Jesus Came To Save Sinners: An Earnest Conversation With Those Who Long For Salvation And Eternal Life, by Charles H. Spurgeon
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Aneko Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
Every once in a while, without any kind of notice, I receive books in the mail from this publisher that are part of their Christian Classics series of reprints , and I find these to be intriguing and worthwhile and edifying reads. Charles Spurgeon was well known in his lifetime as the Prince of Preachers, and this book gives a good picture of why that is the case. Few other writers of the 19th century, and not that many contemporary writers, can capture the call both to initial repentance as well as continued faith with the same sort of charm and graciousness. This little book does not disguise its purpose of being a forthright call to repentance among readers, but neither does it forget that its audience is made of people and not merely souls to be saved. This sense of humanity makes this book a joy to read and one well worth thinking about and reflecting about for the reader. To receive this book as a surprise is something to be appreciated, a conversation with a long-dead preacher whose lifelong struggle with his own gloominess is congenial to someone like myself who shares the same struggle.
While this book is only about 150 pages, even if one includes the introductory material, the author divided his material into seventeen chapters, as if each chapter was a short conversation with the reader, assuming that the author was someone who was friendly but not particularly knowledgeable about the reader as a conversation partner, making friendly supposals and showing goodwill. The chapters begin with a discussion of God’s justifying the ungodly, deliverance, faith, our own struggles with our sinful nature, regeneration, repentance, spiritual confirmation, and ending appropriately with a discussion of the perseverance of the saints. There is a lot, to be sure, that the author does not know about God’s ways–He does not seem particularly knowledgeable about the persistence of God’s law as a standard for believers, for example–but what the author does know he deals with in a gracious and passionate fashion, and that is something that readers will be able to take from this book and appreciate, and hopefully develop in our own lives and in our own efforts at giving a reason for our beliefs in discourse with others.
One gets the sense that the author himself was well aware of the fact that even solitude was no protection from the darkness which threatened him as a believer: “If we shut ourselves up in the lonely cell of a hermit, temptation would still follow us, because as long as we can’t escape from ourselves, we can’t escape from the pull of sin. Within our hearts, there is that which should make us watchful and humble before God (117).” The author’s combination of deep interest in personal stories of those wrestling with God as they understand and his seriousness both about God and about being kind and charitable to others makes this a worthwhile book, and it is one that deserves a great deal of imitation. The world would be a great deal better if believers paid more attention both to kindness and to truth. Sometimes one wonders what the commitment of people is to either of these ideals, as there are all too many writers and speakers who show themselves to be deeply unkind about that which they know, and not nearly as knowledgeable as they ought to be. As a fairly critical person by nature, it is certainly a tendency I struggle against. This book is a kind reminder that although the struggle is real that we do not struggle alone, something well worth remembering in times of gloom.
 See, for example: