I have seen the young believer, just saved from sin, happy in his early Christian career, and walking humbly with his God. But evil has crept in, disguised in the mantle of truth. The finger of partial blindness was laid upon his eyes, and only one doctrine could be seen. Sovereignty was seen, but not responsibility. The minister once beloved was hated; he who had been honest to preach God’s word, was accounted as the offscouring of all things. And what became the effect? The very reverse of good and gracious. Bigotry replaced love; bitterness lived where once there had been a loveliness of character. I could point you to innumerable instances where harping upon any one particular doctrine, has driven men to excess of bigotry and bitterness. And when a man has once come there, he is ready enough for sin of any kind to which the devil may please to tempt him. There is a necessity that the whole gospel should be preached, or else the spirits, even of Christians, will become marred and maimed. I have known men diligent for Christ, labouring to win souls with both hands; and suddenly they have espoused one particular doctrine and not the whole truth and they have subsided into lethargy. On the other hand where men have only taken the practical side of truth, and left out the doctrinal, too many professors have run over into legality; have talked as if they were to be saved by works, and have almost forgotten that grace by which they were called. They are like the Galatians, they have been bewitched by what they have heard. The believer in Christ, if he is to be kept pure, simple, holy, charitable, Christ-like, is only to be kept so by a preaching of the whole truth as it is in Jesus.
For meditation: Doctrine should lead to practice; practice should spring from doctrine (Romans 12:1; Ephesians 4:1). Do you seek to hear and apply the whole counsel of God in your life (James 1:22)?
note: This was Spurgeon’s farewell sermon at the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall.