Archive for the ‘Gospel of Grace Alone’ Category

Gospel of Grace Alone 57

December 28, 2016

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)

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

For the Gospel of grace alone to be truly grace alone, it must be a pure grace (unmixed) from beginning to end and nothing but that pure grace. This Gospel of grace alone is grace alone regarding the humbling of the soul, to regeneration, and then of all aspects of the Gospel. The hungering for God is God’s work in the soul. The conviction of sin is God’s work in the soul. The recognition and then deep brokenness of heart over the inability of the soul is the work of God in the soul.

For some reason in our own day we think of God having provided some grace for us and the rest of the labor and work is up to us. Even if a person has a creed that states something different, people do not hear that their regeneration, their faith, and their repentance are the works of God and all of those works as well are by grace alone. In other words, people are taught to look to themselves for something because they are not told how helpless they are in sin and the extent that grace has to reach to save them.

When the Scriptures are so clear about these things it is hard to understand why people appear to make efforts at hiding these truths from people. It is almost like we are ashamed to go against the flow of Arminianism and Pelagianism and simply tell people that they are dead in sin with no ability at all in the spiritual realm and that the whole of salvation is by grace alone. We seem somewhat eager to tell people that they must repent and believe, but we are far from eager to tell them that a repentance and faith that comes from them is simply another way for them to work dead works. Unless the dead soul is enlivened with the life of God the soul simply exchanges the open sin of pride and self for the religious acts of pride and self.

It seems rare for us to take the words of Christ seriously and think that He gave His statement of the absolute need for a person to be converted and become like a child. Apart from a person becoming like a child that person cannot enter the kingdom. The word “cannot” is a word of ability (can) and strength. No one has the strength or ability to enter the kingdom in his own work and his own ability. This must come to the soul from the outside and the soul must look to Christ alone for this work. The text tells us what must happen (be converted and become like a child), but it does not tells us that we must do this work ourselves.

This very basic teaching has been virtually lost in the modern day. The proud heart is opposed by God rather than given grace. It is only by the grace of God that a heart is humbled to where it will see and long for grace. It is only the work of grace in the soul that will convert that soul and make it like a little child. It is only that soul that has been made to be like a little child that will look to grace alone rather than to something of self and grace to make up the lack that it can do rather than grace alone. The glory of the Gospel of grace alone is not something that can be understood by the intellect alone, it must be taught to sinners in the heart by God Himself.

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Gospel of Grace Alone 56

December 27, 2016

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)

Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

The sinfulness of man is not just an easy fix as it appears that so many believe. It is thought that as long as man stops his outward sin and starts doing some good things or becomes religious that that is all that can be expected. However, Scripture teaches something totally different. The Scriptures teach us that man is dead in sin (spiritually dead) and completely unable to do one thing spiritual or pleasing to God in his own strength. The Scriptures tell us that something dramatic must happen to man and that it must be done by God rather than man. While so many tell men to believe today as if men could do that in their own strength, men must know that God must work His work in them so that they can believe. It is only in this way will men know that they are saved by free-grace alone.

Without the converting work of God men will not be changed and they cannot believe because they have an unbelieving heart. They need a new heart in order to have a believing heart. This is set out in Matthew 18 (above) and it starts off with the word “except” in the KJV and “unless” in the NAS version. Both of these set out the same point. Something must happen to the sinner or that sinner cannot and will not enter the kingdom of heaven. What the text tells us must happen is that the sinner must be changed or turned or converted and become like a little child or that person will not enter the kingdom. The disciples were asking about who was the greatest in the kingdom, but Jesus severely rebuked them and told them that they must become like a little child to even enter the kingdom.

While there are several things that stand out in this text, one thing that stands out is that sinners must be changed by an external power. The power to change them cannot be caused by them as they have no capacity to change themselves from a proud heart to a humble heart. Sinners have no ability to turn themselves from seeking greatness out of pride to seeking His glory out of a humble heart. Sinners have no ability to turn themselves from trusting themselves to trusting in Christ alone.

What we see with great clarity, then, is the hand of sovereign grace working according to His people and His own glory. All are born dead in sin and by nature are children of wrath, so only a Divine hand can change the heart of those people and cause them to be born from above and make them children of the living God and children of love. This can only happen by a grace that cannot be helped, merited, or earned in any way, shape, form, or fashion. It is free-grace that takes sinners and converts them and makes them children who rest in Him and His grace. This does not deny the use of means, but it does say that it is His work alone that can do this and He will only do this by grace alone.

