(Note: This article is scheduled to appear in the Dec. 8 edition of the Linn County News.)
In the mid-1800s, Charles Haddon Spurgeon was one of the most beloved men in all of London. He was also one of the most hated. As pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Spurgeon weekly proclaimed the gospel of Christ. In a style unlike the mealy-mouthed ear ticklers of the day, Spurgeon thundered the truth of man’s sinfulness, the reality of eternal Hell, and the glory of redemption by faith in Christ alone. Spurgeon refused to water down the truth of God’s choosing some for salvation by electing them before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4); and he refused to avoid the fact that men are still responsible for their sin and required to repent (Mark 1:15). Spurgeon taught the whole counsel of God and was hated for it. But he was also blessed for it.
God drew multitudes to hear Spurgeon preach and many were saved. He was loved by the people in his flock. But he was scorned by the rest of London. The newspapers made fun of him. Other pastors ridiculed his theology. The wealthy elite thought he was a simpleton. Yet through it all Spurgeon was faithful. Every night when he went to bed he would read the verse his wife posted on their bedroom wall: “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.” (Luke 6: 22-23)
In many ways, Spurgeon fought an uphill battle. But it’s the same battle all Christians are called to wage today. Sacrificially following Christ will never be popular in the world’s eyes because it’s not always easy. Christ suffered and calls us to do likewise. In the end he will not judge us by how popular we are. He will judge us by how faithful we are. Spurgeon poured his life out in ministry and died an exhausted man in his fifties. A short life compared to others, but a life lived wholly for the glory of God. His reward in eternity far outweighs his suffering all because of the gospel of Christ.
Have you given your life to Christ in repentant faith? Do you see your sin for what it is and are you willing to embrace the only Savior who can save you from it? Are you willing to be hated by the world because of your love for Christ? Spurgeon was and today his suffering is over as he experiences eternal joy with Christ. The same will be true for all who forsake the riches of earth and instead are willing to be hated for the sake of the Son of God.