Gospel of Grace Alone 53

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!

As newness of life is necessary, so it is as necessary that we should put ourselves into the hands of God for it. It is this sense and conviction which brings us to him hungering and thirsting, and casts the soul upon him with all the strength of its desire, for that change when he alone can work in it. It is the knowledge and belief of this, which makes Gospel mercy and Gospel power so welcome and seasonable a relief to us. It is the hearty persuasion and inward feeling of our helpless state in sin, which constitutes the very life and spirit of prayer; and if it is not working at the bottom of all our prayers, they will be no better than a fruitless, dead formality, and can never work us one jot nearer to God, “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Little children are without strength and without knowledge, weak and ignorant, have every thing to learn, receive what is taught them with undisputing simplicity, and are incapable of thinking, acting for, and governing themselves. Just thus we should judge of ourselves. We are mere children in respect of any knowledge we have of our proper happiness, or ability to attain it. And this child-like, humble disposition is our necessary preparation for receiving the salvation of God—so called, because it is all his gift and his work. And neither the book of our own heart nor the book of Scripture has been opened to us, till we are brought to this conviction—“that we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. (Thomas Adam, Sermons)

While the Gospel is often thought of as apart from regeneration, part of the good news is that God works a new heart in His people. All the promises of the Gospel cannot be brought about apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. When we are told that all the promises of the Gospel come to those who believe, we must ask ourselves and seek the truth of what that really means. Regeneration precedes faith and as such people must be born from above in order to believe. This is vitally important for those who are dead in sin in reality and when they come to realize that, all things are hopeless in fact and in their own eyes unless God grants them a new heart.

When we teach men that they are dead in sins and trespasses and press that upon them, then we must know that the Gospel we preach to them must answer the problem or we are offering them no hope at all. If the lost sinner understands just how deep his or her inability really is and what it means to be by nature a child of wrath, then that lost sinner will know that s/he cannot come up with faith on his or her own. The lost sinner should ask (if not taught this) where this life is to come from and on what basis it is to come. Should the lost sinner seek for faith from him or herself or should the lost sinner seek the Lord and put him or herself in the hands of the Lord and look to Him for a new heart that is a believing heart?

If the Gospel is indeed a Gospel of grace alone then the answer is very obvious. Men should seek a new heart from God in order that they may believe. The new heart does not come to sinners based on their own ability to believe and their exercise of that belief, but instead they are to look to God to give them a believing heart in the new birth. This is not just some minor distinction, but the very Gospel of grace alone rests upon this. The Gospel is either based completely and exhaustively upon the character and grace of God or it is not. If the Gospel is indeed based completely and exhaustively upon the character and grace of God, then there is not one work of man and there is nothing that man can do to move God to save him or her.

Adam makes a great point in the first sentence of the quote at the top of this page. “As newness of life is necessary, so it is as necessary that we should put ourselves into the hands of God for it.” This is really at the heart of the Gospel of grace alone. Jesus was so clear that the new birth is absolutely necessary for a person to enter the kingdom. If Jesus taught that, then it is an absolute fact that a person must be born from above to enter the kingdom. This newness of life comes to the sinner in the new birth. If that newness of life is to come to the sinner by grace alone, then in accordance with that grace it is just as necessary for the sinner to quit trusting in him or herself and simply look to God alone to receive that new life at His good pleasure. While the message of the Gospel in our day is full of works and things we do, the true message of the Gospel of grace alone is that we are to be broken from our self, our works, and our pride and look to God to give it based on grace alone.

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