Romans 9:30
What then will we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith;
Sermons
Vessels of Wrath and Vessels of MercyR.M. Edgar Romans 9:19-33
A Great ReversalProf. Thomson.Romans 9:25-33
A People Who Were no PeopleC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 9:25-33
God's Judgments AreJ. Lyth, D. D.Romans 9:25-33
Hope for the OutcastsJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:25-33
JudgmentJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:25-33
Some Points in the Divine ProcedureJ. W. Burn.Romans 9:25-33
The Calling of the GentilesJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:25-33
The Character and Privileges of the SaintsJ. W Burn.Romans 9:25-33
The Divine ConsideratenessJ. W. Burn.Romans 9:25-33
The Example of Israel a Warning to the WorldJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:25-33
The Lord of SabaothM. Thomson.Romans 9:25-33
The Rejection of the JewsJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:25-33
The Remnant SavedB. Beddome, M.A.Romans 9:25-33
The Sovereignty of GodJ. J. S. Bird, M.A.Romans 9:25-33
A Common Stumbling BlockRomans 9:30-33
A Reliable SalvationT. De Witt Talmage.Romans 9:30-33
Christ a Stumbling Stone and Rock of CollisionJ. Morison, D.D.Romans 9:30-33
Christ Rejected by Jews and Accepted by GentilesC. Simeon, M.A.Romans 9:30-33
No Righteousness by the LawJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:30-33
S.S.: or the Sinner SavedC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 9:30-33
Seeking After RighteousnessH. W. Beecher.Romans 9:30-33
The Divine Method of SalvationJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:30-33
The Folly of Rejecting the GospelH. W. Beecher.Romans 9:30-33
The Gospel for the GentilesJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:30-33
The Reasonableness of God's WorkingT. F. Lockyer, B.A.Romans 9:30-33
The Reasonableness of God's WorkingT.F. Lockyer Romans 9:30-33
The Righteousness of the GospelJ. Lyth, D.D.Romans 9:30-33
The Unsuccessful SeekerJ. Lyth, D.D., Prof. Beet., C. H. Irwin, M.A.Romans 9:30-33
Un-Believers Stumbling; Believers RejoicingC. H. Spurgeon.Romans 9:30-33
The question hitherto has been - How can God set aside an elect people? And the answer - God chooses whom he will for the carrying on of his saving work. But now a reason is adduced. For though God does what he will, yet we may be sure he never wills what is not right. And here the great reason of the rejection of Israel, and the choice of the Gentiles, for the carrying out of God's purposes, is this - that the former have altogether failed to apprehend the nature of salvation, when all has been done by God to teach them its true character; whereas the latter, left, it might seem, to themselves, have eagerly received the proffered gift when once it was presented. Needs it any arguing to show that they are better fitted to work for God than the others?

I. GENTILES.

1. The previous history of the Gentiles, from the religious point of view, is set forth in this - that they "followed not after righteousness." That is, they sought not justification with God. For a subjective righteousness they did seek after, as is witnessed by the earnest inquiries of the great ethical leaders, e.g. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle; and of their poets and historians, who also sought to set forth the principles of right. But as to an objective righteousness, a being right with God, this was not in all their thoughts. They regarded God as not much troubling himself with human conduct, and sin itself as rather a defect, an ignorance, than something for which man is gravely culpable. So, in this sense, it was emphatically true that they "followed not after righteousness."

2. But of the same Gentiles it is said, of their acceptance of Christ's gospel, that they "attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith." The dormant conscience awoke; the weakness of their ethical systems was revealed; the exceeding guilt of sin, as well as the exceeding love of God, was set forth in the cross of Christ; and being stricken to the heart, and crying, "What must I do to be saved?" they were ready, nay, eager, to respond to the blessed command, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." And, accepting the great salvation, they stood as justified in the presence of him who forgiveth for the sake of Christ. They "attained to righteousness."

