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The Believer’s Challenge
AUTHOR: Spurgeon, C.H.
PUBLISHED ON: April 7, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Sermons

                                                                                 

                                                  The Believer’s Challenge
                                                        A Sermon
                                                         

                              Delivered on Sabbath Morning, June 5th, 1859, by the
                                              REV. C.H. SPURGEON
                                    at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

              “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the
              right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us” Romans 8:34.

                  THE PROTEST OF an innocent man against the charge of an accuser may well be strong and vehement.
                  But here we have a more uncommon and a sublimer theme. It is the challenge of a justified sinner
                  protesting with holy and inspired fervour that his character is clear and his conscience clean, even in the
          sight of heaven. Yet it is not the natural innocence of his heart, but the perfect mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ,
          which gives him this amazing confidence. May the Spirit of God enable me to expound to you this most blessed
          portion of God’s Word.
              We have before us in the text the four marvellous pillars upon which the Christian rests his hope. Any one of
          them were all-sufficient. Though the sins of the whole world should press on any one of these sacred columns, it
          would never break nor bend. Yet for our strong consolation, that we may never tremble or fear, God hath been
          pleased to give us these four eternal rocks, these four immovable foundations upon which our faith may rest and
          stand secure. But why is this? why needeth the Christian to have such firm, such massive foundations? For this
          simple reason: he is himself so doubtful, so ready to distrust, so difficult to be persuaded of his own security.
          Therefore hath God, as it were, enlarged his arguments. One blow might, we should have imagined, have been
          enough to have smitten to death our unbelief for ever; the cross ought to have been enough for the crucifixion of
          our infidelity, yet God, foreseeing the strength of our unbelief, hath been pleased to smite it four times that it might
          be razed to rise no more. Moreover, he well knew that our faith would be sternly attacked. The world, our own
          sin, and the devil, he foresaw would be continually molesting us; therefore hath he entrenched us within these four
          walls, he hath engarrisoned us in four strong lines of circumvallation. We cannot be destroyed. We have bulwarks,
          none of which can possibly be stormed, but when combined they are so irresistible, they could not be carried,
          though earth and hell should combine to storm them. It is, I say, first, because of our unbelief; and secondly,
          because of the tremendous attacks our faith has to endure, that God has been pleased to lay down four strong
          consolations, with which we may fortify our hearts whenever the sky is overcast, or the hurricane is coming forth
          from its place.
              Let us now notice these four stupendous doctrines. I repeat it again, any one of them is all-sufficient. It
          reminds me of what I have sometimes heard of the ropes that are used in mining. It is said that every strand of
          them would bear the entire onnage, and consequently, if every strand bears the full weight that will ever be put
          upon the whole, there is an absolute certainty of safety given to the whole when twisted together. Now each of
          these four articles of our faith is sufficient to bear the weight of the sins of the whole world. What must be the
          strength when the whole four are interlaced and intertwisted, and become the support of the believer? The apostle
          challenges the whole world, and heaven and hell too, in the question, “Who is he that condemneth?” and in order
          to excuse his boldness, he gives us four reasons why he can never be condemned. “Christ has died, yea, rather, is
          risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” We shall first look over
          these four pillars of the believer’s faith, and then, afterwards, we shall ourselves take up the apostle’s challenge,
          and cry, “Who is he that condemneth?”
              I. The first reason why the Christian never can be condemned is because CHRIST HATH DIED. We believe
          that in the death of Christ there was a full penalty paid to divine justice for all the sins which the believer can
          possibly commit. We teach every Sabbath day, that the whole shower of devine wrath was poured upon Christ’s
          head, that the black cloud of vengeance emptied out itself upon the cross, and that there is not left in the book of
          God a single sin against a believer, nor can there possibly be even a particle of punishment ever exacted at the
          hand of the man that believeth in Jesus, for this reason, that Jesus has been punished to the full. In full tale hath
          every sin received sentence in his death. He hath suffered, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. And now, if
          you and I are enabled this morning to go beneath the bloody tree of Calvary, and shelter ourselves there, how safe
          we are! Ah! we may look around and defy all our sins to destroy us. This shall be an all-sufficient argument to
          shut their clamorous mouths, “Christ hath died.” Here cometh one and he cries, “Thou hast been a blasphemer.”
