Category Archives: C. H. Spurgeon

December 3 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 3.—Morning. [Or November 3.]
“It pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell.”

IN the epistle to the church at Colosse Paul had to deal with many dangerous errors and mischievous practices, hence it is more distinguished for earnest warning than for those tender expressions which abound in the epistle to the Philippians.

Colossians 1:1–20

1, 2 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3–6 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth.

7, 8 As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit. (It is delightful thus to hear one servant of God praise another. There is far too little of this in our day. True soldiers of Christ set high store by their comrades and are glad to advance their repute. Paul does not point out the failings of Epaphras to the Colossians; this would have been destructive of the influence of that worthy brother, and so would have injured the cause of Christ.)

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (The Colossian church needed understanding as much as that of Philippi needed unity; the brethren were too easily duped and decoyed from the gospel. We need in these days to know the gospel well, and hold it firmly; for many deceivers are abroad who will mislead us if we permit them to do so.)

10, 11 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; (To labour, to suffer, and in both to rejoice, is the peculiar mark of a Christian. For this we need the all-sufficient grace of God; nothing short of the glorious power of God can create a Christian, or maintain him when created.)

12–14 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Now that the apostle has touched this string we may expect sweet music, for never is his master-hand so much at home as when he is magnifying the Lord Jesus. Hear how he sounds forth the praises of the Son of God.)

15–18 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.

19, 20 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (If Jesus be not indeed God, such language as this is far-fetched, not to say blasphemous. What more could be said? Is not language put to its utmost tension to set forth the Redeemer’s glories? Blessed be his name, he is all in all to us. We adore him as Creator, Head, Fulness, and Peacemaker; and let others say what they will of him, we shall never cease to sing his praises. Happy will the day be when all those in heaven and earth for whom the Saviour died shall join in one happy band around his throne, united in one body through the atoning sacrifice. Even now we anticipate their victorious song, and sing, “Worthy the Lamb.”)

December 3.—Evening. [Or November 4.]
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

PAUL continues to glorify the Lord Jesus, and to stir up his brethren to faithfulness. He shows how the death of Jesus has reconciled us to each other and to God.

Colossians 1:21–29

21, 22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Thus the work of grace produces in us the highest degree of holiness: to be unblameable in man’s sight is much, but to be unblameable even in the sight of God is absolute perfection. This will be the condition of every believer when the Lord’s designs are accomplished in him.)

23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

Steadfastness in the faith is an essential of true religion: a tree often transplanted cannot thrive. Since the gospel is assuredly the truth of God, it is foolishness in the extreme to be enticed from it by the novel teachings of men. Paul gloried in being a minister of the old unchanging gospel.

24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: (All the body must suffer in order to have sympathy with the Head; and in order to gather in all the Lord’s chosen the church must undergo a measure of suffering and persecution; in this Paul was glad to take his share. The atoning sufferings of Jesus were finished long ago, his sufferings in his mystical body are not for the expiation of sin, but arise out of our conflict with the powers of evil.)

25–27 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

PAUL a second time declares his call to the ministry.

Colossians 2:1–7

1–3 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

What wisdom, therefore, it is to know Christ: however simple the gospel may appear to be, it is in very truth far superior in wisdom to all the systems of philosophy, or schools of “modern thought.”

4, 5 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

6, 7 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (May the Lord grant us so to do. The gospel which has saved us will do to live by and to die by. To turn from it would be to forsake fulness for emptiness, the substance for the shadow, and the truth for falsehood. May the Holy Spirit continue to lead us yet further into the knowledge of Christ crucified, and never may we in any degree cease from earnest belief of the truth, or lose our thankfulness for it.)

I rest upon thy word,

The promise is for me;

My succour and salvation, Lord,

Shall surely come from thee.

But let me still abide,

Nor from my hope remove,

Till thou my patient spirit guide

Into thy perfect love.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 716–717). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 2 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 2.—Morning. [Or November 1.]
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Philippians 1:27–30

ONLY let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel;

28 And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. (He was most anxious that they should be united in eager zeal for the spread of the gospel, and present a bold front to their persecutors. Men call the courage of the saints obstinacy, and reckon them to be hardened heretics; but such boldness is to believers a token of divine favour.)

29, 30 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; Having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

It would cheer the Philippian saints to remember that they suffered in good company, and were comrades with the apostle himself. Glad enough may we be to be ridiculed for Jesus’ sake, since we are thereby made partakers with the noble army of martyrs.

Philippians 2:1–16

IF there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. (How urgently he pleads! How he multiplies expressions! Love among Christians is so precious that he begs for it as if for his life. Be it ours never to fan the flames of party-feeling, but always to increase the holy affection of our Christian brethren.)

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

4–11 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Jesus is the divine example of love and self-denial, and as we hope to be saved by him we must diligently copy him. He is now exalted to the highest glory as the reward of his voluntary humiliation, and by the same means must his disciples rise to honour. We must stoop to conquer. He who is willing to be nothing shall be possessor of all things.)

12, 13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (We work out what the Lord works in. The grace of God is not a reason for idleness, but for diligence. As both will and work are given us of God, let us will with firm resolution and work with dauntless perseverance; for so shall we fulfil the good pleasure of the Lord.)

14, 15 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;

We cannot be blameless if we murmur and dispute, for such things naturally lead to sin. Our lights cannot shine if instead of trimming them we occupy ourselves with blowing out the lamps of others.

16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

We do not wish to rob faithful ministers of the result of their labours, and yet we shall do so unless we join heartily with our brethren in spreading the gospel, and do our best to live in holiness and Christian love.

December 2.—Evening. [Or November 2.]
“Stand fast in the Lord.”

Philippians 4

THEREFORE, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.

He pleads with these two good women to end their differences. The worst results may arise from a quarrel, even when there are only two engaged in it, and those two are women.

And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (We cannot have too much holy rejoicing; we are to joy and re-joy, and then to rejoice again. See that this be done in this house all day long. Alas, none can truly rejoice but those who are in the Lord! Are we all in him?)

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be not careful, but prayerful. Prayer is the cure for care.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Here is a mass of matter for thought. Take each word and study it, and then put it in practice. Every member of the family should learn this verse by heart; it is much in little, a catalogue of the practical virtues.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10–13 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

Paul knew how to be poor, but he did not know how to be ungrateful. True ministers will work for the Lord, however badly their people may support them, yet it is well to treat them generously, and win their gratitude, for their Master is pleased when his servants are kindly used for his sake. Is there any deed of love which we can do for our pastor?

15, 16 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.

19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

This is a grand assurance. God is the giver, his infinite glory is the store, Jesus is the channel, and the supply knows no limit. What more can the most expanded desires wish for? This promissory note from the Bank of Faith makes all believers rich beyond a miser’s dream.

20 Now unto God and our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

21 Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.

22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Cæsar’s household.

23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Thus with an affectionate wish this fragrant letter of love comes to its close. May more of the tender spirit which it breathes be found in each one of us.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 714–715). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 1 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 1.—Morning. [Or October 30.]
“Put on the whole armour of God.”

WE are about to read a peculiarly beautiful passage, in which the apostle represents the believer as a soldier, and urges him to prepare for the battle by taking to himself all defensive and offensive arms.

Ephesians 6:11–24

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Satan will assail every part of us, and therefore we need to be protected from head to foot, like the knights of old.)

12, 13 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

If we fought with men we might be less guarded; wrestling as we do with subtle and spiritual adversaries, whose weapons are as mysterious as they are deadly, it becomes us to be doubly watchful lest in some unguarded point we receive wounds which will bleed for years.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, (A girdle of sincerity keeps the whole man in marching order, and braces him up to meet the father of lies. An insincere man is a loose man, and a loose man is a lost man,) and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (This will guard the heart. The righteousness of God, imputed and imparted, will protect the heart, and blunt the edge of Satan’s temptations which he aims at the soul. Take notice that a breastplate is provided, but no backplate: we must never think of going back, we are bound to face the enemy, no provision is made for a retreat.)

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: (With a happy, calm, confidence, because the gospel has given us perfect peace, we shall march over the rough places of the way without becoming discontented or depressed. No pilgrim is so well booted and buskined as he who is at peace with God, his fellow-men, and his own conscience.)

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. (Faith, like a shield, covers all and is therefore important above all. Look well to your confidence in God, for if this fails all fails.)

17, 18 And take the helmet of salvation (He who is truly saved and knows it will wear a “helm of health.” The seat of thought and decision will be safe) and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (The Bible is a bright, keen, pointed, well-tempered weapon, for offence and defence, it cuts a way for us through all foes, slays sin, and chases away even Satan himself. “It is written” is the terror of hell.) Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (This weapon of all-prayer will often serve our turn when all others are out of our reach. So long as we can pray we shall not be overcome.)

19, 20 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21, 22 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23, 24 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

He winds up with good wishes and prayers. A Christian should be known even by his letters; when other men use empty compliments, he should abound in earnest prayers and holy wishes. Let us take note of this next time the pen is in our hand.

Soldiers of Christ, arise,

And put your armour on,

Strong in the strength which God supplies

Through His eternal Son:

Stand, then, in His great might,

With all His strength endued;

But take, to arm you for the fight,

The panoply of God.

From strength to strength go on,

Wrestle, and fight, and pray,

Tread all the powers of darkness down,

And win the well-fought day.

December 1.—Evening. [Or October 31.]
“He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it.”

