Our Guilt Atoned For

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt-offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.” Leviticus 1:4

Our Lord’s being made “sin for us” is set forth here by the very significant transfer of sin to the bullock, which was made by the elders of the people. The laying of the hand was not a mere touch of contact, for in some other places of Scripture, the original word has the meaning of leaning heavily, as in the expression, “Your wrath lies hard upon me” (Psalm 88:7). Surely this is the very essence and nature of faith, which does not only bring us into contact with the great Substitute—but teaches us to lean upon Him with all the burden of our guilt.

Jehovah made to meet upon the head of the Substitute, all the offences of His covenant people—but each one of the chosen is brought personally to ratify this solemn covenant act, when by grace he is enabled by faith to lay his hand upon the head of the “Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.”

Believer, do you remember that rapturous day when you first realized pardon through Jesus the sin-bearer? Can you not make glad confession, and join with the writer in saying, “My soul recalls her day of deliverance with delight! Laden with guilt and full of fears, I saw my Savior as my Substitute, and I laid my hand upon Him; oh! how timidly at first—but courage grew and confidence was confirmed until I leaned my soul entirely upon Him! And now it is my unceasing joy to know that my sins are no longer imputed to me—but laid on Him, and like the debts of the wounded traveler, Jesus, like the good Samaritan, has said of all my future sinfulness, Set that to My account!” Blessed discovery! Eternal solace of a grateful heart!

“My numerous sins transferred to Him,
Shall never more be found,
Lost in His blood’s atoning stream,
Where every crime is drowned!”

Understanding Our Life After Salvation

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“O Israel, you have destroyed yourself; but in me is your help.” Hosea 13:9

God is all-wise, and therefore takes no rash, precipitate steps. As the original plan of salvation was devised by infinite wisdom, so all the successive steps of the execution of that plan are directed by the same boundless wisdom also. “Wherein he has abounded towards us,” says Paul (Eph.1:8), “in all wisdom and prudence.” Thus, in his dealings with his people, God does not put them at once into possession of all the blessings which he has laid up for them.

He has pardoned, for instance, their sins; but he does not immediately, when he calls them by his grace, put them into possession of this blessing. He has first to teach them their need of it. He has to prepare their heart for the right reception of it. It is no common gift, and he has to teach them how to value it. They are saved from wrath and eternal misery, from his dreadful displeasure and ever-burning indignation against sin. They have need to be shown, and made deeply to feel, from what they are saved, as well as to what they are saved. And as the oak does not grow to its full stature in a day, but needs years of sunshine and storm, of beating winds and howling tempests, to give it strength and constancy, a deep and wide root, as well as a lofty and branching stem, so do God’s children need months and years of trial and temptation, that they may push a deep root downwards, and shoot up healthy and vigorous upwards.

Thus, before the soul can know anything about salvation, it must learn deeply and experimentally the nature of sin, and of itself, as stained and polluted thereby. It is proud, and needs to be humbled; careless, and needs to be awakened; alive, and needs to be killed; full, and requires to be emptied; whole, and needs to be wounded; clothed, and requires to be stripped. It is, by nature, self-righteous and self-seeking; is buried deep in worldliness and carnality; is utterly blind and ignorant; is filled with presumption, arrogance, conceit, and enmity, and hates all that is heavenly and spiritual. Sin, in all its various forms, is its natural element. “The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots.” To make man the direct opposite of what he originally is; to make him love God instead of hating him; fear, instead of mocking him; obey, instead of rebelling against him; and to tremble at his terrible majesty, instead of running upon the thick bosses of his shield;–to do this mighty work, and to effect this wonderful change, requires the implantation of a new nature by the immediate hand of God himself.

Our Only Hope – His Stripes

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Without the shedding of blood is no remission of sin.” Hebrews 9:22

This is the voice of unalterable truth. In none of the Jewish ceremonies, were sins, even typically, removed without blood-shedding. In no case, by no means—can sin be pardoned without atonement. It is clear, then, that there is no hope for me, outside of Christ; for there is no other blood-shedding which is worth a thought—as an atonement for sin. Am I, then, believing in Him? Is the blood of His atonement truly applied to my soul? All men are on a level—as to their need of Him. If we are ever so moral, generous, amiable, or patriotic—the rule will not be altered to make an exception for us. Sin will yield to nothing less potent—than the blood of Him whom God has set forth as an atoning sacrifice.

What a blessing that there is the one way of pardon! Why should we seek another? People of merely formal religion cannot understand how we can rejoice that all our sins are forgiven us for Christ’s sake. Their works, and prayers, and ceremonies, give them very poor comfort; and well may they be uneasy, for they are neglecting the one great salvation, and endeavoring to get remission of sin—without blood.

