Our ancestors in Christ did not, by and large, learn the faith from the works of professional theologians. Their faith came by hearing (and reading), most often through the hearing of sermons.
As part of its occasional series of spiritual classics, CHRISTIANITY TODAY offers this vivid and and image-rich exposition of justification by grace, delivered by Charles Haddon Spurgeon on April 5, 1857, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens, England. Earlier generations of Christians were in the habit of reading printed sermons. This one is condensed from the New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 3, No. 126.
"Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
No scene in sacred history gladdens the soul like Calvary. Nowhere does the soul find such consolation as on that spot where misery reigned and agony reached its climax. There grace dug a fountain, which ever gushes with waters pure as crystal, each drop able to alleviate the agonies of mankind.
We have, this morning, a subject that may be the means of comforting God's saints seeing it takes its rise at the Cross and runs on in a rich stream of perennial blessing to all believers. We have in our text, first of all, the redemption of Christ Jesus; secondly, the justification of sinners flowing from it; and then thirdly, the manner of the giving of this justification, "freely by his grace."
First, then, we have the redemption that is in or by Christ Jesus.
The figure of redemption is very simple and has been frequently used in Scripture. When a prisoner has been made a slave it has been usual, before he could be set free, that a ransom should be paid. Now we, being, by the fall of Adam, prone to guiltiness and virtually guilty, we were by ...1