Beloved Brother or Sister, you know very well that I would be the last person in the world to speak lightly of the value of sound doctrine. I wish we were all far more acquainted with the Scriptures than we are and that the Doctrines of Grace were more clear to our understandings and more imprinted upon our hearts. But there are some people who love a certain set of doctrines so much, that if you differ a hair’s breadth, they will denounce you as rotten to the core!
They will not associate with any who do say, “Shibboleth,” and sound the “sh” very harshly, too! They will cut off and condemn all God’s people who do not precisely agree with them. Now, mark you, it is not written, “Unto you that believe a code of doctrines will be precious.” That is true, but it is not written so in the text. The text is, “Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious.” It is better to count Christ precious than it is to count orthodoxy precious! It is not loving a creed, but it is loving Jesus that proves you a Christian! You may become such a bigot that it may be only the laws of the land which keep you from burning those who differ from you, and yet you may have none of the Grace of God in your heart! I love Protestantism, but if there is anything in this world that I have a horror of, it is that political Protestantism which does nothing but sneer and snarl at its fellow citizens—but which is as ignorant as a cow about what Protestantism truly is. The great truths of Protestantism—not merely Protestant ascendancy—and the great secret power of those truths, far more than the mere letter of them, is the thing to be prized.
You may get it into your head that you are a member of the one only true church. You may wrap yourself about with any quantity of self-conceit, but that does not at all prove you to be a possessor of Grace. It is love to Christ that is the root of the matter. I am very sorry, my dear Brother, if you should hold unsound views on some points, but I love you with all my heart if Jesus is precious to you! I cannot give up Believers’ Baptism. It is no invention of mine and, therefore, I cannot give up my Master’s ordinance. I am sure that it is Scriptural. I cannot give up the Doctrine of Election—it seems to me so plainly taught in the Word. But over the head of all doctrines and ordinances, and over everything, my Brother and Sister, I embrace you in my heart if you believe in Jesus and if He is precious to you, for that is the vital point! These are the matters of heart-work that mark a Christian— nothing else is so true a test. If you cannot say, “Jesus is precious to me,” I do not care to what church you belong, or what creed you are ready to die for, you do not know the Truth of God unless the Person of Christ is dear to you!
This may serve as a test for each one here. My Brother, my Sister, do you believe in Him who is the Son of God and yet was born of the Virgin here on earth? Do you rely alone on Him who, on the Cross, poured out His heart’s blood to redeem sinners? Do you depend on Him who now stands with His priestly garments on before the Throne of the Infinite Majesty, pleading for the unjust that they may live through Him? If you do, then answer this question—Do you love Jesus now? Do you love Him with your heart and soul? Would you serve Him? Do you serve Him? Will you serve Him? Will you subscribe your hand to be His servant from this day forth? Do you declare now, if not with lips, yet honestly with your soul, “He is precious to me, and I would give up all else sooner than give up Him”? Then it is well with you! Be happy and rejoice! Come to His Table and feast with Him at the banquet of love!
Source: A Sermon From a Sick Preacher (No 3014) Published on Thursday, Nov. 15, 1906
Delivered by C.H. Spurgeon at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in 1869