From a sermon Spurgeon gave on the Lord's day following the death of his dear friend, based on his text Romans 10:5-9:
I invite your earnest attention to the first point-WHAT MOSES SAITH: "Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them." This is a clear statement. There is no mystery or obscurity about it. You need not go to the universities and earn a degree of D.D. in order to understand this declaration: it is as plain as words can make it. If you wish to be saved by the law you must do its commands and you shall live. The law is written in the ten commandments; you know them; and if you desire to live by them you must keep them. It will not suffice for you to learn those commands by heart, or to write them up in your churches, or to read them over and say, "Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law": all that may be well enough, but it is not to the point. If you are to be saved by the commandments you must do them: that is clear. Moses does not allow any person to dream that under the law he can be saved in any other way than by perfect obedience thereto. "For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified." Whatever it is that God has commanded, you must do; whatever he forbids, you must avoid; for by such obedience alone can you live.
It is just as clear as ever the law was, and quite as sharply distinct. Herein is no mystery: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. Wrapping everything up into one, the gospel says, "Trust thou in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thy sins shall be forgiven thee, and thou shalt be saved." This believing, or trusting, is the whole of the matter, and neither heaven above nor the abyss beneath will ever reveal another salvation.
I want to call your special attention to the fact that Paul borrows the words of Moses; for his intent was the ending of all fears. No man among us doubts that if he had performed the law of God the Lord would give him life; but it is equally certain that if we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ we have eternal life. No trembling sinner doubts but that by the breaking of the law we are condemned: be you equally sure of it, that by not believing you are condemned. As no keeper of the law would have been lost on any ground whatever, so no believer in Christ shall be lost on any ground whatever; as no breaker of the law could escape punishment, so no unbeliever in Christ can he saved. The gospel states its message as clearly as the law. As positively as the law utters its promise and threat, so positively and unalterably doth the gospel deliver its decree. The believer in Jesus shall be saved because he is a believer; and Christ's veracity is staked thereon:-"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life...."
Yes, and I find a self-denying, Christ-exalting faith to be good in times of jubilation and success. The only way to keep right and humble is to be nothing, and let Jesus be all in all. If God has blessed your ministry or other holy work, the devil whispers, "You are a pretty fellow; you have done wonders"; and up you will go if you are not steadied by the firm conviction that you may not glory, since you are nothing at all in yourself, and your sole help is in Jesus your Lord. When God gives you growth in grace and fruitfulness in good works it will be your safety to be as little as ever you were, and to trust in nothing but the work of the Lord. This blessed faith keeps men down when they are apt to go up, and up when otherwise they would be apt to go down. It is a holy balancing pole: we can walk the narrowest line with this in our hands, and fear no fall. Ourselves nothing, Christ everything-that is it. Keep to it.
Another, despairing of deliverance by his doings, runs upon his feelings, and cries, "If I am to be saved, surely I shall need to experience joys like those which are felt by spirits before the throne. If I had a sense of sin as deep as that of lost souls in hell, I could hope that I should be saved." Thus the second man looks to excitements and feelings just as the first looked to works and self-denials. Now, the gospel forbids us to dream in this fashion. Talk not thus. Say not even in thy heart that by these doings or feelings thou canst be saved. Perhaps thou wouldst be ashamed to say it with thy lips; but do not say it at all; do not say that the way to heaven is hard, or mysterious, or in any degree apart from the simple act of believing. Do not suppose that anything is wanted as to doings or feelings in order to complete the righteousness which is wrought out by the Lord Jesus, and imputed by God to the believer.
Ah, then the heart foolishly cries, "I must know a great deal; as much as if I had been to heaven and seen for myself, or as if I had dived into the depths and made discoveries there." No, you must not: the gospel is simple; salvation is as plain as a pikestaff; familiar an homespun; easy as the A B C of your childhood. Say not in thine heart that thou must be educated, trained, and made into a scholar. No, confess yourself a sinner; trust in the sinner's Savior, and you are saved.
"Ah, well," says one, "I know I must undergo a singular experience-either I must be carried right away to heaven with delirious delight, or be plunged into the waves of hell in frightful despair." No, my dear friend, do not say that even in your thought. The righteousness of faith lies not in dreams and visions, delusions or depressions: it lies only in reliance upon the work of Jesus finished for you. Go not to the loom to weave a righteousness. The garment is woven already; put it on; Christ gives it to you. Dig not into the bowels of the earth to find the gold of salvation. Christ holds it out to you: take it freely, and be rich for ever. So one of the first works of the gospel is silencing the questions of our unbelief.
The top and bottom of the matter is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." Be nothing; be nobody; and trust Him. Do not believe in yourself, but believe in Jesus. Have as many good works as you can cram into your life, but never tell anybody about them, or think anything of them. The best of them are but filthy rags: stow them all away in the coal-hole, and look to the merits of your Lord for salvation. Go to Jesus for everything. He says, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou may be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed." Take his counsel. As he whom we sorrow for today could die peacefully, and even merrily, so shall you and I if we rely on the same Savior. When our time comes to depart, we shall just step aside and say, "Good-bye, dear friends, awhile: we will meet again in the home of the blessed." I hear him say so at this moment; and I answer him, "Dear brother, we will be with you speedily."