Charles Spurgeon and the Miracle of Prevenient Grace

Not long after becoming a Christian, almost 13 years ago now, I providentially discovered the theological gold mine that consists of the writings and sermons of Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

(Family trivia:  had our youngest daughter been a boy, her name was to be Charles Hadden Burr.)

I recently finished one of the many biographies written about this great 19th century London preacher and could easily share 50 quotes that I highlighted and underlined.  But for today, I will just share one:


We did not ask [God] to elect us.  We did not ask him to redeem us.  These things were done before we were born.  We did not ask him to call us by his grace, for alas! we did not know the value of that call, and we were dead in trespasses and sins, but he gave to us freely of his unsought, but boundless love.  Prevenient grace came to us, outrunning all our desires, and all our wills, and all our prayers….does God love me because I love him?  Does God love me because my faith is strong?  Why, then, he must have loved me because of something good in me, and that is not according to the gospel.  The gospel represents the Lord as loving the unworthy and justifying the ungodly, and therefore I must cast out of my mind the idea that divine love depends on human conditions.  (The Forgotten Spurgeon, page 86)


Prevenient grace might not be an everyday theological term, but it is a paradigm-creating one.  God redeems with his all-powerful grace, in spite of us, not because of us.  I am reminded of one of my favorite Martin Luther quotes: God’s love does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to him.

Praise be to God!