II. JEWS.

1. The history of the Jews is stated, by way of contrast to that of the Gentiles, as consisting in this - that they "followed after a Law of righteousness." The wording is most accurate. They followed a Law, which was designed by God to teach them their sin, and lead them to look to his free grace, through Christ, for pardon; but it was not this "end of the Law" which they in reality followed, but rather the Law itself. They made an end of the means, and thus entirely subverted its design; for instead of learning by the Law their sin, they sought, by a supposed fulfilment of its precepts, to make themselves just before God. So, instead of learning to be poor in spirit, they learned an arrogant self-complacency; instead of coming to God's grace for pardon, they thanked God they were not as other men, and stood before him self-justified.

2. What was the result? They "did not arrive at that Law;" not at its true purport, its ultimate design. And so the real law of justification, the being saved by grace through faith, was hidden from their eyes. To them the Rock of Ages was "a Stone of stumbling, a Rock of offence." Oh, let us learn, from the history of the past, that there is shame for us, and shame only, if we seek to make ourselves just before God. But, accepting freely the grace which is freely given, we shall prove, "He that believeth on him shall not be put to shame." - T.F.L.







The Gentiles which followed not after righteousness have attained to righteousness... but Israel which followed after the law of righteousness hath not attained.
I. THEY NEEDED IT.

1. Were without righteousness.

2. Without the knowledge of it.

3. Without the desire for it.

II. IT IS ADAPTED TO THEIR CASE. It reveals —

1. The righteousness of God.

2. Without works.

3. By faith.

4. In Christ.

III. IT HAS BEEN ATTAINED BY MANY.

1. As the free gift of God.

2. As the source of unspeakable happiness.

3. May be attained by all.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I.IT IS DESIGNED FOR SINNERS,

II.OFFERED TO FAITH.

III.IMPOSSIBLE BY WORKS.

IV.BECAUSE THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS STUMBLE AT THE CROSS.

V.BUT THE SINNER IS SAVED BY FAITH.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Now you may reject the gospel if you please, but wherein will your condition be improved? If on a ship where some pestilence is raging, the crew and the passengers throw the doctor and the medicine chest overboard, and keep the pestilence with them, how much better are they off? Many there are who are bent on casting Christianity overboard, on getting rid of the Church and priest and theology, and who are bent on keeping their sin and all its multitudinous train of mischief and evils. If men had become pure of heart, then there might be some reason in dispensing with these superflous ministrations; but, thus far, scepticism and the rejection of Christianity is only to make darkness darker and sickness more fatal and distress more painful.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I. THE FACT HERE STATED was —

1. Plain and undeniable.

2. A verification of prophecy.

II. THE INSTRUCTION TO BE GATHERED FROM it.

1. That however earnest we may be after salvation, we shall never attain it if we seek it in a self-righteous way.

2. That however regardless we have been about salvation hitherto, we shall attain to it the instant we believe in Christ.

3. That however calumniated this way of salvation is, the very calumnies that are raised against it attest its truth.

(C. Simeon, M.A.)

Paul had two facts before him; the first was, that wherever he went preaching Christ certain Gentiles believed the doctrine, receiving at once forgiveness of sin and a change of heart; and although he had usually commenced his ministry in the synagogues, yet the Jews had almost everywhere rejected the Messiah, and at the same time missed the righteousness which they conceived they had obtained. Note —

I. A WONDER OF GRACE.

1. Certain men had attained to righteousness. Now that alone is a great wonder, for we are all sinners both by nature and by practice.

2. The wonder grows when we consider that these persons had attained to righteousness under great disadvantages; for they were Gentiles, considered by the Jews to be offcasts and outcasts given up to idolatry or to atheism and lusts. There are virtues for which the heathen had no name; and they practised vices for which, thank God, you have no name. They were ignorant withal of the requirements of the law, the light of which alone shone upon the seed of Israel. The strange thing is that such originally were those men who attained unto righteousness. Having no righteousness of their own, and being convinced that they needed one, they fled at once to the righteousness which God has prepared for all who believe in Christ. Are there not persons here whose condition is somewhat similar? You are not religious; but why should not you also attain to righteousness by faith? Wonders of grace are things which God delights in; why should He not work such wonders in you?

3. The marvel of grace was all the greater because, "They followed not after righteousness." Some of them were thoughtful, just, and generous towards men, but righteousness towards God was not a matter after which they laboured. Gold or glory, power or pleasure, were the objects for which they ran. Yet when the gospel burst in upon the midnight of their souls they received its light with joy. They had not sought the Shepherd, but He had sought them, and, laying them on His shoulders, He brought them to His fold. They were like that Indian who, passing up the mountain-side pursuing game, grasped a shrub to prevent his slipping, and as its roots gave way they uncovered masses of silver. These Gentiles discovered in Christ the righteousness which they needed, but which they had never dreamed of finding.

4. These unlikely persons did really believe, and so attain to righteousness. They did not want hammering at so long as some of you do. At the first summons many of them surrendered. They rose at a bound from depths of sin to heights of righteousness. The apostle asks us, "What shall we say then?"(1) Herein is seen the Sovereign appointment of the Lord. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, He will fulfil His promise to His Son, "Behold, Thou shalt call a nation that Thou knowest not," etc.(2) This also is according to Divine prophecy. "I will call them My people, which were not My people," etc.

3. This is, in fact, the gospel of the grace of God. That God smiles upon worthy people and rewards their goodness is not the gospel. The gospel is that God hath mercy upon the guilty and undeserving.

II. A MARVEL OF FOLLY: "Israel," etc. These people —

1. Were very advantageously placed. They were of the chosen race, born within the visible Church, and circumcised, and brought up to know the law of Moses, and yet they had never attained to righteousness. There are those present who were nursed in the lap of piety; they have scarcely been a single Sabbath absent from the Lord's house. Now that they have reached riper years they are still hovering around the gates of mercy, but they have not entered upon the way of life. I tremble for you who are so good and yet are not regenerate.

2. Were earnest and zealous in following after the law of righteousness. Alas! many who have never forgotten a single outward rite are nevertheless quite dead as to spiritual things. Nobody could put a finger upon an open fault in you, and yet you, at least, have a shrewd suspicion that all is not right between you and God. It is concerning such as you that Paul had great heaviness and continual sorrow of heart. You may be earnestly seeking righteousness in the wrong way, and this is a terrible thing.

3. Made a mistake at the very beginning. Israel did not follow after righteousness, but after "the law of righteousness." They missed the spirit and followed after the mere letter of the law. They looked at "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not commit adultery," etc.; but to love God with all their heart was not thought of. They thought of what a man does, but they forgot the importance of what a man is. Escape from this error; be not so eager for the shell as to lose the kernel, so zealous for the form of godliness as to deny the power thereof!

4. Went upon a wrong principle — viz., that of works. This principle is wrong for —(1) It exalts man.(2) It ignores the great fact that you have sinned already. Are you going to be saved by your works? What about the past? If I am going to pay my way for the future, this will not discharge my old debts.(3) It makes nothing of God. It shuts out both His justice and His mercy.(4) It is impossible to you. You cannot perfectly keep the law of God, for you are sold under sin. Who can get clean water from a polluted spring? "There is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not." But suppose you could outwardly keep the law of God out of a sense of obligation to do so, yet the work is not done unless you yourself are made right with God. Your heart must love God as well as your hands serve Him.

5. Fully developed their unrighteousness when they stumbled at Christ. Jesus Christ came among them, and became to them a rock of offence. They seemed to stand upright until then; but when He came among them, down they went into actual rebellion against the Lord and His Anointed. Yes, your moralists are the great enemies of the Cross. They do not want an atonement; they can hardly endure the doctrine.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. ITS APPARENT CONTRADICTIONS (vers. 30, 31).

