Go in Peace
Written by: Spurgeon, C.H. Posted on: 04/03/2003
Go in Peace
Intended for Reading on Lord's-Day, March 23rd, 1902,
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
On Lord's-day Evening, September 23rd, 1883.
And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."Luke 7:50.
THERE appear to have been four stages in Christ's dealing with this woman. I know not what had
preceded the narrative as we have it recorded in this chapter; I need not enter into that question now.
There had, doubtless, been a work of the Spirit of God upon that woman's heart, turning her from her
sin to her Saviour; but when she stood at our Master's feet, raining tears of penitence upon them, wiping
them with the hairs of her head, giving to them kisses of love, and anointing them with the ointment from the
alabaster box, there were four stages m his gracious dealings with her.
The first was, when he silently accepted her manifestations of love. When the copious tears from her eyes fell
upon his feet, he did not withdraw them. When those feet were wiped with the luxuriant tresses of her hair, still he
did not withdraw them; and when she ventured upon a yet closer familiarity, and not only kissed his feet, but did
not cease to kiss them, he still did not withdraw them, but quietly accepted all that she did. And when the precious
ointment was poured in lavish abundance upon those precious feet of his, he did not upbraid her, he did not refuse
her gifts, but tacitly accepted them, though without a word of acknowledgment just then. And I think it is a very
blessed thing for any one of you to be accepted before God, even though no word has come from his lips assuring
you that it is so. When your tears, and cries, and secret love, and earnest seeking,--when your confession of sin,
your struggle after faith, and the dawnings of your faith are just accepted by the Lord, though as yet he has not
said to you, "Thy sins are forgiven thee," it is a very blessed stage for you to have reached, for the Lord does not
begin to accept anyone, even by a silence which means consent, and then draw back. He accepted this woman's
love and gifts, though, for a time, he gave her no assurance of that acceptance, and that fact must have greatly
cheered her. Manoah's wife said to him, "If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt
offering and a meat offering at our hands;" and I feel sure that, if the Lord had not meant to bestow his mercy
upon this woman, he would not have submitted to her washing of his feet with her tears, and wiping them with the
hairs of her head, and the subsequent continual kissing of them, and anointing of them with the precious ointment.
Our Lord's favourable inclination towards this woman was still more marked in the second stage of his
dealings with her, when he began to defend her against her accuser. When Simon's evil thoughts had condemned
her, and her Lord also, Jesus spoke that wonderful parable which set forth the greatness of this woman's love, and
justified the extraordinary way in which she manifested it. Christ did not speak to her, but he spoke up for her;
and such action as that should be quite sufficient to stay the soul of a believer in him. What though my Lord has
not revealed himself to me? He has revealed himself to the Father for me. What if he has not spoken to me? Yet,
if he has spoken to God on my behalf,if he has Spoken in the Scriptures in defence of poor sinners, and
advocated their cause in the High Court of Heaven, then how thankful I may be, and how thankful they may be!
In the third stage, our Lord did still more for this woman, for he spoke to her these gracious words, "Thy sins
are forgiven." Oh, how they must have dropped like dew into her poor soul! How she must have been refreshed
by them! She, who was a sinner,a great sinner, a public sinner,--ay, a professional sinner, hears her Saviour say
to her, "Thy sins are forgiven." The absolution pronounced by the man who calls himself a priest is utterly
worthless; but it would be worth while to give a thousand worlds, if we had them, for absolution from our great
High Priest! Yes, he who knew all about the woman's sin, he who had power on earth to forgive sins, had said to
her, "Thy sins are forgiven." Was not that enough for her? Would not that short sentence set all the bells of her
heart ringing as long as ever she lived?
Ay, but there was still more to follow, for the Lord spoke to her a second time, and said, "Thy faith hath
saved thee; go in peace." So she was not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but she was also delivered from the
power of sin. Her faith had saved her; she was a saved woman, so she might go in peace. Now she is enjoying the
sunlight of full assurance, the bright clear noontide of acknowledged acceptance: "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in
peace." Some of us have this great blessing, and we rejoice in it; but if others of you have not come quite so far on
the heavenly road, do not begin murmuring, or doubting. Bless the Lord Jesus Christ for any favour that he has
shown to you, a poor unworthy sinner; and if you have even the faintest ray of light, pray him to make your path
like that of the just, which "shineth more and more unto the perfect day." If you have received any token for good
from your Lord, be thankful for it, and expect ere long to hear in your soul the sweet music of this gracious word,
"Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
So we have come to our text, in which two things are, very clearly revealed. The first is, an assurance: "Thy
faith hath saved thee and the second is, a dismission: "Go in peace."
I. First, then, here is AN ASSURANCE: "Thy faith hath saved thee."
That assurance teaches us, first, that salvation is a present thing: "Thy faith hath saved thee." This is
something that is already accomplished. You are saved; not, you shall be saved; but you are even now in
possession of the priceless boon of salvation: "Thy faith hath saved thee." All through the Scriptures, and
especially in the New Testament, it is plainly asserted that believers in Christ are already in possession of salvation.
I will not stay to prove that it is so, but will rather explain it. If anyone says to me, "In what respect are believers
saved?" I answer, that they are saved in the price, in the promise, in the principles, and in the pledge of salvation.
The alliteration will help you to remember these four points.
First, they are saved in the price of salvation. All that was necessary to save them from the result of sin has
been endured by the Lord Jesus Christ. He has ransomed them by his death upon the cross. He has stood in their
stead, and borne their sin in his own body on the tree, and suffered the full penalty for it. He has finished the
transgression, and made an end of sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in for them everlasting
righteousness; so that they are saved. The great work of their salvation was completed by Christ upon the cross
when he laid down his life for them, and now they are "bought with a price," even "the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
Next, they are saved in the promise of salvation. Our Lord Jesus Christ, who cannot lie, hath declared "that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." God's promise is certain of fulfilment, so
that every believer in Jesus may be absolutely sure of salvation. We often take the cheque of a man who is known
to be in a good financial position, and we consider his cheque to be as good as if it were hard cash; and, in like
manner, we accept God's promise of salvation as being just as sure as the salvation itself. Paul tells us that God's
promise has been confirmed by an oath, "that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us."
Then, thirdly, we have salvation in the principles of it; that is to say, all those graces, which constitute the
essentials of a perfect character, are in every true child of God. There is given to us, when we are regenerated, the
very same life which we are to live for ever in heaven. We have now the root, the bulb, the seed, out of which
immortality and perfection will most surely grow; we may not yet be perfect, but we have that which will come to
perfection. We have within us a new nature, which cannot sin, because it is born of God; and this will gradually
overcome the old nature, as the Israelites drove out the Canaanites, and we shall be perfect before the throne of
the Most High. A man may have, in a very small room, a whole field of wheat lying in embryo, in the seed which
is to be sown in the springtime, and reaped in the autumn; and we have, in the gift of God's grace, all heaven in
embryo, in the seeds of faith and love, and the work of the Holy Spirit within our souls. Thus, we have salvation
in the principles of it.
And, once more, we have salvation in the pledge of it; for, when the Holy Spirit enters our heart, his coming
there is the pledge and the earnest of heaven. There is a difference between a pledge and an earnest, and what I
really mean is rather an earnest than a pledge. A pledge is taken back again, but an earnest is retained. A man, who
has his wages to take at the end of the week, may get some earnest money in the middle of the week; and, if his
master is what he should be, that will be a pledge that he will get the rest. So, the Holy Spirit is the Divine Person
who virtually puts heaven into us, and makes us fit to be in the heaven which Christ has gone to prepare for us.
What a mercy it is to have the witness of the Holy Spirit, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God our
Heavenly Father, to have aspirations after holiness which we never had in our unregenerate state! All this is the
pledge of heaven; and in having the pledge, we have practically the salvation itself. The Holy Spirit would not have
come into our hearts, and given us all these blessings, if he had not meant to "perfect that which concerneth us,"
and to save us in the Lord with an everlasting salvation.
Salvation, then, is a present thing, in price, in promise, in principles, and in pledge; but the important question
for each of you to answer is,Have you obtained that salvation? If you have not, you are in a truly terrible
condition, for you are "condemned already" because you have "not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son
of God." But if you have obtained this salvation, then you are indeed rich to all eternity. Perhaps you live in one
poor room, and have to work very hard for a livelihood, yet you are much richer than those emperors and kings,
who have much earthly pomp and state, hut who are not the subjects of God's grace, for you are saved; the Lord
has given you that salvation which can never be taken away from you. So, rejoice in this salvation; and, if you
have little else to cover you, let this salvation be your royal apparel; let this salvation load your table with heavenly
dainties; let this salvation smooth your path, however rough it may be, and cheer your heart, however great your
trials may be.
So, this assurance means that salvation is a present thing.
