An Earnest Word with Those
     Who Are Seeking Salvation
     by the Lord Jesus Christ
     "Where sin abounded,
     grace did much more abound."
     Romans 5:20
     What Are We At?
     God Justifieth The Ungodly
     "It Is God That Justifieth"
     Just and the Justifier
     Concerning Deliverance from Sinning
     By Grace Through Faith
     Faith, What Is It?
     How May Faith Be Illustrated?
     Why Are We Saved by Faith?
     Alas! I Can Do Nothing!
     The Increase of Faith
     Regeneration and the Holy Spirit
     "My Redeemer Liveth"
     Repentance Must Go with Forgiveness
     How Repentance Is Given
     The Fear of Final Falling
     Why Saints Persevere
     TO YOU
     HE WHO SPOKE and wrote this message will be greatly
disappointed if it does not lead many to the Lord Jesus. It is
sent forth in childlike dependence upon the power of God the Holy
Ghost, to use it in the conversion of millions, if so He pleases.
No doubt many poor men and women will take up this little volume,
and the Lord will visit them with grace. To answer this end, the
very plainest language has been chosen, and many homely
expressions have been used. But if those of wealth and rank
should glance at this book, the Holy Ghost can impress them also;
since that which can be understood by the unlettered is none the
less attractive to the instructed. Oh that some might read it who
will become great winners of souls!
     Who knows how many will find their way to peace by what they
read here? A more important question to you, dear reader, is
this--Will you be one of them?
     A certain man placed a fountain by the wayside, and he hung
up a cup near to it by a little chain. He was told some time
after that a great art-critic had found much fault with its
design. "But," said he, "do many thirsty persons drink at it?"
Then they told him that thousands of poor people, men, women, and
children, slaked their thirst at this fountain; and he smiled and
said, that he was little troubled by the critic's observation,
only he hoped that on some sultry summer's day the critic himself
might fill the cup, and he refreshed, and praise the name of the
      Here is my fountain, and here is my cup: find fault if you
please; but do drink of the water of life. I only care for this.
I had rather bless the soul of the poorest crossing-sweeper, or
rag-gatherer, than please a prince of the blood, and fail to
convert him to God.
     Reader, do you mean business in reading these pages? If so,
we are agreed at the outset; but nothing short of your finding
Christ and Heaven is the business aimed at here. Oh that we may
seek this together! I do so by dedicating this little book with
prayer. Will not you join me by looking up to God, and asking Him
to bless you while you read? Providence has put these pages in
your way, you have a little spare time in which to read them, and
you feel willing to give your attention to them. These are good
signs. Who knows but the set time of blessing is come for you? At
any rate, "The Holy Ghost saith, Today, if ye will hear his
voice, harden not your hearts."
     I HEARD A STORY; I think it came from the North Country: A
minister called upon a poor woman, intending to give her help;
for he knew that she was very poor. With his money in his hand,
he knocked at the door; but she did not answer. He concluded she
was not at home, and went his way. A little after he met her at
the church, and told her that he had remembered her need: "I
called at your house, and knocked several times, and I suppose
you were not at home, for I had no answer." "At what hour did you
call, sir?" "It was about noon." "Oh, dear," she said, "I heard
you, sir, and I am so sorry I did not answer; but I thought it
was the man calling for the rent." Many a poor woman knows what
this meant. Now, it is my desire to be heard, and therefore I
want to say that I am not calling for the rent; indeed, it is not
the object of this book to ask anything of you, but to tell you
that salvation is all of grace, which means, free, gratis, for
     Oftentimes, when we are anxious to win attention, our hearer
thinks, "Ah! now I am going to be told my duty. It is the man
calling for that which is due to God, and I am sure I have
nothing wherewith to pay. I will not be at home." No, this book
does not come to make a demand upon you, but to bring you
something. We are not going to talk about law, and duty, and
punishment, but about love, and goodness, and forgiveness, and
mercy, and eternal life. Do not, therefore, act as if you were
not at home: do not turn a deaf ear, or a careless heart. I am
asking nothing of you in the name of God or man. It is not my
intent to make any requirement at your hands; but I come in God's
name, to bring you a free gift, which it shall be to your present
and eternal joy to receive. Open the door, and let my pleadings
enter. "Come now, and let us reason together." The Lord himself
invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless
happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean
well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your
door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for
such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good,
incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the
good word sink into your soul. It may be that the hour is come in
which you shall enter upon that new life which is the beginning
of heaven. Faith cometh by hearing, and reading is a sort of
hearing: faith may come to you while you are reading this book.
