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The Treasure of Grace

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 04/07/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                                    The Treasure of Grace by REV. C.H. SPURGEON                                                

              "The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."Ephesians 1:7.

          AS IS ISAIAH among the prophets, so is Paul among the apostles; each stands forth with singular           prominence, raised up by God for a conspicuous purpose, and shining as a star of extraordinary           brilliance. Isaiah spake more of Christ, and described more minutely his passion and his death than all           the other prophets put together. Paul proclaimed the grace of Godfree, full, sovereign, eternal           racebeyond all the glorious company of the apostles. Sometimes he soared to such amazing heights, or dived           into such unsearchable depths, that even Peter could not follow him. He was ready to confess that "our beloved           brother Paul, according to his wisdom given unto him," had written "some things hard to be understood." Jude           could write of the judgments of God, and reprove with terrible words, "ungodly men, who turned the grace of God           into lasciviousness." But he could not tell out the purpose of grace as it was planned in the eternal mind, or the           experience or grace as it is felt and realized in the human heart, like Paul. There is James again: he, as a faithful           minister, could deal very closely with the practical evidences of Christian character. And yet he seems to keep           very much on the surface; he does not bore down deep into the substratum on which must rest the visible soil of           all spiritual graces. Even John, most favoured of all those apostles who were companions of our Lord on           earthsweetly as the beloved disciple writes of fellowship with the Father and his Son Jesus Christeven John           doth not speak of grace so richly as Paul, "in whom God first showed forth all long-suffering as a pattern to hem           which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting." Not, indeed, that we are at any liberty to prefer one           apostle above another. We may not divide the Church, saying, I am of Paul, I of Peter, I of Apollos; but we may           acknowledge the instrument which God was pleased to use; we may admire the way in which the Holy Ghost           fitted him for his work; we may, with the churches of Judea, "glorify God in Paul." Among the early fathers           Augustine was singled out as the "Doctor of Grace;" so much did he delight in those doctrines that exhibit the           freeness of divine favour. And surely we might affirm the like of Paul. Among his compeers he outstripped them           all in declaring the grace that bringeth salavation. The sense of grace pervaded all his thoughts as the life blood           circulates through all the veins of one' body. Does he speak of conversion, "he was called by grace." Nay, he sees           grace going before his conversion, and "separating him from his mother's womb." He attributes all his ministry to           grace. "To me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles           the unsearchable riches of Christ." See him at any time, and under any circumstances, whether bowed down with           infirmity, or lifted to the third heavens with revelation, he has but one account to give of himself, "By the grace of           God I am what I am."               There are no ministers who contend so fully and so unflinchingly for free, sovereign, unconditional grace, as           those who before their conversion have revelled in gross and outrageous sin. Your gentleman preachers who have           been piously brought up, and sent from their cradle to school, from school to college, and from college to the           pulpit, without encountering much temptation, or being rescued from the haunts of profanitythey know           comparatively little, and speak with little emphasis of free grace. It is a Bunyan who breathed curses, a Newton           who was a ver monster in sin; it is the like of these, who cannot forget for one hour of their lives afterwards, the           grace that snatched them from the pit, and plucked them as brands from the burning. Strange indeed that God           should have it so. The providence is inscrutable that permits some of the Lord's chosen people to wander and rove           as far as sheep can stray. Such men, however, make the most valiant champions for that grace which only can           rescue any sinner from eternal woe.               