          Yes, but Christ died a blasphemer’s death, and he died tor blasphemers. “But thou hast stained thyself with lust.”
          Yes, but Christ died for the lascivious. The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, cleanseth us from all sin; so
          away foul fiend, that also has received its due. “But thou hast long resisted grace, and long stood out against the
          warnings of God.” Yes, but “Jesus died;” and say what thou wilt, O conscience, remind me of what thou wilt; lo
          this shall be my sure reply in “Jesus died.” Standing at the foot of the cross, and beholding the Redeemer in his
          expiring agony, the Christian may indeed gather courage. When I think of my sin, it seems impossible that any
          atonement should ever be adequate; but when I think of Christ’s death it seems impossible that any sin should ever
          be great enough to need such an atonement as that. There is in the death of Christ enough and more than enough.
          There is not only a sea in which to drown our sins, but the very tops of the mountains of our guilt are covered.
          Forty cubits upwards hath this red sea prevailed. There is not only enough to put our sins to death, but enough to
          bury them and hide them out of sight. I say it boldly and without a figure, the eternal arm of God now nerved
          with strength, now released from the bondage in which justice held it, is able to save unto the uttermost them that
          come unto God by Christ.
              This was my subject last Sabbath day, therefore I take it I shall be fully justified in leaving the first point that
          Christ hath died, while I pass on to the other three. You will bear in mind that I discussed the doctrine of the
          satisfaction of Christ’s atonement by his death, in the sermon of last Sunday morning. I come, therefore, to notice
          the second argument. Our first reason for knowing that we cannot be condemned is, because Christ has died for
          us.
              II. The second reason a believer hath, is that CHRIST HAS RISEN AGAIN.
              You will observe that the apostle has here prefixed the words, “yea rather!” Do you see the force of this
          expression? As much as to say, it is a powerful argument for our salvation, that Christ died; but it is a still more
          cogent proof that every believer shall be saved, that Christ rose again from the dead. This does not often strike us.
          We generally receive more comfort at the cross than we do at the empty sepulchre. And yet this is just through
          our ignorance and through the blindness of our eyes; for verily to the enlightened believer there is more
          consolation in Jesus arising from the tomb, than there is in Jesus nailed to the cross. “Yea rather,” said the apostle;
          as if he would have it, that this is a still more powerful argument. Now what has the resurrection of Christ from
          the dead to do with the justification of a believer? I take it thus: Christ by his death paid to his Father the full price
          of what we owed to him. God did as it were hold a bond against us which we could not pay. The alternative of
          this bond, if not paid, was, that we should be sold for ever under sin, and should endure the penalty of our
          transgressions in unquenchable fire. Now Jesus by his death paid all the debt; to the utmost farthing that was due
          from us to God Christ did pay by his death. Still the bond was not cancelled until the day when Christ rose from
          the dead; then did his Father, as it were, rend the bond in halves, and blot it out, so that thenceforward it ceases to
          have elfect. It is true that death was the payment of the debt, but resurrection was the public acknowledgment that
          the debt was paid. “Now,” says Paul, “yea rather, he is risen from the dead.” O Christian, thou canst not be
          condemned, for Christ has paid the debt. Look at his gore, as it distils from his body in Gethsemane and on the
          accursed tree. But rather, lest there should be a shadow of a doubt, that thou canst not be condemned, thy debts
          are cancelled. Here is the full receipt; the resurrection hath rent the bond in twain. And now at Gods right hand
          there is not left a record of thy sin; for when our Lord Jesus Christ quitted the tomb, he left thy sin buried in
          it once for all cast away never to be recovered. To use another figure, Christ’s death was as it were the
          digging out of the gold of grace out of the deep mines of Jesus’ sufferings. Christ coined, so to speak, the gold
          which should be the redemption of his children, but the resurrection was the minting of that gold; it stamped it with
          the Father’s impress, as the current coin of the realm of heaven. The gold itself was fused in the atoning sacrifice,
          but the minting of it, making it into that which should be the current coin of the merchant, was the resurrection of
          Christ. Then did his Father stamp the atonement with his own image and his own superscription. On the cross I
