Category Archives: C. H. Spurgeon

December 31 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 31.—Morning. [Or December 29.]
“There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, not crying.”

Revelation 21:1–12; 14–16; 18–23; 25–27

AND I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (After the general judgment comes the full glory of the church, which is here represented as a heavenly city, or a bride in her marriage dress.)

3, 4 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

5, 6 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.

He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

But the fearful (or cowardly), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

9–11 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal; (The city shone in dazzling light a vision of brightness, such as never before was seen of mortal eye.)

12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.

14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

15, 16 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

The vision was inconceivably grand, the city seemed to stand on such an eminence, and its buildings reared their stately heads so high aloft, that it was as high as it was broad; and yet its breadth was three hundred and seventy-five miles. This gives us a glimpse of inconceivable vastness and sublimity. The number of the redeemed must be immense to need such a dwelling-place.

18, 19 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass. (The unutterable splendour and grandeur of the church triumphant blazes before us in these dazzling metaphors.)

22, 23 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

27 And there shall in nowise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

How repeatedly in this chapter is falsehood branded as a dreadful sin! This should warn us to be truthful in all things, lest we be shut out of heaven.

December 31.—Evening. [Or December 30.]
“Surely I come quickly. Amen.”

Revelation 22

AND he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

In the new Eden as in the old there is a river, but it does not take its rise from the springs of earth, its source is the throne of God.

In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.

Eden of old had but one such tree, but it is common in the new Jerusalem, and prevents the possibility of disease and death ever invading that happy city. Fallen man might not eat of its immortal fruit, but man restored shall feast upon it freely.

3–5 And there shall be no more curse; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. (How few are watching! How many trifle as if these things were mere dreams, or matters so remote as to deserve no consideration.)

8–10 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

There is no hope of change of character in another state. Where death leaves us judgment finds us and eternity holds us.

12 And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

14, 15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right (or privilege to approach) to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

18, 19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Omissions and additions are equally forbidden. Those who have committed this crime of tampering with the Bible, have generally professed to be Christians, hence their penalty is that their names shall be blotted out of that sacred register in which they believed them to be enrolled.

20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (As we close the year let us pray that our family reading may prove a blessing to us all. God grant that we may not read without profit, but may each one find Jesus in the Scriptures, as the merchant found the one pearl of great price hidden in the field.)

December 31.
“Thy Testimonies are wonderful.”

Psalm 119:129–136; 145–152; 169–176

THY testimonies are wonderful: therefore doth my soul keep them. (Tertullian said, “I adore the fulness of the Scriptures.” This is well, but it is better still to stand in awe of their authority, and cheerfully yield obedience to their precepts.)

130 The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

131 I opened my mouth, and panted: for I longed for thy commandments. (When the word really enters the soul, it creates a strong desire for more holiness. Light outside may condemn, but light within works savingly upon the soul.)

132 Look thou upon me, and be merciful unto me, as thou usest to do unto those that love thy name.

133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Deliver me from the oppression of man: so will I keep thy precepts. (When others by their unkindness hinder us in the Lord’s ways, our best course is to carry our case to the Lord, for he is the guardian of the oppressed.)

135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.

136 Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law.

145 I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord: I will keep thy statutes.

146 I cried unto thee; save me, and I shall keep thy testimonies.

147 I prevented the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word.

148, 149 Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Hear my voice according unto thy lovingkindness: O Lord, quicken me according to thy judgment.

150, 151 They draw nigh that follow after mischief: they are far from thy law. Thou art near, O Lord; and all thy commandments are truth. (When enemies are near, our Great Friend is near too, and therefore we do not fear.)

152 Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever. (Our faith does not waver, for the promises are immutable and eternal.)

169–172 Let my cry come near before thee, O Lord: give me understanding according to thy word. Let my supplication come before thee: deliver me according to thy word. My lips shall utter praise, when thou hast taught me thy statutes. My tongue shall speak of thy word: for all thy commandments are righteousness. (Those who are well instructed by the Holy Spirit love prayer, praise, and holy conversation, all of which are mentioned here. Let us abound in all these.)

173 Let thine hand help me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my delight.

175 Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me.

176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. (In this humble, prayerful manner this long Psalm closes, and so will the believer’s life-story end. Confession mourns a thousand faults, faith sees grace still alive within the soul, and prayer pleads for divine mercy. With such a prayer our earthly life will come to a fitting FINIS.)

Father, I bless thy gentle hand;

How kind was thy chastising rod,

That forc’d my conscience to a stand,

And brought my wand’ring soul to God.

Foolish and vain, I went astray

Ere I had felt thy scourges, Lord;

I left my guide, and lost my way,

But now I love and keep thy word.

 

Jerusalem, my happy home,

When shall I come to thee?

When shall my sorrows have an end?

Thy joys when shall I see?

Thy walls are made of precious stones,

Thy bulwarks diamond square;

Thy gates are of right orient pearl,

Exceeding rich and rare.

Thy turrets and thy pinnacles

With carbuncles do shine;

Thy very streets are paved with gold,

Surpassing clear and fine.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 773–775). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 30 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 30.—Morning. [Or December 27.]
“Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.”

Revelation 19

AND after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God:

For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.

And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.

And the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. (The utter overthrow of Popery will fill even heaven itself with superior gladness and bring new glory to God. Let us daily pray for it.)

5–7 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (When the false church is put away, the true church is revealed, and her time of glory comes.)

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (After the revealing of the church comes the universal triumph of her king and his hosts.)

12–14 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15, 16 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

17, 18 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

The birds of prey were summoned to devour the slain, for those who fight against Jesus will assuredly perish.

19, 20 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (However numerous or powerful the foes of Jesus, they must fall. Therefore let us be of good courage, and press forward in his name.)

To thy great name, Almighty Lord,

We sacred honours pay,

And loud hosannahs shall proclaim,

The triumphs of the day.

Salvation and immortal praise

To our victorious King!

Let heav’n and earth, and rocks and seas,

With glad hosannahs ring.

December 30.—Evening. [Or December 28.]
“Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection.”

Revelation 20

AND I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Does not this foretell that there shall come an age in which the agency of Satan in the world shall be suspended by divine power? This will go far to make that period of a thousand years, which is commonly called the millennium, a time of peace and holiness. Glory be to God, the Prince of Darkness is under the power of the Prince of Light. He shall not always triumph.

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

5, 6 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Surely this is a literal resurrection, and it is clear that the blessed dead will rise before the wicked. Let us strive to attain unto this resurrection.)

And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

9, 10 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

Satan will come out of his prison unchanged; hell is not a reformatory; but his determined pride will not avail him, he must feel the terror of divine wrath. Vain will be the last furious struggle of the hosts of evil.

11, 12 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Good works will be cited as evidences of grace, and evil works as tokens of unbelief. This makes our daily conduct a solemn thing. How shall we bear to be thus weighed in the balances?)

14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

When, shrivelling like a parched scroll,

The flaming heavens together roll,

When louder yet and yet more dread

Sounds the high trump that wakes the dead;

Oh, on that day, that wrathful day,

When man to judgment wakes from clay,

Be thou, O Christ, the sinner’s stay,

Though earth and heaven shall pass away.

 

Lo! what a glorious sight appears

To our admiring eyes!

The former seas have pass’d away,

The former earth and skies.

From heav’n the New Jerus’lem comes,

All worthy of its Lord;

See all things now at length renew’d,

And paradise restor’d!

Attending angels shout for joy,

And the bright armies sing;

Mortals! behold the sacred seat

Of your descending King![1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 771–772). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 29 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 29.—Morning. [Or December 25.]
“The mystery of iniquity doth already work.”

AMONG other visions, John was favoured to see the destruction of the evil system of Antichrist, which was foreshadowed before him under the image of a base and guilty woman. This mother of harlots we believe to be the Church of Rome. Certainly there is nothing upon earth so like to the description, and it is difficult to conceive that any future system could more fully answer to the prophecy.

Revelation 17:3–18

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: (Rome stands literally as well as spiritually in a wilderness.) and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (Names of blasphemy are abundant in that church whose head dares to call himself Infallible.)

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: (Dr. Wordsworth remarks that in the description of the Pope’s official dress mention is made of scarlet robes, a vest covered with pearls, and a mitre adorned with gold and precious stones.)

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

These words are like a photograph of the Papacy, no portrait could be more accurate.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: (This beast is thought to be the old imperial power of Rome upon which the spiritual power rode as on a richly caparisoned steed.) and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (God’s own chosen cannot be deluded by her, but myriads of others are.)

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. (Every schoolboy knows that Rome is built upon seven hills.)

10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (Of this many interpretations have been given, but none seems to us to be clear.)

