurgeon's way of crystallizing and expressing the Biblical truths he grasps -- and here he captures exactly the import of the Lord Jesus' words. I see no honest way around them, and I see everlasting comfort and grounds for hope in them.

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