The link below will take you to a sermon preached by Charles Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel on Thursday Evening, November 5, 1857.
The scripture expounded is: “Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3
YES, we are just so foolish. Folly is bound up not only in the heart of a child but in the heart of even a child of God. And though the rod may be said to bring folly out of a child, it will take many a repetition of the rod of affliction upon the shoulders of a Christian before that folly is taken out of him.
Most true believers are sophisticated enough to understand from the Scriptures that their hope of salvation is due to the election of the Father, wholly grounded in the vicarious atonement of Christ the Son, and graceously applied to us by the Holy Spirit through faith. In theory we profess this, but in practice, many of us are heretics. And to do this in practice, as we all do, is foolishness. BUT, to understand that this is foolishness, is half way toward amending it, by God’s grace.
SALVATION – THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK
We must apply ourselves to prayer, studying the Word of God, hearing the preaching of the Word of God, and participating in God’s ordinances, but there is no salvation without the internal working of the Spirit of God. No man can begin the new birth himself – he cannot and he will not. The man that is unregenerate is dead in sin and sin cannot create grace anymore than hell can create heaven. Besides, if the sinner were capable of converting himself, he would not! Part of conversion is a will disposed to Christ, without conversion, no man would come to him.
The first thing the Holy Spirit does in the soul is to regenerate it – to give it life. Regeneration must preceed conviction of sin, because without spiritual eyes to see, a man can have no sight of his wickedness. This working of the Spirit in man is done effectually. For the Spirit would not do it, except He were to do it effectually. This working of the Spirit gives the man a new principle. Whereas before, he was only a body and soul, but now has a living spirit and is now also a spiritual being. Now the man has eyes to see his sin and misery and ears to hear the conviction of the law. Now, aware of the helplessness of his own conviction, the sinner clings to Jesus Christ as his only hope and righteousness. At the same time the sinner lays hold on Christ in faith, he is washed by the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanses him from all his sin and he receives the spotless righteousness of Christ, imputed to him. In place of sin and condemnation, he receives assurance, joy, and pardon – all works of the Holy Spirit – and best of all we are adopted sons of God!
But if you know your need of a Savior tonight, if you are this night conscious of your death in sin, hear me preach the Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ died for you. Do you know yourself to be guilty? Not as the hypocrite pretends to know it, but do you know it consciously, sensitively—do you weep over it? Do you lament it? Do you feel that you can not save yourself? Can you say tonight, “Unless God shall put out the hand of His mercy, I know I deserve to be lost forever and I am”? He will save you. He has taken your sins upon His head. He suffered in your place. I am the Master’s glad herald to tell you tonight what His Word tells you also—that you may rejoice in the fullness of faith—for “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,” and “this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.”