12, 13 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

Probably these are the kingdoms which arose at the breaking up of the old Roman empire, and all became vassals of the Papal power.

14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

15–17 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate her, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

The Papacy will perish by the hands of the kings who once supported it. Already its temporal power is shorn away, and in almost every nation the rulers are resolved to curb its insolence.

18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. (This must be Rome, for no other city has exercised such imperial authority, and made the kings of the earth her vassals. May the fall of Romanism be speedy and overwhelming.)

December 29.—Evening. [Or December 26.]
“Come out of her, my people.”

Revelation 18:4, 5; 8–13; 15–21; 24

AND I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (Renounce the symbols of Rome, abhor her doctrines, and avoid her spirit. Come out, completely out.)

For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Suddenness is a usual attendant of severity. Rome will be spared till her huge measure of sin is full, but not a moment longer. That period cannot be far distant, for it is barely within the power of imagination to conceive a more wicked system than popery, and especially popery intensified by the Jesuits. If a criminal so grossly guilty as the Church of Rome be not signally punished, where is the justice of God? Her end will astound all mankind.

9, 10 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

The destruction of such an imperial system will astonish kings, but they will be both unable and unwilling to interfere.

11–13 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. (Go into any of the rich Popish churches and see whether this is not an exact catalogue of what is to be seen there. It reads like an appraiser’s list. When all these things cease to be used in Popish worship it will make a great difference to trade, and hence this bitter lamentation of the merchants.)

15–18 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

In the middle ages foreign trade was greatly quickened by the luxury of the Popish Church, hence the wailing of mariners at her fall.

19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. (Merchants and shipmasters mourn, but saints and angels sing. O Lord, how long shall it be ere this desired end shall come?)

21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. (This is her monster sin. The Romish Church is essentially persecuting. In every land she has been eager for the blood of the faithful people of God, and it is her boast that she never changes. Her doom is sealed, and glory be to God for it. The sooner such a system, with all its belongings, is swept from off the face of the earth, the better.)

Come, in thy glorious might,

Come with thine iron rod,

Scattering thy foes before thy face,

Most Mighty Son of God.

Come and make error flee,

And Popish idols fall;

Let Rome’s dominion cease to be,

And God be all in all.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 769–770). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 28 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 28.—Morning. [Or December 23.]
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

Revelation 7

AND after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. (No leaf shall stir, nor ripple rise, until the redeemed are sealed and saved. The agencies of destruction shall lie down like lions in their dens till the elect are secure, and then they will leap forth to destroy the ungodly.)

And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. (The Lord knows his own, their number is not left to chance, Jesus will see of the travail of his soul. The number mentioned represents the Jewish church, and is used to express greatness, definiteness, and completeness.)

5–8 Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand. (Last, but not least, for the smallest tribe is as favoured as royal Judah, or fruitful Manasseh.)

9, 10 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. (The Lord has a chosen people among Gentiles as well as Jews, and these waving the palm of victory and wearing the robe of purity shall chant the song of sovereign grace.)

11, 12 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four living creatures, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. (They use seven words of honour, for they render perfect praise both to the Lord God and to the Lamb. There are in heaven no deniers of the Deity of the Lord Jesus.)

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14–17 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. (What poetry is here, and yet all is true! It makes one weep for joy to read the passage; but what bliss it must actually be to enjoy such blessings! Shall we all be among that favoured throng? Are we quite sure?)

Hunger and thirst are felt no more,

Nor suns with scorching ray;

God is their sun, whose cheering beams

Diffuse eternal day.

The Lamb which dwells amidst the throne

Shall o’er them still preside;

Feed them with nourishment divine,

And all their footsteps guide.

’Mong pastures green he’ll lead his flock,

Where living streams appear;

And God the Lord from every eye

Shall wipe off ev’ry tear.

December 28.—Evening. [Or December 24.]
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”

Revelation 14:6–20

AND I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. (The gospel shall yet be preached in every part of the world. The day will come when the Holy Spirit will arouse the missionary spirit, and many shall go forth to preach the word. Would to God that the time were already come. Cannot we each do something to hasten it?)

And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. (The Babylon of Popery will soon fall when the gospel is everywhere proclaimed. She has a presentiment of this, and therefore endeavours to keep her victims from knowing the way of salvation.)

9–11 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

It will be a dreadful thing to be in any way identified with Popery. The warning here given is most terrible. Let us flee from every form of Popery, as Lot fled out of Sodom.

12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Myriads were martyred by the Church of Rome, but their blood shall be avenged.)

13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

Their persecutors cursed them, but the Lord writes them down as blessed, and their works shall live on to bless future ages. “To die for the Lord, as well as in the Lord, is,” says Latimer, “the greatest promotion in the world.”

14 And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.

15, 16 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. (Jesus will trust no angel to gather in his wheat, he brings his people into his garner in person.)

17, 18 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. (Here is the judgment of the ungodly. The gathering of them is left to an angel, who cuts them off roughly when they are ripe for vengeance.)

19, 20 And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

By this terrible image the total crushing of the wicked is set forth, with special reference to the persecuting church of Rome. Foxe tells us that the Papists boasted that they would ride up to their saddle-girths in the blood of the Lutherans. How terribly will the Lord punish cruelty!

The Lord shall come! but not the same

As once in lowliness he came;

A silent lamb before his foes,

A weary man, and full of woes.

The Lord shall come! a dreadful form,

With rainbow wreath and robes of storm;

On cherub wings, and wings of wind,

Appointed Judge of all mankind.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 767–768). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 27 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 27.—Morning. [Or December 21.]
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.”

Revelation 3:7–22

AND to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Sometimes the weakest may be the best. We shall not be called to account for the strength which we do not possess, but the Lord will commend us if we are faithful in that which is least.

Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. (Those whom God loves, their bitterest foes shall be compelled to honour.)

10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

You have the crown of being found faithful, never lose it.

12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (The faithful will hold forth to wondering ages the records of divine love, even as pillars bear inscriptions. Happy souls to be thus devoted for ever to their Lord’s glory.)

13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

14–16 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Lukewarmness is nauseous to the Lord. The bad may be reclaimed, but those who are neither one thing nor the other are in a hopeless condition, for they are too full of conceit to be led to repentance.)

17–19 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

When counsel is not sufficient, the Lord uses sharper means with his chosen, for he will not let them slumber on in indifference.

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Jesus seeks fellowship with the church as the best means of restoring her. Communion with Jesus makes the heart burn with love, and effectually chases away the lukewarm spirit.)

21, 22 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

If we are growing chill, let us listen to this solemn rebuke. It will be terrible for us if we ever come to be loathed by our Lord on account of lukewarmness. This sin is common all around us, and we are very liable to it; let us pray for more grace, and, above all, let us open wide our hearts for Jesus to come in. One spiritual feast with him will be of more service to us than all the groaning and moaning in the world. Come, Lord Jesus, and sup with us even now!

When wilt thou come unto me, Lord?

Oh, come, my Lord most dear!

Come near, come nearer, nearer still;

I’m blest when thou art near.

Come spread thy savour on my frame,

No sweetness is so sweet;

Till I get up to sing thy name,

Where all thy singers meet.

December 27.—Evening. [Or December 22.]
“There was a rainbow round about the throne.”

Revelation 4

AFTER this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

2, 3 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper (of a rich and brilliant colour) and a sardine stone (of blood red hue): and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. (Lest the brightness indicated by the jasper, and the fiery justice symbolised by the sardine stone, should repel the gaze of faith, the throne is surrounded by the covenant rainbow, in which the predominating colour is the gentle green, the ensign of mercy.)

And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (These represent the church glorified in heaven. Royal ones, for they are crowned; priestly ones, and therefore clothed in white. “He hath made us unto our God kings and priests.”)

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne were four beasts (or rather living creatures) full of eyes before and behind. (Probably representing some noble order of creatures which are very near to God, and serve him with great watchfulness and ardour. Perhaps above all angels, cherubim and seraphim, these four orders of beings rise into greater nearness to God.)

And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, and the third living creature had a face as a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.

And the four living creatures had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

9–11 And when those living creatures give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Adoration is the employment of heaven, and none can be desired more honourable or delightful. How happy shall we be when we too shall stand and bow before the throne in concert with that mighty host.

Revelation 5

AND I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The roll was full and written on both sides. The divine purposes are here intended.

And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?

3, 4 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. (He possesses fulness of power, fulness of wisdom, and fulness of the Holy Spirit.)

And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.

No man knows the Father save the Son; the Son alone can reveal the decrees of Jehovah.

