C. H. Spurgeon, The Drawings of Divine Love

The Drawings of Divine Love

by Charles H. Spurgeon

“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me
draw him and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the
prophets, And they shali be all taught of God. Every man therefore
that hath heard, and hath learacd of the Father, cometh unto me.”
— John 6:44, 45.

THERE is something here which troubles many seeking souls; they hear
the gospel preached in this manner, “Look and live,” or, “Believe on the
Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” This comforts them, and they
say to themselves, “This is a way in which we can run, we delight to be
told of salvation by faith in Christ.” By-and-by, they hear a discourse upon
our Savior’s words, “Ye must be born again,” or they listen to descriptions
of the inward experience of the child of God. They are taught that there
must be a brokenness of heart before there can be a true binding up, there
must be a stripping before there can be a clothing, there must be death
before there can be resurrection; and then they say to themselves, “This,
we fear, is true; but how different it is from the message we heard the other
day! Are there two things equally true, — salvation by simple faith in
Christ, and yet the necessity of a new heart and a right spirit? “They are
equally true, and they ought to be preached with equal clearness, and equal earnestness; but I would say to every seeker, “You will find it very
injurious to get worrying yourself with such difficulties as these. As a rule,
you had better leave those questions for another day.” Suppose that you
were puzzled concerning specific gravity, the weight of a body in water, —
if you were a drowning man, I should recommend you to waive the
consideration of such a subject till you were safely on shore. It is hardly the
time, I think, to enter into difficult disquisitions while you are in grave
peril; and, in like manner, you may leave many theological questions until,
by faith in Christ, you are saved. Then, going into his school, you may ask
him to teach you these other more advanced lessons;

Now, for your help, I desire to say that these two doctrines of salvation by
faith and the inward drawing of the Spirit of God are equally true; and
unless they are proclaimed in due proportion, mischief may come from the
preaching of either the one or the other. I do think that, when the preacher
says only, “Believe, believe, believe, believe, believe, believe,” mischief
may come of that imperfect declaration; for it is a one-sided form of truth,
and other important truths may be forgotten, and men may get into a
superficial habit of imagining that they believe when they hardly know what
it is that they believe, and their faith is not the living faith of God’s elect,
which works by love, purifies the soul, and sanctifies the life. On the other
hand, I am quite sure that you may preach the need of inward experience,
and preach it very thoroughly and continually; but if this other matter of
faith is left out, you may preach some of your hearers into despair, many of
them into indifference, and others of them into a kind of self-righteousness
of feelings. I have met with persons who were certainly trusting in their
feelings, and who went so far as to condemn others because they had not
endured the same amount of misery, and passed through the same
conviction of sin, or indulged in the same agony of despair. If the two
truths are preached, we shall not stop to reconcile them; there is no need to
do so, especially if they reconcile themselves to you while we preach. If the
two doctrines are preached, they will act as a balance the one to the other;
and while men hear our Savior say, “He that believeth on me hath
everlasting life,” they will not misunderstand what he says if they also hear
as the deep bass note of that musical scale the equally divine utterance, “Ye
must be born again.”

The text gives us good help upon this subject. I do not believe that there
are any practical difficulties in the matter at all; I say, practical difficulties,
for there are philosophical difficulties. Is there any subject about which there are not philosophical difficulties? Can you not, if you think of
anything, be it the most commonplace fact in natural history, very soon
surround it with a cloud of obscurity which nobody can remove? A fool
can set a stool where a wise man will tumble over it; and you can soon
raise a difficulty if you want to. Here is one. There is a bullock in the
meadow, and there is also a sheep in the same pasture. They will both eat
grass, and on the bullock that grass will turn to hair, and on the sheep it
will turn to wool. How comes that about? Can you tell me? No; and I do
not want to know. It may be a very interesting point for discussion; but
practically there is no difficulty about it. Those who tan the leather, or
those who dye the wool are not hindered in the least degree in their
handicraft by the philosophical difficulty I have mentioned. So, there are
philosophical difficulties about this matter of simple faith and salvation by
it, and of the Spirit’s work and the necessity for it; but, practically, there is
no difficulty at all, for the man who believes in Christ Jesus is born again,
and every man who is born again believes in the Lord Jesus Christ. The
two things come together, live together, and are perfected together.