Why not? O blessed Spirit of all grace, make it so!
     THIS MESSAGE is for you. You will find the text in the
Epistle to the Romans, in the fourth chapter and the fifth verse:
     To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  
     I call your attention to those words, "Him that justifieth
the ungodly." They seem to me to be very wonderful words.
     Are you not surprised that there should be such an
expression as that in the Bible, "That justifieth the ungodly?" I
have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it
as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to
Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts
the charge, and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant
Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, He takes to Himself
the title of "Him that justifieth the ungodly." He makes those
just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished,
and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not,
that salvation was for the good? that God's grace was for the
pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your
mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and
you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there
could be no way of your enjoying His favor. You must be somewhat
surprised to read a text like this: "Him that justifieth the
ungodly." I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my
familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder
at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be
possible for a holy God to justify an unholy man? We, according
to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about
our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold
to it that there must be somewhat in us in order to win the
notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows
that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that "there is
none righteous, no not one." He knows that "all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags," and, therefore the Lord
Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and
righteousness with him, and to bestow them upon persons who have
none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but to make us
so: he justifieth the ungodly.
     When a counsellor comes into court, if he is an honest man,
he desires to plead the case of an innocent person and justify
him before the court from the things which are falsely laid to
his charge. It should be the lawyer's object to justify the
innocent person, and he should not attempt to screen the guilty
party. It lies not in man's right nor in man's power truly to
justify the guilty. This is a miracle reserved for the Lord
alone. God, the infinitely just Sovereign, knows that there is
not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not, and
therefore, in the infinite sovereignty of His divine nature and
in the splendor of His ineffable love, He undertakes the task,
not so much of justifying the just as of justifying the ungodly.
God has devised ways and means of making the ungodly man to stand
justly accepted before Him: He has set up a system by which with
perfect justice He can treat the guilty as if he had been all his
life free from offence, yea, can treat him as if he were wholly
free from sin. He justifieth the ungodly.
     Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. It is a
very surprising thing--a thing to be marveled at most of all by
those who enjoy it. I know that it is to me even to this day the
greatest wonder that I ever heard of, that God should ever
justify me. I feel myself to be a lump of unworthiness, a mass of
corruption, and a heap of sin, apart from His almighty love. I
know by a full assurance that I am justified by faith which is in
Christ Jesus, and treated as if I had been perfectly just, and
made an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ; and yet by
nature I must take my place among the most sinful. I, who am
altogether undeserving, am treated as if I had been deserving. I
am loved with as much love as if I had always been godly, whereas
aforetime I was ungodly. Who can help being astonished at this?
Gratitude for such favor stands dressed in robes of wonder.
     Now, while this is very surprising, I want you to notice how
available it makes the gospel to you and to me. If God justifieth
the ungodly, then, dear friend, He can justify you. Is not that
the very kind of person that you are? If you are unconverted at
this moment, it is a very proper description of you; you have
lived without God, you have been the reverse of godly; in one
word, you have been and are ungodly. Perhaps you have not even
attended a place of worship on Sunday, but have lived in
disregard of God's day, and house, and Word--this proves you to
have been ungodly. Sadder still, it may be you have even tried to
doubt God's existence, and have gone the length of saying that
you did so. You have lived on this fair earth, which is full of
the tokens of God's presence, and all the while you have shut
your eyes to the clear evidences of His power and Godhead. You
have lived as if there were no God. Indeed, you would have been
very pleased if you could have demonstrated to yourself to a
certainty that there was no God whatever. Possibly you have lived
a great many years in this way, so that you are now pretty well
settled in your ways, and yet God is not in any of them. If you
were labeled
     it would as well describe you as if the sea were to be
labeled salt water. Would it not?