WE have now reached the Epistle to the Philippians, which has been well called the epistle of love and joy. In it we see most of the inner character of the apostle; there was the utmost mutual love between him and the brethren at Philippi.

Philippians 1:1–26

1, 2 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3–5 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;

They were the most generous and faithful of the churches, and gave the apostle much joy. Should we not all aim to cheer the heart of our ministers by our zeal and liberality?

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This delightful confidence is the crowning joy of the Christian life. If he who began the good work did not also carry it on we should be in a wretched plight, but, blesssed be God, the work of grace is in the hands of one who never leaves his work unfinished.

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are par takers of my grace.

For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

9–11 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

The one point in which the Philippians failed was love and unity among themselves; for this Paul prayed, for it is of the first importance.

12–14 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

15–18 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Sweet forgetfulness of self! So long as Christ is glorified, Paul minds not how he himself fares, nor what unkind motives towards himself may actuate other preachers. This is real Christianity.)

19, 20 For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.

He hoped that the spread of the gospel would call Nero’s attention to his case, and end his imprisonment one way or another, and little did he care whether he was set free by death, or by being allowed to resume his labours.

21–24 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.

25, 26 And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. (He would even stay out of heaven a while for their sakes. Oh, to live only to do good! This is to live indeed.)

Were the whole realm of nature mine

That were a present far too small:

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 712–713). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 30 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 30.—Morning. [Or October 28.]
“Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.”

SO far from being ashamed of being shut up in a dungeon like a felon, Paul again repeats, as his choice title of honour, the words, “the prisoner of the Lord.” It is inexpressibly delightful to be allowed to suffer for him who suffered to the death for us. Paul uses his afflicted condition as an affectionate plea with the Ephesians to give heed to his counsel.

Ephesians 4:1–8; 11–32

1–3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

True believers are one; Christ has only instituted one church, he has quickened it with but one Spirit, and set before it one sole hope. The Lord is the alone Head of the church, she has not two Lords, neither has Jesus revealed more than one faith, or commanded any other than one baptism: hence believers should anxiously maintain unity, and endeavour each one to promote the good of the whole.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

11–13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (All the ascension-gifts come to us for the building up, not of many sects, but of the Lord’s one church. His choicest gifts are holy men, qualified for various gracious works, which they carry on for the perfecting of each believer, and of the whole body of the faithful.)

14–16 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

17–19 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22, 23 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Being made parts of a new body, of which the Lord Jesus is the head, we cannot act as we once did, or we should belie our profession altogether. Filthiness must be now abhorred, and holiness panted for; is it so with us?)

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: (We may be angry at wrong without sinning thereby, but if anger be a selfish resentment, it is always sinful, and if it lives beyond a day it cannot be justified. One of the hardest things in the world is to be angry and not to sin.)

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. (The cure for dishonesty is industry, and the remedy for a disposition to steal from others, is to learn to give to them.)

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Do we always attend to this? Are not some jests which are commonly heard very far from edifying?)

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Let this be written up in our chambers, and practised in every room in the house. What a heaven will our family then become.)

Fill every part of me with praise,

Let all my being speak

Of thee and of thy love, O Lord,

Poor though I be, and weak.

So shalt thou, Lord, from me—e’en me,

Receive the glory due;

And so shall I begin on earth

The song for ever new.

 

Lost in astonishment I see,

Jesus, thy boundless love to me;

With angels I thy grace adore,

And long to love and praise thee more.

Still may I view thee on the cross,

And all beside esteem but loss;

Here still be fixed my feasted eyes,

Enraptur’d with thy sacrifice.

 

Grace led my roving feet

To tread the heavenly road;

And new supplies each hour I meet

While pressing on to God.

Grace taught my soul to pray,

And made my eyes o’erflow;

’Twas grace that kept me to this day,

And will not let me go.

Grace all the work shall crown,

Through everlasting days;

It lays in heaven the topmost stone,

And well deserves the praise.

 

Bless’d are the pure in heart,

For they shall see our God;

The secret of the Lord is theirs;

Their soul is Christ’s abode.

The Lord, who left the heavens

Our life and peace to bring,

To dwell in lowliness with men,

Their Pattern and their King;

He to the lowly soul

Doth still himself impart,

And for his dwelling and his throne

Chooseth the pure in heart.

Lord, we thy presence seek;

May ours this blessing be;

Give us a pure and lowly heart,

A temple meet for thee.

 

A fulness resides in Jesus, our Head,

And ever abides to answer our need;

The Father’s good pleasure has laid up in store,

A plentiful treasure to give to the poor.

Whate’er be our wants, we need not to fear;

Our numerous complaints his mercy will hear;

His fulness shall yield us abundant supplies;

His buckler shall shield us when dangers arise.

When troubles attend, or danger or strife,

His love will defend and guard us through life;

And when we are fainting and ready to die,

Whatever is wanting his hand will supply.

