With regard to Christ, his precious blood shed in Gethsemane, in Gabbatha and Golgotha, is the fulfilment of the covenant. By this blood sin is cancelled; by Jesus’ agonies justice is satisfied; by his death the law is honoured; and by that precious blood in all its mediatorial efficacy, and in all its cleansing power, Christ fulfils all that he stipulated to do on behalf of his people towards God. Oh, believer, look to the blood of Christ, and remember that there is Christ’s part of the covenant carried out. And now, there remains nothing to be fulfilled but God’s part, there is nothing for thee to do; Jesus has done it all; there is nothing for free will to supply; Christ has done everything that God can demand. The blood is the fulfilment of the debtor’s side of the covenant, and now God becomes bound by his own solemn oath to show grace and mercy to all whom Christ has redeemed by his blood. With regard to the blood in another respect, it is to God the Father the bond of the covenant. When I see Christ dying on the cross, I see the everlasting God from that time, if I may use the term of him who ever must be free, bound by his own oath and covenant to carry out every stipulation. Does the covenant say, “A new heart will I give you, and a right spirit will I put within you?” It must be done, for Jesus died, and Jesus’ death is the seal of the covenant. Does it say, “I will sprinkle pure water upon you and you shall be clean; from all your iniquities will I cleanse you?” Then it must be done, for Christ has fulfilled his part.
For meditation: The very character of God doubles the reliability of his purposes and promises (Hebrews 6:13-18).
Sermon no. 277 2 October (1859)365 Days with C.H. Spurgeon, Vol. 1: A Unique Collection of 365 Daily Readings from Sermons Preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon from His New Park Street Pulpit (365 Days With Series); edited by Terence Peter Crosby; (c) Day One Publications, 1998.
I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to murder anyone. I’ve never worshiped an idol. Adultery hasn’t been a stumbling block for me. Why would I want to steal from someone? Such big sins don’t bother me.
Most of us who seek to follow the leadership of Jesus Christ discover that the big lures tend to disappear. It’s the little traps that we stumble into.
One of my little struggles is that I tend to ignore the warning signs of past experiences, cautions in the Bible, or the restraining hand of God. I’m amazed (in retrospect) how easily I convince myself to say a certain thing or act a certain way as a means of standing up for myself or being honest, or being faithful to point out another’s shortcomings. Once in a while, I’ve quoted Bible verses to show my righteousness and purity of heart.
And yet … I still give in to temptations.
No one has to tell me that I sin with my tongue. It’s too quick to speak, and too slow to pause. Then why haven’t I corrected it?
First, of course, is the old standby excuse of innate sin. I’m a sinner by nature, and I’ll always be a sinner. I may get better, and by God’s grace, I’ll grow, but committing sin will always be part of me. Although true, it’s no excuse for irresponsibility.
A far stronger reason is that I get confused between what I need and what I think I need. For instance, when King Ahab wanted to buy a certain vineyard and the owner refused to sell, he fell into deep depression. As king he probably had hundreds of vineyards, but he had to have that particular one. Its importance grew until he convinced himself he couldn’t be happy without owning that piece of land.
“Hey, man, you’re the king,” his wife told him. “You can do what you want.” She arranged for a couple of thugs to accuse the owner of a crime, she had him stoned, and the crown took over the property.
What about David and his sin with Bathsheba? If any man in the Bible knew the way of God, it was David, but even he allowed his desires to do his thinking for him. He may have had some unmet needs. Probably all of us think we do. Those are the things that get us into trouble, and sometimes we surrender to temptation. Yet as the Victor Over Temptation shows us our particular areas of weakness, we can resist the subtle lures around us.
As I have discussed this matter with the Victor, he has given me some insight about myself. It’s more truthful to say, he’s forced me to admit things about myself in recent days. Here’s what I’ve learned. I know I’m a helper. People depend on me, talk to me, and open up to me. Sounds good and noble, doesn’t it?
The Victor Over Temptation has been enabling me see my underside, and I’ve finally begun to admit I feel pride in being needed and being indispensable. To please others, I’ve adapted to their demands and wishes. Especially in the past, I found it difficult to recognize my own lack because I spent so much energy in being needed. Unconsciously, I change my perspective to become empathetic and make emotional connections. Sometimes I adapt to the wishes of others as a way to gain or retain their love.