1. According to human judgment those who most earnestly seek after righteousness should be the first to attain it.

2. But the Gentiles who sought it not have obtained the righteousness of faith.

3. While the Jews who followed after the law of righteousness utterly failed.

II. ITS SECRET HARMONIES (vers. 32, 33).

1. The righteousness is only by faith.

2. The Jews, who sought it by works, took offence at the Cross.

3. But the Gentile, conscious of his demerit, believed and was saved.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

The question hitherto has been — How can God set aside an elect people? And the answer — God chooses whom He will for the carrying on His saving work. But now a reason is adduced. For although God does what He will, we may be sure He never wills what is not right. And here the great reason for the rejection of Israel and the choice of the Gentiles is this, that the former have failed to apprehend the nature of salvation, whereas the latter have received the proffered gift. Needs it any arguing that they are better fitted to work for God than the others?

I. THE GENTILES.

1. Their previous history, from a religious point of view, is that they "followed not after righteousness," i.e., they sought not justification with God. For a subjective righteousness they did seek — witness Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and poets and historians who sought to set forth the principles of right. But as to an objective righteousness, a being right with God, this was not in all their thoughts. They regarded God as not much troubling Himself with human conduct, and sin itself as rather a defect than guilt.

2. Yet they "attained to righteousness." The dormant conscience awoke; the weakness of their ethical systems was revealed; the guilt of sin and the love of God was set forth in the Cross, and being stricken to the heart, and crying "What must I do to be saved?" they were eager to respond to the command "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," etc.; and accepting salvation they "attained to righteousness."

II. JEWS.

1. Their history is stated by way of contrast. The wording is most accurate. They "followed a law" which was designed by God to teach them sin, and lead them to look to His free grace in Christ for pardon; but it was not this "end of the law" which they followed, but the law itself. They made an end of the means, and thus subverted its design; for instead of learning from the law their sin, they sought by a supposed fulfilment of its precepts to make themselves just before God. So instead of learning to be poor in spirit they learned an arrogant self-complacency; instead of coming to God's grace for pardon, they thanked God they were not as other men, and stood self-justified.

2. What was the result? They "did not arrive at that law" not at its true purport, its ultimate design. So the real law of justification, salvation through faith, was hidden from their eyes. To them the Rock of Ages was "a stone of stumbling," etc. Learn, then, from the history of the past that there is only shame for us if we seek to make ourselves just before God. By accepting freely the grace that is freely given, we shall "not be put to shame."

(T. F. Lockyer, B.A.)

They also gave to the world, by their ancient economy, a religion whose genius was the development of mankind. In other words, they gave to the world an ethical religion, as distinguished from a worshipping and superstitious religion. Although the Jew made manifest every office of devotion and reverence, and although you might select from the Jewish writers saints as eminent in observances as any others, yet the distinctive peculiarity of religion among the Israelites was that it had a practical drift as regards the conduct of men. It did not expend itself in lyrics and prayers of worship. It descended to the character of men, and sought first, and above all other faiths of that age, to develop manhood. For the whole flow of that word "righteousness" in the Old Testament is the equivalent of our word "manhood" in modern phrase, and seeking after righteousness was the distinctive peculiarity of the Hebrew religion. It bred a race of men who put into the building of themselves the attributes of truth, of justice, of humanity, of morality, of gentleness, and of humility. It reared men who had no equals, and with whom there was nothing that could compare in their own time. The Greeks built better temples than the Hebrews; but though the Hebrew hand never carved a marble, it did better — it carved men. Such was the very drift of their religion. And the apostle, having received the culture of Greece at the feet of his great teacher, and knowing what it meant, declared that his brethren sought after righteousness, but that they did not well understand what were the instruments by which the higher development of manhood was to be attained. They sought to develop righteousness by institutions; but Paul says that no race of people ever did or ever will, merely by institutions, develop the highest form of character. That must be done by following a living example under a heroic inspiration.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I.MAN'S NEED OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

II.HIS UNAVAILING EFFORTS AFTER IT. Example of the Jew.