     Possibly you are a person of another sort; you have
regularly attended to all the outward forms of religion, and yet
you have had no heart in them at all, but have been really
ungodly. Though meeting with the people of God, you have never
met with God for yourself; you have been in the choir, and yet
have not praised the Lord with your heart. You have lived without
any love to God in your heart, or regard to his commands in your
life. Well, you are just the kind of man to whom this gospel is
sent--this gospel which says that God justifieth the ungodly. It
is very wonderful, but it is happily available for you. It just
suits you. Does it not? How I wish that you would accept it! If
you are a sensible man, you will see the remarkable grace of God
in providing for such as you are, and you will say to yourself,
"Justify the ungodly! Why, then, should not I be justified, and
justified at once?"
     Now, observe further, that it must be so--that the salvation
of God is for those who do not deserve it, and have no
preparation for it. It is reasonable that the statement should be
put in the Bible; for, dear friend, no others need justifying but
those who have no justification of their own. If any of my
readers are perfectly righteous, they want no justifying. You
feel that you are doing your duty well, and almost putting heaven
under an obligation to you. What do you want with a Saviour, or
with mercy? What do you want with justification? You will be
tired of my book by this time, for it will have no interest to
     If any of you are giving yourselves such proud airs, listen
to me for a little while. You will be lost, as sure as you are
alive. You righteous men, whose righteousness is all of your own
working, are either deceivers or deceived; for the Scripture
cannot lie, and it saith plainly, "There is none righteous, no,
not one." In any case I have no gospel to preach to the self-
righteous, no, not a word of it. Jesus Christ himself came not to
call the righteous, and I am not going to do what He did not do.
If I called you, you would not come, and, therefore, I will not
call you, under that character. No, I bid you rather look at that
righteousness of yours till you see what a delusion it is. It is
not half so substantial as a cobweb. Have done with it! Flee from
it! Oh believe that the only persons that can need justification
are those who are not in themselves just! They need that
something should be done for them to make them just before the
judgment seat of God. Depend upon it, the Lord only does that
which is needful. Infinite wisdom never attempts that which is
unnecessary. Jesus never undertakes that which is superfluous. To
make him just who is just is no work for God--that were a labor
for a fool; but to make him just who is unjust--that is work for
infinite love and mercy. To justify the ungodly--this is a
miracle worthy of a God. And for certain it is so.
     Now, look. If there be anywhere in the world a physician who
has discovered sure and precious remedies, to whom is that
physician sent? To those who are perfectly healthy? I think not.
Put him down in a district where there are no sick persons, and
he feels that he is not in his place. There is nothing for him to
do. "The whole have no need of a physician, but they that are
sick." Is it not equally clear that the great remedies of grace
and redemption are for the sick in soul? They cannot be for the
whole, for they cannot be of use to such. If you, dear friend,
feel that you are spiritually sick, the Physician has come into
the world for you. If you are altogether undone by reason of your
sin, you are the very person aimed at in the plan of salvation. I
say that the Lord of love had just such as you are in His eye
when He arranged the system of grace. Suppose a man of generous
spirit were to resolve to forgive all those who were indebted to
him; it is clear that this can only apply to those really in his
debt. One person owes him a thousand pounds; another owes him
fifty pounds; each one has but to have his bill receipted, and
the liability is wiped out. But the most generous person cannot
forgive the debts of those who do not owe him anything. It is out
of the power of Omnipotence to forgive where there is no sin.
Pardon, therefore, cannot be for you who have no sin. Pardon must
be for the guilty. Forgiveness must be for the sinful. It were
absurd to talk of forgiving those who do not need forgiveness--
pardoning those who have never offended.