 

Worthy art thou, O dying Lamb?

Worthy, O bleeding Lord;

Eternal, Infinite, I AM,

Ceaseless to be adored!

Fulness of riches is in thee!

From thee all mercies spring:

And grace and love, divine and free,

And power enlivening.

Out of the deep of every heart,

Let praise to thee ascend:

Till thou to heaven shalt us translate,

Where praises never end!

November 30.—Evening. [Or October 29.]
“Be ye filled with the Spirit.”

Ephesians 5:1–21

BE ye therefore followers (or imitators) of God, as dear children;

And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

Here is a model at once so attractive and so perfect that we may love and copy it at the same time. We may not take the conduct of others for our model, and treat them as they treat us; the only pattern for a Christian is Christ.

3, 4 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. (Sins of the tongue are fearfully common. Cheerfulness is a virtue, chaste pleasantries are the flowers of conversation, but those unholy allusions and unedifying jests which so often are commended as exceedingly clever should never obtain currency among the followers of the holy Jesus.)

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (The covetous man is here placed in very disreputable company. This proves that the Holy Spirit judges lust for gold to be as vile a lust as any other; he sets the brand of Cain upon the brow of the greedy. We send missionaries abroad, and yet we do not sorrow over idolaters at home. If a man worships a god of gold, is he not quite as debased as if his idol were made of wood?)

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Be not ye therefore partakers with them.

8, 9 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Avoid bad company. Choose only those for your friends who are also friends of God. How can we reprove sin if we take those who openly practise it to be our bosom friends?

12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.

13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Death hides in darkness, life loves light. We, therefore, who have spiritual life should never do anything which we should be ashamed to have published to the whole world. Christ has given us light, let us not hide it, neither let us shut our eyes to it.)

15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, (Look all around, and be anxious that your conduct may do harm to no one, from any point of view.)

16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Men filled with wine call for a song, and when believers are exhilarated by the divine Spirit they also should have their singing, but they must choose the songs of Zion, such as the Lord himself will account to be true melody.)

20, 21 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (To make God great and ourselves little is our peculiar occupation; we are to give him glory in all that we do, and seek no honour for ourselves, but willingly take the lowest place among our brethren for the Lord’s sake.)

Fill thou my life, O Lord my God,

In every part with praise;

That my whole being may proclaim

Thy being and thy ways;

Surrendering my fondest will,

In things or great or small,

Seeking the good of others still,

Nor pleasing self at all.

So shall each fear, each fret, each care,

Be turnèd into song;

And every winding of the way

The echo shall prolong.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 709–711). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 29 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 29.—Morning. [Or October 26.]
“By grace ye are saved.”

WE have already seen how Paul describes what God’s grace has done for us; we shall now hear him recite what it has wrought in us if we are indeed saved.

Ephesians 2

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; (we were without spiritual life, but now we are made alive unto God; regeneration is as great a wonder as if the corpses in the churchyard should burst their graves and begin life again. Grace is life, sin is death, conversion is a resurrection.)

2, 3 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (What a humbling passage! The best of men were by nature no better than the worst. Satan found a willing servant in each one of us, and such we should still have been had not grace interposed.)

4, 5 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ (by grace ye are saved;)

That little sentence, “By grace ye are saved,” is the key of true divinity. Study it well, and believe it thoroughly, and you will escape a thousand doctrinal errors. Carry this text in your heart, and you will be sound in the faith.

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

We grovel in the dust by nature, but grace sets us up above all earthly things. What manner of persons ought we to be who sit with Jesus in heaven!

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (In saved men the love of God is more clearly seen than in all the universe besides. The new creation is the crown of all the works of God.)

8–10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

11, 12 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (The distance was infinite, and the nearness is intimate. The blood of Jesus works marvels, it annihilates distance, breaks down partition walls, and transforms aliens into sons.)

14, 15 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.

18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Here we have the Trinity in one verse all uniting to help us to pray. All the three divine persons must aid us before we can offer a single acceptable petition.)

19–22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The saints of God are not so many loose stones, but they are parts of a building, and it is for each one of us to fill his place in the church for the good of others and the glory of the Lord, who dwells within his church as a king in his palace. Let us remember this, and seek above all things to promote the unity, edification, and holiness of all our brethren in Christ.

November 29.—Evening. [Or October 27.]
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

PAUL with the chain clanking upon his wrist writes most jubilantly of his position and office, counting it more honourable to be “the prisoner of the Lord” than to be the favourite of Cæsar.

Ephesians 3

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

2–5 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; (The greater the saint the less he thinks of himself. A very correct estimate of a man’s worth may be gathered from his humility. Weighty materials sink, only “trifles, light as air” rise into the clouds.)

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10, 11 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Even angels are to learn from us. Saints will be lesson-books in which the cherubim and seraphim will read with astonishment the wisdom and love of God; this was the eternal design of the great Lord of all, and he will not allow his purpose in any measure to be thwarted.

12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

See how he forgets himself, and is only anxious that they may not be distressed about him; after this manner ought we also to sink self, and live for the good of others.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (It is delightful to think of Paul pausing in the middle of his letter to kneel down and implore a blessing upon his friends, feeling himself, even in his prison, to be one of an august family, which had its dwelling-place not only on earth but in heaven also, and yet was one and indivisible. Let us devoutly listen to the apostle’s prayer and offer it for all believers.)

16–18 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Having prayed, Paul now turns to praising; the two holy exercises are very near of kin, and the one naturally leads on to the other. We should sing more doxologies if we offered more intercessions.)

20, 21 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Come, dearest Lord, descend and dwell

By faith and love in every breast;

Then shall we know, and taste, and feel

The joys that cannot be express’d.

Come fill our hearts with inward strength;

Make our enlarged souls possess

And learn the height, and breadth, and length

Of thine unmeasurable grace.

Now to the God whose power can do

More than our thoughts or wishes know;

Be everlasting honours done

By all the church, through Christ his Son.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 707–708). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 28 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 28.—Morning. [Or October 24.]
“Bear ye one another’s burdens.”

Galatians 6

BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Because men travel so slowly, sin overtakes them, overthrows them, and breaks their bones; believers who are in a better case must lovingly endeavour to heal their brethren, saying to themselves, “They fell yesterday, and we shall fall to-day unless the Lord shall hold us up.”)

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3–5 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. (We have each one his own load of responsibility to bear, and therefore we do well to remember our own faults and sympathise with the infirmities of others. When tempted to condemn others, let us look at home.)

Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

The preacher who zealously labours for our good in spirituals well deserves to partake of our temporals.

7, 8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

The rule of reaping what we sow is not changed under the gospel, but obtains an importance greater than before, for now we sow better seed, and through grace reap a richer harvest. At the same time, those who after hearing the word continue sowing to the flesh, will reap additional misery, because their sin is greatly increased by refusing the gospel light.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Our kindness is to be general and yet special, like the redemption of our Lord Jesus, “who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.”)

11 Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. (Probably his eyes were weak, and as he resolved to write with his own hand he used what an old divine callsgood great texthand letters.” He mentions this little circumstance to show his earnestness in what he had written.)

12, 13 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. (They wanted to boast of their many followers and to curry favour with the Jews by showing that their converts to Jesus were also proselytes to circumcision. Paul cared not for such boastings.)

14, 15 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (He cared nothing for the marks in his flesh which proved him to be a Jew, he valued far more those scars which he had received while engaged in the service of Jesus; these he looked upon as being the Lord’s brand upon him, like the ear mark which was received by a Hebrew servant when he resolved to abide with his master for life. It is useless to oppose a man of Paul’s order, he is too resolute to be turned aside, it is wisest for the enemy to let him alone.)

18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ, my God;

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to his blood.

November 28.—Evening. [Or October 25.]
“Accepted in the Beloved.”

THE Epistle to the Ephesians is a complete body of divinity, treating of doctrinal, experimental, and practical godliness, in the most full and instructive manner. Its peculiar quality is sublimity. To be truly understood it must be spiritually discerned. O Lord, enlighten us.

Ephesians 1

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace first, and peace as its consequence. That peace which does not come to us as the result of grace is false and dangerous. Note how he links the Father and the Lord Jesus together; for neither grace nor peace can come to us, except through God in Christ Jesus.

3, 4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: (All spiritual blessings come to us by the way of election, and have their fountain in eternal love; but we are not chosen that we may live in sin, God has chosen us to holiness.)

5, 6, Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Adoption and acceptance in Christ follow upon the divine choice. Do we possess these priceless blessings?

7–10 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: (Jesus is the centre as well as the channel of all blessedness; all the chosen in heaven and earth are to be gathered together in one in him.)

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, (we have it even now in its price, in its first principle, and in the divine pledge and earnest of the Spirit,) being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13, 14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Have we the Holy Ghost? Then we have already a part of heaven; yea, the very soul, mainspring, and glory of its infinite delights.)

15–17 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

Where there was much good, the apostle prayed for more. We all need still further to advance in divine things. To stand still is impossible.

18–23 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

How enraptured the apostle is when he speaks of the glories of Jesus; and well he may be, for it is a theme far excelling every other. Let us muse upon it till our hearts burn with love and our souls bow in adoration at his feet.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 705–706). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 27 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 27.—Morning. [Or October 22.]
“Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free.”

Galatians 4:1–20

NOW I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But 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. (So that the Mosaic law of rites and ceremonies was only a temporary arrangement for the childhood of the church, which now, having reached full age, has come into possession of liberty in the truth, and rejoices in the free grace of the gospel. It would be ridiculous for a full-grown heir to go to school again, or continue under guardians, and so it is absurd to return to the service of forms and rituals, which are too childish for men in Christ Jesus.)

And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. (Here is our true position, we are moved by the Spirit to claim our adoption, and we no more live in bondage to the law. Many even among Christians are afraid of being too sure of their sonship, lest they should be presumptuous; this is very dishonouring to their heavenly Father.)

Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. (Therefore live as such. By faith possess and enjoy the treasures of divine grace. Cast doubts and tremblings to the wind, for why should heirs of God live like bondsmen?)

8, 9 Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

How can ye go back to the things of your spiritual childhood? As well may full-grown men begin again to read their A B C, and learn from baby picture books!

10, 11 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

To keep holy days and practise symbolical ceremonies is contrary to the very spirit of Christianity; and those who do so lead us to suspect that they do not know the gospel at all.

12–16 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are (I am one with you in heart): ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

Bad teachers had weaned them from the apostle and led them into legal bondage.

17, 18 They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you (from us), that ye might affect them (and be of their party). But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

19, 20 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you.

All his anxiety arose from their falling into ritualism and legalism. He wanted to see them living by faith upon Jesus, and worshipping God with free spiritual worship. The fashionable religion of the present day is overlaid with pompous forms, and the plain gospel of salvation by faith in Jesus is despised: nevertheless to the doctrine of grace let us steadfastly cleave, for it alone is truth, and in it alone is salvation.

In vain the trembling conscience seeks

Some solid ground to rest upon;

With long despair the spirit breaks,

Till we apply to Christ alone.

Should all the forms that men devise

Assault my faith with treacherous art,

I’d call them vanity and lies,

And bind the gospel to my heart.

November 27.—Evening. [Or October 23.]
“If ye be led of Spirit ye are not under the law.”

THE apostle again expostulates with the Galatians for falling into legality, and points out to them the true path of the believer, namely, holiness produced by the Spirit of God.

Galatians 5:7–26

7, 8 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.

It is not of God, or it would be consistent with what you have been taught by his Spirit before.

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

One man’s influence may mislead thousands; one piece of false doctrine may taint our whole creed.

10, 11 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. (Some even said that Paul himself had preached ceremonialism, but he denies it, and backs up his declaration by the fact that men had not left off persecuting him, as they would have done had he diluted the gospel.)

12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. (It were better that they were cut off from the church than remain to sow false doctrine. As lepers must be put out of the camp, so must evil teachers be cast out of the church.)

13, 14 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

This is more important than symbolic rites: to destroy love to preserve a ceremony is to kill a child in order to preserve its clothes.

15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. (Every new man is two men: there is a warfare within.)

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19–21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (No matter what they profess, or what sacraments they may partake of, those who live in these sins are not alive unto God. What a list we have here! Surely sin is a prolific mother.)

22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (For the works of the flesh there is no gospel, and against the works of the Spirit there is no law. Both God and man agree to commend such actions as those which are here mentioned; let us abound in them.)

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Our evil desires are nailed to the cross, but they are not yet dead; we have need therefore to abide under the influence of the ever-blessed Spirit, and we certainly have no ground for boasting or despising others. Be it ours under the divine guidance to cultivate love and peace, and flee from all pride and envy.

Jesus, take me for thine own;

To thy will my spirit frame;

Thou shalt reign, and thou alone,

Over all I have and am.

Making thus the Lord my choice,

I have nothing more to choose,

But to listen to thy voice,

And my will in thine to lose.

Then whatever may betide,

I shall safe and happy be;

Still content and satisfied,

Having all in having thee.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 703–704). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 26 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 26.—Morning. [Or October 20.]
“A man is not justified by the works of the law.”

IN our last reading we commenced Paul’s summary of his early Christian life, we now continue the narrative.

Galatians 2

1, 2 Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. (He went up to Jerusalem lest he might be misrepresented and thought to be a teacher of some novel doctrine, and not one at heart with the rest of the brotherhood. We must be careful not to create misunderstandings by holding too much aloof from other believers.)

3–5 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (There were many who wished to make Paul exchange the liberty of the gospel for the yoke of the Jewish law, but he would not for a moment submit to them. We need to be equally staunch against Romanism in these days.)

6–10 But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsover they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.

11–14 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas was also carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? (Good men are sometimes afraid of a straight course of action because it may cause trouble, or appear to be too bold. In such a case we must not be silent out of respect for them, but openly oppose them. Dear is Peter, but dearer still the truth.)

15, 16 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (How boldly is this stated! Faith alone and not works justify the soul before God. He who does not believe this rejects the gospel.)

17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. (Justification by faith does not make us think lightly of sin; on the contrary, it creates in us such love to God that we loathe the very idea of offending him.)