III.THE CAUSE OF HIS FAILURE. He seeks it not by faith, but by works, consequently stumbles at Christ.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

I.WHAT HE SEEKS.

II.HOW HE SEEKS IT.

III.THE DISAPPOINTING RESULT.

IV.BECAUSE HE STUMBLES AT CHRIST.

(J. Lyth, D.D.)

Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith. — This verse plainly teaches that the reason why one man is unsaved while others are saved is not in God, but in himself. So always (Romans 10:3; Romans 11:22f; Matthew 23:37). This by no means contradicts ver.18, but looks at the same subject from another point. The reason why any one criminal is put to death is, if justice be done, entirely in himself. But the question whether any criminals are to be put to death rests entirely with the legislature. Those who oppose capital punishment may leave out of sight the conduct of the criminal, and speak only of what it is expedient for the government to do. And the moralist may leave out of sight the expediency of capital punishment, and speak only of the consequences of sin. Or again, the motion of the withered leaves of autumn is due entirely to the wind. They do not in the least degree even co-operate to produce their own motion. But the stones on the wayside remain unmoved. The difference arises, not from a difference of the influence brought to bear on them, but simply from this, that while the leaves yield to, the stones resist, the influence which both alike experience. So with us. That believers are justified at all springs entirely from the undeserved mercy of God, and every step towards salvation is entirely God's work in them. But the reason why when some are justified others are not, is that they put themselves by unbelief outside the number of those whom God has determined to save. When Paul replied to the objection that the gospel is inconsistent with the justice of God, he said that salvation is not a manner of justice at all, and that God bestows it on whom He will. But when explaining why the Jews have not obtained salvation, he says that the reason is in themselves. Observe also that their position is attributed not to their sin, but to their unbelief.

(Prof. Beet.)

Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence. — It seems strange that Jesus the Saviour of men should be set before us in this way; but the great object is to cause us to consider what our own attitude is toward Christ. Am I clinging to Him as my Rock of Safety, or am I being repelled from Him as from a rock of offence? Jesus Himself alluded to the same idea (Matthew 21:42-44).

I. THERE ARE SOME THINGS IN CHRIST'S LIFE AND WORK AT WHICH MEN STUMBLE.

1. The way He came into the world (Matthew 12:54-57). The people stumbled at the difficulty of His lowly parentage. Yet why? for it was all predicted, and ought rather to confirm faith.

2. The surroundings of His daily life. It was with the poor that He chiefly mingled. Here, however, is a proof that Christ was Divine. God is no respecter of persons. Had Christ been a mere man with an ambition to found a kingdom, He would have sought very different society. The persons He chose for His ambassadors were themselves a proof that their religion was Divine. Without rank or riches or worldly influence, and only by the power of their words, they founded a religion which will one day conquer the world.

3. His death. This was to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness. And now men, while willing to regard Christ as the greatest of teachers and sublimest of examples, stumble at His atonement. Yet it is this only that gives meaning to the Old Testament, and without it Christ's own teaching is inexplicable, and to stumble at it is to find a difficulty in the most convincing proof of God's love. Instead of stumbling at it they should find it as Paul did "the power of God."

II. THERE ARE SOME THINGS IN THEMSELVES WHICH CAUSE MEN TO STUMBLE AT CHRIST. Christ is a stumbling stone —

1. To human pride. If we are to be saved by Jesus we must as guilty sinners lay aside all trust in our own merits. God's way of salvation is too simple. If He would bid us do or suffer some great thing we would gladly do it. But is not this again unreasonable? If I will not take God's way of getting to heaven, how can I expect to get there by any other?

2. To human sins. Many would like to get to heaven, but do not like to give up their sins. But how unreasonable.

3. To human selfishness. "Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

(C. H. Irwin, M.A.)

