Smoking a Good Cigar to the Glory of God

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1 Corinthians 10:23-30

Smoking a Good Cigar to the Glory of God

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.  Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour.  Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.  For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”  If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.  But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his.  For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?  If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?[1]

Some will no doubt be shocked at the title of the message, if not by the subject.  Children of the Living God are called to live in liberty, skilfully steering their barque between Scylla and Charybdis, yielding neither to license or to legalism.  Few of us do this well, and many fail to walk in Christian liberty.

I came to faith in a church which, upon reflection, was prone to legalism.  I am grateful for the grounding in the Faith which I received among those dear saints, but I have struggled for many decades to free myself from the shackles which bound me from my earliest days in the Faith.  It was not so much that the positions advanced did not address very real dangers to the soul, but it is that those issuing the warnings failed to allow for liberty and imposed their views without thought to the consequences.

The title of the message comes from an incident in the life of the great Baptist divine, Charles Haddon Spurgeon.  Mr. Spurgeon, as is true of a surprising number of noted preachers, smoked.  By all accounts, Mr. Spurgeon`s smoking was occasional, and never much more than a cigar a day.  There are no doubt health risks associated with cigars, but this is also true of obesity or thinness, of drinking coffee or drinking pop, of dressing for stylistic reasons instead of dressing to suit the weather.  Spurgeon`s smoking was a historical fact, and the cause of truth is not served by either denying this truth or inventing myths to suggest that he at last repented of his one vice.

In a British church magazine, Christian World, dated September 25, 1874, occurs the following report.

LAST Sunday evening, Mr. Spurgeon, before beginning his sermon, announced that he should not preach long that night, because he wished his friend Mr. Pentecost, who was on the platform, to say a few words to the congregation.

Mr. Spurgeon then gave a very earnest address on the words, “I cried with my whole heart; hear me, O Lord; I will keep Thy statutes.  I cried unto Thee; save me, and I shall keep Thy testimonies.”(Ps, cxix 145-6)

He spoke strongly and plainly upon the necessity of giving up sin, in order to success in prayer for “quickening,” and as an evidence of sincerity.  Mr. Spurgeon, in concluding his discourse, said, “`Now, then, perhaps Brother Pentecost will give you the application of that sermon.”

“Brother Pentecost” is an “open communion” Baptist minister, of the American city of Boston.  He responded at once to Mr. Spurgeon’s call, and, stepping to the front of the platform, gave some excellent remarks on the latter portion of the text, with much simplicity and force of manner.

Referring to one part of Mr. Spurgeon’s sermon, he gave us an interesting bit of personal experience.  He said that some years ago, he had had the cry awakened in his heart, “Quicken Thou me.”  He desired to be more completely delivered from sin, and he prayed that God would show him anything which prevented his more complete devotion to Him.  He was willing, he thought to give up anything or everything if only he might realise the desire of his heart.

“Well,” said he, amidst the profound silence and attention of the immense congregation, “what do you think it was that the Lord required of me?  He did not touch me in my church, my family, my property, or my passions.  But one thing I liked exceedingly—the best cigar which could be bought.”

He then told us that the thought came into his mind, could he relinquish this indulgence, if its relinquishment would advance his piety?  He tried to dismiss the idea as a mere fancy or scruple, but it came again and again to him, and he was satisfied that it was the still small voice which was speaking.

He remembered having given up smoking by the wish of his ministerial brethren, when he was twenty-one years of age, for four years.  But then, he had resumed the habit, for he declared during that four years he never saw or smelt a cigar which he did not want to smoke.  Now, however, he felt it to be his duty to give it up again, and so unequal did he feel to the self-denial, that he “took his cigar-box before the Lord,” and cried to Him for help.  This help he intimated had been given, and the habit renounced.

Mr. Spurgeon, whose smoking propensities are pretty well known, instantly rose at the conclusion of Mr. Pentecost’s address, and with a somewhat playful smile, said,

“Well, dear friends, you know that some men can do to the glory of God what to other men would be sin.  And notwithstanding what brother Pentecost has said, I intend to smoke a good cigar to the glory of God before I go to bed tonight.

“If anybody can show me in the bible the command, ‘Thou shalt not smoke,’ I am ready to keep it; but I haven’t found it yet.  I find ten commandments, and it’s as much as I can do to keep them; and I’ve no desire to make them into eleven or twelve.

“The fact is, I have been speaking to you about real sins, not about listening to mere quibbles and scruples.  At the same time, I know that what a man believes to be sin becomes a sin to him, and he must give it up.  ‘Whatsoever is not of faith is sin’ (Romans 14:23), and that is the real point of what my brother Pentecost has been saying.

“Why, a man may think it a sin to have his boots blacked.  Well, then, let him give it up, and have them whitewashed.  I wish to say that I’m not ashamed of anything whatever that I do, and I don’t feel that smoking makes me ashamed, and therefore I mean to smoke to the glory of God.”[2]

My concern in this message is together with you to seek the path which leads to liberty.  Neither licence nor legalism must be permitted to ensnare the soul of the child of God.  I neither advocate smoking nor abstaining from smoking in this message, but rather press upon you the necessity of considering the consequences of your choices.  Each choice we make as a Christian must either build us or condemn us and must either encourage others or cause them to stumble.

Focus on the words of the Apostle as he instructed a contentious church in the liberty of conscience which marks us as a free people.  Join me in seeking that walk which will glorify our Lord Christ and build each other up in the Faith.

Bear in mind that our first responsibility as children of the Living God and as members of His Body is to seek that which builds, encourages and consoles our fellow saints.  As the message unfolds, I encourage each listener to seek that balance which honours Christ our Lord and embraces the liberty which is ours through Him.

The Fatal Error of Licence — The Corinthians were guilty of vacillating between licence and legalism.  They seem to have been a congregation marked by extremes.  Among the extremes practised was a form of licence.  Antinomianism is the formal designation for the concept that one can live without rules.  Technically, it is the false teaching that since faith alone is necessary for salvation, the individual is free of the moral obligations of the law.[3]  Licence still infects the thinking of too many Christians.

Those who have believed the Good News of Christ are freed from the dominion of sin.  As the great text proclaims, it is by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works [Ephesians 2:8, 9].  However, we must recognise that since we are freed from the dominion of sin through faith, we are also freed to practise the righteousness demanded by God.  In other words, we are saved to serve.  We are set free in order to fulfil the will of God.  That same text cited moments ago make this truth plain as it continues by affirming that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them [Ephesians 2:10].

The Corinthians were claiming the truth that all things are lawful as justification for their licence.  Indeed, all things are lawful, the Apostle affirmed.  However, he was compelled to remind these saints that though all things were lawful, not all things are helpful, [neither do] all things build up [1 Corinthians 10:23].  These words are in anticipation of the instruction they shall shortly receive concerning spiritual gifts.

The effectiveness of one’s gift can be gauged by asking what impact the exercise of that gift has on the Body of Christ.  God gifts His people, expecting that they will seek to build one another in the Faith, to encourage one another or to console each other in their mutual struggles [see 1 Corinthians 14:3b].  The effectiveness of your gifts is measured by how well their exercise builds, encourages and consoles.

Similarly, the effectiveness of the exercise of your Christian liberty is gauged by its impact on others.  When you act in liberty, are others made stronger?  Does your liberty encourage others in a positive sense?  When you walk in liberty, are others consoled?  These are the types of questions which each of us should ask of ourselves.  What impact does my liberty have on others?

You have liberty in Christ, but know that there are consequences in the exercise of your liberty.  Your actions and you attitudes will be either a means of upbuilding and encouragement and consolation, or they will serve as a force for destruction and discouragement and crushing of the spirit.  The determinate for the impact of your life will be the focus of your life.  If you are focused inward, you can count on destruction, discouragement and weakness in the wake of your life.  If you are focused on Christ, you will be concerned for others and in the wake of your passing, people will have been built up, encouraged and will have found consolation through having known you.

It is this necessity demanding that we focus outward which serves as the basis for Paul’s plea that no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbour [1 Corinthians 10:25].  Were this one great ideal implemented among the people of God, the Faith would be transformed.  Once again we would witness a Faith which was vibrant and unconquerable, instead of an insipid and uninspiring routine which serves only to entertain for an hour or so each week and is then conveniently forgotten.