18–20 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (We cannot be saved by our own merits, for if so, the atonement was unnecessary,—a blasphemous idea not to be tolerated for a moment. Are we all believers in Jesus?)

November 26.—Evening. [Or October 21.]
“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.”

Galatians 3:1–5; 19–29

O FOOLISH Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?

What strange, Satanic influence has come over you? By what horrible deceit have you been entangled and held captive? You have heard and known the way of salvation by faith in the crucified Saviour—how could you then have been duped by legal teachers?

This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.

He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (Paul’s argument is, that hitherto all the good they had received had come to them by grace and not by works, by the Spirit and not by the flesh, by faith and not by ceremonies, and he chides them for yielding in any degree to the delusive teaching of Judaizers. We have the best reason for keeping to the gospel, for no real good ever comes to men by the opposite teaching. The following testimony is only one of many, and establishes the point:—“I preached up sanctification very earnestly for six years in a former parish,” says Mr. Bennet, in a letter, “and never brought one soul to Christ. I did the same at this parish for two years, without having any success at all; but as soon as ever I preached Jesus Christ, and faith in his blood, then believers were added to the Church, and the people flocked from all parts to hear the glorious sound of the gospel, some coming six, others eight, and others ten miles, and that constantly. The reason why my ministry was not blessed when I preached up salvation partly by faith and partly by works is, because the doctrine is not of God; and he will prosper no ministers but such as preach salvation in his own appointed way, namely, by faith in Jesus Christ.”)

19 Wherefore then serveth the law? (If it cannot save, why was it given? It was given to discover and lay bare our sin to us, A sight of misery must go before a sense of mercy. Lex, lux, the law is a light, and shows us our need of a mediator. Therefore the apostle says—) It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. (And this proves that God and men were opposed, or a mediator would not have been needed. Thus the giving of the law showed man’s state of alienation.)

21, 22 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded (or shut up as prisoners) all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. (The law is not therefore the opponent of the promise, but an agent for putting men where they feel themselves to be in need of mercy, and therefore accept salvation by grace.)

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

24–26 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

We are not baptized unto Moses, we have put off legal robes, and are dressed in the garments of grace.

28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

So that we obtain all the blessings of the law by faith, even in the same manner as Abraham became the heir of all things. Evermore in our hearts let us make a clear distinction between the law and the grace of God, so shall we be sound in doctrine and preserved from much bondage.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 701–702). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 25 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 25.—Morning. [Or October 18.]
“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory.”

2 Corinthians 12:1–19

IT is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. (The most modest man may be driven to speak his own praises if his usefulness is jeopardised by the depreciations of enemies.)

2–4 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.

Fourteen years he had kept the secret, so that clearly he was not given to boasting.

For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (From devout exaltation to self-exaltation is but a step, and that step our nature is prone to take. To be proud is one of the worst of calamities, and therefore to keep us humble the Lord sends us sharp trials. A thorn pierces, lacerates, festers, and yet it is but a little thing; very insignificant, yet very painful. Paul had a secret grief which cuffed him as schoolmasters punish boys, and the ignominy of it was its worst feature.)

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (One evening, as Bunyan was in a meeting of Christian people, full of sadness and terror, suddenly there “brake in” upon him with great power, and three times together, the words, “My grace is sufficient for thee; My grace is sufficient for thee; My grace is sufficient for thee.” And “Oh! methought,” says he, “that every word was a mighty word unto me, as ‘My,’ and ‘grace,’ and ‘sufficient,’ and ‘for thee;’ they were then, and sometimes are still, far bigger than others be.”) Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

The Corinthians ought not to have required a defence from Paul, but should themselves have been among his warmest advocates.

12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

14, 15 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. (What a Christian spirit! He will not cease to seek their good, however base their conduct.)

16–18 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? (He accepted nothing for himself, and he did not impose his friends upon them; he had served them in the most disinterested way.) I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. (It was shameful that so good a man as Paul should have been troubled by cavillers. May God grant that none of us may ever figure in the history of our church as discontented members and opposers of faithful ministers.)

November 25.—Evening. [Or October 19.]
“They glorified God in me.”

WE shall now read parts of the epistle to the Galatians, in which Paul stands in opposition to the Jewish professors who denied his apostleship, and strove to bring the church under the yoke of the law.

Galatians 1

1–5 Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches pf Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 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: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Paul is very fond of writing doxologies. His heart was full of praise, and he could not help giving it vent. Would it not be well if every now and then, even in the midst of other things, we paused to bless the Lord? The apostle was answering opponents, but he sweetened the controversy with grateful adoration.

6, 7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

8, 9 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Paul makes short work with newfangled gospels. He was not one of the broad school whose wanton charity trifles with divine truth, as if it were a matter of no consequence what is preached, or what is believed.)