Next, it teaches us that salvation is obtained by faith: "Thy faith hath saved thee." "But," says someone,
"was it not the Lord Jesus Christ who saved her?" Yes, certainly it was; but do you see what Christ does? He is so
fond of faith that he takes the crown from his own head, and puts it on the head of faith, as he says to the woman,
"Thy faith hath saved thee." Is that a safe thing for Christ to do? Oh, yes! because faith at once removes the
crown from her own head, and puts it back upon Christ's, saying, "Not unto me, not unto me, but unto thy name
be all the glory." Christ loves to crown faith because faith loves to crown Christ. As for boasting,faith cannot
tolerate that for a moment; she hurls it out of the window, and will have nothing further to do with it. Our Saviour
speaks thus, "Thy faith hath saved thee," because he knows that it will be understood that faith is only the
connecting link with himself,that he really works the salvation, but that the faith of the believer is the means of
There are four things concerning this faith, which I want you to notice, and I will put them under the same
letter that I used before, so that it may be the easier for you to remember them. First, this woman's faith was a
personal faith: "Thy faith hath saved thee." O dear friends, I implore you to give up all idea, of being saved by
anybody else's faith! Thou must believe in Jesus for thyself, or thou wilt be a lost man for ever. What a dreadful
falsehood it is when men stand up, as sponsors for a child, and promise and vow various things, none of which are
within their power to perform! As to anything that anybody ever promised with regard to your soul, what can
another person do for you in such a matter as that? The most earnest faith in your parents can never bring you to
heaven, unless you also have faith in Jesus. There is a great blessing which may come to us through the faith of
others, if they exercise it in prayer on our behalf; but, still, salvation can never come to us apart from our own
personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee;"not Peter's faith, nor
James's faith, nor John's faith, but her own; and thou also must have faith for thyself, or thou wilt assuredly be
lost. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;" but if thou dost not personally believe on him,
thou canst not be saved.
Notice, next, that this woman's faith was a practical faith. She was saved by faith, and not by works; but, she
was not saved by a faith which did not produce works. Think of her works,she washes the Master's feet with
her tears, and wipes them with the hairs of her head; she kisses them repeatedly, and anoints them with her
precious ointment. I may truly say of her, "She hath done what she could." All that her affection prompted, her
devotion performed; for she had the faith which works by love; and if you, dear friends, have a faith that never
works for Christ, I beg you to get rid of it at once, for it will turn out to be a bastard faith. The faith that never
kisses his feet is a faith that he will tread under his feet. The faith that never anoints him is a faith that will have no
fragrance in his esteem, and he will not accept it. We are not saved by works and faith combined, much less by
works alone; but, nevertheless, the faith which saves is not a barren faith; it produces the good fruit of love and
service for Christ,
So this woman's faith was personal and practical. It was also a penitent faith. While she stood at Christ's feet,
behind him, her eyes showered tears upon them as she wept over her sin. I am always doubtful of the genuineness
of a dry-eyed faith. The longer I live, the more I am afraid of those people who profess to leap into faith without
any repentance; and there seem to be some, in these days, who do not believe in the old-fashioned sorrow for sin.
I would rather see some men less confident than they are if they were more humbled on account of their past
transgressions. This woman manifested a truly penitent faith.
And, once more, it was a pure faith;I use that word pure to help your memory, and I mean that her faith
was perfectly simple. She wept, but she did not trust in her weeping. She anointed Christ's feet with the ointment,
but she did not rely upon her self-sacrifice. She kissed his feet, but she did not depend upon her kisses. Where
was her trust all placed? Why, upon Christ, and-upon him alone. I do not know that she had ever read the Old
Testament; certainly, she could not have read the New Testament, for it was not written then. She may not have
known much about the Bible, but she knew him who is the very sum and substance of the Bible. I have heard
people talk about a Body of Divinity; but there never was but one in the highest sense of the term, and Jesus
Christ is that Body of Divinity. He is, in the truest sense, "the Word of God." This woman had seen him, she had
learned to know him, he had forgiven her sin, and she had come into that house full of love to him, and full of
trust in him, and now from his own lips she receives this gracious assurance, "Thy faith hath saved thee." It was
faith in him, and in nothing else. There was not, and there could not, have been, in her case, anything to trust to
but Christ. She was, in a very emphatic sense, a sinner; she had not set herself up as being a person of good
character; there were, no doubt, scores of people in the city who could have borne lamentable evidence of her
sinfulness. But she trusted herself absolutely to Jesus Christ, the sinners' Saviour, and she trusted him alone, and
so her faith was proved to he of that pure kind that saves all who exercise it. Let yours be like that, dear
friend,personal, practical, penitential, and pure.