Gospel of Grace Alone 55

December 26, 2016

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 alone is the same thing as the Gospel of God. The term “Gospel of God” is used eight times, though there are other ways that it means the same thing. The Gospel is the good news of God and that is the same Gospel as the Gospel of Christ alone or the Gospel of grace alone. The Gospel is the Gospel of the glory of God as seen in the face of Christ. This should teach us that the very heart of the Gospel is the character of God. The Gospel of free-grace or the Gospel of the sovereign grace of God is the same thing as the Gospel of God. The living God is the truth of the Gospel and it is only good news when we understand who God is in Christ.

The modern idea is that Christ has done all He can do to pacify and angry God and the rest is up to us. The biblical truth is that God loved sinners and sent His Son to die in their place. This great love of God was such that He sent His Son to actually accomplish salvation, to procure salvation, and then to so fully procure their salvation that it will most certainly be applied at the good pleasure of God. The Gospel of the grace of God stands firmly against all the merit of men and all the contributions that men think that they can make. The Gospel of God or the Gospel of the grace of God means that every single thing that can possibly be done has been done by Christ. The true God stands serene and need absolutely and utterly nothing from man to save man. This is quite hard for men to swallow and they cannot humble themselves deep enough to submit to this. This too is the work of God.

It is God who calls sinners to Himself and He does that by the grace of Christ. As long as men are not deeply and thoroughly humbled in heart, they will not understand the wonder and glory of a free-grace. As long as men do not understand that the Gospel is really the good news of who God is as opposed to what fallen man thinks He is, they will not understand how deeply they must be humbled and what the true nature of the grace of God is. The selfish hearts of men and the proud hearts of men oppose and fight the deep humiliation and the deep breaking of the heart that God works in men in order to prepare them for the true Gospel. Men are blinded to this and as such they are satisfied with the mere doctrine of things and of a simple intellectual belief of these things.

When the Scriptures tell us that we must become like little children in order to enter the kingdom, we must take this seriously. When the Scriptures tell us that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, we must inquire with humble prayer seeking to know the mind of God as to what these things mean, what they really are, and for Him to work them in our proud and stubborn hearts. There is nothing so fruitless and hopeless in the universe as men who think that they can do anything to convert themselves or to help God convert them. God has never put any amount of grace in the hands of men to dispense to themselves or others as they please. Men are utterly and totally in the hands of God to show grace as He pleases. This is precisely what the natural man hates and as such he will develop a religion that will allow him to use the language of Scripture and yet keep his heart that is like the Pharisee.

Gospel of Grace Alone 55

December 17, 2016

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)

Adam makes a comment on prayer which is very telling regarding the nature of prayer. It could apply to the unconverted soul that sees itself as empty and helpless and so it is the type of prayer that one is to seek God with. It is also at the heart of all true prayer of the believer. The unconverted person needs grace for conversion and has nothing with which to move God and nothing with which to obtain life with. This person is cast utterly and totally upon the mercy and grace of God. That person (as all should be) should have the deep persuasion and the inward feeling of utter helplessness and in that the person can truly pray for grace. If the person is not truly helpless and in some way looks to self or what self has done, that person is not looking to Christ for pure grace.

The believing person that was converted by grace alone still has nothing within self to come to God with. The believer also has no righteousness before God and has nothing to obtain righteousness with. We must always know that in prayer we are coming to the throne of grace and we can expect nothing but grace. Only the truly humbled heart can truly pray, though anyone can say religious words and call it prayer. The Gospel of grace alone is deserted when we try to offer a prayer based on our own righteousness in any way or based on what we have done in any way. The Gospel of grace alone should teach us a deep humility and that we should never look to anything but grace in our pre-conversion and post-conversion life.

Adam says that if this (hearty persuasion and inward feeling of our helplessness in sin) “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.” This is a tremendous, tremendous statement and should be meditated upon. If we are not convinced and deeply know and feel our helplessness in spiritual things and sin, then our prayers are fruitless and are dead formality. This may sound harsh to some, but this really gets at the heart of it. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, that is, nothing spiritual and nothing that will bear spiritual fruit. The unbeliever must recognize that and seek the Lord in utter emptiness of self knowing that s/he has nothing but sin. The believer must seek the Lord in prayer based on Christ and Christ alone. This is also one difference between religious activity and the life of Christ in the soul.

It is crucial for the soul to be brought to the low state where it will look to Christ for all things regarding spiritual life. It is crucial for the soul to look for all things it needs and look for it on the basis of grace alone. The proud self will fight and try to insert itself in the prayer, but this ruins the prayer unless Christ shows even that grace. Our prayers will never bring us closer to God unless we are emptied of self-sufficiency and the proud self and look to come to God through Christ alone by grace alone. The grace that saves sinners is also the grace that sinners are to live by day in and day out. Oh how free-grace should reign at all times and in all ways.

Gospel of Grace Alone 54

December 16, 2016

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.

Gospel of Grace Alone 53

December 12, 2016

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.

Gospel of Grace Alone 52

October 15, 2014

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!

Romans 15:19 in the power of signs and wonders, in the power of the Spirit; so that from Jerusalem and round about as far as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.

1 Corinthians 9:12 If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:12 Now when I came to Troas for the gospel of Christ and when a door was opened for me in the Lord,

1 Thessalonians 3:2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith,

The Gospel is the Gospel of Christ and it is the grace of Christ. Yes, the same theme being hammered on over and over can get dreary and uninteresting for some. However, the Gospel must not and cannot be distorted to anything but the Gospel of Christ and the grace of Christ or it is no longer the true Gospel and is nothing but another gospel. The glorious Gospel of Christ is the good news of what Christ has done and accomplished for the glory of God and His people in history, but it is also what He does in the present day as a result of what He accomplished in history. Again, and to be repetitive, the good news is of Jesus Christ and it is not what man can do by his or her own so-called “free-will.” We have the power of the Gospel and it is not in the power of the human will, but it is in the power of the resurrected Savior or in the same power that resurrected Christ.

I don’t think that it can be stressed too much that the Gospel is a full Gospel of grace that is free of conditions and causes in man and of what man can accomplish in his own strength. The Gospel of Christ is all about Christ and is not about the efforts of man or the choices of man, but instead it is about the efforts of Christ and the choices of the Father of Christ. The Gospel is all of what Christ has done and continues to do and all He has done or will do is always by grace and grace alone. What man does in his own strength and power is the works of the flesh and the only thing that can come from the flesh is fleshly works, but what Christ does is from His holy love for the Father and by the power of the Spirit. Man must have faith and all things come from Christ by grace or faith will come from the fleshly nature of the natural man.

Oh how the Gospel of grace alone must be preached and declared in all the glories of Christ! If grace alone is to be preached in truth, then Christ alone must be preached alone in truth. The Gospel is all about the Person of Christ and His taking human nature to Himself and as such He was the very tabernacle of God on earth. The Gospel is about what Christ accomplished on earth in His miracles and in His teachings because He was putting the glory of God on display through Himself. Eternal life is to know God and Christ is the way to know God. This is why we have the Gospel of Mark starting off like this: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The Gospel is about Christ and all that He was and did.

2 Timothy 1:10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

The very idea of life and immortality are brought to life and reality through the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace that is in Him. Knowing God is brought to light and reality through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have in the Gospel a way of knowing God (not just knowing about Him) and knowing God is eternal life, it is not just a matter of the human will. This is by grace and grace alone. We must be given knowledge of God by grace alone or we are brought to knowing God by acts of the human flesh. The glory of grace alone is beautiful as it shines out in the glory of Christ. The gospel of grace alone ravishes the soul as it beholds the sovereign God who gives grace.

Gospel of Grace Alone 51

October 14, 2014

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!

We must know that the Gospel of grace alone has many things to teach us that are ignored in the modern day. If the Gospel of grace alone teaches us that Christ brings faith, then we must preach Christ in a way that teaches sinners to look to Him for faith rather than teaching sinners to look to faith to bring Christ. We must preach and teach sinners that faith cannot be had in their own strength and power, but true faith must come to them by grace alone as well. True faith can only come to sinners if Christ brings it and gives Himself to sinners along with faith. If sinners can have faith in a way that is not by grace alone and Christ alone, then it is utterly inescapable for the Gospel to be something less than grace alone and Christ alone. But again, the Gospel is without doubt by grace alone and Christ alone so faith must come to the sinner by grace alone and come by Christ alone as well.