     Do you think that you must be lost because you are a sinner?
This is the reason why you can be saved. Because you own yourself
to be a sinner I would encourage you to believe that grace is
ordained for such as you are. One of our hymn-writers even dared
to say:
     A sinner is a sacred thing;
     The Holy Ghost hath made him so.
     It is truly so, that Jesus seeks and saves that which is
lost. He died and made a real atonement for real sinners. When
men are not playing with words, or calling themselves "miserable
sinners," out of mere compliment, I feel overjoyed to meet with
them. I would be glad to talk all night to bona fide sinners. The
inn of mercy never closes its doors upon such, neither weekdays
nor Sunday. Our Lord Jesus did not die for imaginary sins, but
His heart's blood was spilt to wash out deep crimson stains,
which nothing else can remove.
     He that is a black sinner--he is the kind of man that Jesus
Christ came to make white. A gospel preacher on one occasion
preached a sermon from, "Now also the axe is laid to the root of
the trees," and he delivered such a sermon that one of his
hearers said to him, "One would have thought that you had been
preaching to criminals. Your sermon ought to have been delivered
in the county jail." "Oh, no," said the good man, "if I were
preaching in the county jail, I should not preach from that text,
there I should preach 'This is a faithful saying, and worthy of
all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners.'" Just so. The law is for the self-righteous, to humble
their pride: the gospel is for the lost, to remove their despair.
     If you are not lost, what do you want with a Saviour? Should
the shepherd go after those who never went astray? Why should the
woman sweep her house for the bits of money that were never out
of her purse? No, the medicine is for the diseased; the
quickening is for the dead; the pardon is for the guilty;
liberation is for those who are bound: the opening of eyes is for
those who are blind. How can the Saviour, and His death upon the
cross, and the gospel of pardon, be accounted for, unless it be
upon the supposition that men are guilty and worthy of
condemnation? The sinner is the gospel's reason for existence.
You, my friend, to whom this word now comes, if you are
undeserving, ill-deserving, hell-deserving, you are the sort of
man for whom the gospel is ordained, and arranged, and
proclaimed. God justifieth the ungodly.
     I would like to make this very plain. I hope that I have
done so already; but still, plain as it is, it is only the Lord
that can make a man see it. It does at first seem most amazing to
an awakened man that salvation should really be for him as a lost
and guilty one. He thinks that it must be for him as a penitent
man, forgetting that his penitence is a part of his salvation.
"Oh," says he, "but I must be this and that,"--all of which is
true, for he shall be this and that as the result of salvation;
but salvation comes to him before he has any of the results of
salvation. It comes to him, in fact, while he deserves only this
bare, beggarly, base, abominable description, "ungodly." That is
all he is when God's gospel comes to justify him.
     May I, therefore, urge upon any who have no good thing about
them--who fear that they have not even a good feeling, or
anything whatever that can recommend them to God--that they will
firmly believe that our gracious God is able and willing to take
them without anything to recommend them, and to forgive them
spontaneously, not because they are good, but because He is good.
Does He not make His sun to shine on the evil as well as on the
good? Does He not give fruitful seasons, and send the rain and
the sunshine in their time upon the most ungodly nations? Ay,
even Sodom had its sun, and Gomorrah had its dew. Oh friend, the
great grace of God surpasses my conception and your conception,
and I would have you think worthily of it! As high as the heavens
are above the earth; so high are God's thoughts above our
thoughts. He can abundantly pardon. Jesus Christ came into the
world to save sinners: forgiveness is for the guilty.
