Thank you for joining our Summer Classics Series as we read through Spurgeon’s, Around the Wicket Gate, a short book about pursuing a deep and fulfilling relationship with Jesus Christ. This book explores the doctrine of soteriology (“salvation”), and over the next eleven weeks (one chapter per week), we’ll reflect on the content of each chapter, mining the theological and practical gold found in its pages. Let’s get started!
Spurgeon begins the chapter with a statement about a majority lack of concern for the eternal. Instead, attention is given more to the temporary things of life; more care for “cats and dogs” than for the eternal soul. In our modern time period, this may be akin to entertainment, social media, or the like, what Neil Postman would label as “amusing ourselves to death.” With the importance of eternity in the sovereign plan of God, Spurgeon urges the reader that we ought not “return to our slumber.” He is calling for an urgency in the Christian life, alert to the reality of heaven and hell, with our eyes stayed on Christ.
“It would be an awful thing to go dreaming down to hell, and there to lift up our eyes with a great gulf fixed between us and heaven.”
Spurgeon appeals to the conscience and a teachable spirit, the beginnings of what he calls, “awakening.” As well, he rightly reminds the reader that “awakening is not salvation…If you find out that you are bankrupt, the consideration of your debts will not pay them” (emphasis mine). Having a sense of sin is not the same as repentance. Knowing that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world is not the same as “believing on” (full devotion to) Him.
Therefore, Spurgeon emphasizes the value of responding to the finished work of Christ on the cross, that Jesus died for the sin of the world, and that this is not a mere fact or emotion to be stored in a database of head knowledge. Rather, with our gaze lifted from ourselves to God, our response is dependent upon what Christ has done. “It is not what you feel that will save you, but what Jesus felt.” Since Jesus felt the full weight of the world’s sin and the wrath of God at Calvary, salvation has been given and we no longer need to worry about that “great gulf fixed between us and heaven.” Instead, we can allow the hand of Jesus to recuse us from the Slough of Despond, and guide us into the Celestial City. Spurgeon pleads with us that if we are eager to be forgiven and have peace forevermore, then we must first awaken. “If peace is to be had, have it at once!”
Since we are reading this classic work together, please feel free to offer your reflections and questions about this week’s chapter if you would like. Share through social media (below) and/or send emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!
For next Monday (July 8th), read chapter 2, “Jesus Only” and check back for reflections.