The Apostle instructed believers to think about the impact of their actions on others.  Consider his instruction on this particular issue given earlier in this same book.  Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”  For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.  However, not all possess this knowledge.  But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.  Food will not commend us to God.  We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.  But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.  For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols?  And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.  Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.  Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble [1 Corinthians 8:4-13].

I must be quite pointed in stating that what the Word warns against is the possibility that my liberty may cause a fellow believer to sin.  That someone may be merely irritated or annoyed is of no concern either to myself or to the Apostle.  Perhaps smoking a good cigar will cause someone who considers this deed to be a great sin to again smoke.  I must be careful not to give occasion to another Christian to stumble [skandalivzw].

Paul expressly forbids the strong from causing the weak to stumble and thus wounding their conscience [cf. Romans 14:13, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9].  Christian freedom, though justified in itself, must not be permitted to cause others to stumble.  This is the law of love.  He who hurts the conscience of another creates an obstacle for the gospel [cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12-23].  I recognise that there is an offence of the gospel, which must not be removed [Matthew 18:7; Luke 17:1].  However, there is also a human offence which must be avoided.[4]  That is the point of the Apostle’s instruction in chapter eight and again in our text.

Such offences are inevitable.  They belong to the world and make it ripe for condemnation, but woe to the man through whom they come.  This is particularly true of those that offend the little ones who believe in Jesus [see Matthew 18:6].  Jesus was probably thinking not only of children, but also of all those who need special help from the church because of their defencelessness when they face the great and strong.  It is easy to give these weak and helpless ones who turn to Jesus an occasion for straying away from Jesus.  However, be aware that he who does this is subject to judgement.  That is why the strong are exhorted not to cause the weak to stumble [1 Corinthians 8:13].

One further passage vital to understanding the fatal error of licence is that found in Romans 14:13-23.  Let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.  I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean.  For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.  By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.  So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.  For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.  So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God.  Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.  It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.  The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.  Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgement on himself for what he approves.  But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith.  For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

We must stop passing judgement on one another.  Those who are “weak” are bothered by scruples over things that should not matter.  The one the Apostle calls “strong” knows that in principle what one does in these areas doesn’t matter.  Paul lists two areas in which such scruples existed in that day—vegetarianism verses eating meat, and the observance of religious holidays.

James Boice mentions other areas which are more likely to be of concern in our day.  He suggests (1) the judgmental way some Christians look at others who are going through hard times…; (2) variations in individual piety…; (3) denominational affiliations, some being judged apostate by narrower brethren; and (4) personality differences—because some people are shy and cannot speak easily about their faith to other people, they are often thought to be unspiritual or even disobedient …[5]

Exercising liberty without concern for the consequence on weaker saints is specifically condemned because it destroys the work of God [see Romans 14:20].  The child of God is responsible to be aware of those about him or her.  Each of us is responsible to consider the impact of our actions and the impact of our attitudes on those who watch.  In the immediate text, we are called to be aware of what we do before the eyes of unbelievers.  In the ancillary verses cited, we are specially called to account for the impact of our actions and of our attitudes on fellow Christians, especially those who are weaker in the Faith.  We must not hinder the Gospel nor must we be responsible for destroying our fellow saints.

As believers, we are free.  God does not place us under law, but rather we are under grace.  We have seen, however, that we are responsible to consider others, especially those who are outside the Faith and who may be offended by our conduct and those who are weaker in the Faith.  This raises a question of conduct for Christians.  Are some activities permissible in privacy for a mature believer which would not be appropriate in public?  The answer to this question is, “Yes, provided the action is not personally harmful and does not tempt the Lord.”

The Fatal Error of Legalism — If there is one verse which characterises Baptist theology, it must be that which Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians.  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery [Galatians 5:1].  The Christian is free—free of rules and regulations designed for guiding life.  Therefore, the child of God must not voluntarily submit to a yoke of slavery again.

Paul establishes this vital truth in the first sentence of the paragraph under consideration.  He does so through citing again a rule which the Corinthians had seized for their own advantage.  All things are lawful, the wayward saints contended.  They quoted this truism in an effort to justify their own actions as they moved to one extreme or the other.  The Apostle does not deny the validity of this truth, but rather affirms it.  He does, however, provide some parameters by which to apply the truth so as not to stumble.

It is always easier to live by a set of rules designed by man than it is to live as free and responsible before God.  Whenever people attempt to make new rules for living, it seems always to be with the best of intentions.  However, whenever people attempt to live by rules made by man—however well intentioned those rules may appear—it results in dishonour to the Lord of Liberty.

Permit me to demonstrate an instance when the Lord addressed such dishonour.  Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders?  For they do not wash their hands when they eat.”  He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?  For God commanded, ‘Honour your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’  But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is given to God, he need not honour his father.’  So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.  You hypocrites!  Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “ ‘This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’” [Matthew 15:1-9].

Jesus shifts the issue from one of tradition to one of the revealed law of God.  He does not say, “Yes, I am guilty, but you are also guilty.”  Rather, Jesus is pointing that they have ignored what God commanded even as they went about in an effort to create their own righteousness—something which was impossible.  Skirting the command of God, these Pharisees created ways to exonerate themselves in their own eyes.  What was worse, they imposed their teaching on the people as though it was sanctioned by God!

I served a church on the coast which congratulated itself on its soundness, but it was spiritually corrupt.  They dismissed one dear man from the church choir because, they said, he had an unsanctified voice.  He smoked a pipe, and that was anathema in their eyes.  Never have I witnessed a more malicious, a more vicious people intent on destroying those whom they disliked through gossip and scandal mongering.  They were a hateful people, though they prided themselves on their Christian precision.

I precipitated a firestorm when I exposed their private sins.  I noted their pride in the fact that they were not “worldly” as were many churches.  However, I must have stepped on a few toes when I pointed out that they managed to register on the biblical radar as exceptionally “worldly.”  I noted the Scriptures, which always reveal things differently from our perceptions.  As an example, in 1 Corinthians 3:3, Paul says the Corinthians were fleshly because they were marked by jealousy and strife.

By implication, in 2 Corinthians 1:12, Paul teaches that to act in a pretentious or ostentatious manner is worldly.  In Colossians 2:18 and 23, we discover that substituting your own reason for the clearly revealed Word of God is worldly.  Similarly, the Apostle in 1 Timothy 4:7 teaches that such myths are ungodly and worldly, and in 1 Timothy 6:20 and 2 Timothy 2:16 he teaches that speaking without knowledge is worldly.  In his letter to Titus, Paul teaches that failure to live a life marked by self-control, uprightness and godliness is worldly [Titus 2:12].  Boasting is tantamount to worldliness [1 Peter 2:11].  Divisiveness is a characteristic of worldliness [Jude 19].  Never, however, does the Bible concern itself with the acts which these self-righteous people considered worldly conduct—smoking, dancing, movies and a myriad of other activities.

I pointed to the sectarian spirit, to the jealousy and strife, to the pride and gossip, all which marked that particular congregation and stated without apology that they were a worldly people.  “You are so proud,” I stated, “that you don’t smoke and you don’t chew and you don’t go with girls that do; but you are worldly since you are hateful and divisive and jealous and malicious.”  If I had not known so before, I quickly learned that proud people such as those in that congregation, do not suffer such rebukes gladly, though those who are wise will receive a rebuke with gratitude [see Proverbs 13:1; 17:10; 27:5].

As a free people, we must not permit artificial tests to be imposed on our conduct.  Therefore let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.  Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.  If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh [Colossians 2:16-23].

Those who set up their own righteousness are described in unflattering terms.  There are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party.  They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.  One of the Cretans, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”  This testimony is true.  Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, not devoting themselves to Jewish myths and the commands of people who turn away from the truth.  To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled.  They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works.  They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work [Titus 1:10-16].

Legalism is an awful sin.  I trust that none of us shall ever be guilty of legalism.  The legalist, though perhaps thinking to obey the law of God, has surpassed that which God requires in order to set up his or her own righteousness.  Having surpassed God’s requirements the legalist congratulates himself or herself for the scruples they have embraced.  They have defined what God must accept and then they fulfil their own demands.  Thus having fulfilled the law they have created, they feel good about themselves and marvel that God is not more pleased with their efforts.

If the self-centred conduct of legalism is not sufficiently horrifying to the conscientious child of God, the fact that they condemn those who seek to honour God through submission to His will must dismay.  The legalist censures the godly because they have failed to keep the law which legalism has drafted.

The Delicate Balance of Liberty — Focus on the summation which the Apostle presents.  Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  Give no offence to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.  Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ [1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1].  Two principles are in action.  First, everything to the glory of God; secondly, putting no stumbling block in the way of a brother man.  The glory of God and the good of man—all life is to be conditioned by these two concepts.[6]

My liberty is bounded by the need to act with deliberation.  My freedom is constrained by the requirement that I act responsibly.  I must consider those who would make me a slave and reject their efforts.  Likewise, I must be aware of those who are weak in the Faith and seek their good.  In the text, the Apostle Paul urges that we give no offence to anyone [1 Corinthians 10:32].  The word employed [ajprovskopo"] has in the background the picture of tripping over a stone and falling.[7]

This does not mean that each time someone decides to restrict my liberty I must yield to them.  Rather, it means that if through the exercise of my liberty I cause someone to sin, then I must be aware of my actions.  For the sake of this weaker brother I am responsible to voluntarily restrict myself.  Offence does not refer to irritation or annoyance, but it speaks of falling into sin.  At issue is whether our action serves as an excuse for another to sin or serves to pressure that one into sinning!  This is nothing less than a plea to heed the apostolic injunction to act responsibly in the exercise of liberty.  For you were called to freedom, brothers.  Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” [Galatians 5:13, 14].

Throughout the letter, Paul has laid groundwork to combat the twin errors of licence and legalism.  The truth which the Corinthians cited, and which Christians to this day cite, is that all things are lawful.  As noted earlier, this is tantamount to saying that we are under grace and not under law.  The implication some draw from this statement is that since we are under grace we are excused from responsibility for our actions.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  We are free; but, if we truly understand the implications of liberty, our freedom compels us to be concerned for the impact of our actions.

We would do well to learn to ask a few questions of ourselves before we exercise our liberty.  Perhaps you will copy down these questions, suggested by the words of the Apostle in this same Corinthian letter.  Before any action which causes concern, or if challenged by another in the conduct of your life, ask the following five questions.

1. Will this action lead to freedom or slavery?  In 1 Corinthians 6:12, the Apostle acknowledge the Corinthian quote, and added another.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.  If the action leads to freedom—both for myself and for others—act boldly.

2. Will this action make me a stumbling block or a stepping stone?  What impact will this action have on another, whether outsider or weak believer?  The strong must adapt their behaviour to the conscience of the weak.  No good purpose is served in asserting individual rights if another if harmed.  Paul boldly asserts, Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble [1 Corinthians 8:13].

3. Will this action build me up or tear me down?  This question is suggested by the first verse of our text [1 Corinthians 10:23]?  “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful.  “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.

4. Will this action only please me or glorify Christ?  In 1 Corinthians 10:31, Paul emphatically states, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

5. Will this action help to win the lost or turn them away?  Paul was concerned for the impact of his actions on the lost.  As the world watches us, do they see us walking liberty or is our liberty twisted into licence?  For their sake, we must consider the impact of our actions.  Paul stated of himself, I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved [1 Corinthians 10:33].

That is ultimately our concern.  We long to see people saved.  Knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others [see 2 Corinthians 5:11].  The message is directed to those who have believed, urging them to walk that balanced life which honours God and adorns the doctrine of God our Saviour [see Titus 2:10].  To those yet outside the Faith we invite you to consider the freedom which is found in Christ Jesus the Lord.  We invite you to receive the free gift of life as you believe the Good News of salvation.  This is that gospel.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” [Romans 10:9-13].

Believe and be saved.  Amen.


[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture passages are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Good News Publishers 2001).  Used with permission.

[2] Adapted from G. Holden Pike, The Life and Work of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 5 vols.  (London: Cassel, n.d.), 5:138-40, cited at

[3] cf. Holman Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers 1991) 64

[4] see J. Guhrt in Colin Brown (ed.), New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, Volume 2: G-Pre (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan 1976) 707-710

[5] James Montgomery Boice, Romans: An Expositional Commentary, Volume 4: The New Humanity: Romans 12-16 (Baker, Grand Rapids, MI 1995) 1765

[6] G. Campbell Morgan, The Corinthians Letters of Paul (Fleming H. Revell Company, Old Tappan, NJ 1946) 131

[7] J. Guhrt, op. cit. 705-707

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