Musings 136

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! 10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.”

I attended services this past Sunday (Feb 19) where the announced subject matter was Sola Fide and Martin Luther. What I heard, on the other hand, was really nothing more than a weak Arminianism at best. The sad part of this is that it was presented as what Luther taught. Martin Luther had justification by grace alone through faith alone revealed to him by God and God used that to light a fire in Germany and then Europe. It is the true Gospel which is the power of God for salvation. It is the true Gospel which is the righteousness of God revealed. However, what was spoken this past Sunday was not the pure Gospel but one which depended upon man. We were told that Luther discovered that all you had to do was believe and God would save you. Luther would have denounced that with all of his being.

We live in a light and easy day regarding the Gospel. For some reason so many other things are thought to be more important than the Gospel if one judges this by the actions and words of men. So many of the traditions of men are brought in and men are judged by them rather than by the Gospel of Christ. Paul did not say that it is the traditions of men that are the power of God for salvation, but instead it is the Gospel. How is it that we are saved by Christ alone and grace alone and yet we are judged in other ways by the traditions of men? How is it that so many other things have been brought in as ways to judge men and the Gospel is set aside?

Paul was so clear that there were some wanting to distort the Gospel of Christ which is being called by the grace of Christ. “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!” Was the only way these false teachers were declaring this false Gospel was by preaching from a pulpit? I would argue that there are many ways to preach a false Gospel. One is to add to the Gospel and another way is to deduct from the Gospel. The only way a person can be saved is by Christ alone and grace alone. The only way a person can find assurance of salvation is by Christ alone and grace alone. Christ Himself is our sanctification and Christ Himself is the One we are to look for to see if He lives in us.

In our day we have men adding ways to the Gospel of grace alone and of ways to see if others are saved. This is simply another way that some are going beyond Scripture and can be a way of adding to the Gospel of Christ alone. While Luther taught very clearly that a person must deny his so-called free-will in order to be ready to be saved, in our day (this past Sunday) we are told that Luther rediscovered the fact that all a man had to do was make a choice and God would save him. This call for men to believe in order to be saved was far from what Luther taught and he would call that another Gospel.

To the Reformers, the crucial question was not simply, whether God justifies believers without works of Law. It was the broader question, whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ’s sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith. Here was the crucial issue; whether God is the author, not merely of justification, but also of faith; whether, in the last analysis, Christianity is a religion of utter reliance on God for salvation and all things necessary to it, or of self-reliance and self-effort. (Johnson and Packer’s introduction to Luther’s Bondage of the Will)

I am told that I should be more loving and more gracious in these things. I simply ask if Paul should have been more loving and gracious in these things. Paul said very clearly that those who preach a different Gospel should be accursed. Should we be quiet and say nothing? Should we be quiet when those who preach and those who listen to them are on the road to hell despite all of their credentials? Is it loving to be quiet and just let these things pass? Is it loving just to yawn and go on with life when men are adding to the Gospel by telling people things they need to do other than have Christ? The Pharisees added a lot of things that sounded nice and sounded reasonable to them. Jesus simply blasted them with harsh words. We live in a world where people are adding things to and others taking away things regarding the Gospel and what it means to be a Christian. They should beware.

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One Response to “Musings 136”

  1. Cafazzo Franco Says:

    when no more effort or exertion or suffering was left for the Son of God; He yelled, “It is finished!”

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