Further, upon this first point, note that salvation may be a matter of assurance. This woman had the
assurance from Christ's own lips, "Thy faith hath saved thee." Those of you who were at the prayer-meeting here,
last Monday night, will remember that one of our brethren, when he was giving an address, made you smile when
he said, "He that believeth On the Son hath everlasting life," and then added, "h-a-t-h,that spells 'got it.'" That
is a queer mode of spelling, which is not taught at the Board School; yet it is a heavenly way of spelling, and it is
perfectly correct. "H-a-t-h;that spells 'got it.'" If you have the blessing of salvation, there is a possibility of
knowing that you have it. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;" he has got it; he has got it now.
"I should believe it," says one, "if Jesus Christ spoke to me, and said so." My dear friend, he has said it in his
Word. Is that Word a lie, or is it true? If it is true, then what more do you want? Christ has written it in his Word;
and I like a thing that is written even better than that which is spoken. You know how a man says, when he wants
a guarantee about a bargain, "Give it to me in writing; for some people will swear that they never said what we
ourselves heard them say, so give it me in black and white." Well, here it is in black and white: "He that believeth
on the Son hath everlasting life;" and again, "There is therefore now""now," mark,"no condemnation to them
which are in Christ Jesus;" and yet again, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ." Now, cannot you also say, "got it"?
Oh, but!" says someone, "I want evidence that it is so." Very well, you shall have evidence; you shall have the
witness of the Spirit who has renewed you; you shall have the witness of your changed life; you shall have the
witness of your new character; but, first of all, is not Christ's Word sufficient for you? Is not Christ's written Word
enough? Is not this Book, which you believe to have been inspired by the Holy Ghost, and which reveals the
Word of the Lord, enough for you? It is enough for me. If all the men in the world were to come, one after
another, after I had read something in the Bible, and were all to say, in their different languages, "That is a lie," I
should not believe it an atom the less; and suppose they were all to stand up, and say, "It is true," I should reply,
"Of course it is, but I do not need your word to confirm what Christ has said." I am perfectly satisfied if he has
said it; and there it stands, and all the powers of hell cannot prevail to overthrow it. Here is the solid rock for a
soul to rest upon. Christ says, at this moment, to everyone who believes in him, and trusts in his blood and
righteousness, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace."
II. So we come to the latter part of our text, which is, A DISMISSION: "Go in peace." What did Our Lord
mean by saying this?
I think he meant, first, "Quit this place of controversy, and go in peace." Do you notice that it was when
those, who sat at meat with him, began to say within themselves, "Who is this that forgiveth sins also?" that he
said to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace"? See the black looks of those Jews, those Pharisees,
round about Simon's table. Why, they are as sour as vinegar, and full of all kinds of scepticism, so the Saviour
says to the woman, "Go home good soul, away from all of them." So, dear friends, whenever you meet with a
book that is full of scepticism and unbelief,especially you who have lately found the Saviour,you had better
throw it away. "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." Unbelief will be no help to thee; thy faith hath already
saved thee; then, what more dost thou want? Thou hast the assurance within thine own soul that thou art saved;
do not go anywhere, or do anything to damage that assurance. I do not think it is worth while to go through a
horse pond, and get covered with filth, just for the pleasure of being afterwards washed. It may be that some
strong man, like another Samson, may have to go in among the Philistines, and pull their temple down about their
ears; but poor Hannah could not do that, and those who are like herthe women of a sorrowful spirit,had
better go home, and get out of the way of that set of wranglers. They may even be wrangling professors,
squabbling about this doctrine and that, and perhaps not understanding any of them properly; so the Saviour says
to you, "You have the assurance of salvation; do not let anybody worry you out of that. Go in peace." This is
what the apostle means when he says, "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."
Then, next, I think our Saviour meant his words to the woman, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace;" to be
a kind of dismission of her case from the Court. Here is Simon in thought accusing her, and thinking that she
ought not to be permitted to come and touch the Master's feet, and here is the Lord Jesus Christ not only
becoming a pleader for her, but deciding the case in her favour as he says to her, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in
peace." This was in effect saying, "Your case is dismissed; there is nothing against you. The Court clears you; go
home, good soul." What a mercy it is when the Lord speaks thus to anyone! "Who shal
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