However, for the help of some sincere seekers after Christ, who may be in
perplexity, I will speak about this matter that troubles them. Let me read
the text again: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the
prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that
hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

I. Our first observation upon this text is, that THE ALL-IMPORTANT
MATTER OF FAITH IS A VERY SIMPLE BUSINESS. Twice is it mentioned
here, and the only definition of it that is given is, coming to Christ: “No
man can come to me;” and again, in the forty-fifth verse, “Cometh unto
me.”

Faith in Christ is simply and truly described as coming to him. It is not an
acrobatic feat; it is simply a coming to Christ. It is not an exercise of
profound mental faculties; it is coming to Christ. A child comes to his
mother, a blind man comes to his home, even an animal comes to his
master. Coming is a very simple action indeed; it seems to have only two
things about it, one is, to come away from something, and the other is, to
come to something.

In coming to Christ Jesus as our Savior, we first come away from all other
trusts. We leave all other confidences right behind us, and come away from them altogether. My own works? I must come away from all trust in them
to Christ. My own feelings? I must come away from all reliance upon them
to Christ. Ceremonies, forms, rites, ay, even such as God has given, I must
come away from all confidence in them, and I must come to Jesus, quitting
and leaving them all. You cannot come to Jesus and yet hold on to your
old trusts; you cannot come to Jesus and yet cling to your old sins. You
must come away from righteous self as well as from sinful self. To go to a
place, I must go from a place. If you would come to Christ, you must bid
“good-bye” to your old sins, and say “farewell” to your old confidences.
Are you ready to sue for a divorce between your soul and sin, between
your soul and self-confidence? That is the first essential thing in coming to
Christ, leaving all other trusts.

Then the other part of coming is, drawing near to Christ, to obtain
everything we need. When we truly come to Christ, we draw near to him.
We do not any longer neglect him, we do not look away from him; on the
contrary, we begin to think much of him, our hopes center in him, and
having thought of him, and so having come mentally to him, we trust in
him. We come to him for what he is. Is he a Savior? We come to him that
he may save us. Does he wash away sin? We come to him that he may
wash away our sin. Does he heal spiritual diseases? We come to him that
he may heal us of our diseases. You know what is meant by coming to
such and such a physician; you must in that same sense come to Jesus
Christ, the Divine Physician for sin-sick souls.

This expression, coming to Christ, is so simple that I do not know how to
make it any plainer. I am afraid that, if I were to try to explain it, I might be
like Thomas Scott when he wrote his notes to Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s
Progress. (going round his parish, he found a woman who had The
Pilgrim’s Progress with his notes. “My good woman,” he asked, “Do you
understand The Pilgrim’s Progress?” “Yes, Scott, I understand The
Pilgrim’s Progress very well, and I hope that, one day, I may be able to
understand your explanation of it.” I will not attempt to explain any further
what coming to Christ is, lest I should not succeed any better than Mr.
Scott did. It ought to be clear to everybody that coming from something,
and coming to something, or someone, constitute the act of coming. Quit,
then, both sin and self by determined resolve, and come to Jesus, rest in
him, take him to be everything to you, and then believe that you have
everlasting life, according to his declaration, “He that believeth on me hath
everlasting life.”