          see Jesus dying for my sins as an expiating sacrifice; but in the resurrection I see God acknowledging the death of
          Christ, and accepting what he has done for my indisputable justification. I see him putting his own imprimatur
          thereupon, stamping it with his own signet, dignifying it with his own seal, and again I cry, “Yea rather, who is
          risen from the dead,” who then can condemn the believer? To put Christ’s resurrection yet in another aspect. His
          death was the digging of the well of salvation. Stern was the labour, toilsome was the work; he dug on, and on,
          and on, through rocks of suffering, into the deepest caverns of misery; but the resurrection was the springing up of
          the water. Christ digged the well to its very bottom, but not a drop did spring up; still was the world dry and
          thirsty, till on the morning of the resurrection a voice was heard, “Spring up O well,” and forth came Christ himself
          from the grave, and with him came the resurrection and the life; pardon and peace for all souls sprang up from the
          deep well of his misery. Oh! when I can find enough for my faith to be satisfied with even in the digging of the
          well, what shall be my satisfaction when I see it overflowing its brim, and springing up with life everlasting? Surely
          the apostle was right when he said, “Yea rather, who hath risen from the dead.” And yet another picture. Christ
          was in his death the hostage of the people of God. He was the representative of all the elect. When Christ was
          bound to the tree, I see my own sin bound there; when he died every believer virtually died in him; when he was
          buried we were buried in him, and when he was in the tomb, he was, as it were, God’s hostage for all his church,
          for all that ever should believe on him. Now, as long as he was in prison, although there might be ground of hope,
          it was but as light sown for the righteous; but when the hostage came out, behold the first fruit of the harvest!
          When God said, “Let my Anointed go free, I am satisfied and content in him,” then every elect vessel went free in
          him; then every child of God was released from durance vile no more to die, not to know bondage or fetter for
          ever. I do see ground for hope when Christ is bound, for he is bound for me; I do see reason for rejoicing when he
          dies, for he dies for me, and in my room and stead; I do see a theme for solid satisfaction in his burial, for he is
          buried for me; but when he comes out of the grave, having swallowed up death in victory, my hope bursts into
          joyous song. He lives, and because he lives I shall live also. He is delivered and I am delivered too. Death hath no
          more dominion over him and no more dominion over me; his deliverance is mine, his freedom mine for ever.
          Again, I repeat it, the believer should take strong draughts of consolation here. Christ is risen from the dead, how
          can we be condemned? There are e’en stronger arguments for the non-condemnation of the believer in the
          resurrection of Christ than in his precious death and burial. I think I have shown this; only may God give us grace
          to rest upon this precious “yea, rather, who is risen from the dead.”
              III. The next clause of the sentence reads thus: “WHO IS EVEN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD.” Is there
          not any word of special commendation to this? You will remember the last one had, “Yea, rather.” Is there nothing
          to commend this? Well, if not in this text, there is in another. If, at your leisure, you read through the fifth chapter
          of this epistle to the Romans, you will there very readily discover that the apostle proves, that if Christ’s death be
          an argument for our salvation, his life is a still greater one. He says in the tenth verse of that chapter, “If, when we
          were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more” that’s the word I
          wanted “much more we shall be saved by his life.” We may look, then, at this third clause, as having a “much
          more” before it, comparing Scripture with Scripture. We cannot be condemned for “Christ hath died. Yea rather,
          is risen again; (much more) is even at the right hand of God.” Here is an argument which hath much more power,
          much more strength, much more force than even Christ’s death. Sometimes I have thought that impossible. Last
          Lord’s day, I thought by God’s good help I was enabled to persuade some of you that the death of Christ was an
          argument too potent to be ever denied an argument for the salvation of all for whom he died. Much more, let me
          now tell you, is his life, much more the fact that he lives, and is at the right hand of the Father. Now I must call
          your attention to this clause, remarking that in other passages of God’s Word, Christ is said to have sat down for
          ever at the right hand of God. Do observe with care the fact that he is always described in heaven as sitting down.
