Gospel of Grace Alone 54

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)

The Gospel of grace is the Gospel of grace alone or the Gospel of free-grace or the Gospel of sovereign grace. It is therefore the Gospel of the glory of God in the face of Christ. This should always be kept front and center when one thinks of the Gospel or any other doctrine. The problem we find today, however, is that there is great confusion as to the distinction between believing the Gospel of grace alone as a doctrine and believing in Christ alone in reality. Any scholar or student of the Bible, whether secular or not, can come to the belief that Christ saves sinners by grace alone. However, there are things about the Gospel and that run parallel with the Gospel that the secular person is simply blind to. Is the Gospel really preached when there is nothing preached that the unbelieving mind cannot grasp and comprehend?

The Gospel message is nothing more than a rational doctrine that a rational man can readily see is taught in the Bible unless the Spirit works in the heart of man and gives the person a hunger and thirst and even a desire or longing to truly be saved in this way. The soul that the Lord is working in will be moved to the point where the soul is seen as extremely sinful and utterly helpless before God. The soul that the Spirit convicts of sin and brings to the point of conversion will utterly despair of any help from itself. This is the soul that God teaches in the inner man how desperately it needs the work of Christ for it to have life. This is the soul that the Spirit shows it that it is dead and how life cannot come apart from the grace of God in giving it life. This soul has been taught by the Spirit the depths of its sin and inability and it willingly and with strong desires (sometimes) will look to Christ alone for all things regarding salvation. It knows that regeneration is beyond its own powers and that God must do it.

It is only the soul that has been taught of God that it has nothing but sin on its account and nothing but inability in terms of power will look to Christ alone. It is this soul that will gladly look to Christ alone for faith itself or newness of life or a new and believing heart because it knows that there is no hope in self or anyone or anything else. It is this soul that has been broken by the kindly work of Christ by His Spirit that will look to grace alone and do so gladly. It looks to itself as nothing but darkness and with no power to help it, so it is good news to look to Christ alone. It is also good news to look to Christ alone for grace since the soul knows that it deserves nothing but eternal misery for its own sin. Oh how gladly this soul will look upon the omnipotent hand of God for the power of the Gospel that saves sinners.

Here we see and will see more again how it is the kindness of God to break the hearts of those He draws to Himself and leave them with nothing to hope in but Himself. Here we see the inward working of the Spirit who brings conviction and leaves the soul without any hope in itself at all. Here we see something of the working of God that cannot be seen by the unbeliever and certainly will not be felt. When so many today think of the Gospel of grace alone as a doctrine to be believed, the Bible teaches us that the Gospel of grace alone is all about the Lord Jesus and how sinners are really and truly saved by His power. It is not just an intellectual belief, but it is a change of heart that He works. Sinners are really and truly changed.

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