10 For do I now persuade (or seek to win the favour of) men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ (Christ’s ministers must never be men-pleasers, or they are false to their trust. Offend or please, their one business is to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.)

11, 12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (He was no retailer of other men’s stuffs: he preached what he had been taught of the Holy Ghost in his own soul. Lord, send us more such ministries.)

13, 14 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

15, 16 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

None could say that he was a copyist. In the solitudes of Arabia he had studied the Old Testament, communed with God, and obtained insight into the deep things of God; and his testimony was therefore fresh from heaven. More of God and less of man is what we all need.

18, 19 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.

20 Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.

21–23 Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judæa which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. (His remarkable conversion and independent course made him very decided in his teaching. The more certainly grace works in us, the more attached shall we be to the gospel of grace, and the more opposed shall we be to all those errors which rob God of his glory.)

24 And they glorified God in me. (May we so live that others may glorify God, because of his grace displayed in us.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 699–700). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

November 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

November 24.—Morning. [Or October 16.]
“What agreement hath the temple of God with idols.”

2 Corinthians 6

WE then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (The apostle was therefore anxious that none should hear the gracious word of God without obtaining eternal life. He also longed to see the truly saved more and more fruitful, that it might not even seem that God’s grace had been ineffectual in their lives and characters. No minister can be satisfied unless grace is seen to produce fitting results in those who profess to partake of it.)

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

6, 7 By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. (Dr. Hawker, himself a minister of the Church of England, has beautifully said:—“What a lovely portrait the apostle hath here drawn of a minister of Jesus! How totally dissimilar in every feature, from the rank and opulence of modern prelacy! Who should have thought, when Paul wrote this epistle to the church at Corinth, that a time would come when state and grandeur would be considered suitable appendages to the sacred order! Great part of what the apostle hath here said, concerning the ‘all things’, in which he recommends the Lord’s servants to approve themselves, as ministers of God, is done away. How is it possible, for such as the present hour furnisheth, to manifest whose servants they art, in stripes, in imprisonment, in tumults, labours, watchings, fastings, and the like? But there are some of the characters of the ministry, which the apostle hath sketched in this picture, still to be found. ‘By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known.’ Some in every age of the world will be found to treat the distinguishing truths of the gospel with hatred and contempt; and to dishonour the preachers of those truths, with evil report and reproach. While the highly-taught few, whom God the Holy Ghost teacheth, will honour his messengers.… Reader, learn from this portrait of the apostle’s, and drawn under God the Spirit’s direction, to form an estimate of the Lord’s ministers: not by outward show, but by the inward illumination of the heart, and the blessing of God on their labours, both in word and doctrine.”)

11 O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.

12 Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.

13 Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.

14, 15 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers (either in marriage or any other intimate union): for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (The great duty of believers in all ages is to maintain their character as a separate people, no more conformed to the world. May this family never fall into worldly fashions, amusements, or pursuits, but be distinguished as following the Lord fully; so shall we be peculiarly dear to our heavenly Father.)

November 24.—Evening. [Or October 17.]
“Not unto us, O Lord, but unto Thy name give glory.”

2 Corinthians 11:1–9; 23–30

WOULD to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. (Paul was not pleased to have to speak of himself; he calls self-commendation folly, for so it usually is; but it was needful for him to vindicate his position and authority, in order that his letters might have weight with the Corinthian believers for their lasting good.)

2, 3 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (By the admixture of philosophy with the gospel, he feared that they would be seduced from the truth. Too much ground is there for the same anxiety about the churches of our own day.)

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

If any man could bring us a better gospel, more sure, more full, more free, we might listen to his novelties; but so long as this is not attempted or pretended, we will abide by the old form of doctrine, and those men of God who preach it.

5, 6 For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?

I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. (He received nothing from the Corinthians, but allowed other churches to relieve his necessities that he might in no degree burden them; yet they were not grateful, but spoke of him disrespectfully. Gratitude is far too rare even among professing Christians.)

And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

The apostle, to vindicate his character and prove his apostleship, then mentioned what he had done and suffered.

23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; (He was called in a more remarkable way, had been more fully instructed, and enabled to accomplish more than any one of them.) in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, (or far exceeding any one else,) in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

24–27 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.

28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me (or rushes upon me) daily, the care of all the churches. (Which was a heavy burden; there were so many things to think about, that his mind was wearied.)

29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (He sympathized with all, and was the focus for all sorrows.)

30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

Surely after this recital these Corinthians would value the apostle, and trouble him no more with their criticisms. Better far is it for us to profit by good men than to find fault with them. Let not the Pauls among us now have to suffer for our unkindness.

When trials sore obstruct my way,

And ills I cannot flee,

Oh, give me strength, Lord, as my day:

For good remember me.

If on my face, for thy dear name,

Shame and reproaches be,

All hail, reproach! and welcome, shame!

If thou remember me.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 697–698). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.