Yet our Savior does, in close connection with this text, give us another
illustration of what faith is. Faith is coming to Christ; it is also eating or
receiving Christ. A man has a piece of bread in his hand; he does not know
where the wheat grew, nor in what mill it was ground, nor in what oven
the bread was baked, but he knows that it is bread, and that he is hungry.
Nature, especially living nature, abhors a vacuum; so the man determines
to fill the vacuum within with that piece of bread. What does he do but eat
it? You do not have to teach children how to eat. I said to a little boy, this
afternoon, “Why don’t you put your bread and butter in your ear? “Of
course, he knew better than to act like that, so all he did was to laugh at
me; and you never yet met with a child who did take to putting the bread
and butter in his ear; he puts it in his mouth, and eats it. So, there really is,
if you would but use it, sense enough within you to understand what faith
in Christ is. If you were not so ready to confound and confuse yourself, my
dear friend, you might know what faith is. You tell me that it puzzles you; I
think that it is you that puzzle yourself, not faith that puzzles you. When
you get bread, you put it into your mouth, you eat it, and let it go down
into yourself. You may not know much about the processes that are going
on within you, and you need not want to know. If you do not understand
anything about them, the bread will feed you just as well. Now, in that way
take the Lord Jesus Christ into you spiritually, and feed upon him. Say
from your heart, “Lord, I live upon thee; I believe thee to be God, I believe
that thou didst take our nature, I trust thee as the Incarnate God. I believe
that thou didst suffer in the room and place and stead of guilty men; I
believe that thou hast put away the sin of all those who trust thee, and put
it away for ever so that they can never be condemned. I trust thee to be my
Savior, altogether and solely my Savior.” If you really do that, you are
saved.

“How do I know it?” says one. Because Christ says it; is not that enough?
“He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” “But I have not felt any
strange sensations; I have had no wonderful dreams.” What! are you asking
for such signs as those? Is not Christ’s word, “He that believeth on me hath
everlasting life,” enough for you? Lord, I believe on thee; therefore, I have
everlasting life; thy word is enough for me.

That is my first point, faith is a very simple matter.

II. But, secondly, TO THIS FAITH MEN ARE GREATLY DISINCLINED. He
who knew most about men says of them, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”Men are grievously disinclined to
believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Their unwillingness is so great that it
amounts to an inability of this sort, that, as there are none so deaf as those
that will not hear, and none so blind as those that will not see, so there are
none so unable as those who are unwilling, and the Savior thus puts it, “No
man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

But why are men so unwilling to believe in the Lord Jesus? In Christ’s
lifetime on earth, their unwillingness arose partly because he was of such
lowly origin. They said, “We know Joseph, and Mary, and the brethren of
Jesus; how can we believe in him as the Messiah? “He was so poor, so
obscure, he came of a family that was not notable in Israel as far as they
knew. Besides, he came out of Nazareth, and they asked “Can any good
thing come out of Nazareth? “He was a Galilean, and they could not look
up to one who came from that despised region.

In addition to that, all his teaching was opposed to their proud notions. If
he had come as an earthly king, to overthrow the Roman power, they
might have believed in him; but, as he was, they regarded him as a root out
of a dry ground. They could see nothing illustrious about the Man of
sorrows, so they would not believe in him; and numbers of people, to this
day, do not receive Christ because faith in him is not fashionable. True
godliness is not held in high repute in the upper circles of society. O
simpletons, to lose your souls for the sake of a little worldly grandeur! God
save us all from such insanity as that!

The more common reason why men are not saved by faith in Christ is,
because they do not see any need of a Savior. I know you very well, my
dear Mr. Good-enough, and my dear friend, Mr. Too-good! You do not
believe that you want any saving; you think that you have as much as you
ought to have of everything that is good, and even some to give away. Oh,
yes! you hope to enter heaven with all sails up. What will you do when you
get there? The redeemed ones are all singing that they have washed their
robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb; but you will have to
go up in a corner by yourself, and hold your tongue, because you had not
anything that needed to be washed, and you were yourself perfectly clean.
You would not be happy in heaven, for the very glory of that blissful place
is the Lamb of God, and his precious blood is the theme of continual
thanksgiving. I pray God to bring you out of your miserable delusion, for it
is no better than that. You are not the good man that you think you are; but you are stained with sin from head to foot, and unless you are washed
in the divinely-provided bath even in the atoning blood of Jesus, you will
perish in your sin.