          This seems to me to be one material argument for the salvation of the believer Christ sits in heaven. Now, he
          never would sit if the work were not fully done. Jesus when he was on earth, had a baptism to be baptised with,
          and how was he straitened until it was accomplished! He had not time so much as to eat bread, full often, so eager
          was he to accomplish all his work. And I do not, I cannot imagine that he would be sitting down in heaven in the
          posture of ease, unless he had accomplished all unless “It is finished!” were to be understood in its broadest and
          most unlimited sense. There is one thing I have noticed, in looking over the old levitical law, under the description
          of the tabernacle. There were no seats whatever provided tor the priests. Every priest stands daily ministering and
          offering sacrifice for sin. They never had any seats to sit on. There was a table for the shew-bread, an altar, and a
          brazen lover; yet there was no seat. No priest sat down; he must always stand; for there was always work to be
          accomplished, always something to be done. But the great high priest of our profession, Jesus, the Son of God,
          hath taken his seat at the right hand of the majesty on high. Why is this? Because, now the sacrifice is complete
          for ever, and the priest hath made a full end of his solemn service. What would the Jew have thought if it had
          been possible for a seat to have been introduced into the sanctuary, and for the high priest to sit down? Why, the
          Jew would then have been compelled to believe that it was all over, the dispensation was ended; for a sitting priest
          would be the end of all. And now we may rest assured, since we can see a sitting Christ in heaven, that the whole
          atonement is finished, the work is over, he hath made an end of sin. I do consider that in this there is an argument
          why no believer ever can perish. If he could, if there were yet a chance of risk, Christ would not be sitting down;
          if the work were not so fully done, that every redeemed one should at last be received into heaven, he would
          never rest, nor hold his peace.
              Turning, however, more strictly to the words of the text, “Who is even at the right hand of God” what
          meaneth this? It means, first of all, that Christ is now in the honourable position of an accepted one. The right
          hand of God is the place of majesty, and the place of favour too. Now, Christ is his people’s representative. When
          he died for them they had rest; when he rose again for them, they had liberty; when he was received into his
          Father’s favour, yet again, and sat at his own right hand, then had they favour, and honour, and dignity. Do you
          not remember that the two sons of Zebedee asked to sit, one on the right hand and the other on the left? Little did
          they know that they had already what they asked for for all the church is now at the right hand of the Father; all
          the church is now raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The raising and
          elevation of Christ to that throne of dignity and favour, is the elevation, the acceptance, the enshrinement, the
          glorifying of all his people, for he is their common head, and stands as their representative. This sitting at the right
          hand of God, then, is to be viewed as the acceptance of the person of the surety, the reception of the
          representative, and therefore, the acceptance of our souls. Who is he that condemneth, then? Condemn a man that
          is at the right hand of God! Absurd! Impossible! Yet am I there in Christ. Condemn a man who sits next to his
          Father, the King of kings! Yet there is the church, and how can she in the slightest degree incur condemnation,
          when she is already at the right hand of the Father with her covenant head. And let me further remark, that the
          right hand is the place of power. Christ at the right hand of God signifies that all power is given unto him in heaven
          and in earth. Now, who is he that condemns the people that have such a head as this? O my soul! what can
          destroy thee if omnipotence is thy helper? If the aegis of the Almighty covers thee, what sword can smite thee? If
          the wings of the Eternal are thy shelter, what plague can attack thee? Rest thou secure. It Jesus is thine
          all-prevailing king, and hath trodden thine enemies beneath his feet, if sin, death, and hell, are now only parts of
          his empire, for he is Lord of all, and if thou art represented in him, and he is thy guarantee, thy sworn surety, it
          cannot be by any possibility that thou canst be condemned. While we have an Almighty Saviour, the redeemed
          must be saved; until omnipotence can fail, and the Almighty can be overcome, every blood-bought redeemed child
          of God is safe and secure for ever. Well did the apostle say of this “much more much more than dying and
          rising again from the dead, he lives at the right hand of God.”