We must also think of the fact that a sinner cannot have true faith apart from having Christ. A person cannot be said to have true faith unless a person has the object and subject of true faith. Surely this shows us that having true faith and having Christ cannot be separated. So why do people argue that a person must have faith in order to have Christ? Why can’t we argue that a person must have Christ in order to have faith? What is so wrong with thinking that Christ (grace incarnate) must give sinners faith along with giving Himself? Can dead sinners have faith apart from having life? Can it be that sinners can have life before they have Christ? No, sinners with life believe and so sinners who have Christ who is their life believe.

We are told that the sinner who hears and believes has eternal life. How can sinners hear Christ unless they have life and have Christ? Surely sinners who hear are those who spiritually hear, but this just teaches us that sinners must be spiritually alive in order to hear Christ call them. The person who hears and believes already has eternal life versus the modern day teaching of how a person must have faith in order to have life. Surely we can also see that seeing and hearing are spiritual acts and for a person to hear Christ or to see Christ means that a person has spiritual life. If faith is a spiritual faith, then a person must be a spiritual person (having the Holy Spirit) in order to spiritually believe.

The Scriptures are quite clear (in the words of Jesus) that a person must be born from above in order to see or enter the kingdom. If seeing is a spiritual seeing, then once again it is quite obvious that a person must have spiritual life in this new birth in order to have faith. But can a person have spiritual life apart from Christ who is life Himself? If a person must be born from above in order to have faith, then surely we can see that a person must have Christ who is life in order to have faith. The nature of faith is that it is a spiritual act and for a person to exercise a faith which is a spiritual act that person must have the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ.

It should be easily seen, then, that if the new birth is by grace alone, then faith must be by grace alone. If regeneration precedes faith, and regeneration is life in the soul, then we should be able to see the wonder and glory of Christ bringing faith with Him in the soul. True faith will always have Christ as the object and source, and all spiritual blessings are obtained in Christ, so it is really no wonder that Christ will cleanse a soul, then take up His residence in that soul and bring faith with Him as a gift to give. The Gospel of grace alone is set forth as the shining forth of the glory of God when we see that Christ brings faith with Him. If we have to believe in order to have Christ, as if it came from us, then the Gospel would be left as having at least one part that is not pure grace. But if the soul is regenerated by the Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ and in that regeneration the soul lives by the life of Christ and so is given the gift of faith by Christ, we see that the Gospel is all of grace and that at all points and in all ways. Oh how poor sinners should be taught that while they must have faith, it is Christ who gives it to them.

Gospel of Grace Alone 50

October 13, 2014

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 is the good news about the Person of Christ who is the shining forth of the glory of God and of what He has done and is doing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a canned message that mentions the cross and then gets people to pray a prayer or walk an aisle or sign a card, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of what Christ will do not based on what He has done to save sinners. It is not just that people need to believe that there was a person in the past named Jesus, but they must have as their central and core belief that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Gospel is not just that people must come to intellectually believe the facts that Jesus Christ died on the cross, but that God in human flesh had the sins of all who would ever believe imputed to Him and that His suffering was in their place and that the wrath of God was satisfied.

The Gospel of grace alone has to do with the fact that God sent the Son because of who He is and not because of anything desirable about sinners. The Son came out of love for the Father and not because there was anything worthy or meritorious about sinners. The Son purchased the Holy Spirit for His people because in this the glory of God is manifested. The One God who exists in three Persons manifests the glory of His grace in saving sinners. This is really, really good news. The Gospel is all about the glory of God shining forth in Christ and how Christ has accomplished the salvation of sinners from beginning to end. The Gospel is how Christ has purchased the Holy Spirit who applies salvation to sinners from beginning to end. For all those poor sinners who see that they have done nothing but sin their whole lives and have never had anything close to one perfect work, it is great news to see that the whole Gospel is of grace at all points and in all ways.

The Gospel of the glory of God that is all of grace teaches us that sinners must not even try to work up faith in order for Christ to come and save them, but instead this Gospel of grace alone teaches us that Christ brings faith to sinners in and of Himself. The modern day seems to think that it is acceptable to have the sinner have faith and then have Christ, which means that the sinner must come up with faith without Christ and then receive Christ on the basis of that faith. But can one have faith without having Christ? We are really left with two choices in the matter. Either faith brings Christ or Christ brings faith. When it is put that way, it would seem as if there is really only one of those that protects and sets out the Gospel of grace alone.

