20 December 2009

God Will Wound the Heads of His Enemies

Your weekly dose of Spurgeon
posted by Phil Johnson

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Royal Prerogative," a Sunday-morning sermon on Psalm 68:21 ("God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses"), preached 15 February 1880, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London. Spurgeon's message struck me as a fitting answer to the article Shane Claiborne wrote for Esquire last month.

    new god has been lately set up among men, the god of modern Christianity, the god of modern thought, a god made of honey or sugar or lead. He is all leniency, gentleness, mildness, and indifference in the matter of sin. Justice is not in him, and as for the punishment of sin, he knows it not.

The Old Testament, as you are no doubt made aware by the wise men of this world, takes a very harsh view of God, and therefore modern wisdom sets it aside. Forsooth, one half the word of God is out of date, and turned to waste paper. Although our Lord Jesus did not come "to destroy the law or the prophets," but to fulfill them, yet the advanced thinkers of these enlightened times tell us that the idea of God in the Old Testament is a false one. We are to believe in a new god, who does not care whether we do right or wrong, for by his arrangement all will come to the same end in the long run. There may be a little twisting about for awhile for some who are rather incorrigible, but it will all come right at last. Live as you like, go and swear and drink, go and oppress the nations, and make bloody wars, and act as you will; by jingo you will be all right at last.

This is roughly the modern creed which poisons all our literature. But let me say, by Jehovah, this shall not be as men dream. Jehovah, the Judge of all the earth, must do right. The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob is the God of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: the God of the whole earth shall he be called. He hath not changed one whit in the stern integrity of his nature, and he will by no means spare the guilty.

Read, then, the last verse of our text, and believe that it is as true to-day as when it was first written, and that if Jesus himself were here, the meek and lowly one would say it in tones of tearful solemnity, but he would utter it none the less. "God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in his trespasses."

It is clear from these words that God is not indifferent to human character. Our God knows his enemies, he does not mistake them for friends, nor treat them as such. He regards iniquity as a trespass, and therefore he has not broken down the bounds of law, nor the hedges of right: there are trespasses still, and God perceives them, and notes them down, and such as go on in their trespasses are trying his longsuffering and provoking his justice. God sleeps not, neither does he wink at human sin, but calls upon all men everywhere to repent.

And it is clear too that God has the power to smite those who rebel against him. Dream not of natural laws which will screen the wicked—"He shall wound the head of his enemies." They may lift up those heads as high as they please, but they cannot be beyond the reach of his hand. He will not merely bruise their heels, or wound them on the back with blows which may be healed, but at their heads he will aim fatal blows, and lay them in the dust. He can do it, and he will.

C. H. Spurgeon


Bobby Grow said...

Spurgeon is like Nietzsche, a prophet before his time (which I suppose makes them prophets ;-). Of course, Spurgeon is sacred, Nietzsche secular :-).

Can't go wrong with Spurgeon!

I read a bit of Shane, and then wondered when Jesus was going to come back!

SandMan said...

From the linked Esquire article:In closing, to those who have closed the door on religion — I was recently asked by a non-Christian friend if I thought he was going to hell. I said, "I hope not. It will be hard to enjoy heaven without you." If those of us who believe in God do not believe God's grace is big enough to save the whole world... well, we should at least pray that it is.

Wow, his friend practically begged him to give the Gospel and he pats him in the head and tells him to go back to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the Spurgeon statement. Having recently spent some time in the prophetic books, I can also see that God's wrath is especially directed toward those who engage in hypocritical adulterous "worship" of Him.

While I am unsure of what Shane Claiborn actually believes about God, Jesus, sin, hell etc. I have to admit he has one thing right. God is Love.

If we say we love God, it will manifest as love for our fellow man. Actually this love MUST be present, if I'm properly understanding 1 John, James and 1 Corinthians (esp ch 13). Jesus even said we are to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44, Luke 6:27)

And the reason we are to do this is not because we are to be glossing over the seriousness of sin but because it is evidence that we recognize that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

I don't deserve the merciful leniency that God extended to me through Christ, even as I spit in His face and swung that hammer which drove those spikes deeper into his flesh. I fully deserve to have been the one to drink down the wine of God's full-force wrath, yet Jesus did it for me and I ought to be grateful.

In the article, Shane said that there is a common perception among young non-Christians that Christians are "antigay, judgmental and hypocritical". While I'd love to get all indignant and defend my stance against the approval of homosexuality, my belief that God's standards don't budge and my human failure to live what I say I believe----I have to give serious consideration to whether I personally am foolishly fueling this perception.

I'm thinking that the Gospel message that we all need Jesus because all are filthy sinners and are incapable of saving ourselves is straightforward, simple and plenty offensive. I don't need to complicate things by injecting my own abrasive personality, bad behavior or self-righteous side-commentary into the mix.

I understand that the Bible teaches that everyone who belongs to Christ will be drawn into the fold. But I wonder how often *I* idiotically stand in the way of someone seeing the truth about Jesus--and thus lose potential reward for faithful obedience to Him?

Thanks for posting a thought-provoking piece.


CGrim said...

I like Spurgeon's juxtaposition of "by jingo" and "by Jehovah." Clever.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Amen. This sermon is more needed now than it was then. Needed to be heard by all us sin-prone people. So much said in so few words.

donsands said...

"I did not choose to devote my life to Jesus because I was scared to death of hell or because I wanted crowns in heaven... but because he is good." -Shane Claiborne

This young man does not have a balanced theology, in my opinion, because he does not accept the whole of Scripture.

If Shane would simply say what he says, and add to his heart the truth that God will "destroy both souls and bodies in hell" (Matt. 10:28), and we need to fear Him.

If we come to fear the Holy God who shall judge sinners, then we shall not have to ever fear Him again.

I have communicated with Shane, and I see him as a brother in Christ. I asked him how he could have a man like Brian McLaren, who has a very sorry theology, at his "speakings".

He urged me to write McLaren, and not talk about him, and ask him to explain himself. I did write to McLaren, and he never responded. But even if he had, I'd never be able to understand what he would have said most likely.

At least Shane wrote to me, and we disagree, but he was respectful, and seems to love Christ, and believes in the forgiveness of sins alone in Christ, very lghtly though.

Spurgeon is the prince of preachers, that says it all.

Thanks for the post.