1. These are astounding words. Who is the speaker? Not Paul, for he quotes Isaiah: not Isaiah, for in both passages (Isaiah 28:16; Isaiah 8:11, 13-16) he ascribes them to Jehovah — one therefore who has a right to speak great and terrible things. What, or rather who, is referred to? It is none else than Jehovah Jesus.

2. When He, then, is represented under the alternative figure of a refuge and a stone of stumbling it is implied that men need a refuge. Why? Because men are everywhere pursued — pursued by penal evils, and that because they are themselves pursuing after evils of another kind. They love "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, or the pride of life," and are keenly pursuing them. One man is making life subordinate to the ignoble pursuit of sensual indulgence, others to fame and power, myriads more to wealth. But the earth on which men live belongs to God, and He has therefore a right to rule in it and over it, and having this right and being holy His malediction is lying on every form of sinful gratification. Hence every nation is pursued by a host of evils, and is time after time driven to Divine means to stave them off for a season. In vain.

3. But, what, then, is to become of each mortal man, of nations, of the great world? Let us hear the voice of God. "Behold I lay," etc. Every man's refuge is in Jehovah Jesus. "There is none other name," etc. Never till the world takes refuge on or in Him will it be happy, and as the world is but a world full of individuals, never will individual men be happy until they flee to Him.

4. But why, then, is He called "a stumbling stone and a rock of collision"? Is a stumbling stone a refuge? Is a rock of collision an asylum? Undoubtedly. It is just according as Christ is made use of as that He will be found to be one or the other. That which is our greatest boon when rightly used may become our utter ruin when abused. Fire and water are among our greatest blessings, but if a man will leap into a blazing furnace, or into a seething flood it will be his destruction. Look how steam engines have multiplied the comforts of life! But if a man will rush into machinery in full motion, all the world's comforts will in one moment cease to be comforts available to him. The same principle holds good in the relation of Jehovah Jesus to men. If they use Him aright He will prove a sanctuary, but if they insist on going on as if He were not in existence at all then He will be a rock of dreadful collision, and they will rush upon Him and be broken and ruined. The Divine idea is this: if men will have none of Jesus, and run on in their way without deigning to look so low as to see Jesus, the interests they pursue must come into terrific collision with the interests He pursues; and whensoever the collision comes, they and they only, will suffer. They will be like fugitives from a flood, who dash with all their highest pressure of force full on, upon a jagged rock. The rock will remain uninjured; but they will fall and be broken, and the flood will overtake and overwhelm them. But there is the sweet addition to the potentous threatening "Whosoever believeth on Him," the Rock of Ages, "shall not be ashamed." His security is certain. The rain may descend, etc., but his hopes will not fail because they are founded upon the Rock.

(J. Morison, D.D.)

Our apostle was inspired, and yet he was moved to quote the Old Testament, and thus he sets us an example of searching the Scriptures. The passage is composed of two Scriptures woven into one. A part is found in Isaiah 28:16; of which the apostle gives us rather the sense than the words, and another part in Isaiah 8:14. In the latter of these passages we have a striking proof of Christ's divinity. Observe ver. 13, "Sanctify the Lord of Hosts Himself... and He shall be for a sanctuary" to believers; "but a stone of stumbling," etc. Isaiah utters a prophecy of the Lord of Hosts, Paul quotes it in reference to the Lord Jesus, plainly intending us to infer that Christ is no other than Jehovah. In his quotation from the former the apostle has omitted the words "for a foundation," and has inserted the words of the other passage, "a stumbling stone, a rock of offence," But the original prophecy serves to show that God's real object in laying Christ in Zion was not that men might stumble at Him, but that He might be a foundation for their hopes; but the result has been that to one set of men Christ has become a sanctuary and a stone of dependence; and to others a stumbling stone. Note —

