30 May 2010

Regeneration and True Free Will

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 "God's Law in Man's Heart," a sermon preached Sunday evening, 28 June 1885, at the Met Tab in London.

an has become so fallen that he cannot keep the law. Sooner might the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots, than he that is accustomed to do evil learn to do well (Jeremiah 13:23); but what man cannot do, by reason of the perversity of the flesh, God performs within him, working in him to will and to do of his good pleasure. Oh, what amazing grace is this, which while it forgives our want of will, also removes our want of power!

And, dear friends, is it not a wonderful proof of grace that God does this without destroying man in any degree whatever? Man is a creature with a will,—a "free will" as they sometimes call it,—a creature who is responsible for his actions; so God does not come and change our hearts by a physical process, as some seem to dream, but by a spiritual process in which he never mars our nature, but sets our nature right.

If a man becomes a child of God, he still has a will. God does not destroy the delicate machinery of our nature, but he puts it into proper gear. We become Christians with our own full assent and consent; and we keep the law of God not by any compulsion except the sweet compulsion of love. We do not keep it because we cannot do otherwise, but we keep it because we would not do otherwise, because we have come to delight therein, and this seems to me the greatest wonder of divine grace.

See, dear friends, how different is the Lord's way of working and ours. If you knock down a man who is living an evil life, and put him in chains, you can make him honest by force; or if you set him free, and hem him round with Acts of Parliament, you may make him sober if he cannot get anything to drink, you may make him wonderfully quiet if you put a gag in his mouth; but that is not God's way of acting.

He who put man in the Garden of Eden, and never put any palisades around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but left man a free agent, does just the same in the operations of his grace. He leaves his people to the influences that are within them, and yet they go right, because they are so changed and renewed by his grace that they delight to do that which once they loathed to do.

I admire the grace of God in acting thus. We should have taken the watch to pieces, and broken half the wheels, and made new ones, or something of the kind. But God knows how to leave the man just as much a man as he was before his conversion, and yet to make him so entirely a new man that old things have passed away, and all things have become new.

And this is very beautiful, too, that when God writes his law in his people's hearts, He makes this the way of their preservation. When God's law is written in a man's heart, that heart becomes divinely royal property, for the King's name is there, and the heart in which God has written his name can never perish.

C. H. Spurgeon


JG said...

Amen! True free will comes from salvation, not the other way around.

Thomas S. barnes said...

Oh, so true and so good.

Wendy said...

I love the Spurgeon Sermons on Sundays, but I always wondered at the length of them.
Were sermon times shorter back then than they are nowadays?? It seems like it would only take 30 minutes or so, compared to the hour or hour-and-a-half today. Or are these posts not the entire sermon??

(Not that this question really matters when compared to the content :))

Mike Riccardi said...

Wendy, it's an excerpt. From the subtitle:

The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "God's Law in Man's Heart," a sermon preached Sunday evening, 28 June 1885, at the Met Tab in London.

Wendy said...

Oh. Right. :)

Boerseuntjie said...

Astounding Mercy! WHich endureth for ever!
To all us who have been granted to understanbd and feel our Radical Corruption and Total Inability...

I cannot wait to be finally freed from all the effects of my sins and to serve him in perfect sinlessness...

Soli Deo Gloria!

naturgesetz said...

How well he puts it.

Of course this work of grace is rarely instantaneous, but God acts at the pace and in the way that will draw all who are willing to be drawn.

Eddie Eddings said...

Phil, I've got to ask you...did you ever dress like Spurgeon and deliver a sermon of his, from memory, at the Christian Booksellers Convention?

Thomas S. Barnes said...

@naturgesetz God will always act according to His will and never according to man's will.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

I agree with what Spurgeon said: that what God does in wretched men like me is beautiful! What a wonderful way to start a Monday morning - realizing that God has left those wretched things in me to wrestle with to prove His grace in that though they are there, that I don't want to do them anymore.

Gabby said...

How beautiful are the feet of those that preach the gospel! A hearty amen and thank you for sharing that wonderful teaching on this lovely Monday morning!

Dave said...

This is a wonderful piece of sweet preaching! BUT. Can it not as easily be mapped onto BEERS as TULIP?