              IV. And now I come to the fourth; and this also hath an encomium passed upon it “WHO ALSO MAKETH
          INTERCESSION FOR US.” Our apostle, in the epistle to the Hebrews, puts a very strong encomium upon this
          sentence. What does he say upon it? A little more than he said about the others. The first one is, “Yea rather;” the
          second one is, “Much more.” And what is the third? Remember the passage “He is able also to save them unto
          the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Lo! this is “to
          the uttermost;” what we thought, perhaps, to be the very smallest matter in the recital, is just the greatest. “To the
          very uttermost” he is able to save, seeing he ever lives to intercede the strongest argument of the whole four. Let
          us try to meet this question, “Why does Christ intercede to day in heaven?” A quaint old divine says, that “When
          God in his justice rose from his throne to smite the surety, he would make no concession whatever. The surety
          paid the debt.” “Yet,” said the Judge, “I will not come down to earth to receive the payment; bring it to me.” And
          therefore the surety first groped through death to fight his way up to the eternal throne, and then mounting aloft by
          a glorious ascension, dragged his conquered foes behind him, and scattering mercies with both his hands, like
          Roman conquerors who scattered gold and silver coins in their triumph, entered heaven. And he came before his
          Father’s throne and said, “There it is; the full price: I have brought it all.” God would not go down to the earth for
          payment; it must be brought to him. This was pictured by the high priest of old. The high priest first took the
          blood, but that was not accepted. He did not bring the mercy-seat outside the veil, to carry the mercy-seat to the
          blood. No; the blood must he taken to the mercy-seat, God will not stoop when he is just; it must be brought to
          him. So the high priest takes off his royal robes, and puts on the garments of the minor priest, and goes within the
          veil, and sprinkles the blood upon the mercy-seat. Even so did our Lord Jesus Christ. He took the payment and
          bore it to God, took his wounds, his rent body, his flowing blood, up to his Father’s very eyes, and there he
          spread his wounded hands and pleaded tor his people. Now here is a proof that the Christian cannot be
          condemned, because the blood is on the mercy-seat. It is not poured out on the ground; it is on the mercy-seat, it
          is on the throne; it speaks in the very ears of God, and it must of a surety prevail.
              But, perhaps, the sweetest proof that the Christian cannot be condemned, is derived from the intercession of
          Christ, if we view it thus. Who is Christ, and who is it with whom he intercedes. My soul was in raptures when I
          mused yesterday upon two sweet thoughts; they are but simple and plain, but they were very interesting to me. I
          thought that had I to intercede for anybody, and do a mediating part, if I had to intercede for my brother with my
          father, I should feel I had got a safe case in hand. This is just what Jesus has to do. He has to intercede with his
          Father, and mark, with our Father too. There is a double precedent to strengthen our confidence that he must
          prevail. When Christ pleads, he does not plead with one who is stronger than him or inimical to him, but with his
          own Father. “My Father,” saith he “it is my delight to do thy will and it is thy delight to do my will, I will then that
          they, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.” And then he adds this blessed argument, “Father those
          for whom I plead are thine own children, and thou lovest them as much as I do,” yea, “thou hast loved them as
          thou hast loved me.” Oh, it is no hard task to plead, when you are pleading with a Father for a brother, and when
          the advocate can say, “I go to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.” Suppose, my dear
          friends, that any of you were about to be tried for your life, do you think you could trust your advocacy with any
          man you know? I do really think I should be impatient to speak for myself. But my counsel would say, “Now just
          be quiet, my dear sir, you perhaps may plead more earnestly than I can, because it is for your own life, but then
          you do not understand the law, you will make some blunder or other, and commit yourself and spoil your own
          cause.” But still I think if my life were in hazard, and I stood in the dock, and my counsel were pleading for me,
          my tongue would be itching to plead for myself, and I should want to get up and just say, “My lord, I am
          innocent, innocent as the babe newly born, of the crime laid to my charge. My hands have never been stained with
          the blood of any man.” Oh! I think I could indeed plead if I were pleading for myself. But, do you know, I have
          never felt that with regard to Christ. I can sit down and let him plead, and I do not want to get up and conduct the
          pleading myself. I do feel that he loves me better than I love myself. My cause is quite safe in his hands, especially
          when I remember again that he pleads with my father, and that he is his own Father’s beloved Son, and that he is
          my brother and such a brother a brother born for adversity.