This morning we propose to expound to you "the riches of God's grace; this is the Treasure; then, secondly,           we shall speak of the "Forgiveness of Sins," which is to be judged of by that Measure; the forgiveness is           according to the riches of his grace; and we shall afterwards wind up by considering some of the privileges           connected therewith.               I. First, consider the RICHES OF HIS GRACE. In attempting to search out that which is unsearchable, we           must, I suppose, use some of those comparisons by which we are wont to estimate the wealth of the monarchs,           and mighty ones of this world. It happened once that the Spanish ambassador, in the haleyon days of Spain, went           on a visit to the French ambassador, and was invited by him to see the treasures of his master. With feelings of           pride he showed the repositories, profusely stored with earth's most precious and most costly wealth. "Could you           show gems so rich," said he, "or aught the life of this for magnificence of possessions in all your sovereign's           kingdom?" "Call your master rich?" replied the ambassador of Spain, "why; my master's treasures have no           bottom"alluding, of course, to the mines of Peru and Petrosa. So truly in the riches of grace there are mines too           deep for man's finite understanding ever to fathom. However profound your investigation, there is still a deep           couching beneath that baffles all research. Who can ever discover the attributes of God? Who can find out the           Almighty to perfection? We are at a loss to estimate the ver quality and properties of grace as it dwells in the mind           of Deity. Love in the human breast is a passion. With God it is not so. Love is an attribute of the divine essence.           God is love. In men, grace and bounty may grow into a habit, but grace with God is an intrinsic attribute of his           nature. He cannot but be gracious. As by necessity of his Godhead he is omnipotent, and omniprescent, so by           absolute necessity of his divinity is he gracious.               Come then, my brethren, into this glittering mine of the attributes of the grace of God. Every one of God's           attributes is infinite, and therefore this attribute of grace is without bounds. You cannot conceive the infinity of           God, why, therefore, should I attempt to describe it. Recollect however, that as the attributes of God are of the           like extent, the gauge of one attribute must be the gauge of another. Or, further, if one attribute is without limit, so           is another attribute. Now, you cannot conceive any boundary to the omnipotence of God. What cannot he do? He           can crate, he can destroy; he can speak a myriad universe into existence; or he can quench the light of myriads of           stars as readily as we tread out a spark. He hath but to will it, and creatures without number sing his praise; yet           another volition, and those creatures subside into their naked nothingness, as a moment's foam subsides into the           wave that bears it, and is lost for ever. The astronomer turns his tube to the remotest space, he cannot find a           boundary to God's creating power; but could he seem to find a limit, we would then inform him that all the worlds           on worlds that cluster in space, hick as the drops of morning dew upon the meadows, are but the shreds of God's           power. He can make more than all these, can dash those into nothingness, and can begin again. Now as boundless           as is his power, so infinite is his grace. As he hath power to do anything, so hath he grace enough to give           anythingto give everything to the very chief of sinners.               Take another attribute if you pleaseGod's omniscience, there is no boundary to that. We know that his eye           is upon every individual of our racehe sees him as minutely as if he were the only creature that existed. It is           boasted of the eagle that though he can outstare the sun, yet when at his greatest height, he can detect the           movement of the smallest fish in the depths of the sea. But what is this compared with the omniscience of God?           His eye tracks the sun in his marvellous course, his eye marks the winged comet as it flies through space. His eye           discerns the utmost bound of creation inhabited or uninhabited. There is nothing hid from the light thereof, with           him there is no darkness at all. If I mount to heaven he is there; if I dive to hell he is there; if I fly mounted on the           morning ray beyond the western sea,

                                              "His swifter hand shall first arrive,                                                 And there arrest the fugitive."

          There is no limit to his understanding, nor is there to his grace. As his knowledge comprehendeth all things, so           doth his grace comprehend all the sins, all the trials all the infirmities of the people upon whom his heart is set.           Now, my dear brethren, the next time we fear that God's grace will be exhausted, let us look into this mine, and           then let us reflect that all that has ever been taken out of it has never diminished it a single particle. All the clouds           that have been taken from the sea have never diminished its depth, and all the love, and all the mercy that God has           given to all but infinite numbers of the race of man, has not disminished by a single rain the mountains of his           grace. But to proceed further; we sometimes judge of the wealth of men, not only by their real estate in mines and           the like, but by what they have on hand stored up in the treasury. I must take you now, my brethren, to the           glittering treasury of divine grace. Ye know its names, it is called the Covenant, have you not head the marvellous           story of what was done in the olden time before the world was made. God foreknew that man would fall, but he           determined of his own infinite purpose and will that he would raise out of this fall a multitude which no man can           number. The Eternal Father held a solemn council with the Son and Holy Spirit. Thus spoke the Father:--"I will           that those whom I have chosen be saved!" Thus said the Son:--"My Father, I am ready to bleed and die that thy           justice may not suffer and that thy purpose may be executed." "I will," said the Holy Spirit, "that those whom the           Son redeems with blood shall be called by grace, shall be quickened, shall be preserved, shall be sanctified and           perfected, and brought safely home." Then was the Covenant written, signed, and sealed, and ratified between the           Sacred Three. The Father gave his Son, the Son gave himself, and the Spirit promises all his influence, all his           presence, to all the chosen. Then did the Father give to the Son the persons of his elect, then did the Son give           himself to the elect, and take them into union with him; and then did the Spirit in covenant vow that these chosen           ones should surely be brought safe home at last. Whenever I think of the old covenant of grace, I am perfectly           amazed and staggered with the grace of it. I could not be an Arminian on any inducement; the ver poetry of our           holy religion lies in these ancient things of the everlasting hills, that glorious covenant signed and sealed, and           ratified, in all things ordered well from old eternity.               Pause here, my hearer, awhile, and think before this world was made, ere God had settled the deep           foundations of the mountains, or poured the seas from the laver of the bottom of his hand, he had chosen his           people, and set his heart on hem. To them he had given himself, his Son, his heaven, his all. For them did Christ           determine to resign his bliss, his home, his life; for them did the Spirit promise all his attributes, that they might be           blessed. O grace divine, how glorious thou art, without beginning, without end. How shall I praise thee? Take up           the strain ye angels; sing these noble themes, the love of the Father, the love of the Son, the love of the Spirit.               This, my brethren, if ye think it over, may well make you estimate aright the riches of God's grace. If you           read the roll of the covenant from beginning to end, containing as it does, election, redemption, calling,           justification, pardon, adoption, heaven, immortalityif you read all his, you will say, "This is riches of           graceGod, great and infinite! Who is a God like unto thee for the riches of thy love!"               The riches of great kings again, may often be estimated by the munificence of the monuments which they           reared to record their feats. We have been amazed in these modern times at the marvellous riches of the kings of           Nineveh and Babylon. Modern monarchs with all their appliances, would fail to erect such monstrous piles of           palaces as those in which old Nebuchadnezzar walked in times of yore. We turn to the pyramids, we see there           what the wealth of nations can accomplish; we look across the sea to Mexico and Peru, and we see the relics of a           semi-barbarous people but we are staggered and amazed to think what wealth and what mines of riches they must           have possessed ere such works could have been accomplished. Solomon's riches are perhaps best judged of by us           when we think of those great cities which he built in the wilderness, Tadmore and Palmyra. When we go and visit           those ruins and see the massive columns and magnificent sculpture, we say, Solomon indeed was rich. We feel as           we walk amid the ruins somewhat like the queen of Sheba, even in Scripture the half has not been told us of the           riches of Solomon. My brethren, God has led us to inspect mightier trophies than Solomon, or Nebuchadnezzar,           or Montezuma, or all the Pharaohs. Turn your eyes yonder, see that blood-bought host arrayed in white,           surrounding the thronehark, how they sing, with voice triumphant, with melodies seraphic, "Unto him that loved           us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." And who are           these? Who are these trophies of his grace? Some of them have come from the stews of harlotry; many of them           have come from the taverns of drunkenness. Nay, more, the hands of some of those so white and fair, were once           red with the blood of saints. I sere yonder the men that nailed the Saviour to the tree; men who cursed God, and           invoked on themselves death and damnation. I see there Manasseh, who shed innocent blood so much, and the           thief who in the last moment looked to Christ, and said, "Lord, remember me." But I need not turn your gaze so           far aloft; look, my brethren, around, you do not know your next neighbour by whom you are sitting his morning, it           may be. But there are stories of grace that might be told by some here this morning, that would make the ver           angels sing more loudly than they have done before. Well, I know these cheeks have well nigh been scarlet with           tears when I have heard the stories of free grace wrought in this congregation. Then are those known to me, but of           course not so to you, who were among the vilest of men, the scum of society. We have here those to whom           cursing was as their breath, and drunkenness had grown to be a habit; and yet here they are servants of God, and           of his church; and it is their delight to testify to others what a Saviour they have found. Ah, but my hearer,           perhaps thou art one of those trophies, and if so, the best proof of the riches of his grace is that which thou findest           in thy own soul. I think God to be gracious when I see others saved, I know he is because he has saved me; that           wayward, wilful boy, who scoffed a mother's love, and would not be melted by all her prayers, who only wished           to know a sin in order to perpetrate it? Is he standing here to preach the gospel of the grace of God to you to-day?           Yes. Then there is no sinner out of hell that has sinned too much for grace to save. That love which can reach to           me, can reach to you. Now I know the riches of his grace, because I hope I prove it, and feel it in my own inmost           heart, my dear hearer, and may you know it too, and then you will join with our poet, who says

                                              "Then loudest of the crowd I'll sing,                                             While heavens resounding mansions ring                                               With shouts of sovereign grace."

          Go a little further now. We have thus looked at the wine and treasures, and at the monuments. But more. One           thing which amazed the queen of Sheba, with regard to the riches of Solomon, was the sumptuousness ofhis table.           Suth multitudes sat down to it to eat and drink, and though they were many, yet they all had enough and to spare.           She lost all heart when she saw the provisions of a single day brought in. I forget just now, although I meant to           refer to the passage how many fat beast, how many bullocks of the pasture, how many bucks and fallow deer and           game of all sorts, and how many measures of flour and how many gallons of oil were brought to Solomon's table           every day, but it was something marvellous; and the multitudes that had to feast were marvellous also, yet had           they all enough. And now think my brethren of the hospitalities of the God of grace each day. Ten thousand of his           people are this day sitting down to feast; hungry and thirsty they bring large appetites with them to he banquet, but           not one of them returns unsatisfied; there is enough for each, enough for all, enough for evermore. Though the           host that feed there is countless as the stars of heaven, yet I find that not one lacks his portion. He openeth his           hand and supplies the want of every living saint upon the face of the earth. Think how much grace one saint           requires, so much that nothing but the Infinite could supply him for one day. We burn so much fuel each day to           maintain the fire of love in our hearts, that we might drain the mines of England of all their wealth of coal. Surely           were it not that we have infinite treasures of race, the daily consumption of a single saint might out-demand           everything that is to be found upon the face of the earth. And yet it is not one but many saints, and many           hundreds, not for one day, but for many years; not for many years only, but generation after generation, century           after century, race after race of men, living on the fulness of God in Christ. Yet are none of hem starved; they all           drink to he full; they eat and are satisfied. What riches of grace then may we see in the sumptuousness of his           hospitality.               Sometimes, my brethren, I have thought if I might but get the broken meat at God's back door of grace I           should be satisfied; like the woman who said, "The dogs eat of the crumbs that fall from the master's table;" or           like the prodigal who said, "Make me as one of thy hired servants." But you will remember that no child of God is           ever made to live on husks; God does not give the parings of his grace to he meanest of them, but they are all fed           like Mephibosheth; they eat from the kings own table the daintiest dishes. And if one may speak for the rest, I           think in matters of grace we all have Benjamin's messwe all have ten times as we could have expected, and           though not more than our necessities, yet are we often amazed at the marvellous plenty of grace which God gives           us in the covenant and the promise.               Now we turn to another point to illustrate the greatness of the riches of God's grace. A man's riches may often           be judged of by the equipage of his children, the manner in which he dresses his servants and those of his           household. It is not to be expected that the child of the poor man, though he is comfortably clothed, should be           arrayed in like garments to those which are worn by the sons of princes. Let us see, then, what are the robes in           which God's people are apparelled, and how they are attended. Here again I speak upon a subject where a large           imagination is needed, and my own utterly fails me. God's children are wrapped about with a robe, a seamless           robe, which earth and heaven could not buy the like of if it were once lost. For texture it excels the fine linen of           the merchants; for whiteness it is purer than the driven snow; no looms on earth could make it, but Jesus spent his           life to work my robe of righteousness. There was a drop of blood in every throw of the shuttle, and every thread           was made of his own heart's agonies. 'Tis a robe that is divine, complete; a better one than Adam wore in the           perfection of Eden. He had but a human righteousness though a perfect one, but we have a divinely perfect           righteousness. Strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed, for thy Saviour's garment is on thee; the royal robe of David is           wrapped about his Jonathan. Look at God's people as they are clothed too in the garments of sanctification. Was           there ever such a robe as that? It is literally stiff with jewels. He arrays the meanest of his people every day as           though it were a wedding day; he arrays them as a bride adorneth herself with jewels; he has given Ehtiopia and           Sheba for them, and he will have them dressed in gold of Ophir. What riches of grace then must there be in God           who thus clothes his children!               But to conclude this point upon which I have not as yet begun. If you would know the full riches of divine           grace, read the Father's heart when he sent his Son upon earth to die; read the lines upon the Father's countenance           when he pours his wrath upon his only begotten and his well-beloved Son. Read too the mysterious handwriting           on the Saviour's flesh and soul, when on the cross quivering in agony the waves of swelling grief do o'er his           bosom roll. If ye would know love ye must repair to Christ, and ye shall see a man so full of pain, that his head,           his hair, his garments bloody be. 'Twas love that made him sweat as it were great drops of blood. If ye would           know love, you must see the Omnipotent mocked by his creatures, you must hear the Immaculate slandered by           sinners, you must hear the Eternal One groaning out his life, and crying in the agonies of death, "My God, my           God, why hast thou forsaken me?" In fine, to sum up all in one, the riches of the grace of God are infinite, beyond           all limit; they are inexhaustible, they can never be drained; they are all-sufficient, they are enough for every soul           that ere shall come to take of them; there shall be enough for ever while earth endureth, until the last vessel of           mercy shall be brought home safely.               So much, then, concerning the riches of His grace.               II. For a minute or two, let me now dwell upon THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. The treasure of God's grace           is the measure of our forgiveness; this forgiveness of sins is according to the riches of his grace. We may infer,           then, that the pardon which God gives to the penitent is no niggard pardon. Have not you asked a man's pardon           sometimes, and he has said, "Yes, I forgive you," and you have thought, "Well, I would not even have asked for           pardon if I thought you would have given it in such a surly style as that; I might as well have continued as I was,           as to be so ungraciously forgiven." But when God forgives a man, though he be the chief of sinners, he puts out           his hand and freely forgives; in fact, there is as much joy in the heart of God when he forgives, as there is in the           heart of the sinner when he is forgiven; God is as blessed in giving as we are in receiving. It is his very nature to           forgive; he must be

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