8–10 And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

The Lamb is, therefore, God, or he would not thus be adored, Jesus, our Saviour, is assuredly “God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

11, 12 And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

14 And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Do all things thus worship Jesus? then let us adore him. Oh for warm hearts with which to extol his precious name. All hail, Lord Jesus! our very souls worship thee with lowliest and most loving reverence.

Who shall the Father’s record search,

And hidden things reveal?

Behold, the Son that record takes,

And opens every seal!

Hark how th’ adoring hosts above

With songs surround the throne!

Ten thousand thousand are their tongues;

But all their joys are one.

“Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,

“To be exalted thus;”

“Worthy the Lamb,” our lips reply,

“For he was slain for us.”

 

Now to the Lamb, that once was slain,

Be endless blessings paid;

Salvation, glory, joy remain

For ever on thy head.

Thou hast redeem’d our souls with blood,

Hast set the prisoners free;

Hast made us kings and priests to God,

And we shall reign with thee.

Thou art the First, and thou the Last;

Time centres all in thee,

The Almighty God, who was, and is,

And evermore shall be.

 

Thou hast promised by the prophets,

Glorious light in latter days;

Come and bless bewilder’d nations,

Change our prayers and tears to praise:

Promised Spirit,

Round the world diffuse thy rays.

All our hopes, and prayers, and labours,

Must be vain without thine aid:

But thou wilt not disappoint us;

All is true that thou hast said:

Gracious Spirit,

O’er the world thine influence spread.

Praise ye the Lord, exalt his name,

While in his holy courts ye wait,

Ye saints that to his house belong,

Or stand attending at his gate.

Praise ye the Lord; the Lord is good,

To praise his name is sweet employ;

Israel he chose of old, and still

His church is his peculiar joy.

The Lord himself will judge his saints;

He treats his servants as his friends;

And when he hears their sore complaints,

Repents the sorrow that he sends.

 

In Gabriel’s hand a mighty stone

Lies, a fair type of Babylon:

“Prophets, rejoice, and all ye saints,

God shall avenge your long complaints.”

He said, and dreadful as he stood,

He sank the millstone in the flood:

“Thus terribly shall Babel fall,

Thus and no more be found at all.”[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 764–766). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 26 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 26.—Morning. [Or December 19.]
“To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.”

Revelation 2:1–17

UNTO the angel (messenger or minister) of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven? golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. (Patient in labour, but impatient of error, the Ephesian church occupied a high position. Would to God that all believers were in as good a condition as the Ephesians were.)

Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Not “lost” it, as some say, as if it were a misfortune and scarcely a fault; but left it, or departed from it. We ought to love Jesus better as we grow older and as we know more of him: to decline in love to him is to do him great dishonour.)

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

Probably these were men who preached up licentious freedom under the pretence of spirituality, like certain vicious sects in America. Uncleanness is very hateful to the Lord.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The imagery of this first blessing is taken from Paradise; there was nothing in Eden which grace cannot restore to us.

8, 9 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. (This church was sorely persecuted, but remained faithful. It has been called “sweet-smelling Smyrna, the poorest and the purest of the seven.”)

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. (They may die once, but not twice; they shall inherit life eternal.)

12, 13 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

This church was faithful to the name of Jesus, yet there were evils within it.

14–16 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. (Jesus will not tolerate filthiness in a church. He will sooner go to war with it than endure it.)

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it. (Dr. Cumming says, “This is equivalent to triumphant acquittal. This will appear from Acts 26, where Paul says, ‘I gave my voice against them;’ it is literally, ‘I gave my stone against them;’ that is, I put in the urn a black stone, denoting my vote for their condemnation. Our blessed Lord says, I will put in your urn a white stone; that is, I will pronounce you absolved at the judgment seat, justified and accepted in me.”)

December 26.—Evening. [Or December 20.]
“That which ye have already hold fast till I come.”

Revelation 2:18–29

AND unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

This church grew better and better, and did more and more for her Lord. Progress should be the constant characteristic of a church of God.

20, 21 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Probably a party in the church led by a woman had taught that the sins of the flesh might be indulged in without evil. The Lord is most jealous of the purity of his church, and those who enter her midst and teach lasciviousness must expect condign punishment. No church ought to endure such, but should cast them out at once.)

24, 25 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

26–28 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. (The grandest conqueror is the man who overcomes sin. He shall not only vanquish the world, but shall win the glory of heaven’s eternal day. On him Jesus, the morning star, has shone, and the dawning must be near.)

29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (Ears are meant to hear with, but some have lost all power to hear the voice of the Spirit. If grace has opened our ear, let us attend to every word which the Spirit utters.)

Revelation 3:1–6

AND unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. (The bulk of the members were formalists and hypocrites, yet the church kept up its reputation, and it does not appear that any serious heresy had to be contended with. How beautiful may a fruit appear upon the outside and yet be rotten within.)

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (The Lord does not punish the righteous with the wicked; he discerns the pure in heart, and separates them from the unholy. Are we among those whose garments are unspotted?)

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. (This is a choice reward. We are to be clothed like our Lord and to be owned by him. Who will not fight on till he conquers when such a prize is set before him?)

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. (We are not to hear what the churches say to us, but what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Be not satisfied with echoes, hear the grand original.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 762–763). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 25 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 25.—Morning. [Or December 17.]
“Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

The General Epistle of Jude.*

JUDE, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

If, while the apostles were yet alive, errors crept into the churches, we need not wonder that they multiply in these last days. We must set our faces as a flint against them.

5, 6 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

If professors leave the gospel for unholy doctrine and impure living, he who cast down the angels for their sin will not spare them.

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8–13 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (We do not know when this occurred, but the lesson of gentle speech is clear enough.) But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.

14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,

15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

17, 18 But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.

20, 21 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22, 23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. (Those who are in error are not all equally guilty: some are deceivers and others are dupes. We must restore all we can, but their error must be severely dealt with. Charity to error is cruelty to souls.

24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

December 25.—Evening. [Or December 18.]
“Behold, He cometh with clouds.”

The Revelation of John the Divine

ANDREW FULLER has said concerning this mysterious book:—“It is that to the New Testament church which the pillar of the cloud was to the church in the wilderness, guiding it through the labyrinth of anti-Christian errors and corruptions. It must not be neglected under a notion of its being hard to be understood. As well might the mariner, amidst the rocks, neglect his friendly chart, under an idea of its being difficult to understand it.”

Chapter 1

1–3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

To induce us to give the most serious attention to the subject, a blessing is pronounced on those who ‘read, and hear, and keep’, the words of this prophecy, especially as the time of its fulfilment was at hand. There does not appear to be any other part of Scripture that is prefaced with such an inducement to read, and understand, and practically regard it.”

4–6 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

He makes no mention of his being banished there by the persecutor: true virtue never boasts, or even invites others to admire it.

10, 11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

12, 13 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14–16 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow (to denote that he is the Ancient of days); and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

17–20 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. (He was overwhelmed by the glory of his Lord’s appearance. We are as yet incapable of beholding the full blaze of the Redeemer’s glory: this corruptible must put on incorruption before we shall be able to endure the sight.) And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead: and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 760–761). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 24 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 24.—Morning. [Or December 15.]
“This is love, that we walk after His commandments.”

The Second Epistle of John

HERE we have a letter to a lady and her godly family, towards whom John felt a fervent Christian affection. Her name we do not know, nor is it of any consequence, for the epistle will suit any believing household.

1, 2 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever. (John in his private letter does not mention that he is an apostle, but writes more familiarly as an elder of the church. The lady to whom he wrote was known to many, and beloved by all who loved the truth. The best and purest love arises out of common attachment to the gospel. Happy is that household which has gained the love of the saints by its zeal for God.)

Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

Such a blessing may the Lord pronounce on this family, and we shall be rich indeed.

I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. (The venerable old man’s heart was more comforted by seeing family religion than by all else below the skies. How good and how pleasant it is to see a household loving the Lord.)

And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. (John harps sweetly on this string. Being so aged a man none would misunderstand his affectionate words.)

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (Obedience to Christ is love. “Be ye holy” is the most ancient rubric of the church; all lovers of God obey it.)

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. (The world is bad enough, but deceivers come into it from Satan, and try to make it worse by their errors. Modern scepticism is by some praised and petted, but it is to be abhorred by all who abide in the truth.)

Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. (Faithful ministers fear lest their converts should disappoint them by not remaining firm in the truth. If they go over to error their ministers have laboured in vain.)

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

10, 11 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (As he who aids and abets a thief cannot be an honest man, so he who encourages a false teacher is a sharer in his crime.)

12 Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. (There are words of warning which are better spoken than written. In some cases it is wise even to make a journey to warn friends against insidious error.)