                                            “Give him, my soul, thy cause to plead,
                                                Nor doubt the Father’s grace.”

          It is enough; he has the cause, nor would we take it from his hand even if we could

                                              “I know that safe with him remains,
                                                  Protected by his power
                                              What I’ve committed to his hands
                                                    Till the decisive hour.”

              Well did the apostle say, “To the very uttermost he is able to save them that come unto God by him, because
          he ever lives to make intercession for them.”
              I have thus given you the four props and pillars of the believer’s faith. And now my hearers, let me just utter
          this personal appeal to you. What would you give, some of you, if you could have such a hope as this? Here are
          four pillars. Oh unhappy souls, that cannot call one of these your own! The mass of men are all in uncertainty;
          they do not know what will become of them at last. They are discontented enough with life and yet they are afraid
          to die. God is angry with them, and they know it. Death is terrible to them; the tomb affrights them, they can
          scarcely understand the possibility of having any confidence this side of the grave. Ah, my hearers, what would
          you give if you could obtain this confidence? And yet it is within reach of every truly penitent sinner. If you are
          now led to repent of sin; if you will now cast yourself on the blood and righteousness of Christ, your eternal
          salvation shall be as sure as your present existence. He cannot perish who relies on Christ, and he who hath faith
          in Jesus may see the heavens pass away, but not God’s Word. He may see the earth burned, but into the fire of
          hell he can never go. He is safe, and he must be saved, though all things pass away.
              And now this brings me to the challenge. Fain would I picture the apostle as he appeared when he was
          uttering it. Hark! I hear a brave, strong voice, crying, “Who shall lay anything to my charge?” “Who is
          that? Paul. What! Paul, a Christian! I thought Christians were a humble, timid people.” “They are so; but not
          when they are arrayed in the robes, and invested with the credentials of their Sovereign. They are lambs in the
          harmlessness of their dispositions, but they have the courage of lions when they defend the honours of their King.
