Spiritual liberty, brethren, you and I enjoy if we have “the Spirit of the Lord” within us. What does this imply? It implies that there was a time when we had not that Spiritual liberty—when we were slaves. But a little while ago all of us who now are free in Christ Jesus, were slaves of the devil: we were led captives at his will. We talked of free-will, but free will is a slave. We boasted that we could do what we pleased; but oh! what a slavish and dreamy liberty we had. It was a fancied freedom. We were slaves to our lusts and passions—slaves to sin; but now we are freed from sin; we are delivered from our tyrant; a stronger than he has cast out the strong man armed, and we are free.
“O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me” from it? “But the Christian is free; he can smile now, though he wept before; he can rejoice now, whereas he lamented. “There is,” he says, “no sin upon my conscience now; there is no crime upon my breast; I need not walk through the earth fearful of every shadow, and afraid of every man I meet, for She is washed away; my spirit is no more guilty; it is pure, it is holy; there no longer resteth the frown of God upon me; but my Father smiles: I see his eyes—they are glancing love: I hear his voice—it is full of sweetness. I am forgiven, I am forgiven, I am forgiven! All hail, thou breaker of fetters! glorious Jesus! Ah! that moment when first the bondage passed away!
For me there are no eternal racks, no torments, for if I am justified, I cannot be condemned. Jesus hath suffered the punishment in my stead, and God would be unjust if he were to punish me again; for Christ has suffered once, and satisfied justice for ever. When conscience tells me I am a sinner, I tell conscience I stand in Christ’s place, and Christ stands in mine. True, I am a sinner; but Christ died for sinners. True I deserve punishment; but if my ransom died, will God ask for the debt twice? Impossible! He has cancelled it. There never was, and never shall be one believer in hell. We are free from punishment, and we never need quake on account of it.
Do you understand how it is that the very guilt of the sinner is taken away? Here I stand to-day a guilty and condemned traitor; Christ comes for my salvation, he bids me leave my cell, “I will stand where you are; I will be your substitute; I will be the sinner; all your guilt is to be imputed to me; I will die for it, I will suffer for it; I will have your sins.” Then stripping himself of his robes, he says, “There, put them on; you shall be considered as if you were Christ; you shall be the righteous one. I will take your place, you take mine.” Then he casts around me a glorious robe of perfect righteousness; and when I behold it, I exclaim, “Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed, with my elder brother’s garments on.” Jesus Christ’s crown is on my head, his spotless robes are round my loins, and his golden sandles are the shoes of my feet. And now is there any sin? The sin is on Christ; the righteousness is on me. Ask for the sinner, Justice! Let the voice of Justice cry, “Bring forth the sinner!” The sinner is brought. Who doth the executioner lead forth? It is the incarnate Son of God. True, he did not commit the sin; he was without fault; but it is imputed to him: he stands in the sinner’s place. Now Justice cries, “Bring forth the righteous, the perfectly righteous.” Whom do I see? Lo, the Church is brought; each believer is brought. Justice says, “Are these perfectly righteous?” “Yes they are. What Christ did is theirs; what they did is laid on Christ; his righteousness is theirs; their sins are his.”
There is not a crime against me in the book of God; it is blotted out for ever; it is cancelled; and not only can I never be punished, but I have nothing to be punished for. Christ has atoned for my sins, and I have received his righteousness.
Sometimes you fear, but oftener you rejoice. You sit down calmly and think of dying. What is death? It is a low porch through which you stoop to enter heaven. What is life? It is a narrow screen that separates us from glory, and death kindly removes it!
It is the privilege of Englishmen, that they can always send a petition to Parliament; and it is the privilege of a believer, that he can always send a petition to the throne of God. I am free to God’s throne. If I want to talk to God to-morrow morning, I can. If to-night I wish to have conversation with my Master, I can go to him. I have a right to go to his throne. It matters not how much I may have sinned. I go and ask for pardon. It signifies nothing how poor I am—I go and plead his promise that he will provide all things needful. I have a right to go to his throne at all times—in midnight’s darkest hour, or in noontide’s heat. Where’er I am; if fate command me to the utmost verge of the wide earth, I have still constant admission to his throne. Use that right, beloved—use that right.
Some people say, “If I had more money I should have a larger house, and horses, and carriage, and so on.” Very well and good; but I wish the Christian would do the same. I wish they would set up a larger house, and do greater things for God; look more happy, and take those tears away from their eyes.
“Religion never was designed
To make our pleasures less.”
With such stores in the bank, and so much in hand, that God gives you, you have no right to be poor. Up! rejoice! rejoice! The Christian ought to live up to his income, and not below it.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon