In today’s quote Spurgeon introduces the vital concept of “sealing” or assurance of our faith and relates it ultimately to the line from our hymn:
Note also that this sealing does not necessarily come at once with faith. It grows out of faith, and comes “after that ye believed.” We are not in every case sealed at the moment when we first trust in Jesus. I am persuaded that many who believe in Jesus enter into peace directly, and perceive at once the blessed assurance which is involved in their possessing the Holy Spirit; but with many others it is not so.
I have frequently been asked this question, “What is a person to do who does believe in Jesus, but yet is not conscious of peace and joy, but is filled with such a conflict within that the utmost he can do is to cling to Jesus with trembling hope?” I have replied, “If you believe in Jesus Christ you are saved; the best evidence that you are saved lies in the assurance of the word of God that every believer has eternal hope.” Whether you feel that you are justified or not is not the point, you are to accept. God’s word, which assures you that every one that believeth is justified: you are bound to believe the testimony of God apart from the supporting evidence of inward experience, and if it were possible for you to be a believer by the year together, and yet to find no peace, still you would have no right to doubt what God says because you do not feel peace, but you are bound to hold on to God’s promise whether you enjoy peace or not.
My firm belief is that where there is a real faith in the promise of God, peace and the other fruits of the Spirit come as a necessary ultimate consequence, but even then they are not grounds of faith: the word of the Lord is the sole foundation upon which faith builds. Some people have a sort of confidence in God, but they are also looking out for confirming signs, and they spoil the simplicity of their faith by having one eye on Christ and another eye on their peace of mind. Now, my friend, this will never do. You are bound to believe in God as he is revealed in Christ Jesus unto salvation, altogether apart from peace, joy, or anything else. The witness of the Spirit within is not the ground nor the cause of our faith: faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
I, being a sinner, believe that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and I rest my soul upon him, believing that he will save me; this is to be my standing, seal or no seal, token or no token. My dependence is not to be upon the seal of the Spirit, but upon the blood of the Son. The Spirit of God never takes the place of the Redeemer, he exercises his own peculiar office, which is to take of the things of Christ and show them unto us, and not to put his own things in the place of Jesus. The foundation of our hope is laid in Christ from first to last, and if we rest there we are saved. The seal does not always come with faith, but it follows after. I have said this because I am afraid lest in any way whatever you should leave the simple, plain, and solid ground of confidence in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and in that only. Recollect that a man who believes in Jesus Christ is as truly saved when he does not know it as he is when he does know it; he is as truly the Lord’s when he mourns in the valley of humiliation as when he sings on the mountain top of joy and fellowship. Our ground of trust is not to be found in our experience, but in the person and work of our Lord Jesus.
“I dare not trust the sweetest frame;
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name:
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”
Charles H. Spurgeon, vol. 22, Spurgeon’s Sermons: Volume 22, Sermon 1284 “The Sealing of the Spirit” electronic ed., Logos Library System; Spurgeon’s Sermons (Albany, OR: Ages Software, 1998).