Gospel of Grace Alone 46

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. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ and of Grace alone cannot be preached too much. The Church and the churches must be given to preaching this and defending it. The Church is to be the pillar and foundation of the truth and the Gospel of grace alone and of Jesus Christ must be the main part of that. Whether a church is Reformed or not, this is a major issue. Whether a pastor is Reformed or not, this is a major issue. But again, what is the use of preaching, teaching, and believing solid doctrine if there is no Gospel at the heart of it? The Gospel is not some little canned message that people say a prayer in response to, but it is the good news of Jesus Christ and it is the good news about all of Christ. The Gospel is the good news of the grace that Jesus Christ is and of what He has purchased for sinners. There is no real Christ preached unless there is a real grace preached, but it is also the case that there is no real grace preached unless the real Christ is preached.

In the history of the Reformation, which includes a century or so after it, some important doctrines were set out. We had the five sola’s of the Reformation and the five points of Calvinism, though the five points of Calvinism were actually set out in contrast or in answer to the Remonstrants or the Arminian points. In all of these points, I will contend, the Gospel is at the heart of the whole issue as originally set out. For example, while Sola Scriptura may not seem to have the Gospel of grace alone at the heart of it, in the time of the Reformation it did. The issue with Sola Scriptura was over authority or should we listen to Scripture or to the leaders of Roman Catholicism. Luther was setting out the glorious Gospel of grace alone and Rome was opposed to what he said based on what they said others in history had said. Luther used and exposited the Scriptures and said that it was the authority and not the Church Councils nor the Pope.

I Tim 3:14 I am writing these things to you, hoping to come to you before long; 15 but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16 By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.

The Scriptures are the very out breathing of God and the Church is built by Him as well. There can be no true or real contradiction between the Scriptures and what God has taught the Church, so when there is a contradiction between the two only one of them can be right. The Church is to defend Scripture and what it teaches as opposed to those who try to distort Scripture and the Gospel of Christ. In this sense, then, Scripture stands as the authority rather than the words and works of men so that the Gospel of grace alone can be set out in purity and power. The Church is not to change the Gospel or deviate from it in the slightest, but instead it is to set out the pure Gospel of grace alone and Christ alone. The Church is not there to be comfortable and enjoy all the creature comforts, but instead it is there to proclaim and defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It must be stressed once again, however, that the Gospel of grace alone and Christ alone is not a simple little message. It is the good news of the whole Christ and all that He did and is still doing. It is the good news of how Christ reigns and rules in the hearts of His people. It is the good news of how the sovereign Lord of the universe rules over all things for the purposes of His Church, but even more than that the sovereign Lord rules over all things for His own glory. The Church is to stand for the Gospel because it is also the Gospel of His glory. The Church is a vehicle for the glory of God rather than all the other things it is so busy doing. The Gospel of grace alone is the vehicle by which God’s glory is proclaimed among men. But the Scriptures are the guide of that all. The Gospel is taught to us by Christ who uses His Scriptures to do so. One of the great purposes of Scripture is to be the written testimony to the Gospel of grace alone and in that Sola Scriptura is the servant of the Gospel.

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