     Do not attempt to touch yourself up and make yourself
something other than you really are; but come as you are to Him
who justifies the ungodly. A great artist some short time ago had
painted a part of the corporation of the city in which he lived,
and he wanted, for historic purposes, to include in his picture
certain characters well known in the town. A crossing-sweeper,
unkempt, ragged, filthy, was known to everybody, and there was a
suitable place for him in the picture. The artist said to this
ragged and rugged individual, "I will pay you well if you will
come down to my studio and let me take your likeness." He came
round in the morning, but he was soon sent about his business;
for he had washed his face, and combed his hair, and donned a
respectable suit of clothes. He was needed as a beggar, and was
not invited in any other capacity. Even so, the gospel will
receive you into its halls if you come as a sinner, not
otherwise. Wait not for reformation, but come at once for
salvation. God justifieth the ungodly, and that takes you up
where you now are: it meets you in your worst estate.
     Come in your deshabille. I mean, come to your heavenly
Father in all your sin and sinfulness. Come to Jesus just as you
are, leprous, filthy, naked, neither fit to live nor fit to die.
Come, you that are the very sweepings of creation; come, though
you hardly dare to hope for anything but death. Come, though
despair is brooding over you, pressing upon your bosom like a
horrible nightmare. Come and ask the Lord to justify another
ungodly one. Why should He not? Come for this great mercy of God
is meant for such as you are. I put it in the language of the
text, and I cannot put it more strongly: the Lord God Himself
takes to Himself this gracious title, "Him that justifieth the
ungodly." He makes just, and causes to be treated as just, those
who by nature are ungodly. Is not that a wonderful word for you?
Reader, do not delay till you have well considered this matter.  
     Romans 8:33
     A WONDERFUL THING it is, this being justified, or made just.
If we had never broken the laws of God we should not have needed
it, for we should have been just in ourselves. He who has all his
life done the things which he ought to have done, and has never
done anything which he ought not to have done, is justified by
the law. But you, dear reader, are not of that sort, I am quite
sure. You have too much honesty to pretend to be without sin, and
therefore you need to be justified.
     Now, if you justify yourself, you will simply be a self-
deceiver. Therefore do not attempt it. It is never worth while.  
   If you ask your fellow mortals to justify you, what can they
do? You can make some of them speak well of you for small favors,
and others will backbite you for less. Their judgment is not
worth much.
     Our text says, "It is God that justifieth," and this is a
deal more to the point. It is an astonishing fact, and one that
we ought to consider with care. Come and see.
     In the first place, nobody else but God would ever have
thought of justifying those who are guilty. They have lived in
open rebellion; they have done evil with both hands; they have
gone from bad to worse; they have turned back to sin even after
they have smarted for it, and have therefore for a while been
forced to leave it. They have broken the law, and trampled on the
gospel. They have refused proclamations of mercy, and have
persisted in ungodliness. How can they be forgiven and justified?
Their fellowmen, despairing of them, say, "They are hopeless
cases." Even Christians look upon them with sorrow rather than
with hope. But not so their God. He, in the splendor of his
electing grace having chosen some of them before the foundation
of the world, will not rest till He has justified them, and made
them to be accepted in the Beloved. Is it not written, "Whom he
did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called them he
also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified"?
Thus you see there are some whom the Lord resolves to justify:
why should not you and I be of the number?
     None but God would ever have thought of justifying me. I am
a wonder to myself. I doubt not that grace is equally seen in
others. Look at Saul of Tarsus, who foamed at the mouth, against
God's servants. Like a hungry wolf, he worried the lambs and the
sheep right and left; and yet God struck him down on the road to
Damascus, and changed his heart, and so fully justified him that
ere long, this man became the greatest preacher of justification
by faith that ever lived. He must often have marveled that he was
justified by faith in Christ Jesus; for he was once a determined
stickler for salvation by the works of the law. None but God
would have ever thought of justifying such a man as Saul the
persecutor; but the Lord God is glorious in grace.