I. THAT MANY STUMBLING AT CHRIST.

1. No sooner did He commence His ministry than men began to stumble at Him. "Is not this the carpenter's son?" was the question of those who looked for worldly pomp. "His father and His mother, we know," was the whispered objection of His own townsmen. In His own country the greatest of all prophets had no honour. The Pharisee stumbled at Him, because He did not wash His hands before He ate, nor make broad His phylactery. He healed the sick upon the Sabbath; He had no respect for traditions, and befriended publicans and sinners. The Sadducee, on the other hand, detested Jesus, because His teaching had in it very much of the supernatural element. All His life long, in the high courts of Herod or of Pilate, or in the lowest rank of the mob of Judaea, Christ was despised and rejected of men. But the Jew was not alone in his offence at the Cross. The polished Greeks, when they heard Paul preach, they saw nothing flattering to their philosophy, and therefore they openly mocked. In every age Christ has been rejected by the very men whom He came to bless. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not."

2. However, we have very little to do with these past ages. There are amongst us some who stumble at Christ because of —(1) His holiness. He is too strict for them. Christ offends men because His gospel is intolerant of sin.(2) His plan of salvation by faith. They say, "What, are our good works to go for nothing?" This is too humbling.(3) The doctrine He preaches, more especially the doctrines of grace. If we preach virtue some will say, "I enjoyed that discourse"; but if we preach Christ, and begin to talk about the deep doctrines which lie underneath the gospel, straightway they are angry. Ah! Christ will not shape His doctrine to suit thy carnal taste.(4) His people and their inconsistencies. As though it is an excuse for going to hell because others do not walk straight to heaven. What if David falls and is restored, is this any reason why thou shouldst fall and never be restored? The shipwrecks of others should only make thee sail more carefully.(5) The real objection, however, is Christ Himself. You will not have this man to reign over you. If thou hast no objection to Christ, accept Him.

3. Now let me reason with those who have made Christ a stumbling stone.(1) Hast thou ever considered how much thou insultest God the Father by rejecting Christ? Would it not bring the blood into thy face if thou shouldst give thine only son to fight for thy country, and they to whom he was given should despise thee and thy gift?(2) What a proof is here of thy sinfulness, and how readily wilt thou be condemned at the last when this sin is written on thy forehead. There will be no reason to bring up any other sins against thee. Thou hast objected to God's dear Son, why need we any other witness?(3) How will this increase thy misery? Dost thou think God will be tender over thee when thou hast not been tender with His Son? How can you escape if you neglect so great salvation? You have broken down the only bridge which could have led you into safety.

II. WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH ON HIM SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED. Notice —

1. When those who trust Christ might be ashamed of having trusted Him.(1) Well might they be ashamed if Christ should ever leave them.(2) If Christ should fail them either as to providence or grace in times of trial and temptation.(3) If Christ's promises were not fulfilled.(4) If when he came to die he should find no support. But have ye ever heard of a Christian who was ashamed in his dying hour?

2. Why they might be ashamed if such things were to come.(1) We have ventured our all upon Christ. The world says you should never put all your eggs in one basket, and the world is quite right in human things. But here are we, we are depending everything upon one man. If He can fail us, we are of all men most miserable.(2) We have given up this life for the next. The world's proverb is, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush," but we, on the other hand, have said that the bird in the hand is nothing at all, that the bird in the bush is everything. Now, if things should turn out wrong, and we have believed in vain, then we shall be ashamed of our hope, but not till then, and that shall be never.(3) We began boasting before we had ended the battle. You have boasted in Christ; you have said that He is a sure foundation, but if He should fail you, why then you would be in the position of a man who boasted before the time. But we shall never be ashamed.(4) We have actually divided the spoil; and oh! if the battle should be lost, then we should be ashamed. The French once, before the battle began, commenced selling the English captives, but then, fortunately, they never gained the victory. But you and I have already entered into our rest; and if it should be a delusion we should be ashamed, but not till then.(5) Men are ashamed when they have made a bad speculation, because they have induced others to enter into it. You and I have been inducing others to embark in this great venture. Oh, sweet assurance, we have not preached cunningly devised fables, and shall never be ashamed.

