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Come as you are [repost]

From Spurgeon's book: All of Grace

Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself something other than you really are, but come as you are to Him who justifies the ungodly. …The Gospel will receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for salvation. God justifieth the ungodly, and that takes you up where you now are; it meets you in your worst estate. Come in your disorder. I mean, come to your heavenly Father in all your sin and sinfulness. Come to Jesus just as you are: filthy, naked, neither fit to live nor fit to die. Come, you that are the very sweepings of creation; come, though you hardly dare to hope for anything but death. Come, though despair is brooding over you, pressing upon your bosom like a horrible nightmare. Come and ask the Lord to justify another ungodly one.

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And here's a paper I wrote on how to preach evangelistically to sinners without demanding repentance first.

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0 thoughts on “Come as you are [repost]

  1. John B

    Can a person be trusting in Christ apart from repentance? Can a person have faith in Christ apart from trusting in Him? Can a person be united to Christ apart from faith?

    Luther started the Reformation exactly where Jesus began his public ministry—with the universal command to repent. When the church separates repentance from the gospel, it establishes itself as the mediator between God and man. Thus Jesus' command to repent, because the kingdom of God was now at hand; and thus Luther's objection to a gospel that replaced a life of repentance with acts of penance prescribed by men.

    Please do go on stressing the need for a right understanding of repentance. Repentance unto life is a characteristic of faith in Christ, and not at all our own work to justify ourselves—one of the very things that we're called to repent of! But please don't in the process separate true repentance from the gospel; excluding it from evangelism and saving it for later to press during discipleship, which sounds to me like being handed the marriage vows after the wedding is over!

    "Repentance unto life is the act of salvation of the soul, the germ which contains all the essentials of salvation, which secures them to us, and prepares us for them." ~C.H. Spurgeon

  2. Glen

    Hi John,
    In order to co-ordinate the two Spurgeon quotes, would you say (as I think I would) that this 'coming as you are to God' *is* 'repentance unto life', with the understanding that you are coming for salvation *from* sin?

  3. John B

    Hi Glen,

    I'm thinking that in 'coming as you are' Spurgeon is speaking about faith with repentance; and in 'repentance unto life' he reverses the order and talks about repentance with faith. Spurgeon described repentance and faith as inseparable twins.

    In the paper that you linked to you write: "First, the dominant emphasis of our speaking must be the divine initiative more than the human response." I think that Spurgeon tends towards a somewhat closer balance between divine initiative and human response. While there are many who share your emphasis on the divine initiative in evangelism, Spurgeon seems to represent a clear move in the direction of a balance of divine initiative with human response. So I think it may be a misreading of Spurgeon to see his view as supporting your own here. I don't think that he'd view belief in Christ without the illumination of repentance as actual conversion, though it may hopefully be leading towards it. Spurgeon would view a lack of contrition and sorrow over sin as a matter of the utmost spiritual urgency.

    "To repent does mean a change of mind. But then it is a thorough change of the understanding and all that is in the mind, so that it includes an illumination—an illumination of the Holy Spirit. And I think it includes a discovery of iniquity and a hatred of it, without which there can hardly be a genuine repentance. We must not, I think, undervalue repentance. It is a blessed Grace of God the Holy Spirit and it is absolutely necessary unto salvation." ~C.H. Spurgeon

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