But many do not come to Christ, and trust him, because they will not
receive the doctrine of substitution. Christ’s dying in the sinners’ place, the
Just for the unjust, to bring them to God, they will not have it, they kick at
it. I assure you that you will never have rest and peace till you do accept
that blessed soul-saving doctrine; for other foundation can no man lay than
that which is laid, even Jesus Christ the righteous, and there is no Jesus
Christ to trust in except the glorious Substitute who bore our sins in his
own body on the tree. Oh, that men would not be so foolish as to reject
God’s plan of salvation by the vicarious atonement once offered on
Calvary!

Many also refuse the Savior because they are occupied with other things.
They cannot come to Christ because their farm, their merchandise, their
newly-married wife, or something or other, keeps them back. Oh, how long
some of you have been waiting, some of you who have attended the
Tabernacle, too, all the time! If anybody had said, twenty years ago, that
you would be sitting in your pew an unconverted man to-night, you would
not have believed it. You will hardly be sitting in that pew, an unconverted
man, in twenty more years’ time; you will either be saved, or you will have
gone the way of all flesh, I fear. Oh, that the day would come when there
shall be no more hesitation, no more postponement, but well you would
from your heart say, “I must have Christ. I will trust him”! Say even now
what we have often sung, —

“I do believe, I will believe,
That Jesus died for Thee,
That on the cross he shed his blood,
From sin to set me free.”

There are many more who do not exercise simple faith in Christ because
they do not like the consequences of it. “Why!” says one, “if I become a
believer in Christ, I shall have to give up my old ways.” You will. “If I
become a follower of the Lamb, I cannot go where I go now.” Quite right;
I am glad you see that; I hope that you are not such a hypocrite as to
imagine that you can trust Christ to put away your past sin, and then go on
living in sin as you have done. That will never do. Christ has opened a
hospital for the sick; but it is that he may heal them. He receives sinners; but not that they may remain sinners, it is that he may make saints of them,
and deliver them from sin. You will never come to Christ as long as you
are in love with sin; and you are so much in love with sin that you never
will come at all except omnipotent grace shall draw you. So says our Lord
Jesus Christ, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent
me draw him.”

There are many others who cannot trust in Christ, and cannot come to him,
because they wish for certain feelings or emotions. You want to experience
singular changes that you may know that God is at work in your soul, do
you? Well, I do not wonder at that desire; but please notice what is said in
the forty-sixth verse, “Not that any man hath seen the Father.” The work of
God in the heart is not seen by the soul until first of all the soul sees Jesus
Christ. You must not think that you can deal with an absolute God. Apart
from Christ, you cannot approach God, and God operating upon your
heart, without faith in Christ, will not be the ground of any comfort to you.
Whatever God may be doing in you, or may not be doing in you, is not the
thing that you are to look to as the foundation of your hope. Your trust is
to be in Christ’s work on the cross, and in nothing else. You shall see
plenty of evidences, miracles, and signs by-and-by; but, to begin with, the
gospel for you is, “Believe, believe, believe.” “I could believe if — .” Oh,
yes! I see, the ground of your confidence is that “if,” not God’s Word.
“Oh! sir, but I could trust God’s Word if I — .” Ah! that is the same thing
over again. You see, it is not God’s Word that you trust; it is that rotten
“if” to which you cling. Now, away with it, away with it, I pray you. Either
call God a liar, or else believe him. It must be one of the two; but do not
pretend that you would believe him under certain conditions that you
would like to impose. If a man said to me that he would believe me under
certain conditions, I should understand at once that he did not really
believe me at all, that, in fact, he could not believe me, but he would
believe somebody else, and perhaps trust me under cover of that other
person. That would not be faith in me at all; and, I pray you, deal not with
the Lord in such a fashion.

So, you see, dear friends, my text plainly teaches us that men are greatly
disinclined to come to Jesus.