3. Who are they who shall never be ashamed? "Whosoever believeth" — that is, any man who ever lived, or ever shall live, who believes in Christ, shall never be ashamed. Whether he has been a gross sinner or a moralist; whether he be a prince or a beggar, it matters not.

4. The text means more than it says, viz., the believers shall be glorified and full of honour. If thou trustest Christ to-day, it will bring shame from men, it will ensure trials, but it will also ensure honour in the eight of God's holy angels and glory at the last in the sight of the assembled universe.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A preacher of the gospel had gone down into a coal mine during the noon hour to tell the miners of that grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ. After telling them the simple story of God's love to lost sinners — man's state and God's remedy, a full and free salvation offered, the time came for the men to resume work, and the preacher came back to the shaft to ascend to the world again. Meeting the foreman, he asked him what he thought of God's way of salvation. The man replied, "Oh, it is too cheap: I cannot believe in such a religion as that!" Without an immediate answer to his remark, the preacher asked: "How do you get out of this place?" "Simply by getting into the cage," was the reply. "And does it take long to get to the top? "Oh, no; only a few seconds!" "Well, that certainly is very easy and simple. But do you not need to help raise yourself?" said the preacher. "Of course not!" replied the miner. "As I have said, you have nothing to do but get into the cage." "But what about the people who sunk the shaft, and perfected all this arrangement? Was there much labour or expense about it?" "Indeed, yes; that was a laborious and expensive work. The shaft is eighteen hundred feet deep, and it was sunk at great cost to the proprietor; but it is our only way out, and without it we should never be able to get to the surface." "Just so. And when God's Word tells you that whosoever believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life, you at once say, 'Too cheap!' — 'Too cheap!' forgetting that God's work to bring you and others out of the pit of destruction and death was accomplished at a vast cost, the price being the death of His own Son." Men talk about the "help of Christ" in their salvation — that if they do their part, Christ will do His, forgetting, or not seeing, that the Lord Jesus Christ by Himself purged our sins, and that our part is but to accept what has been done.

My friends, I do not want to make an experiment about my own soul. I cannot afford to do it. I have but one soul to be saved or lost, and if you can show to me that this gospel of Jesus Christ is an experiment, I want nothing to do with it. I do not want to go on a trial trip. Some years ago, in the Canadas, there was a bridge built over an awful chasm. Far down beneath the waters rushed very violently. After this costly and beautiful bridge was done, the day for opening it came. Thousands of people assembled. Flags were flying, guns were. sounding. There was a large coach drawn by six horses, a coach loaded with passengers, and at just the advertised moment, the architect of the bridge, to show that the structure was what it pretended to be, mounted the box of this coach, took the reins in his hands, and started, amid the huzzas of thousands and thousands of people. He drove on until he came to the centre of the bridge, when the timbers cracked, and all went down — some dashed against the abutments, some whelmed in the stream. You tell me that there is a bridge built for my soul over sin, and death, and hell, and you ask me to go on it, and ask me to take all these people on it. No; unless I am sure it is a safe bridge, But this is no experiment. We are not the first to go over it. Scores, and hundreds, and thousands have gone over it. "A great multitude that no man can number," have gone over it. That bridge is buttressed at one end with the "Rock of Ages," and at the other with the throne of the Lord God Almighty, and I am not afraid to trust it. Wilt you go with me to-day? Venture on Him. Venture wholly. No experiment about it. If it had been an unsafe salvation, your fathers and mothers would long ago have found it out. Oh, what a glorious salvation from sin, and death, and hell! Peter preached it at the Pentecost, and there went up the shout of three thousand delivered captives. Paul preached it in official circles, and the knees of Felix knocked together. Robert McCheyne preached it in Dundee until all Scotland was in a blaze. Richard Baxter preached it until Lord Jeffries trembled on the judicial bench, and James II turned pale on his iniquitous throne, and hundreds of souls started from Kidderminster for the saints' everlasting rest. It has dried up rivers of tears.

(T. De Witt Talmage.).

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