13 The children of thy elect sister greet thee. Amen.

Oh that near the cross abiding,

We may to the Saviour cleave!

Nought with him our hearts dividing,

All for him content to leave.

May we still the cross discerning,

To our Lord for comfort go;

And new wonders daily learning,

More of Jesus’ fulness know.

 

Walk in the light, so shalt thou know

That fellowship of love

His Spirit only can bestow,

Who reigns in light above.

Walk in the light, and sin abhorr’d

Shall ne’er defile again;

The blood of Jesus Christ thy Lord

Shall cleanse from every stain.

Walk in the light, and thou shalt own

Thy darkness passed away;

Because that light hath on thee shone,

In which is perfect day.

December 24.—Evening. [Or December 16.]
“He that doeth good is of God.”

The Third Epistle of John

OLD Master Trapp says John wrote this letter “to a rich Corinthian, rich in this world and rich in good works, a rare bird anywhere, but especially at Corinth, where Paul found them far behind the poor Macedonians in works of charity.”

1, 2 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (It would, not be safe to wish this for many, for if their bodies only prospered as their souls do, many would die, and most professors would be weak and withered, sick and sorry.)

3, 4 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (John loved his converts as his children, and was glad when he found them sound in doctrine and in practice. What would he say to “modern doubt”? It would break the good man’s heart. God’s people should hold the truth more firmly than ever, for the professing church is idolising clever scepticism.)

Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers;

6, 7 Which have borne witness of thy charity before the church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for his name’s sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

Gaius kept open house for travelling preachers and poor saints. One of the greatest honours we can have is to entertain a servant of the Lord. The Master sets it down as done to himself.

We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellow-helpers to the truth. (Gaius could not preach, but he lodged those who did, and so he obtained a prophet’s reward.)

I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.

10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. (What! Did men speak against the beloved John? Then none of us can hope to escape opposition if we be faithful. We wonder at such a poor creature as Diotrephes impudently setting himself up against the great apostle. We must take heed that we do not imitate him by grieving any of the Lord’s ministers.)

11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.

12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

John censured one but commended another. Where there is a Diotrephes there is generally a Demetrius; the Lord neutralises the evil of one by the good of another, or churches could not exist.

13 I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee:

14 But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. (Say little and write less. Speaking is better than writing, especially from preachers, who would do well to put away ink and paper and preach as the Lord gives them utterance.) Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.

Our religion is social and courteous. Let us not fail in kindly words and deeds.

Peace be to this favour’d dwelling,

Peace to every soul therein;

Peace of heavenly joy foretelling,

Peace the fruit of conquer’d sin.

Peace that speaks its heavenly giver;

Peace to worldly minds unknown;

Peace divine that flows for ever

From its source, the Lord alone.

 

To God the only wise,

Our Saviour and our King,

Let all the saints below the skies

Their humble praises bring.

He will present our souls,

Unblemish’d and complete,

Before the glory of his face

With joys divinely great.

To our Redeemer God

Wisdom and power belong,

Immortal crowns of majesty,

And everlasting song.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 758–759). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 23 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 23.—Morning. [Or December 13.]
“God is love.”

1 John 4

BELOVED, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

2, 3 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (This is a very useful test in many cases. If any form of doctrine denies or dishonours the Godhead or Messiahship of the Lord Jesus, or makes his incarnation to be a mere myth, it is to be rejected with abhorrence. Errors which touch the person or work of Jesus are fatal.)

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (Every spirit which does away with Jesus or dishonours him in any degree we know to be the spirit of error. This test is very simple, but very accurate.)

7, 8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

Love is the divine law of life, selfishness is sin; when grace restores us to our proper relationship with God and his creation, love is the very instinct of our renewed nature.

9, 10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (The master motive for benevolence is the love of God, it is an argument which will never lose its force.)

12, 13 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.

14–16 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Fear dwells upon the punishment deserved, and so has no rest. When perfect love assures the soul of pardoned sin, the heart has joyful rest.

19 We love him, because he first loved us.

20 If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

An old Latin author says, “The eyes are our leaders in love.” Juvenal wondered at one who loved a person whom he had never seen. If, then, we do not love those whom we see, is it likely that we really love the invisible God?

21 And this commandment have we from him, that he who loveth God love his brother also. (A Christian is one who has a solemn awe of the commands of God, hence he labours to abound in deeds and words of love, because the Lord hath bidden him to do so.)

Bless’d be the Father of our Lord,

From whom all blessings spring!

And bless’d be the Incarnate Word,

Our Saviour and our King!

We know and have believed the love

Which God through Christ displays?

And when we see his face above,

We’ll nobler anthems raise.

December 23.—Evening. [Or December 14.]
“Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.”

1 John 5

WHOSOEVER believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. (Dost thou believe in Jesus? Dost thou love thy Lord? Then thou art born again.)

2, 3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. (Obedience proves the truth of faith, especially obedience to the command which bids us love. It is idle to talk of being saved if we are not living unto God.)

4, 5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Faith, then, is the sure evidence of the new birth, and if we believe in the Lord Jesus we are born again, and shall overcome the world.

This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. (Cleansing from the power of sin, and delivering from its guilt.) And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

7, 8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (Instead of all other heavenly signs, the church has for her standing miracles the energetic work of the Holy Ghost, the purifying influence of the gospel, and the peace-giving energy of the atonement. If there be no power of the Holy Ghost, no sanctification, and no pardon of sin, our religion is a delusion; but if these be facts, and they certainly are, our faith has solid, grounds.)

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

10, 11 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

You do believe, but you may believe yet more. “Lord, increase our faith,” is no needless prayer.

14, 15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Answers to prayer are a powerful establishment of faith. The God who has an ear for our prayers is no fiction.

16–18 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (Whatever the unpardonable sin may be, the child of God shall be kept from it. We need not curiously inquire what that dark crime may be; it will be better to follow our Lord, and we shall be preserved from it.)

19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

For ever here my rest shall be

Close to thy bleeding side;

This all my hope and all my plea—

For me the Saviour died.

Th’ atonement of thy blood apply

Till faith to sight improve;

Till hope in full fruition die,

And all my soul be love.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 756–757). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 22 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 22.—Morning. [Or December 11.]
“Ye have an unction from the Holy One.”

1 John 2:12–28

I WRITE unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. (Little children have sins; they need to be forgiven; and they may be forgiven at once. Should not every child go to Jesus and ask to be washed in his precious blood? To be little children in Jesus Christ is a great privilege, and to such the word of God is directed as much as to the more advanced saints.)

13 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. (These established saints, having a deeper knowledge of their Lord, were bound to lend the more earnest attention to his word, and to carry it out more fully.) I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. (These young men are the flower of the army of the Lord of Hosts. By their victories already won the apostle summons them to new conflicts. The Spirit of God has a call for believers in all stages of the divine life.) I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.

14 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

He may use it, but love it he must not, unless he will renounce the love of God.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. (The spirit of antichrist has many forms, and is present in every age. Everything which robs Christ of his glory is anti-christian.)

19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (Bad teachers leave the church of God because they never in truth belonged to it. When they go over to Rome they go to their own place.)

20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. (An experimental knowledge of the truth is the best preservative against error.)

21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? (This is the greatest of all falsehoods, and it insults both the Father and the Son by doubting their testimony.) He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.

24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. (You cannot find a better gospel; persevere, then, in what you already know.)

25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

26, 27 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (Being full of love he pleads with us never to desert our Lord, or listen to the false gospels which would lead us astray. Ever may this family be true to Jesus, to the gospel, and to holy living: and may none of us ever be deceived by false doctrine, or tempted into sin.)

One there is to whom we’re going,

One to whom we owe our all;

Daily grace is he bestowing,

He sustains us when we fall.

Precious Jesus!

Thou to us art all in all.

December 22.—Evening. [Or December 12.]
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God.”

1 John 3

BEHOLD, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. (We understand by this not that believers are perfectly free from sinning, but that they do not sin habitually, wilfully, and openly as the unregenerate do. Their lives are holy, and when faults occur they grieve over them. The river of their lives runs towards righteousness, and though there are eddies in it these do not affect the main current.)

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

He cannot sin with his whole heart, or continuously, or finally, or as the main act of his life. Sin is not his element, or his delight.

10, 11 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. (The beloved John seems to breathe out only love. Like the harp of Anacreon his heart resoundeth “love alone.”)

12, 13 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. (That hatred has existed from the beginning. The very first man who died was martyred for the faith.)

14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.

15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

He whose whole religion lies in words is a hypocrite worthy of the scorn of all mankind. Above all things let us be real in all that we do.

19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.

