“In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen.” “The smallest star that gleams is set in heaven; the faintest ray of light has affinity with the great orb of day. In the family register of glory the small and the great are written with the same pen. You are as dear to your Father’s heart as the greatest in the family. Jesus is very tender over you.”
Charles Spurgeon’s ministry was marked by physical and mental wounds.
But there was a deeper grief – a sharper barb – that stung the preacher and his people: sin and shame.
“I had rather pass through seven years of the most wearisome pain, and the most languishing sickness, than I would ever again pass through the terrible discovery of the evil of sin” (Autobiography 1:80).
Spurgeon struggled greatly with guilt. He often lost sleep imagining the Ten Commandments saying to him, “You have broken me” (Autobiography 1:82). Just before his conversion in January 1850, Spurgeon’s anxiety over sin came to a violent climax:
“I feared lest the very skies should fall upon me, and crush my guilty soul” (Autobiography 1:79).
“There was not a day in which I did not commit such gross, such outrageous sins against God, that often and often have I wished I had never been born” (Autobiography 1:80).
“If God does not send me to hell, He ought to do it” (Autobiography 1:83).
“Oh, how I sought, in my poor dark way, to overcome first one sin and then another” (Autobiography 1:91).
“I must confess that I never would have been saved if I could have helped it” (Autobiography 1:91).
“I seemed to be all rottenness, a dunghill of corruption, nothing better, but something a great deal worse” (Autobiography 1:93).
But even after Spurgeon’s conversion, he continued to combat sins lingering in his life. He confessed, “We know what it is to get under a cloud sometimes: sin within us rises with a darkening force” (C. H. Spurgeon, Farm Sermons, 240).
Spurgeon even possessed a favorite sin . . .
Yet in the midst of his ministry, Spurgeon discovered a mercy wider than his wounds – a grace deeper than his depravity.
Spurgeon believed – and we must believe – that God is in the business of new beginnings. No sin is greater than Christ’s desire to forgive it. No conscience is too stained that God cannot wash it white.
“Print every word of that in diamonds,” said Spurgeon about Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (MTP 57:362).
And so, from the depths of Spurgeon’s own struggles, we find these 13 comforting quotes for anyone fighting sin and shame:
1. “You are a great sinner, but he is a greater Saviour.”
“Let not your sense of sin make you think little of my Master. You are a great sinner, but he is a greater Saviour. Do not say that you have matched Christ, or overmatched him. Come, Goliath sinner, the Son of David can conquer thee or save thee yet: ‘Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”
“The Way” (Sermon 942, MTP 16:420)
2. “As far as God is concerned your sin has ceased to be.”
“As far as God is concerned your sin has ceased to be. He laid it on Jesus Christ your substitute, and he took it and bore the penalty of it — nay the thing itself; he as your scapegoat, carried your sin right away, and it is lost in the wilderness of forgetfulness.”
“The Heart Full and the Mouth Closed” (Sermon 1289, MTP 22:219)
3. “God is more ready to forgive than I am ready to offend.”
“If seven times a day we offend him and repent, does he forgive? Ay, that he does. This is to be unfeignedly believed, and I do believe it: I believe that, often as I transgress, God is more ready to forgive me than I am ready to offend, though, alas, I am all too ready to transgress. Hast thou right thoughts of God, dear hearer? If so, then thou knowest that he is a tender father, willing to wipe the tear of penitence away, and press his offending child to his bosom, and kiss him with the kisses of his forgiving love.”
“Increased Faith the Strength of Peace, Principles” (Sermon 1318, MTP 22:573)
4. “It is the church that is unmerciful sometimes, but not the Master: he is ever willing to receive us when we come to him.”
“The Lord is very ready to forgive: it is the church that is unmerciful sometimes, but not the Master: he is ever willing to receive us when we come to him, and to blot out our transgression. . . . Just so does your heavenly Father wait to catch you up, and to press you to his bosom and say, ‘I have loved thee with an everlasting love.’”
“God’s Fatherly Pity” (Sermon 1650, MTP 28:165)