          Again, I hear him cry, “Who shall lay anything to my charge?” and he casts his eyes to heaven. Is not the wretch
          smitten dead? Will not such presumption as this be avenged? Does he challenge purity to convict him of guilt? O
          Paul, the thunderbolt of God will smite thee! “No,” says he, “it is God that justifieth, I am not afraid to face the
          highest heaven, since God has said that I am just. I can look upward without distressing fear.” “But hush! repeat
          not that challenge.” “Yes,” saith he, “I will. Who is he that condemneth.” And I see him look downwards; there
          lies the old dragon, bound in chains, the accuser of the brethren; and the apostle stares him in the face, and says,
          “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” Why, Paul, Satan will bring thundering accusations against
          thee; art thou not afraid? “No,” says he, “I can stop his mouth with this cry, ‘It is Christ that died;’ that will make
          him tremble, for he crushed the serpent’s head in that victorious hour. And I can shut his mouth again ‘yea
          rather, that is risen again,’ for he took him captive on that day; I will add, ‘who sitteth at the right hand of God.’ I
          can foil him with that, for he sits there to judge him and to condemn him for ever. Once more I will appeal to his
          advocacy ‘Who maketh intercession for us.’ I can stop his accusation with this perpetual care of Jesus for his
          people.” Again, cries Paul, “Who shall lay anything to my charge?” There lie the bodies of the saints he has
          martyred, and they cry from under the altar “O Lord! how long wilt thou not avenge thine own elect?” Paul
          says, “Who can lay anything to my charge?” And they speak not; “because,” says Paul, “I have obtained
          mercy who was before a blasphemer, a persecutor, and injurious, that in me first he might show forth all
          longsuffering.” “Christ hath died, yea rather, hath risen again.” And now standing in the midst of men who mock,
          and boast, and jeer, he cries “Who can lay anything to my charge?” and no one dares to speak, for man himself
          cannot accuse; with all his malevolence, and acrimony, and malice, he can bring nothing against him; no charge
          can stand at the bar of God against the man whom he hath absolved through the merits of the death of Christ, and
          the power of his resurrection.
              Is it not a noble thing for a Christian to be able to go where he may, and feel that he cannot meet his accuser;
          that wherever he may be, whether he walketh within himself in the chambers of conscience, or out of himself
          amongst his fellow men, or above himself into heaven, or beneath himself into hell, yet is he a justified one, and
          nothing can be laid to his charge. Who can condemn? Who can condemn? Yea, echo O ye skies; reverberate, ye
          caverns of the deep. Who can condemn when Christ hath died, hath risen from the dead, is enthroned on high,
          and intercedes?
              But all things pass away. I see the heavens on fire, rolling up like a scroll I see sun, moon, and stars pale
          now their feeble light the earth is tottering; the pillars of heaven are rocking; the grand assize is commenced the
          herald angels descend, not to sing this time, but with thundering trumpets to proclaim, “He comes, he comes to
          judge the earth in righteousness, and the people in equity.” What says the believer now? He says, “I fear not that
          assize, for who can condemn?” The great white throne is set, the books are opened, men are trembling, fiends are
          yelling, sinners are shrieking “Rocks hide us, mountains on us fall;” these make up an awful chorus of dismay.
          There stands the believer, and looking round on the assembled universe of men and angels, he cries, “Who shall
          lay anything to my charge?” and silence reigns through earth and heaven. Again he speaks, and fixing his eyes full
          on the Judge himself, he cries, “Who is he that condemneth?” And lo, there upon the throne of judgment sits the
          only one who can condemn; and who is that? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who sitteth on
          the right hand of God, who maketh intercession for him. Can those lips say, “Depart, ye cursed,” to the man for
          whom they once did intercede? Can those eyes flash lightnings on the man whom once they saw in sin, and thence
          with rays of love they did lift him up to joy, and peace, and purity? No! Christ will not belie himself. He cannot
          reverse his grace; it cannot be that the throne of condemnation shall be exalted on the ruins of the cross. It cannot
          be that Christ should transform himself at last; but till he can do so, none can condemn. None but he hath a right
          to condemn, for he is the sole judge of right and wrong, and if he hath died shall he put us to death, and if he hath
          risen for us, shall he thrust us downwards to the pit, and if he hath reigned for us and hath been accepted for us,
          shall he cast us away, and if he hath pleaded for us, shall he curse us at the last? No! Come life, come death, my
          soul can rest on this. He died for me. I cannot be punished for my sin. He rose again, I must rise, and though I die
          yet shall I live again. He sits at the right hand of God, and so must I. I must be crowned and reign with him for
          ever. He intercedes, and he must be heard. He beckons me, and I must be brought at length to see his face, and to
          be with him where he is.
              I will say no more; only may God give us all an interest in these four precious things. An angel’s tongue might
          fail to sing their sweetness, or tell their brightness and their majesty; mine has failed but this is well. The
          excellency of the power is in the doctrine, and not in my preaching. Amen.

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