20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

23, 24 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

Behold, what wondrous grace

The Father hath bestow’d

On sinners of a mortal race,

To call them sons of God!

Nor doth it yet appear

How great we must be made;

But when we see our Saviour here,

We shall be like our Head.

If in my Father’s love

I share a filial part,

Send down thy Spirit, like a dove,

To rest upon my heart.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 754–755). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 21 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 21.—Morning. [Or December 9.]
“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.”

2 Peter 3

THIS second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

3, 4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (They insinuate that there is no God, or that if there be he takes no interest in the affairs of men, or else surely he would have come to judge his enemies long ere this.)

5, 6 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

They wilfully forget that there was one grand interposition of vengeance, and therefore it is not altogether true that the machinery of nature has from time immemorial moved on regardless of human sin. Once by water has the world been destroyed, and by another element it shall soon be overwhelmed.

7, 8 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

He waits that men may wait on him. He gives the race space to repent; but, alas, it abuses his longsuffering!

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14–16 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (Good doctrine can be twisted to bad purposes. This is not the fault of the doctrine, but of the foolish or wicked minds which pervert it. We must not neglect the study of those great truths which Paul treats of, for it is the ignorant who wrest them, and therefore we should not be of the number. If we are well acquainted with the deep things of God we shall, by God’s grace, be all the less likely to abuse them.)

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Jesus, thy church with longing eyes,

For thy expected coming waits;

When will the promised light arise,

And glory beam from Zion’s gates?

Yes, thou wilt speedily appear;

The smitten earth already reels;

And, not far off, we seem to hear

The thunder of thy chariot wheels.

Teach us, in watchfulness and prayer,

To wait for the appointed hour,

And fit us by thy grace to share

The triumphs of thy conquering power.

December 21.—Evening. [Or December 10.]
“Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”

1 John 1

THE apostle John plunges at once into his subject, and begins to discourse upon the Word made flesh, in whom his soul delighted.

1–3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (How strong are John’s expressions as to the certainty of our Lord’s having appeared in the flesh. He had been heard, seen, studiously observed, and actually touched; his appearing was no fiction or pious legend, but a sure matter of fact, and he who appeared was none other than Jesus, the eternal life.)

And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (Fellowship with Jesus and joy lie so closely together, that the apostle could aim at both at the same time.)

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

These little words contain a mint of meaning. What a wondrous sentence,—“God is light!”

6, 7 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (Only in truth and holiness can we have fellowship with God, and to render this possible to such sinful creatures as we are, the precious blood of Jesus must purge us from sin. Have we all been cleansed by it?)

8–10 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (God only acts according to the truth, he will meet us as sinners, for that is our true character; but if we claim to be innocent, he cannot admit that falsehood, and will not commune with us.)

1 John 2:1–11

MY little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: (This one sentence is worth the whole of the kingdoms of the world.)

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our’s only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (He did not die for Jews alone, but to all races the way of salvation is opened by his atoning blood.)

And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. (Our life and conversation are to ourselves as well as to others the best evidence as to our state.)

4, 5 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

7, 8 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. (The love of our brother is in one sense an old command, for it is the substance of the second table of the law; but the gospel sets it in a new light beneath the cross, and binds us to keep it by new and powerful obligations.)

9–11 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (Hatred is darkness, love is light; the revengeful man is an heir of eternal midnight. Let us purge ourselves from all anger, malice, and envy, for these are evils of the darkest dye.)[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 752–753). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 20 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 20.—Morning. [Or December 7.]
“Make your calling and election sure.”

THE second general epistle of Peter was written to warn the churches against the evil influence of certain teachers, erroneous in doctrine and impure in life. The style is earnest and tender, and is peculiarly marked by a solemn grandeur of imagery and diction.

2 Peter 1

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:

2, 3 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: (Grace comes to us through the understanding; we grow in the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, and so obtain more grace: hence the importance of earnest thought, and diligent study of the Scriptures.)

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (Precious faith lays hold on precious promises, and so raises the soul beyond mere nature into the highest conceivable condition, making it like to God in holiness and virtue. The phrase, “partakers of the divine nature,” is a very remarkable one; we cannot become divine, but we can be “partakers of his holiness.”)

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

6, 7 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (Link these hand in hand as virgins in the dance, or place them one upon another, that like the stones of an arch they may yield mutual support.)

8, 9 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

You shall enter grace and glory at flood tide, and not as those who are “saved so as by fire.”

12–14 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance; Knowing that shortly I must put off this my tabernacle, even as our Lord Jesus Christ hath shewed me.

15 Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance.

16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

17, 18 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (The witness of Scripture is even surer than the voice heard in the mount. How much then ought we to prize it! How well content may we be without visions and revelations.)

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (We may not regard the Bible as the private word of Moses or Isaiah, but as the revelation of God to all time, most sure and infallible.)

Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire;

Let us thine influence prove,

Source of the old prophetic fire,

Fountain of light and love.

God, through himself, we then shall know,

If thou within us shine;

And sound, with all thy saints below,

The depths of love divine.

December 20.—Evening. [Or December 8.]
“Righteousness delivereth from death.”

2 Peter 2

HOLY men of old spake as they were moved by the Spirit.

1, 2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

4–7 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes, condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

Former judgments are the sure proofs that present sin will also meet with punishment.

10 But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;

13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you;

14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

15, 16 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

20, 21 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (The apostles were most anxious that believers should persevere, and therefore they cautioned them as to the dire results of apostasy. These frequent warnings should make us watchful, and lead us to cry mightily to him who alone is able to keep us from falling. Only divine grace can preserve us from the seducing spirits which abound on all sides.)

Jesus, the Lord, shall guard me safe

From every ill design;

And to his heavenly kingdom keep

This feeble soul of mine.

God is my everlasting aid,

And hell shall rage in vain:

To him be highest glory paid,

And endless praise—Amen.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 750–751). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 19 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 19.—Morning. [Or December 5.]
“If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed.”

1 Peter 4

FORASMUCH then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. (We reckon the sufferings and death of Jesus to be ours. We cannot, therefore, love the sin for which such sufferings were endured. We have, in Jesus, been put to death for sin, and henceforth we are dead to it.)

3–5 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. (Regeneration makes a marvellous change in men, and it generally happens that the ungodly see it, and at once begin to persecute the convert. Have we been converted? If so, we may expect opposition, but we need not be afraid of it, for the Lord is on our side.)

For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Our departed brethren heard the gospel to this end, that, though condemned to die by their cruel persecutors, they might win the immortal crown, and glorify God as his witnesses.

But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. (Of love, the Christian poet sings,

“’Tis gentle, delicate, and kind,

To faults compassionate or blind.”)

Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God (trying to follow both the sense and spirit of the inspired Scripture); if any man minister (or render service), let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. (By such exhortations as these the heroes of the cross were trained to endurance, so that they defied death, and torments worse than death. Have we any of their brave spirit?)

14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

15, 16 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

A solemn question! Answer it, each one of you, if you are still unsaved. Where will you appear? Oh, be wise, and fly to Jesus; enlist beneath his banner, cost you what it may. May the Lord lead you to do so.

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Press forward and fear not! though trial be near:

The Lord is our refuge—whom then shall we fear?

His staff is our comfort, our safeguard his rod;

Then let us be steadfast and trust in our God.

Press forward and fear not! we’ll speed on our way;

Why should we e’er shrink from our path in dismay?

We tread but the way which our Leader has trod;

Then let us press forward and trust in our God.

December 19.—Evening. [Or December 6.]
“Be careth for you.”

1 Peter 5

THE elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder (He did not style himself Lord Bishop, much less Head of the Church; but though he was an apostle, he took the lowest room and called himself an elder), and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (This last is best of all. It was an honour to be an elder, and a high distinction to have been an eye-witness of the sufferings of our Lord, but to be by faith an heir of the coming glory is far beyond both. It is a happy circumstance that we may all attain to this, though we cannot to the other two. If we believe in Jesus we are “partakers of the glory that shall be revealed.”)

2, 3 Feed the flock of God which is among you (this is what the Lord Jesus bade Peter himself do), taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Ministers may do more by their example than by their discourses. Let us pray for them that they may be upheld in the path of integrity.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (In the olden times servants wore long white aprons, and the original word here used alludes to that dress. We are not to assume a lordly style, but stand apron-ed with humility, ready to serve our fellow Christians in all lowliness of mind.)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (If it should seem hard to yield to others, do it for the Lord’s sake, as under his hand, and he will in due time honour you.)

7–9 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (If we were the only persons who were tempted of the devil we might be terrified; but since he is the common enemy of all believers, and has been defeated by them all in turn, let us show him a bold front, that it may be said of us as of Christian in “Pilgrim’s Progress.”