III. Therefore, THE OPERATIONS OF GOD ON THE SOUL ALL RUN IN THE WAY OF LEADING MEN TO COME TO JESUS. That is clear if you read the text, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”

You see, first, the Father inclines us to come to Christ. “It is written in the
prophets, And they shall be all taught of God.” What are they taught?
“Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father,
cometh unto me.” It is clear that the drift of the divine operations in the
heart of man is towards Christ. The Lord draws us; but all his drawings are
towards Christ. If you think that you have experienced the work of the
Holy Spirit in your heart, and yet it does not draw you towards Christ, you
have made a mistake. The Spirit always draws away from self, and away
from sin, to Jesus Christ alone. If you are drawn that way, it is the Lord
who draws you, for all his drawings are in that direction.

Then, next, the drift of all God’s teachings; is this way. Whatever the Spirit
of God teaches a man, the end and object of that teaching is to get him
away from self, and draw him to Christ. All the teachings of affliction are
intended to make us sick of self and fond of Christ. All the true teachings
of the Christian ministry aim at putting down self, and exalting Christ.

All the drawings, and all the teachings, then, that come from God, are
towards Christ. By this test you may try everything that professes to be a
divine operation. If any man says, “I am the subject of the work of the
Spirit of God,” and he does not exalt Christ, tell him that he is not the
subject of the Spirit’s work at all. If he comes to you with some fine idea
about himself, making out that he is some great one, say to yourself, “It is
no part of the work of the Spirit to set up any man as a great one; his work
is to take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us.” The Holy Spirit
addicts himself to the glorifying of Christ, so he withers our false hopes,
and gives us true hopes. He does this in order that Christ may be lifted up,
and that we may be drawn to him.

I believe that this is the test of all kinds of preaching. Does a man come
with a divine message to my soul? I will try him by this test. Does he lift up
Christ-? Does he draw me to trust in Christ? Does he draw me to love
Christ? Does he draw me to be like Christ? Well and good; I will hear
some more of what that man says; but if, Sunday after Sunday, I have to
say, “They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid
him,” I say, “Good-bye, sir, other people may listen to you, but you are not
the man that I want to hear.” I must have Christ, Christ, Christ, Christ,
Christ first, last, Alpha, Omega, beginning, middle, end, and all through, or else I cannot believe that the teaching is of God; for the Father draws to
Christ, and teaches concerning Christ.

Further, he makes us to hear and to learn that we may come to Christ.
Come, then, my dear hearers; I think that I have brought you a little into
the light now. You say that you must be the subject of a divine operation.
Are you looking to Christ? Then you have had that divine operation
performed upon you, for it makes you look to Christ alone. “Is believing an
easy thing?” asks one. It is the easiest thing in the world, it is as easy as
coming, or as eating. “Well, but why is it so difficult to me?” Probably it is
difficult because it is so easy. I believe that faith is a hard thing to many
because it is not a hard thing. It is just like Naaman’s washing in the
Jordan; if the prophet had bidden him do some great thing, some difficult
thing, he would have done it; but when he said nothing but “Wash, and be
clean,” Naaman felt that he was too great to go to the River Jordan, and
too clean to go and wash. He is a nobleman and a gentleman; is he to go
and wash like any pig? Yes, he is; and only so can he be cleansed, for his
leprosy makes him as foul as any swine could be, and he must therefore
wash if he would be clean. Thou, though thou art the queen of morality,
must trust in Christ just as a harlot must trust in Christ; and thou, young
man, though thou art in all things noble and excellent, must come, and
believe in Christ, just as a thief must do, or else thou canst never come
where that dying thief is who passed with Christ into Paradise. There is but
one door; wilt thou bow thy head, and enter? There is only one way of
salvation; wilt thou run along it? If not, if you will put your goodness
before Christ, it shall become as bad as a crime or infamy itself. God grant
that the operations of the Holy Spirit may lead you up to simple faith in
Jesus!

