Musings 125

Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.

Nothing in man doth precede or prevent the grace of God. The light and beams of grace do dispel the clouds of our sins. Not for our sakes, but for his Name’s sake he covereth our sins. It is God’s prerogative to free us from sin by grace, and to remove them far from us. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” {Ps.103:12} He only can remove sin against whom it is committed. He only can cast sin into the depths of the sea, who hath an ocean of grace in himself, in which he swalloweth them up. John Simpson {Perfection of Justification, 1648} Obtained from Supralapsarian.com

Preaching is such a sad subject, though such a wonderful thing that God has given for Him to call sinners from the dead and give them life. Preaching is also a way that He can use as He pleases to feed His people with Himself as Christ is the food and the drink of true believers. However, preaching is in a sad state of practice in our day. One would think that with such a glorious Gospel that preaching would be setting out the various aspects and beauties of that Gospel and how they reflected the beauty and glory of God. However, this is simply not being done.

For some reason modern “Reformed” preaching, though there is not a single way of doing that, seems set on preaching a text without seeming regard to Christ and His Gospel. It seems to have escaped the notice of preachers that Paul wanted to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified in his preaching. This is not to say that there is only one title or one focus of any sermon, but that Christ and His cross have so many beauties and glories that all the other truths of the Bible reflect back on them and Christ and His cross reflect those.

It can also be said that it is a far different thing to speak things that are true about prayer than it is to pray. Thus, it is one thing to point out what needs to be done to have true preaching and yet it is quite another to truly preach. It is one thing to preach on a text (most likely lecture about a text), but it is quite another to preach Christ and the free-grace of His gospel from that text. There is simply no excuse for preachers to be caught up with so many things and yet not dive into the depths of Christ and His cross in their studies and in preaching. If Christ is not going to be preached then the preachers in name should simply step down from the pulpits until they learn how this is to be done. No, most likely another class at seminary is going to do this. This can only be learned when Christ teaches this to the heart.

True preaching cannot be learned from reading a book (though that can be helpful) or from hearing lectures on the subject (again, that can be helpful). It is only when Christ Himself teaches the heart the truths of Himself in the Scriptures that men will preach from the heart that Christ dwells in and teaches. It is not enough to say the words that Christ saves, it must be explained in a reverent and worshipful manner from a heart that Christ has saved and has taught. It is not enough for men to preach from the brain as that is not true preaching, but they must preach from the whole soul that has been taught by Christ.

We can see this as self-evident when we think of surgeons and their training. The surgeon does not just learn techniques from a book, but instead must learn by others how to do this and then be taught how to actually do it. It is in the practice that the surgeon learns more and more about surgery. This is so true about preaching. The text can only explain things in a certain way, but if the preacher is going to learn how to preach from the whole soul Christ must show Himself and He must teach the truths of Himself to the preacher. The preacher must experience Christ in order to preach Christ. It seems that most preaching today could be done by unbelievers as all that is done is to state things that the Bible says (at best). Of course that assumes that stories and jokes are not the heart of true sermons.

It is a terrible thing that men and women can attend churches and Reformed churches and not hear the glorious teachings of the Gospel beyond a factual approach. John Warwick Montgomery wrote of men being damned because of the professing church. Could this be true in our day? Could it be true that men are so focused on being good preachers, following the proper methods, and treating the text properly that they are missing the main point? They must be taught by Christ in the inward man or they will not preach the true Christ. What will happen if they do not preach Christ and His Gospel even if they use orthodox words? Men and women will be damned while sitting in the pews and they will not hear the true Gospel. The true Gospel can be hidden by orthodox words.

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