Charles Spurgeon was an overweight Baptist preacher in London 100 years ago. The more I read about him, the more I read of his sermons, the more I stand in awe of his gifts. He preached to 4,000 at each service on Sunday for 38 years at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. He is known today as the greatest soul-winner of the last century. What is not so well known is the theology behind his power. It was the theology of sovereign grace in Romans 8:28-30. He recounts the decisive day when he was sixteen:
I can recall the very day and hour when I first received those truths (of election and effectual calling) in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God.
One week-night when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it. The thought struck me, “How did you come to be a Christian?” I sought the Lord. “But how did you come to seek the Lord?” The truth flashed across my mind in a moment—I should not have sought him unless there had been some previous influence in my mind to make me seek him. I prayed, thought I, but then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that he was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, “I ascribe my change wholly to God.”
I recommend the new biography of Spurgeon by Arnold Dallimore. It is simply called Spurgeon, and was published last year by Moody Press. We need to read about how God has mightily used people who embraced the sovereignty of grace!
Rejoicing in Romans 8:28,
and on Romans 8:29,