“The man so bravely played the man

He made the fiend to fly.”)

10, 11 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

12 By Silvanus (or Silas), a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. (To exhort and to bear witness were the chief works of an apostle, especially the latter. By these Peter fed the sheep and lambs of Christ. We also can exhort and testify if we know the Lord, and have experienced his goodness. Are we doing so?)

13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen. (This blessing is given to all in Christ Jesus, but to none else. “There is no peace, saith my God, unto the wicked.” Restlessness here, and woe for ever, are the portion of those who are out of Christ. O Lord, let none in this household remain without faith in Jesus.)

When I can read my title clear

To mansions in the skies,

I bid farewell to every fear,

And wipe my weeping eyes.

Should earth against my soul engage,

And hellish darts be hurl’d,

Then I can smile at Satan’s rage,

And face a frowning world.

Let cares like a wild deluge come,

And storms of sorrow fall,

May I but safely reach my home,

My God, my heaven, my all!

There shall I bathe my weary soul

In seas of heavenly rest,

And not a wave of trouble roll

Across my peaceful breast.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 748–749). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 18 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 18.—Morning. [Or December 3.]
“Hope to the end.”

OUR present reading is taken from the first epistle of Peter, a letter full of pastoral teaching, but without a trace of a priestly, much less of a Papal, spirit. Those whose wicked legends set forth Peter as the first Pope find no countenance for their folly in either of his epistles.

1 Peter 1:1–16

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. (Christians were not ashamed of the doctrine of election in the olden time, but styled each other “the elect.” We are chosen to be holy, and who shall deny the Lord’s right to choose men for such a purpose? Well may the apostle proceed to bless the Lord as he thinks of this choice favour.)

3–5 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Observe that the inheritance is kept for the saints, and the saints for the inheritance. Christ who has gone to prepare heaven for us has sent the Holy Ghost to prepare us for heaven.

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: (It is not merely that we are in manifold troubles, but we are in heaviness through them; the iron has entered into our soul. This is a needful part of those trials which are meant to chasten us. If the rod does not make the child smart, of what use is it?)

7–9 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Peter’s Master once bade him feed the sheep, and here he does so very sweetly: every word, yea, every letter, is full of an infinite sweetness. Jesus is with us, faith in him is our strength, and his love fills us with unutterable joy. All this we daily experience. Do we not?

10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

14–16 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (Children should be like their parents. Nature itself prompts the son to imitate the father; and shall not grace have equal power? Shall not the new birth be even more influential than the first? Shall not the children of the thrice holy Jehovah exhibit something of their great Progenitor’s spirit and character? It must be so, or we shall have serious reason to doubt whether we are children of God at all.)

O Lord, with sorrow and with shame,

We meekly would confess

How little we, who bear thy name,

Thy mind and ways express.

Give us thy meek, thy lowly mind;

We would obedient be;

And all our rest and pleasure find

In fellowship with thee.

December 18.—Evening. [Or December 4.]
“If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye.”

1 Peter 3

LIKEWISE, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (A woman’s sphere is her home, her sceptre is love, her crown jewels are domestic virtues. She is most graceful who is most gracious, and she is best arrayed who is clothed with holiness.)

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (Tender love and affectionate honour must be rendered to the queen of the little kingdom of home, through whom God blesses the household so much.)

8, 9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (We cannot wash off dirt with dirt, or cure evil by evil; let, us not try to do so. If we are indeed believers, we are blessed, and we are yet to be more blessed, therefore let us bless others.)

10–12 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14–16 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Yet we hear persons say, “I would not mind being blamed if I deserved it,” which is very absurd, since it is the deserving of blame which ought to trouble us far more than the rebuke.

18–20 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

This passage nobody understands, though some think they do. It is for our good to be made to feel that we do not know everything. The point which is clear is that as Jesus suffered though innocent, we also must be willing to suffer at the hands of the ungodly.

21, 22 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Noah’s deliverance in the ark, and our baptism, are figures of salvation. Both represent a living burial, a passage from the old world into the new, by death and resurrection. Was our baptism the answer of a good conscience toward God?

Inured to poverty and pain,

A suffering life my Master led;

The Son of God, the Son of man,

He had not where to lay his head.

Since he is intimately nigh,

Who, who shall violate my rest?

Sin, earth, and hell, I now defy;

I lean upon my Saviour’s breast.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 746–747). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 17 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 17.—Morning. [Or December 1.]
“Speak not evil one of another, brethren.”

James 4

FROM whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

Quarrels certainly do not come from heaven. If we always acted under the rule of grace, love would create perfect peace at home and abroad.

Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

Praying is better than fighting. If God will give us what we ask, why need we fight for it?

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

If any say that they have prayed and not received, it is clear that their motive was selfish, and therefore God would not gratify them.

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, (who give to worldly things the love which is due to Christ alone,) know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (How can you then love worldliness, and make earthly treasures your grand pursuit?)

Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (The testimony of Scripture concerning man’s nature is manifestly true. We are by nature selfish and envious; but grace will enable us to conquer our inbred sins, if we humbly own them, and ask for help to overcome them.)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

He is a coward, assail him boldly and he will quit the field.

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Be afflicted, and mourn, arid weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (Voluntarily sorrow for sin, or you will have to suffer for it eternally. Mourn at the cross, or you will weep before the throne.)

10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

11 Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. (The man who is severe upon his brother sets himself up to be a better judge than God. He would have those punished whom God has not punished; and thus he sits in judgment upon God, as though he were wiser than the Judge of all the earth.)

12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

13, 14 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. (To count on life as if we had a lease of it is madness. If it be wrong to boast of to-morrow, what folly must it be to be plotting and planning for a great while to come? It is our duty and privilege to live by the day.)

15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

This should be your general mode of speech. The mere use of the letters D. V. is an evasion of the rule: to live hour by hour, as those who will soon give an account, is the true mode of living.

16 But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.

17 (Lest any should say, “We know all this, for we are fully persuaded that unless God lets us live we can do nothing,” James adds, “Do you know so well? then you are all the more bound to do well, for knowledge involves responsibility.”) Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

To-morrow, Lord, is thine,

Lodged in thy sovereign hand;

And if its sun arise and shine,

It shines by thy command.

The present moment flies,

And bears our life away;

Oh, make thy servants truly wise,

That they may live to-day.

To Jesus may we fly,

Swift as the morning light;

Lest life’s young golden beams should die,

In sudden endless night.

December 17.—Evening. [Or December 2.]
“Stablish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

James 5

GO to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

The ungodly rich live only for this world as brutes do, and therefore the time shall come, when, like whipped or wounded beasts, they will howl in dismay. Those who by oppression cause the poor to weep shall themselves weep eternally.

2, 3 Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. (Goods ill gotten, and greedily hoarded have heaven’s curse upon them. Such treasure is only accumulated wrath. Who would wish to increase a heap which shall cause his own flesh to burn?)

Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. (Covetousness is capable of any and every meanness, and will enrich itself even from the earnings of the poor. The Lord of Hosts is the Guardian of the needy, and he will avenge their wrongs.)

5–8 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you. Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. (The great ones who wickedly persecute the righteous will soon be reckoned with, and the poor despised child of God shall speedily have his reward.)

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. (Wrongs will so soon be righted that we may well bear with them a little longer.)

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

12 But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. (Our word is our bond; and anything beyond it is forbidden. Let us shun swearing of all kinds.)

13–15 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Use the means and pray. Medicine and supplication should go together. We send for the doctor and his draughts, why not send for the elders and their prayers?

16–18 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. (This is not confession to a priest, but mutual acknowledgment of any wrong done to each other.) The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (There are saints on earth whose prayers are equally prevalent. Why should we not be like them?)

19, 20 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

Behold the throne of grace!

The promise calls me near,

There Jesus shows a smiling face,

And waits to answer prayer.

My soul, ask what thou wilt,

Thou canst not be too bold;

Since his own blood for thee he spilt,

What else can he withhold?

Thine image, Lord, bestow,

Thy presence and thy love;

I ask to serve thee here below,

And reign with thee above.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 744–745). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 16 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 16.—Morning. [Or November 29.]
“Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith?”

James 2

MY brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.

For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;

3, 4 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (The man is more than his clothes. A saint in vile raiment is not vile, neither is a wicked man honourable because of his goodly apparel.)

Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? (There can therefore be no reason for preferring the rich to the poor, since they are rarely the Lord’s chosen.)

6, 7 But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called?

Most of the persecution against the gospel has been stirred up by the great: the church has, therefore, no excuse for flattering them.

