Spurgeon – The Warrant of Faith – What do I need to know before I trust in Christ?

From Iain H. Murray’s book Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism – The Battle for Gospel Preaching (p 71):

One of the reasons Spurgeon rejected Hyper-Calvinism was that it turned individuals away from their sure warrant for trusting in Christ, namely the objective commands and invitations of the Gospel. Hyper-Calvinism denies such a universal warrant, applicable to all, and claims instead, that Scripture only addresses invitations to specific people- to the penitent, the „heavy laden”, to the convicted, to the „sensible sinner”, and so on. Under such preaching, gospel hearers must first find some warrant within themselves for thinking  that Christ’s invitations are addressed to them personally. Subjective experience is thus made a kind of necessar preliminary and qualification before anyone can trust in scriptural promises.

Against this,  Spurgeon held that the scriptural warrant for the unconverted to trust in Christ rests on nothing in themselves; the warrant lies in the invitation of Christ. 

His entire presentation of the gospel turned on the truth that no sinner has any more warrant than any other for trusting in Christ. The warrant lies in Scripture alone. Before a man has any willingness to be saved, ‘it is his duty to believe in Christ, for it is not man’s willingness that gives him a right to believe.Men are to believe in obedience to God’s command. God commandeth all men everywhere to repent, and this is his great command, „Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”. Christ’s ambassadors are authorised to call „on all people of every clime and kindred, to believe the gospel with a promise of personal salvation to each and everyone that believes”. The message is not ‘wait for feelings’, it is,’Believe and live’. I’I find Jesus Christ says nothing to sinners about waiting, but very much about coming’.

To this the Hyper-Calvinists replied that if all are called to trust in Christ then such trust must involve them believing a falsehood because Christ has not died for all…and they chraged Spurgeon with inconsistency because Spurgeon believed in particular redemption. But Spurgeon, along with Scripture, did not make, „Believe that Christ died for you’, part of faith to which the unbeliever is summoned. The call to the sinner is to commit himself to Christ, not because he has been saved but rather because he is lost and must come to Jesus in order to be saved.

This still does not answer the question, How can sinners be offered a salvation which Christ did not fulfill on their behalf? Spurgeon set that question aside as something which God has not chosen to explain. It was enough for him to know that Christ does offer himself to all, that the gospel is for „every creature”, that all who come to Him will be saved, and that all who reject Him will be without excuse.

You can read Spurgeon’s sermon „A warrant of faith” here at spurgeon.org. The sermon was delivered Sunday morning, September 20th, 1863.

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