God’s Word: A Ground of Great Alarm to Many!

The following quote corresponds to a point that I made today from the text on Acts 1:18–19. The quote did not make it into the sermon, but I wanted to share it here. The quote is an excerpt from C.H. Spurgeon’s sermon “The Infallibility of Scripture” #2013 preached on March 11, 1888 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. I first read it in the Pilgrim’s Digest, volume 1, No.2.

Every threatening that God hath spoken, because he hath spoken it, has a tremendous dread about it. Whether God threateneth a man or a nation, or the whole class of the ungodly, if they are wise they will feel a trembling take hold upon them, because “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” God has never yet spoken a threatening that has fallen to the ground. When he told Pharaoh what he would do, he did it; the plagues came thick and heavy upon him. When the Lord at any time sent his prophets to denounce judgments on the nations, he carried out those judgments. Ask travelers concerning Babylon, and Nineveh, and Edom, and Moab, and Bashan; and they will tell you of the heaps of ruins, which prove how the Lord carried out his warnings to the letter. One of the most awful things recorded in history is the siege of Jerusalem. You have read it,

I do not doubt, in Josephus, or elsewhere. It makes one’s blood run cold to think of it. Yet it was all foretold by the prophets, and their prophecies were fulfilled to the bitter end. You talk about God as being “love,” and, if you mean by this that he is not severe in the punishment of sin, I ask you what you make of the destruction of Jerusalem. Remember that the Jews were his chosen nation, and that the city of Jerusalem was the place where his temple had been glorified with his presence. Brethren, if you roam from Edom to Zion, and from Zion to Sidon, and from Sidon to Moab, you will find, amid ruined cities, the tokens that God’s words of judgment are sure.

Depend on it, then, that when Jesus says, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment,” it will be so. When he says, “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins,” it will be so. The Lord never plays at frightening men. His Word is not an exaggeration to scare men with imaginary bugbears. There is emphatic truth in what the Lord says. He has always carried out his threatenings to the letter, and to the moment; and, depend upon it, he will continue to do so, “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.”

It is of no avail to sit down, and draw inferences from the nature of God, and to argue, “God is love, and therefore he will not execute the sentence upon the impenitent.” He knows what he will do better than you can infer; he has not left us to inferences, for he has spoken pointedly and plainly. He says, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” and it will be so, “For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Infer what you like from his nature; but if you draw an inference contrary to what he has spoken, you have inferred a lie, and you will find it so.

“Alas,” says one, “I shudder at the severity of the divine sentence.” Do you? It is well! I can heartily sympathize with you. What must he be that does not tremble when he sees the great Jehovah taking vengeance upon iniquity! The terrors of the Lord might well turn steel to wax. Let us remember that the gauge of truth is not our pleasure nor our terror. It is not my shuddering which can disprove what the mouth of the Lord hath spoken. It may even be a proof of its truth. Did not all the prophets tremble at manifestations of God? Remember how one of them cried. “When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered into my bones.” One of the last of the anointed seers fell at the Lord’s feet as dead. Yet all the shrinking of their nature was not used by them as an argument for doubt. O my unconverted and unbelieving hearers, do remember that if you refuse Christ, and rush upon the keen edge of Jehovah’s sword, your unbelief of eternal judgment will not alter it, nor save you from it. I know why you do not believe in the terrible threatenings. It is because you want to be easy in your sins. A certain sceptical writer, when in prison, was visited by a Christian man, who wished him well, but he refused to hear a word about religion. Seeing a Bible in the hand of his visitor, he made this remark, “You do not expect me to believe in that book, do you? Why, if that book is true, I am lost for ever.” Just so. Therein lies the reason for half the infidelity in the world, and all the infidelity in our congregations. How can you believe that which condemns you? Ah! my friends, if you would believe it to be true and act accordingly, you would also find in that which the mouth of the Lord hath spoken a way of escape from the wrath to come; for the Book is far more full of hope than of dread. This inspired volume flows with the milk of mercy, and the honey of grace. It is not a Doomsday Book of wrath, but a Testament of grace. Yet, if you do not believe its loving warnings, nor regard its just sentences, they are true all the same. If you dare its thunders, if you trample on its promises, and even if you burn it in your rage, the holy Book still stands unaltered and unalterable; for “The mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” Therefore, I pray you, treat the sacred Scriptures with respect, and remember that “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”