Friday, November 19, 2010

Spurgeon: "Condemned" or "Forgiven"?

Last Sunday (11/14) I had the privilege of preaching the classic text from 2 Peter 3:9 which describes the Lord as "not willing that any should perish" (listen to the audio here).  Here is the manuscript version of the conclusion with an anecdote taken from Spurgeon:

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon at various times in his preaching ministry asked his hearers to go home after the service and to spend a bit of time, quietly alone, honestly considering their spiritual condition in God’s sight. Then he asked them to take a slip of paper and a pencil or pen and to write one of two words. If they felt they were not believers he asked them to write the word “condemned.” And if they felt they were believers, trusting in Christ alone for salvation, he asked them to write the word “forgiven.”

Several were brought to Christ by this means.

One young man went home and wrote “condemned.” But when he looked at his own writing, the tears began to flow, his heart began to break, and, before long, he fled to Christ, threw the paper in the fire and took a new one and on it wrote “forgiven.”

In another case, a man had been in the service with his family. When they got home the man told his wife he was going to take the paper and write “condemned.” His wife pleaded with him, but he took the paper and pen and began to write the letter “c.” Just then, his daughter, a little Christian girl, caught hold of his hand and said, “No, father, you shall not write it.” Spurgeon concludes, “and by the entreaties of his wife and child, the man was brought to the Saviour, and afterwards became a member with them at the Tabernacle” (see Autobiography, Vol. 2, p. 241).

If I were to ask you today to go home and do the same, what would you write? Would you write “condemned” or would you write “forgiven”?


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