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137. Mercy, Omnipotence, and Justice — Nahum 1:3

If you’ve ever wondered how the Lord can be both gracious and a God of judgment, this is the sermon to listen to. Young Charles Spurgeon explains how these seemingly contradictory things harmoniously exist in our marvelous Maker!

“The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.”—Nahum 1:3.

Main Points:
1. The Lord is slow to anger – 7:00
2. The Lord is great in power – 28:09
3. The Lord will not acquit the wicked – 34:52

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Were we ourselves as pure as the angels in heaven, were we what our race once was in the garden of Eden, immaculate and perfect, it is quite certain that we should have a far better and nobler idea of the character of God than we can by possibility attain unto in our fallen state. But you cannot fail to notice, that men, through the alienation of their natures, are continually misrepresenting God, because they cannot appreciate his perfection. Does God at one time withhold his hand from wrath? Lo, they say that God hath ceased to judge the world, and looks upon it with listless phlegmatic indifference. Does he at another time punish the world for sin? They say he is severe and cruel. Men will misunderstand him, because they are imperfect themselves, and are not capable of admiring the character of God.

Let them beware, for although God is slow to anger, he is sure in it.

When God’s power doth restrain himself, then it is power indeed, the power to curb power, the power that binds omnipotence is omnipotence surpassed. God is great in power, and therefore doth he keep in his anger. A man who has a strong mind can bear to be insulted, can bear offences, because he is strong. The weak mind snaps and snarls at the little: the strong mind bears it like a rock; it moveth not, though a thousand breakers dash upon it, and cast their pitiful malice in the spray upon its summit. God marketh his enemies, and yet he moveth not; he standeth still, and letteth them curse him, yet is he not wrathful; If he were less of a God than he is, if he were less mighty than we know him to be, he would long ere this have sent forth the whole of his thunders, and emptied the magazines of heaven; he would long ere this have blasted the earth with the wondrous mines he hath prepared in its lower surface; the flame that burneth there would have consumed us, and we should have been utterly destroyed. We bless God that the greatness of his power is just our protection; he is slow to anger because he is great in power.

God “will not acquit the wicked;” how prove I this? I prove it thus. Never once has he pardoned an unpunished sin; not in all the years of the Most High, not in all the days of his right hand, has he once blotted out sin without punishment. What! say you, were not those in heaven pardoned? Are there not many transgressors pardoned, and do they not escape without punishment? Has he not said, “I have blotted out thy transgressions like a cloud, and like a thick cloud thine iniquities?” Yes, true, most true, and yet my assertion is true also—not one of all those sins that have been pardoned were pardoned without punishment. Do you ask me why and how such a thing as that can be the truth? I point you to yon dreadful sight on Calvary; the punishment which fell not on the forgiven sinner fell there. The cloud of justice was charged with fiery hail; the sinner deserved it; it fell on him; but, for all that, it fell, and spent its fury; it fell there, in that great reservoir of misery; it fell into the Saviour’s heart. The plagues, which need should light on our ingratitude did not fall on us, but they fell somewhere; and who was it that was plagued? Tell me, Gethsemane; tell me, O Calvary’s summit, who was plagued. The doleful answer comes, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It is Jesus suffering all the plagues of sin. Sin is still punished, though the sinner is delivered.

Can you by humble faith look to Jesus, and say, “My substitute, my refuge, my shield; thou art my rock, my trust; in thee I do confide?” Then, beloved, to you I have nothing to say, except this,—Never be afraid when you see God’s power; for now that you are forgiven and accepted, now that by faith you have fled to Christ for refuge, the power of God need no more terrify you, than the shield and sword of the warrior need terrify his wife or his child.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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119. Rahab’s Faith — Hebrews 11:31

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84. Salvation to the Uttermost — Hebrews 7:25

What could be more important for a lost sinner than to know how he or she can be saved? Young Charles Spurgeon teaches that the way of salvation can be found only in the Scriptures through the saving work of Jesus, who died for us, and now lives for us!

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”—Hebrews 7:25.

Main Points:
1. Who they are who will be saved – 5:28
2. The extent of the Saviour’s ability to save – 25:19
3. The reason given why he can save – 40:47

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The following are select quotes from this sermon.
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I find salvation written nowhere, till in this volume of my Father’s grace I find his blessed love unfolded towards the great human family, teaching them that they are lost, but that he can save them, and that in saving them he can be “just, and yet the justifier of the ungodly.” Salvation, then, is to be found in the Scriptures, and in the Scriptures only; for we can read nothing of it elsewhere.

He who does not always preach the gospel, ought not to be accounted a true-called minister of God.

My friends, it is one thing to go to church or chapel; it is quite another thing to go to God. There are many people who can pray right eloquently, and who do so; who have learned a form of prayer by heart, or, perhaps, use an extemporary form of words of their own composing: but who, instead of going to God, are all the while going from God. Let me persuade you all not to be content with mere formality.

And let me tell you, again, that coming to God is not what some of you suppose—now and then sincerely performing an act of devotion, but giving to the world the greater part of your life. You think that if sometimes you are sincere, if now and then you put up an earnest cry to heaven, God will accept you; and though your life may be still worldly, and your desires still carnal, you suppose that for the sake of this occasional devotion God will be pleased, in his infinite mercy, to blot out your sins. I tell you, sinners, there is no such thing as bringing half of yourselves to God, and leaving the other half away. If a man has come here, I suppose he has brought his whole self with him; and so if a man comes to God, he cannot come, half of him, and half of him stay away. Our whole being must be surrendered to the service of our Maker. We must come to him with an entire dedication of ourselves, giving up all we are, and all we ever shall be, to be thoroughly devoted to his service, otherwise we have never come to God aright.

Let me warn you all. It is of no earthly use for you to pretend to be on two sides of the question. “If God be God, serve him; If Baal be God, serve him.” I like an out-and-out man of any sort. Give me a man that is a sinner; I have some hope for him when I see him sincere in his vices, and open in acknowledging his own character; but if you give me a man who is half-hearted, who is not quite bold enough to be all for the devil, nor quite sincere enough to be all for Christ, I tell you, I despair of such a man as that. The man who wants to link the two together is in an extremely hopeless case. Do you think, sinners, you will be able to serve two masters, when Christ has said you cannot? Do you fancy you can walk with God and walk with mammon too? Will you take God on one arm, and the devil on the other? Do you suppose you can be allowed to drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of Satan at the same time? I tell you, ye shall depart, as cursed and miserable hypocrites, if so you come to God. God will have the whole of you come, or else you shall not come at all. The whole man must seek after the Lord; the whole soul must be poured out before him; otherwise it is no acceptable coming to God at all.

The Father will never save a man apart from Christ; there is not one soul now in heaven who was not saved by Jesus Christ; there is not one who ever came to God aright, who did not come through Jesus Christ. If you would be at peace with God, you must come to him through Christ, as the way, the truth, and the life, making mention of his righteousness, and of his only.

Sinner, if thou askest me how Christ can save thee, I tell thee this—he can save thee, because he did not save himself; he can save thee, because he took thy guilt and endured thy punishment. There is no way of salvation apart from the satisfaction of divine justice. Either the sinner must die, or else some one must die for him. Sinner, Christ can save thee, because, if thou comest to God by him, then he died for thee. God has a debt against us, and he never remits that debt; he will have it paid. Christ pays it, and then the poor sinner goes free.

Ah! poor sinner, if thou knewest that Christ died for thee—and I know that he did, if thou repentest—if thou knewest that one day thou wilt be his, wouldst thou spit upon him now? wouldst thou scoff at God’s day, if thou knewest that one day it will be thy day? wouldst thou despise Christ, if thou knewest that he loves thee now, and will display that love by-and-bye? Oh! there are some of you that will loathe yourselves when you know Christ because you did not treat him better. He will come to you one of these bright mornings, and he will say, “Poor sinner, I forgive you;” and you will look up in his face, and say, “What! Lord, forgive me? I used to curse thee, I laughed at thy people, I despised everything that had to do with religion. Forgive me?” “Yes,” says Christ, “give me thy hand; I loved thee when thou hatedst me: come here!” And sure there is nothing will break a heart half so much as thinking of the way in which you sinned against one who loved you so much.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon

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