My soul, sit down, and behold the justice of God as bound to punish sin! See that punishment all executed upon your Lord Jesus—and fall down in humble joy, and kiss the dear feet of Him whose blood has made atonement for you! It is in vain when conscience is aroused to fly to feelings and evidences for comfort—this is a habit which we learned in the Egypt of our legal bondage. The only restorative for a guilty conscience—is a sight of Jesus suffering on the cross! “The blood is the life thereof,” says the Levitical law, and let us rest assured, that it is the life of faith and joy and every other holy grace. “Oh! how sweet to view the flowing Of my Savior’s precious blood—with divine assurance knowing He has made my peace with God.”

Our Peace

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Numbers 6:26

When we offend a person, his face is not toward us as at other times. It was so with Laban towards Jacob; and if we have in any way incurred a friend’s or superior’s displeasure, we watch instinctively his countenance. Is it down or up? Does it wear a frown or a smile? Is it looking upon us with the eye of affection, or are the eyes averted? We can tell in a moment if we know the countenance. Thus is the blessing asked, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,” as a kind and affectionate parent upon an obedient child, as a fond husband upon a loving, devoted wife; for such is God to his children–Father and Husband.

And do we not, as children, often provoke him to look upon us with frowning brow, or rather, not to look upon us at all, to “hide his face,” as we read, “that we cannot see him?” The prayer then is, “The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,” with a smile upon it; free, open, forgiving, merciful, and mild, that you may advance to him. When a disobedient child comes home and sees its father’s face not towards it as before, it shrinks away; there is no pressing forward to get upon the knee, no throwing the little arms round the neck and snatching a kiss, but a shrinking away through guilt and shame. So it is in the things of God. When conscience tells us how in this and that instance we have disobeyed, been inconsistent, transgressed, and done amiss, when we go into God’s presence there is a hanging back, a shrinking away, through fear of an ill reception.

But oh, the change in the child when the frown disappears and the smile comes; when the little one is taken once more into the arms and the tears are kissed away! How much more so in the things of God when he kisses away the tears of the disobedient child, as in the case of the returning prodigal! There are no kisses like those kisses of forgiveness, of mercy, and of restoring grace.

“And give you peace.” Oh, what a blessing! As Deer says, “I’ll lay me down and sweetly sleep, for I have peace with God.” It is this that makes the pillow easy in life, and will alone make that pillow easy in death–peace with God through Jesus Christ, peace through the reconciliation, peace through the blood of sprinkling, “the peace of God which passes all understanding.” Many covet great things, high things. But what said the Lord to Baruch? “Do you seek you great things for yourself? seek them not.” Ministers often seek great gifts, great eloquence, great knowledge of mysteries, great congregations, great popularity and influence. They are wrong in seeking these so-called great things. Let them rather seek real things, gracious things, things that will make their souls blessed here and hereafter.

The blessing that the gracious soul most earnestly covets is peace; for this is the sweetest honey-drop in God’s cup. It is true that it does not make the heart overflow like joy, nor to dance with exultation like the first beaming in of the rays of hope, nor melt it down like the visits of love; but it is in some respects sweeter than all, because it so settles down the soul into sweet assurance; it is the realization of the Savior himself, for “he is our peace,” and may thus be called the crowning blessing.

Our Immeasurable Riches In Christ

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“Though He was rich—yet for your sakes He became poor.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but “though He was rich—yet for your sakes He became poor.” As the rich saint cannot be true in his communion with his poor brethren—unless of his substance he ministers to their necessities; so (the same rule holding with the head as between the members), it is impossible that our Divine Lord could have had fellowship with us—unless He had imparted to us of His own abounding wealth, and had become poor—to make us rich. Had He remained upon His throne of glory, and had we continued in the ruins of the fall without receiving His salvation, communion would have been impossible on both sides.

Our position by the fall, apart from the covenant of grace, made it as impossible for fallen man to communicate with God—as it is for Belial to be in concord with Christ. In order, therefore, that communion might be compassed, it was necessary that the rich Kinsman should bestow his estate upon his poor relatives; that the righteous Savior should give to His sinning brethren of His own perfection; and that we, the poor and guilty—should receive of His fullness grace for grace; that thus in giving and receiving, the One might descend from the heights, and the other ascend from the depths, and so be able to embrace each other in true and hearty fellowship.

Poverty must be enriched by Him in whom are infinite treasures—before it can venture to commune; and guilt must lose itself in imputed and imparted righteousness, before the soul can walk in fellowship with purity. Jesus must clothe His people in His own garments—or He cannot admit them into His palace of glory! And He must wash them in His own blood—or else they will be too defiled for the embrace of His fellowship. O believer, herein is love! For your sake the Lord Jesus “became poor” that He might lift you up into communion with Himself!

The Forgiveness of Sin

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Portion

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your loving-kindness; according unto the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1

This psalm is very suitable to the needs and feelings of every sensible sinner, for it is not necessary to have committed David’s sin to have a measure of David’s repentance and confessions, and of David’s desires, breathings, and supplications. “Have mercy upon me, O God,” he says, “according to your loving-kindness.” To ask God to have mercy upon us is one of the first cries that a convinced sinner puts up to God. It was so with the tax-collector in the temple; and where it is sincere, God will certainly hear it “according to his loving-kindness,” for he is full of love and kindness to poor, mourning sinners.

How the psalmist also begs of the Lord to “blot out his transgressions according unto the multitude of his tender mercies.” As our sins in thought, word, and deed are a countless multitude, of which every one deserves hell, we need “the multitude of his most tender mercies” to blot them out. We may see the stars in the sky, the sands on the sea-shore, the drops of dew on the grass, the waves rolling in upon the beach; but both our sins and God’s tender mercies exceed them all. How he showed these tender mercies in giving his dear Son to suffer, bleed, and die for miserable sinners; and how we need all these tender mercies to pity and pardon us and our transgressions.

And how earnestly David begged, “Wash me throughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” It is only the washing of God himself that can wash us throughly. If we could shed an ocean of tears it would not wash away one sin; but the blood of Christ cleanses from all sin. In order to make us know this, the Lord shows us and makes us feel the guilt and burden of sin, and that we can do nothing to put it away. Pardon must be his own free gift, and that every sensible sinner is made to feel.

Our Remembrances

C. H. Spurgeon

This Morning’s Meditation

“And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Mark 14:72

It has been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is likely that it was so, (for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work). This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise, “Though all men shall forsake You—yet I will not.” We eat our own words—with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been—we may weep whole showers of grief.

Peter thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again.

Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest before long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell.

Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the rooster’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand sermons would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep—when he recollected the Savior’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord—is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow!

The Believer’s Treasure – Forgiveness of Sin

C. H. Spurgeon

This Evening’s Meditation

“Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Romans 8:33

Most blessed challenge! How unanswerable it is! Every sin of the elect was laid upon the great Champion of our salvation—and by the atonement carried away. There is no sin in God’s book against His people—He sees no sin in Jacob, neither iniquity in Israel; they are justified in Christ forever! When the guilt of sin was taken away—the punishment of sin was removed. For the Christian there is no stroke from God’s angry hand—nay, not so much as a single frown of punitive justice. The believer may be chastised by his Father—but God the Judge has nothing to say to the Christian, except “I have absolved you—you are acquitted.”

For the Christian there is no penal death in this world, much less any second death. He is completely freed from all the punishment as well as the guilt of sin, and the power of sin is removed too. It may stand in our way, and agitate us with perpetual warfare; but sin is a conquered foe to every soul in union with Jesus.

There is no sin which a Christian cannot overcome—if he will only rely upon his God to do it. Those who wear the white robe in heaven, overcame through the blood of the Lamb, and we may do the same. No lust is too mighty, no besetting sin too strongly entrenched; we can overcome through the power of Christ. Do believe it, Christian, that your sin is a condemned thing. It may kick and struggle—but it is doomed to die! God has written condemnation across its brow. Christ has crucified it, “nailing it to His cross.” Go now and mortify it, and may the Lord help you to live to His praise, for sin with all its guilt, shame, and fear—is gone!

“Here’s pardon for transgressions past,
It matters not how black their cast;
And, O my soul, with wonder view,
For sins to come—here’s pardon too!”

Our Full and Complete Pardon

J. C. Philpot

Today’s Daily Words for Zion’s Wayfarers

“In those days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found–for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Jeremiah 50:20

Some have feared lest in the great day their sins should be brought to light, and they put to shame by the exposure of their crimes to open view. But that will not be the case with the dear family of God. We read indeed that “many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake;” and while some awake “to everlasting life,” others will awake “to shame and everlasting contempt,” because their sins will be remembered and brought against them as evidences of their just condemnation. But the wise, who “shall shine as the brightness of the skies,” will rise to glory and honor and immortality, and not one of their sins will be remembered, charged, or brought against them. They will stand arrayed in Christ’s perfect righteousness and washed in his blood, and will appear before the throne of God without spot or blemish.

We can scarcely bear the recollection of our sins now. But what would become of us if the spirit of one unburied sin could flit before our eyes in the day when the Lord makes up his jewels? If any one sin of the Lamb’s wife could be remembered or brought against her, where would be the voice which John heard in Revelation, as “the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia; for the Lord God omnipotent reigns?” Now what was this voice? “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white–for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints” (Rev. 19:7, 8).

But suppose that any of the past transgressions of the Lamb’s wife could be brought against her on that marriage day, any one instance of unfaithfulness to her plighted troth, would it not be sufficient to prevent the marriage, mar the wedding supper, and drive the bride away for very shame? No, there is no truth in God’s word more certain than the complete forgiveness of sins, and the presentation of the Church to Christ at the great day faultless before the presence of his glory, with exceeding joy.