If we are to contend for a Gospel of grace alone that (by definition must be to be by grace alone) is free of all merit and conditions to be fulfilled by men in their own strength, then we must also contend for a Christ who brings faith with Him. If we are to speak of effectual grace and irresistible grace in a biblical sense, then we must speak of an effectual Christ and an irresistible Christ. The Gospel of grace alone is also the Gospel of Christ alone and the Gospel of the glory of God alone. If we are to have a Gospel that fits with exquisite beauty and glory with those vital teachings of Scripture, then we have a Gospel where faith comes to sinners by Christ and in Christ. This is a Gospel where we can tell poor sinners that Christ will bring them faith rather than sinners needing to have faith to bring to Christ.

The Gospel of Christ alone and grace alone to the glory of God alone is a Gospel where God shines forth in His self-sufficiency and His self-sufficient grace. This is a Gospel where nothing is needed from the sinner except to be a sinner that has realized his or her own utter insufficiency and inability to do anything. Therefore, this sinner can do nothing but plead for mercy and grace. As Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Indeed, poor sinners who have no strength in themselves can have great hope for faith because Christ brings faith by grace alone. There is no boasting of anything but boasting in Christ and in His grace.

Gospel of Grace Alone 49

October 11, 2014

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 utterly glorious Gospel of grace alone and how it correlates with the Five Sola’s of the Reformation and the Five Points of Calvinism (so to speak) seems to point at how this is a major point of Holy Scripture. Indeed God does all for His own glory, so of course the Gospel is to the glory of His name and so the Gospel is all about His grace which manifests His beauty and holiness in and by grace. The Gospel of grace alone sets out the beauty and loveliness of Christ Jesus because all grace is found and obtained in the Person of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Himself is the very radiance of His glory which is to say that the Lord Jesus is the very shining forth of His glory (Hebrews 1:3). When God shines forth out of Himself, the Lord Jesus is the perfect image of God and He can behold His perfections in Christ as they shine forth. This is how God beholds His perfect image. The Scriptures (John 1:14-18) also tell us that when the Word took flesh, it was in that flesh that the glory of God tabernacles and in that tabernacle of human flesh the glory of God was beheld in grace and truth. The glory, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, was full of grace and truth. It was of His (Jesus Christ) fullness that we have received grace upon grace (John 1:16). It was in Christ and through Christ that grace and truth came into reality or came in the form of Jesus Christ to this planet. Thus, we can easily see that when God does something for His own glory He is doing it by Christ alone. When God saves sinners by grace alone for His glory alone, He is doing this through Christ alone.

While human beings may be able to make distinctions between glory, grace, and Christ, they must not separate those three teachings at all. In God these are all one. The Lord Jesus is the only place where there is saving grace and He is the only One who can purchase grace. As the very shining forth of the glory of God which is a glory that is full of grace and truth, when Scripture says that God saves sinners to the praise of the glory of His grace, He is speaking of Christ because Christ is the shining forth of His glory and Christ is grace to His people.

When the Scriptures tell us (as Galatians 1:6-9) that we are not to preach a gospel contrary to what Paul taught to the Galatians, we are also to understand this that people are not to teach anything but a Gospel by which Christ alone saves sinners by grace alone to the glory of God alone. The riches of the Gospel comes to sinners by grace, but all of that is through Christ alone who is the shining forth of the glory of God. When sinners come to understand something of this great mystery which was hidden from the past generations, they come to understand that their very hope of glory is Christ in them. Their very hope of seeing and tasting of this glory of God is because of Christ who was and is the very shining forth of the glory of God dwells in them. Their hope of grace for the next moment and the next day is because of Christ who shines forth from God as the very glory of God which consists of grace and truth. God’s glory is seen in grace and truth and Christ is that grace and truth. The Gospel is the Gospel of grace alone because it is always to the glory of God alone and that glory is Christ shining forth as the perfect image of God. A distortion of the Gospel of grace alone (Gospel of His Person, works, and His shining forth as the perfect image of God) is a distortion of Christ and of His Father. Let us drink at the wells of eternal glory by grace as we receive Christ Himself.