IV. So, then, I finish with this fourth point. IF WE HAVE COME TO JESUS,
WE NEED NOT QUESTION OUR SAFETY. Christ says, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” He who has come to Jesus is saved. You need
not question your safety, for you could not have come to Christ without
having been drawn to him. “No man can come to me, except the Father
which hath sent me draw him.” You could not have come if you had not
been drawn. Well, then, if you have come, you have been drawn; and if the
Father has drawn you, you have come the right way. It all lies in a nutshell.
If I have come to Jesus and have put my trust in him, — my nature is, in
itself, so averse to this way of salvation that, if I have really and from my
heart accepted it, — there must have been upon my heart an operation from God to bring me into this condition. That operation could not have
been badly performed, for God never works amiss or ineffectually. I am
therefore, in the very fact of being brought to Christ, assured that God has
been at work with me. “Oh!” I have sometimes heard poor souls say, “I
came to Christ, but I am afraid that I have come the wrong way.” You
cannot come the wrong way. “Oh, but I heard of one who came to Christ
so quickly!” Yes, and I have heard of one who came to him very slowly;
but as he came, it did not so much matter how he came. When the whole
world was drowned, a pair of greyhounds found shelter in the ark; I do not
suppose they started very soon. But there was a pair of snails that went in
with them; I wonder how soon they started. They certainly must have
started a long while before the ark door was opened or the ark prepared.
Come along, then, you poor crawling snails, come along! If some of you
have the greyhound’s speed, come along, bound and leap to Christ; the
quicker the better. But if you are a man of slow action, remember that the
snails in the ark were not drowned. Though they were slow in coming in,
there they were, as safely preserved as the rest of the living creatures that
were with Noah. “Well” says one, “I feel as if I could only creep to Christ,
with broken legs and an aching back.” Then creep to Christ, only do come
to him; come anyhow, leaping or limping. If thou shalt come, he hath said,
“Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out,” and that includes any
coming in all the world if it be but a coming to him. If thou dost trust him,
thou art saved. That truth ought, I think, to give some consolation to any
who are troubled about their faith and about the inner life of the soul.

Yet again, remember that all teaching that is absolutely necessary to
salvation concerns Christ. “Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath
learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” If there were any right teachings
that would lead you beyond Christ, — I do not know any, but if there were
such, — you can do without them. The only teachings that you want are
those that lead you to Christ. Let this comfort anyone who says, “I
understand no theology; I am only a beginner in the study of the Word; I
could not even explain the plan of salvation to another person; but I am
trusting in Christ.” Well, rest satisfied with that glorious fact.

To close, the best sentence in the whole text, to my mind, is that with
which the 44th verse finishes, “I will raise him up at the last day.” Is not
that glorious? The Savior does not merely say that he that believes is
drawn to him by the Father, and that he is now saved; but he says, “I will
raise him up at the last day.” It is as good as saying, “I will take that man’s case into my upon hands.” He does not mention all the intervening
circumstance”, but he finishes up with the last victory, “I will raise him up
at the last day.” “This man is a sinner, Lord.” “I will forgive him.” “He has
a black heart.” “I will change it.” “He will be very fickle.” “I will keep
him.” “He will be much tempted.” “I will pray for him.” “He will have
many afflictions.” “I will sustain him.” “But Lord, he will die.” “I will be
with him.” “But he will be buried, Lord, and laid among the worms, dust to
dust.” “I will raise him up at the last day.” It is as good as saying, “I will go
through with the business for the whole of the man;” for if he takes care of
the poor body, and raises it up, depend upon it that he will take care of the
soul that shall be for ever with him. If this rag of a robe that I wear is yet
so dear to him that he will not leave it in the grave, then the man within the
robe will be all right. Christ will take care of him, depend upon that. He
who will preserve the casket will not love the jewel. “I will raise him up at
the last day.”

The Lord bring every one of you to trust in this mighty Savior, for his
groat name’s sake! Amen.

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