     But, even if anybody had thought of justifying the ungodly,
none but God could have done it. It is quite impossible for any
person to forgive offences which have not been committed against
himself. A person has greatly injured you; you can forgive him,
and I hope you will; but no third person can forgive him apart
from you. If the wrong is done to you, the pardon must come from
you. If we have sinned against God, it is in God's power to
forgive; for the sin is against Himself. That is why David says,
in the fifty-first Psalm: "Against thee, thee only, have I
sinned, and done this evil in thy sight"; for then God, against
whom the offence is committed, can put the offence away. That
which we owe to God, our great Creator can remit, if so it
pleases Him; and if He remits it, it is remitted. None but the
great God, against whom we have committed the sin, can blot out
that sin; let us, therefore, see that we go to Him and seek mercy
at His hands. Do not let us be led aside by those who would have
us confess to them; they have no warrant in the Word of God for
their pretensions. But even if they were ordained to pronounce
absolution in God's name, it must still be better to go ourselves
to the great Lord through Jesus Christ, the Mediator, and seek
and find pardon at His hand; since we are sure that this is the
right way. Proxy religion involves too great a risk: you had
better see to your soul's matters yourself, and leave them in no
man's hands.
     Only God can justify the ungodly; but He can do it to
perfection. He casts our sins behind His back, He blots them out;
He says that though they be sought for, they shall not be found.
With no other reason for it but His own infinite goodness, He has
prepared a glorious way by which He can make scarlet sins as
white as snow, and remove our transgressions from us as far as
the east is from the west. He says, "I will not remember your
sins." He goes the length of making an end of sin. One of old
called out in amazement, "Who is a God like unto thee, that
pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the
remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever,
because he delighteth in mercy" (Micah 7:18 ).
     We are not now speaking of justice, nor of God's dealing
with men according to their deserts. If you profess to deal with
the righteous Lord on law terms, everlasting wrath threatens you,
for that is what you deserve. Blessed be His name, He has not
dealt with us after our sins; but now He treats with us on terms
of free grace and infinite compassion, and He says, "I will
receive you graciously, and love you freely." Believe it, for it
is certainly true that the great God is able to treat the guilty
with abundant mercy; yea, He is able to treat the ungodly as if
they had been always godly. Read carefully the parable of the
prodigal son, and see how the forgiving father received the
returning wanderer with as much love as if he had never gone
away, and had never defiled himself with harlots. So far did he
carry this that the elder brother began to grumble at it; but the
father never withdrew his love. Oh my brother, however guilty you
may be, if you will only come back to your God and Father, He
will treat you as if you had never done wrong! He will regard you
as just, and deal with you accordingly. What say you to this?    
 Do you not see--for I want to bring this out clearly, what a
splendid thing it is--that as none but God would think of
justifying the ungodly, and none but God could do it, yet the
Lord can do it? See how the apostle puts the challenge, "Who
shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that
justifieth." If God has justified a man it is well done, it is
rightly done, it is justly done, it is everlastingly done. I read
a statement in a magazine which is full of venom against the
gospel and those who preach it, that we hold some kind of theory
by which we imagine that sin can be removed from men. We hold no
theory, we publish a fact. The grandest fact under heaven is
this--that Christ by His precious blood does actually put away
sin, and that God, for Christ's sake, dealing with men on terms
of divine mercy, forgives the guilty and justifies them, not
according to anything that He sees in them, or foresees will be
in them, but according to the riches of His mercy which lie in
His own heart. This we have preached, do preach, and will preach
as long as we live. "It is God that justifieth"--that justifieth
the ungodly; He is not ashamed of doing it, nor are we of
preaching it.
     The justification which comes from God himself must be
beyond question. If the Judge acquits me, who can condemn me? If
the highest court in the universe has pronounced me just, who
shall lay anything to my charge? Justification from God is a
sufficient answer to an awakened conscience. The Holy Spirit by
its means breathes peace over our entire nature, and we are no
longer afraid. With this justification we can answer all the
roarings and railings of Satan and ungodly men. With this we
shall be able to die: with this we shall boldly rise again, and
face the last great assize.
     Bold shall I stand in that great day,
     For who aught to my charge shall lay?
     While by my Lord absolved I am
     From sin's tremendous curse and blame.

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