Until a few months ago, I lived in ignorance of those facts. As I continue to ask the Victor Over Temptation for help, however, I see myself more clearly. With God’s help, I can find freedom from such traps.
The more I know about myself, and the more I’m in touch with the Victor, the more assured I become that I have the best weapons for defense. Those weapons are simple, yet they’re effective only when we learn to use them.
First, I pray. More and more, I realize the importance of the words: “Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil” (Mt 6:13, CEV). I keep that petition before me because I want God to show me the areas where I’m susceptible. As the Victor Over Temptation shows me my inner self, I often resist the truth. Yet as I ask him to enable me to be open and I listen, I also fortify myself to win the next battle.
Second, I’m reading more in my Bible. That’s the most powerful way God speaks to me. I’ll read along and a verse takes on power as if I’d never read it before.
Here’s one example. I was involved in a controversy in a writers’ organization. One day when I was reading in Romans, my eyes stopped at this verse: “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (12:18, MKJV). The verse shouted inside my head. I read it two or three times. By then, I knew I had to do something to bring peace. I reexamined my position and realized my hidden needs had subverted my zeal for integrity. Once I backed up two steps, those on the other side did the same. We came to a place of peace.
That’s the practical working of the Victor Over Temptation in my life. He helps me see not just the wrong and stupid things I’ve done; he’s also helping me look below my actions and attitudes to figure out why I failed.
As I thought of this, I recalled a prominent pastor involved in an adulterous situation. He had sinned. At the same time, as I understand my proclivity to temptation, I’m learning to understand others. I wondered what kind of unfulfilled needs he had. If he had been able to talk to the Victor about those deep inner needs, he might have overcome the temptation.
No single temptation strikes all of us. As we open ourselves to the Victor over Temptation, we can begin to understand our own inner driving forces that might ensnare us. Then comes victory.
As I become aware of my personal temptations, and as I call on the Victor Over Temptation, I know that I’m going to sin.
Even if you think you can stand up to temptations, be careful not to fall. You are tempted in the same way that everyone else is tempted. But God can be trusted not to let you be tempted too much, and he will show you how to escape from your temptations. —1 Corinthians 10:12-16, CEV
Victor Over Temptation, with your help I can win. With your help I can find answers and satisfy those hurting, needy parts of my life. With your help I can win time after time against temptations. Thanks for providing the way of escape. Amen.
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4
The late entertainer Joe E. Brown once said, “I have no understanding of the long‐faced Christian. If God is anything, He must be joy.” How true! We have a God who loves us more than we love our children or even ourselves—a God who sent His Son to die for us and who has prepared a place in eternity just for us. He is indeed a God of joy—and we have much to be joyful about!
This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way. When we were first married, Jim and I taught school, served in the church, and carried many responsibilities. Jim was working on his master’s degree at the time, so he wasn’t able to help me carry my load. I looked forward every week to Saturday, when I could rest and recuperate. Gradually, I fell into the trap of being truly happy only one day a week. And if anything took that day away from me, I was very frustrated. Slowly, I learned to enjoy every day of the week, even though I was busy. It was a simple change in attitude that brightened my life. Someone once said, “If you have to cross the street to be happy, you’re not seeing things properly.” I agree.
There are many “long‐faced” Christians who are caught up in the trials of this world. It’s not always easy to remember that we can experience joy even in the midst of struggles. We forget that Jesus told us that our worldly grief would be like a mother giving birth: She experiences pain during labor, but then forgets her anguish because of her joy over the birth of her child (John 16:21). We forget that the apostles, after being flogged on orders of the Sanhedrin, left there “rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name” (Acts 5:41).
Joy is something we experience when we begin to understand the magnitude of God and the love He freely gives us. It’s not something to be grasped, but shared. It’s not something to be contained, but made available to all. Joy is a selfless, abundant quality modeled by our Lord Jesus. He is the one who has called us to “rejoice” and “leap for joy” when we are poor, hungry, weeping, hated, and rejected, because “great is your reward in heaven” (Luke 6:23).
Joy can begin right now—if we choose! “Rejoice in the Lord always…!”