4 Stars Out Of 5
Holding Out the Light
October 16, 2013
Think you don't measure up to God's standard? Feeling the weight of guilt, but not sure how to cast it off? Groping through the dark to find a relationship with God, but not sure He even cares? This book is written to you. Charles H. Spurgeon, called the "prince of preachers" of the 1800s, seems more like an earnest friend in this book, directly addressing the one who tiptoes around the entryway of salvation but has not yet entered in.
Although you can read the entire text online (e.g., http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/archive/pdf-english/afse.pdf), I like having this classic work in hand and available to give others, republished in a little hardcover by Master Books of New Leaf Publishing. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher to review.
In 14 short chapters, Spurgeon takes the seeker by the hand and guides him toward the narrow path. First, he addresses the one who is trying to be good enough to get to heaven. "If there is a way to heaven by works, why did He put His dear Son to all that pain and grief? Why the scenes of Gethsemane? Why the tragedy on Golgotha, when the thing could be done so easily another way? You insult the wisdom of God and the love of God." Rather than self-righteousness, which is futile since we are all sinners, the way is to "Trust in the Incarnate Savior, whom God appointed to stand in the stead of sinners."
Next, Spurgeon noted that when Jesus was on earth, He was approachable to the destitute, despised, and depraved. And these are the kind of people He savesâ€”those who see themselves as poor in spirit, under the wrath of God for their sins. "You have but to trust in Jesus and you are saved; made a new creature in an instant; set on your feet again to start upon a new life, with a new power within you, which shall conquer sin."
Spurgeon himself was once one of those seekers who thought "I had much to feel and to do to make myself ready for Him" until he found there was "life in a look at Christ, that all I needed to do was simply to trust, to come as I was and put my case into His dear pierced hand." Salvation is by faith alone, not of works, because Christ has done it all. The works follow as evidence of genuine faith (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The title of the book, Advice for Seekers, was followed by a Publisher's Note that I wasn't sure I agreed with. It said that there are sincere seekers of truth who are not yet disciples. But Romans 3:11, Ephesians 2, and 1 John 4:10 describe our natural state as sinners who don't even seek God. Also, on the back of the book, the publisher's description says that Christ said He came to draw seekers to Himself. I'm not sure what that is referring to, because Jesus said He came to seek and to save that which was lost.
To those who are lost, Spurgeon pleads, "Do not delay in trusting Christ. Do not entertain a hope that it will ever be easier to trust Jesus than it is now. Do not think that you will ever be in a better state for coming to Him than you are in now. The best state in all the world for washing is to be filthy; the best state in all the world to obtain help from a physician is to be terribly sick; the best state for asking for alms is to be a beggar. Do not try to patch up those rags, to improve your character, or to make yourself better before you come to Christ."
If you already know Christ, you will be challenged by Spurgeon's heart for the lost. If you do not have a relationship with the Lord, you will be introduced to the One who is willing and able to save all who come to Him in repentance and faith.