8, 9 If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. (You fail to act as Christians should do if you despise the poor. Whatever else you may do that is right and good, you ought not to err in this matter.)

10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.

12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.

13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. (Mercy reigns in our salvation, let it reign in our conduct to others. To us it is not sweet to take vengeance, but to grant forgiveness.)

14–17 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18, 19 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (So that they have a more practical faith than those who say they believe and yet live in sin without qualms of conscience.)

20, 21 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23, 24 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. (Faith alone justifies, but not a faith which is alone and without works.)

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? (In any and every case suitable works attend upon saving faith, and it is idle to claim to be saved by faith, unless our lives are holy.)

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Come unto me, O come to me,

Thou blessed Spirit, come;

To fill my heart with sanctity,

And use it as thy home.

Thy pure and holy influence

Grant, Lord, my soul within;

Expelling, by thy presence, thence

The love and life of sin.

December 16.—Evening. [Or November 30.]
“Lord, open Thou my lips.”

WE are generally too fond of talking, and are not always careful as to what we say; let us hear attentively what the Scriptures have to say of unholy tongues.

James 3

My brethren, be not many masters (or teachers), knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (Men are too ready to set up for teachers and censors, but if they knew the increased responsibility of the position they would prefer to be learners.)

For in many things we offend all (and this should make us slow to assume leadership). If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

3–5 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. (It walks through the earth, attacking the best of men, and even daring to assail heaven itself.) Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (If it be fire from heaven it brings a Pentecost; if fire from hell it makes a Pandemonium.)

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity (not a nation, or a city of sin, but a whole world of evil): so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. (Stella says an unruly tongue is worse than the fire of hell, for that torments only the wicked; but this afflicts all, both bad and good.)

7, 8 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. (God alone can subdue it, and teach it to be silent, or to speak to his glory. This lion cannot be bound even by a Samson, but the Lord can transform it to a lamb.)

9, 10 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Inconsistent language is monstrous. Our speech should be all of a piece, and altogether holiness unto the Lord. Is it so?

11, 12 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. (Holiness, meekness, and gentleness in conversation are the best signs of a really instructed mind. God alone by his Holy Spirit can give us this wisdom.)

14–18 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Old Thomas Adams has wittily said: “It is a singular member. God hath given man two ears; one to hear instructions of human knowledge, the other to hearken to his divine precepts. Two eyes, that with the one he might see to his own way, with the other pity and commiserate his distressed brethren. Two hands, that with the one he might work for his own living, with the other relieve his brother’s wants. Two feet, one to walk on common days to his ordinary labour, the other, on sacred days to frequent the congregation of saints. But among all, he hath given him but one tongue; which may instruct him to hear twice so much as he speaks; and to walk and work twice as much as he talks.”

Words are things of little cost,

Quickly spoken, quickly lost;

We forget them, but they stand

Witnesses at God’s right hand.

Grant us, Lord, from day to day,

Strength to watch and grace to pray;

May our lips, from sin set free,

Love to speak and sing of thee.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 742–743). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 14 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 14.—Morning. [Or November 25.]
“Without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Hebrews 9:15–28

AND for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. (It was absolutely needful that guilt should be atoned for, and, therefore, Jesus became a mediator. Nothing short of this could secure the eternal inheritance for those who are called. Take away the atonement and you have robbed our Lord of his greatest reason for being a mediator at all. We love and live upon the truth of his atoning death.)

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. (Or it may be understood that a covenant is not of force till the victim is slain to ratify it with blood. In either sense the death of Jesus was necessary to secure to us the blessings of the gospel.)

18–21 Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. (Blood was seen on all sides under the law, it was vital to its teachings. The blood of Jesus is the very life of the gospel; a ministry without the blood of Jesus in it is dead and worthless.)

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. (This solemn truth needs to be well learned and remembered. Nothing can cleanse us but the blood of Jesus. Sacraments, prayers, repentances are all useless as a substitute for faith in the blood.)

23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (The blood of bulls would suffice to purge the types, but the realities must have a richer sacrifice to cleanse them.)

24–26 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Once has Jesus offered sacrifice, and only once. All attempts to offer him again, as the priests pretend to do in the mass, are blasphemous, and are an insinuation that the one offering was not sufficient. As for us, let us rest on the once offered atonement, and in humble faith know that we are fully accepted.)

27, 28 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin (or without a sin-offering) unto salvation. (Every man’s death day is his doomsday, all is settled then. So Jesus, when he died, finished his atoning work, and nothing remains for him but to come a second time, no more to die, to take his great reward.)

O Christ, what burdens bow’d thy head!

Our load was laid on thee:

Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,

To bear all ill for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup,

O Christ, ’twas full for thee!

But thou hast drained the last dark drop,

’Tis empty now for me.

Jehovah lifted up his rod,

O Christ, it fell on thee!

Thou wast sore stricken of thy God;

There’s not one stroke for me.

For me, Lord Jesus, thou hast died,

And I have died in thee;

Thou’rt risen; my bands are all untied;

And now thou liv’st in me.

December 14.—Evening. [Or November 26.]
“By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Hebrews 10:1–31

FOR the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.

But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.

5–7 Wherefore when he (that is, Jesus) Cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

8, 9 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once.

11–14 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

15–17 Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (The Holy Ghost bears witness to the perfection of our Lord’s sacrifice, for he declares that the believer’s sins will be remembered no more.)

18 Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin (and no need of any).

19–22 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23–25 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

26, 27 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

If we reject the atonement of Jesus now, there is no other sacrifice, and we must of necessity perish.

28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The ever-blessed Son of God

Went up to Calvary for me,

There paid my debt, there bore my load

In his own body on the tree.

’Tis finish’d all; the veil is rent,

The welcome sure, the access free;

Now, then, we leave our banishment,

O Father, to return to thee.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 738–739). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 13 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 13.—Morning. [Or November 23.]
“He became the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him.”

Hebrews 5

FOR every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (An angelic priest for men would be out of place. Men need forbearance and sympathy, hence the priests of old were men of like passions with the people. This also is true of our Lord Jesus, who is most certainly and really a human being like the rest of mankind in all things except sin—that stain never defiled his holy nature.)

And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

This refers to the typical high priest, but our Lord had no sin of his own; he bore our sin, but in him is no sin.

And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

He was no unauthorised priest, self-appointed and unordained. What he does has the Father’s decree to back it. “It pleased the Father to bruise him,” and “it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell.” What solid ground we have for depending upon Jesus, the elect messenger of God, the ordained surety of the everlasting covenant!

Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (The cup was not removed, but he was strengthened to drink it. If the Lord does not answer his people one way he does another. Jesus understands our feelings in prayer even when we cannot express them except by strong crying and tears. Experience has made him the ready interpreter of anguished hearts.)

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; (A perfected Saviour presents all believers with a perfect and everlasting salvation. He was always perfect in character, but his sorrowful life below gave him a complete qualification for the office of Saviour, which nothing else could have obtained. Who would not obey a Master who has undergone all kinds of sorrow that he may be able to sympathise with his servants? Who would not possess a salvation won for us by such condescending love?)

10 Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. (Here the apostle rises to a great height, and then suddenly pauses, remembering how unsuitable men’s minds often are for the reception of mysterious truth.)

11 Of whom (namely, Melchisedec) we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.

12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Too often we learn and unlearn. Our progress is slow, and we remain babes when we ought to be full grown men in Christ. We draw upon the church’s strength when we ought to be contributing to it.)

13, 14 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (We should desire not only to be saved, and to know the elementary truths, but to be advanced scholars in Christ’s school, so as to handle the deeper doctrines, and teach them to others. Good Master, have patience with thy servants, and teach us still!)

It is my sweetest comfort, Lord,

And will for ever be,

To muse upon the gracious truth

Of thy humanity.

Oh joy! there sitteth in our flesh,

Upon a throne of light,

One of a human mother born,

In perfect Godhead bright!

December 13.—Evening. [Or November 24.]
“Within the veil the forerunner is for us entered.”

Hebrews 6

THEREFORE leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Children are to learn their letters in order that they may go on to higher branches of education, and believers are to know the elements of the faith, but are then to advance to the higher attainments, and endeavour to understand the deeper mysteries.)

And this will we do, if God permit.

4–6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

If once the real work of grace fails it cannot be commenced again, the case is hopeless for ever. Hence the absolute necessity for persevering to the end. To draw back totally would be fatal.

7, 8 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

When all that is possible is done for a piece of land, and yet it bears no harvest it must be given up. If, after all, the Holy Spirit’s work in a man should prove fruitless, he must be given over to destruction, nothing else remains. Will any truly regenerated man ever come into this condition? The apostle answers this question in the next two verses.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

But this perseverance demands earnestness on our part, hence he adds—

11, 12 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Those promises we shall inherit most surely, for we shall by grace be enabled to remain faithful until death.)

