Gospel of Grace Alone 45

Galatians 1:6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

The Gospel of grace alone is a fundamental truth of Scripture. Apart from this Gospel, the whole of Scripture does not fit together. Apart from this Gospel, the central truth of Scripture, the rest of the message of the Bible is nothing more than morality and philosophy. Apart from this Gospel, the attributes of God are missing some revealed beauty and glory. Apart from this Gospel, the character of Christ and the cross don’t fit with the rest of Scripture and the attributes of God. All the doctrines of the Bible are off kilter or unbalanced apart from this teaching of how God saves sinners by grace alone.

Pelagian thinking which focuses on the ability of man as virtually or fully untouched by the fall is simply far from biblical Christianity and has no Gospel of grace alone in any real sense of the word. Semi-Pelagianism, which is Arminianism, may teach many things that are mostly orthodox, but the point that this theology takes off from in reality is the point of grace alone. The Semi-Pelagian (or Arminian) by definition believes in the free-will of man and the ability of man to choose Christ from that will rather than a Gospel of grace alone which teaches that grace must bring the person to Christ.

In the passage of Scripture above (Galatians 1:6), it is important to know that this calling of the Gospel is by grace alone as well. This calling is one that comes to the sinner who has no ability to respond in any way but by self-love and hatred for God, but this calling makes the sinner willing and is in fact Christ coming to the sinner and Christ giving the sinner a new heart by His Spirit. Sinners respond to Christ in a positive way only after they have received life and this comes by being united to Christ. The will is not free from the death of depravity and so it cannot come to Christ apart from His giving it life. The will that is free of grace, which the soul must have if it is truly a free-will, cannot hold to a Gospel of grace alone. These things must be made clear.

The truth of the mater, however, is that in the modern day it seems as if much of Reformed theology is inconsistent (at best) with the Gospel of grace alone. The Gospel of grace alone stands firm and all other doctrines and teachings must be judged by it and be viewed as inconsistent with they contradict the Gospel of grace alone. When other teachings stand over and judge the Gospel of grace alone and try to get it to conform to their teachings, this is changing the Gospel. It is possible to teach the doctrine of election as a doctrine that fits with a creed rather than teach election as fitting with the Gospel of grace alone. The whole reason for teaching the doctrine of election is to set forth the inability of the sinner and the glorious and freeness of the grace of God. The doctrine of election is not just a teaching that we must teach in order to be in accordance with our creeds, but it is a doctrine to teach in order to set forth the glory of God in the grace of the Gospel.

While the academics study Scripture using various ways of hermeneutics (science of interpretation), it should be kept in mind that there is a spiritual understanding of Scripture that is beyond the reach of the human intellect (and so the academic way of study). This is not to say that academics is totally worthless, but it is simply to set out that the Gospel cannot be truly understood by the natural man and also the spiritual man using the reasoning of the natural man. It is the totally sufficient God who saves sinners out of love for Himself and His own glory (comes to us as grace and by grace) and nothing in the sinner can move Him to save sinners. Salvation is totally free of causation within the sinner and all causes are found in God alone and His love within Himself as triune. Regardless of a person’s external theology or stated theology or creed, it is possible for the poison of free-will to come in by the front door or by a side door. Whether it is academic theology in the Reformed tradition or a feeling oriented theology of others, the Gospel of grace alone must be stringently set forth and guarded. Anything less than grace alone is a distortion of the Gospel and as such is condemned by Paul. It must be condemned by us as well.

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