The main object of all Christian work should be that sinners may be converted unto God, that they may love the God whom they have forgotten, that they may adore the Christ whom they have despised, that they may feel the power of the Holy Spirit whom they have grieved. This is what we want, O sinners; it is not your outward washing to make ye appear as Christians, it is your inward renewing, it is your possession of a new heart and right spirit that we desire.Charles H. Spurgeon
The mind and affections of the new creature are set upon heavenly and spiritual things (cf. Col 3:1-2; Eph 4:23; Rom 8:5). If, therefore, thy heart and affections be habitually earthly and wholly intent upon things below, driving eagerly after the world, as the great business and end of thy life, deceive not thyself, this is not the fruit of the new creature, nor consistent with it.
The Whole Works of the Reverend John Flavel, 2:366.
Lead is lead still, whatever stamp it beareth
A change of form is a very different thing from a change of substance. You may cast lead into the shape of a shilling, but you cannot make silver of it. Now, the only change which can save us is a thorough transformation of nature, and this is as clearly beyond human power as the turning of lead into silver.
When we see a great moral improvement in any man we ought to be glad, and to admire the power of conscience; but if the man’s heart remains the same, the alteration is only casting a lump of lead into a pretty form. When the man’s nature and disposition are radically altered, we may then exclaim, “This is the finger of God”—this is transmuting lead into silver; “Ye must be born again”: nothing less will suffice.
“Lord, grant that I may truly know this change. If I am mistaken and have never been regenerated, be pleased to exercise thy gracious power upon me now, for Jesus’ sake.”
—Charles H. Spurgeon
Adapted from Illustrations and Meditations: Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1883).
The man who was born blind whose eyes were opened at the pool of Siloam, said, “One thing I know.” This simple statement I want to turn into a pointed question.
Among the many things, dear friends, that you are acquainted with, do you know the one thing that this poor man knew, “Whereas I was blind, now I see”? There is a wealth of self-knowledge in this single avowal. Little enough, I daresay, he knew about other people, but he knew a great deal about himself. He was well aware that he once was blind, and he was quite positive that he now could see. Oh! can you say it with sincerity—”I know that I was once blind; I could see no beauty in Christ, though I thought I saw great beauties in the world. Then I could not love God; I did not hate sin; I had no repentance, nor had I any faith: I was blind; but now—oh, blessed change—now I see my sin, and weep over it; now I see a Saviour and I trust him; now I see his beauties and I admire him; now I see his service, and I delight to spend my strength in it. One thing I know.”
What a marvelous experience of a marvelous change this implies!
—Charles H. Spurgeon
The Present Truth (Passmore and Alabaster, 1883).
A crab tree will never yield pleasant fruit, until you change the nature of it. Take a crab tree and plant it in the best soil that you have, and water it, and dress it, and prune it as much as you can, yet this crab tree will bear nothing but crabs, sour fruit, until you come to graft it; and then your grafting of it changes the nature of the stock, and it has another principle, and so then it brings forth good fruit. … Take the best natured person in the world and plant him in the best soil, in the best ground, in church ground; plant him in the house of God, and there let him be watered by holy doctrine, and let him be cultivated every day, but still he will bring forth nothing but unsavory fruit, until he himself is changed. Though he is under all those spiritual means, yet until those means have wrought effectually in him, his actions are all unsavory.
It is only by our implantation into Jesus Christ that we become fit to do good that is acceptable to God.
It is this that makes the change. For as in nature the graft changes the stock, so in grace, the stock changes the grafted branch. As we are grafted into Christ, He changes the branch; being planted into Christ, by the power of the Spirit, we are then made like Him, and then we shall bring forth fruits of righteousness, which are to the glory of God.