13–15 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured he obtained the promise.

16–20 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The most solemn warnings against apostasy, and the declaration that total apostasy would be fatal, are not inconsistent with the great truth of the safety of all true saints. Safe they are, for the covenant promise and oath guarantee their security, their hope is placed where it cannot fail, and in their name Jesus has gone to take possession of heaven. Has he gone as a forerunner of those who may after all perish on the road? God forbid. Where our Head is, there must the members be ere long.

Raise, raise, my soul, thy raptured sight

With sacred wonder and delight;

Jesus, thine own forerunner see

Enter’d beyond the veil for thee.

Loud let the howling tempest yell,

And foaming waves to mountains swell,

No shipwreck can my vessel fear,

Since hope hath fix’d her anchor here.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 736–737). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 12 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 12.—Morning. [Or November 21.]
“It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren.”

Hebrews 2

THEREFORE we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (As if our apostle had said,—Seeing Christ is so excellent in his person, and seeing the gospel has such a glorious author, let us take great care that we esteem his person, revere his authority, reverence his ministry, and believe his message; and let us take heed that our memories be not like leaking vessels, suffering the word at any time to slip or run from us.)

2–4 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Let that question ring in our ears, “How shall we escape?” There will be no escape, there can be none if we refuse the Lord Jesus. Do we mean to be lost? Dare we continue to neglect the great salvation?)

5–9 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Jesus died that to all men the message of salvation might be delivered, and that each one might be assured that upon his believing he will be pardoned. None are excluded from mercy but those who exclude themselves.)

10–12 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. (This passage occurs in Psalm 22, a psalm of Christ’s sufferings, entitled “Upon Aijeleth Shahar,” that is, The morning-stag, such an one as the huntsman singles out to hunt for that day. Christ thus hunted, praying for deliverance, promised to praise God’s name amidst his brethren.)

13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. (All of which expressions denote nearness of relationship and likeness of nature, kindly recognised by the great head of the household of God.)

14, 15 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels (or he took not up angels); but he took on him the seed of Abraham. (Angels were passed by and men redeemed. Wondrous sovereignty this!)

17, 18 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (Here is delightful encouragement to put our whole trust in him, and approach him without fear. Let us draw very near to him in prayer.)

Jesus, who pass’d the angels by,

Assumed our flesh to bleed and die;

And still he makes it his abode;

As man, he fills the throne of God.

Our next of kin, our brother now,

Is he to whom the angels bow;

They join with us to praise his name,

But we the nearest interest claim.

December 12.—Evening. [Or November 22.]
“Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest.”

Hebrews 3:12–19

TAKE heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. (No good ever comes of carelessness. He who never examines himself is sure to be self-deceived.)

13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Sin slyly insinuates itself and by slow degrees prevails, therefore must we carefully guard against it.)

14, 15 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation. (Continuance in faith is necessary to salvation, and only those who persevere to the end are indeed saved.)

16–19 For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Want of true faith causes the religion of many to be shortlived. Those who are not sustained by faith soon weary of holiness and provoke the Lord.)

Hebrews 4:1–6; 9–16

LET us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4, 5 For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest.

6, 9 Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief; (nor did Joshua lead the next generation into rest, or else David would not have spoken of another day); There remaineth therefore a (Sabbath) rest to the people of God.

It is clear that there is a rest of God, and that some are to enjoy it, and as Israel did not attain to it, it still remains for God’s people. Oh, that we might by faith be of that number!

10 For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Resting in the finished work of Jesus we feel that our warfare is accomplished. The work we now do is of another kind from our own self-righteous work of former years. Our faith has introduced us into joyful rest.)

11–13 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. (We should earnestly labour to be right, for no deceptions will avail. The Lord’s word lays us bare and opens up our secret selves. Oh, to be clean before the Lord! This we can never be except by faith.)

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.

Since salvation work is complete, let us hold to it and enjoy the consequent blessings. We should be foolish indeed to leave such riches of grace.

15, 16 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

With joy we meditate the grace

Of our High Priest above;

His heart is made of tenderness,

His bowels melt with love.

Then let our humble faith address

His mercy and his power,

We shall obtain delivering grace

In the distressing hour.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 734–735). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

December 11 The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible

December 11.—Morning. [Or November 19.]
“Brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord.”

The Epistle of Paul to Philemon

THIS has been called “the polite epistle,” for Paul used great courtesy and tact in writing it. Onesimus, a slave, had robbed his master Philemon, and had then run away from him. Hoping to conceal himself best in the metropolis, Onesimus had fled to Rome, where he heard Paul preach and became converted. The apostle sent him back to his Christian master with the following letter of apology. Although its first object was only to restore a runaway slave to his master, it is a weighty letter, and every syllable has substance in it.

1, 2 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:

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

4–6 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Paul knew Philemon was a true believer, and therefore prayed that others might feel the power of his piety, by seeing how he acted in the present case.)

For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient,

Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. (This is the best of pleading. Philemon’s heart would be sure to yield to it.)

10 I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

11 Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

12 Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: (who is so dear to me that he carries my heart with him wherever he goes.)

13, 14 Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly. (Though he felt sure that Philemon would have been glad to spare his servant to care for his aged friend, yet Paul would not take the liberty of using his services, but gave Philemon the opportunity to do it of his own accord if he thought fit.)

15 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;

16 Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? (Providence suffered him to run away that he might come under Paul’s influence and become a Christian: the gracious purpose of God overrules evil for good.)

17–19 If thou count me therefore a partner (or true comrade in Christ), receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.

20 Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

21 Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou will also do more than I say. (Is not this a graceful way of putting it? Who could have the heart to resist such pleading? Yet every word is gentle and quiet. Mild language is mighty.)

22 But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

23, 24 There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow-prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

25 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Our Father in heaven, we hallow thy name,

O’er earth may thy kingdom establish its claim!

Oh, give to us daily our portion of bread;

It is from thy bounty that all must be fed.

Forgive our transgressions, and teach us to know

The humble compassion that pardons each foe;

Keep us from temptation, from weakness, and sin,

And thine be the glory for ever. Amen.

December 11.—Evening. [Or November 20.]
“Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.”

WE have now reached that wonderful part of Holy Scripture which is found in the epistle to the Hebrews. Fully to understand it we ought to study closely the Book of Leviticus. Diamonds only will cut diamonds; the Word of God is its own expositor; the New Testament is the key of the old.

The epistle opens with the declaration that whatsoever was communicated by the prophets was spoken by God. He spoke whatsoever was uttered by his prophets. The Scriptures are very jealous on this subject; how different from the language of many who seem desirous to exclude God from being the author of his own word!

Hebrews 1

1, 2 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; (Ours is the clearest of all revelations. In Jesus we see far more of God than in all the teachings of the prophets.)

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (The priest stood while he performed service, and only sat down when his work was done. Jesus enthroned in glory enjoys the honours of his finished work.)

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? (But he does say this to Christ in the second Psalm.) And again (speaking to Solomon as the type of Christ in the Second Book of Samuel 7:14), I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

And again (in the ninety-seventh Psalm), when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. (Or “worship him all ye gods,” Jesus is by nature infinitely superior to the noblest created beings, for he is essentially God, and to be worshipped as Lord of all.)

7–9 And of the angels (in Psalm 104:4) he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith (Psalm 45:6, 7), Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. (Angels are servants and not kings, they fly upon the divine errands like flames of fire, but they do not sway a sceptre, neither have they a throne existing for ever and ever. Jesus is the anointed king, and though we share in the anointing yet is he far above us. Christ is infinitely greater than Christians. We are right glad to have it so.)

10–12 And (again we read in Psalm 102:25–27), Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Since the Messiah is thus described as immutable and eternal he must be divine, and to deny the Godhead of the Saviour is a deadly error. Dr. Owen most comfortingly remarks:—“Whatever our changes may be, inward or outward, yet Christ changing not, our eternal condition is secured, and relief provided against all present troubles and miseries. The immutability and eternity of Christ are the spring of our consolation and security in every condition. Such is the frailty of the nature of man, and such the perishing condition of all created things, that none can ever obtain the least stable consolation but what ariseth from an interest in the omnipotency, sovereignty, and eternity of Jesus Christ.”)

13, 14 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?

They are servants of God and our willing guardians; but they are not to be worshipped. Jesus is Lord of all, and we are bound to adore him, and him only.[1]

 

[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1964). The Interpreter: Spurgeon’s Devotional Bible (pp. 732–733). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.