posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "God's Advocates Breaking Silence," a sermon preached Sunday morning, 17 March 1878, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London.
ne would think, to hear some preachers, that God was under obligation to man, or, at least, that he had no will of his own, but had left man's will to be supreme.
The truth is that if all the race had been condemned, God would have been infinitely just, and if he spares one and not another none can say unto him "What doest thou?"
His declaration is "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion."
I sympathize with man, but I have in my very soul an infinitely deeper sympathy with God. I am bound to love my neighbor as myself, but the still higher law calls on me to love the Lord my God with all my heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
Speaking on behalf of man may be carried so far that you come at length to look upon sin as his misfortune rather than his fault, and to view the fact that sin is punished at all as a matter to be deplored. In some professed Christians their pity for the criminal has overcome their horror at the crime. Eternal punishment is denied, not because the scriptures are not plain enough on that point, but because man has become the god of man, and everything must be toned down to suit the tender feelings of an age which excuses sin but denounces its penalties, which has no condemnation for the offense, but spends its denunciations upon the Judge and his righteous sentence.
By all means have sympathies manward, but at the same time show some tenderness towards the dishonored law and the insulted Lord. Is justice a figment? Is there no necessity for divine anger? Is mercy itself become a debt due to mankind? See you nothing horrible in sin? Is there no guilt in rejecting Christ and trampling on his blood? Ay, and is there none in closing the eyes even to the feebler light which streams from the visible works of God, and reveals his power and Godhead?
Few, I say, look at the matter in this light, and yet it should be the main business of every believer "to speak on God's behalf." It becomes, therefore, all the more needful that those who have been led to side with God, and who feel their hearts drawn to adore and magnify and vindicate their glorious Lord, should count it a privilege still to be spared to speak on the behalf of God.
I would silence no voice that speaks for man so far as it speaks truthfully, but oh for more voices to speak for God and maintain his crown rights. It needs that we vindicate his law and the terrors of it, his gospel and the sovereignty of it, his nature and the completeness of it, his providence and the wisdom of it, his redemption and the efficacy of it, his eternal purpose and the accomplishment of it.
May this theme, though silent long, be sounded forth till its voice is heard in every street of Zion. Not the exaggeration of divine truth, but that truth itself, we desire to hear, and God grant we may live to hear it. May many a man of God be constrained to say, "I have yet to speak on God's behalf." Let others plead what cause they will, it is ours with the greatest of poets "To justify the ways of God to men."