The Biblical Gospel
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
The nature of Christ's salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. They announce a Saviour from hell, rather than a Saviour from sin, which is why so many are fatally deceived. For there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire, who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.
Few churches today seem to be preaching the biblical Gospel. The Gospel is not "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life," nor is it "God gives you meaning for life." The Gospel is good news for bad people. It is objective, not subjective. The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, being born under the law, as a human, living a perfect life by the aid of the Holy Spirit, and giving His life as a substitutionary sacrifice for others. But it doesn't stop there. By the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, ascended into heaven, and promises to return to consummate His kingdom.
It is by faith alone - sola fide - that we are justified. His righteousness is imputed to us and appropriated to us by faith alone. However this biblical Gospel is not being faithfully preached in many churches. Christianity for many is just a subjective affair between the individual and his own construct of God. Christians today are shifting from a historic faith towards a more amorphous spirituality - epitomized by the trivializing of God, our human condition, and the salvation wrought by God in Christ for us. We need to sort out the true gospel from the gimmickry or many will continue to be led away by the promise of "peace, peace" where there is none.
Natural-born man is so self-confident and self-sufficient that he deems himself quite competent to determine his own destiny. But over all his fancied efficiency, God has written, “without strength” (Romans 5:6) - not without physical, mental, or moral strength but, without spiritual strength, fallen man is spiritually dead. Therefore he is utterly unable to perform a spiritual act in a spiritual way or form a spiritual principle. Fallen natural-born man is devoid of any spiritual desire or aspiration - though he may be very devout as the world’s concept of “religion” - he is dead, “without strength” Godward.
But who believes this today. Who teaches this today? Few indeed, and fewer still have confirmed it by actual experience. The boast of Christendom today is: “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” - ignorant of her true condition, for the divine judge says to His Church, “you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Nothing but God’s great power can subdue the workings of such pride. Nothing but God’s great power can bring the sinner as a humble suppliant and empty-handed beggar to the throne of grace. No effort of man. No Five Spiritual Laws. No Roman Road. No Christian video or television evangelist. No explaining the cross as a legal transaction, which took place because we broke the law and Jesus paid our fine. Nothing but the power of God can save a dead man who is “without strength” and “without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
To believe on Jesus Christ with all our hearts appears to be one of the simplest acts imaginable, and to receive Him as our personal Lord and Savoir seems to present no great difficulty. Yet, in reality, before any soul actually submits to the Saviour, there has to be the working of God’s mighty power within that individual (beforehand - prior to) for them to realize their need of salvation. In other words, a miracle of grace must be wrought in any fallen natural-man before he can be saved. Before a fallen and depraved creature will voluntarily and unreservedly surrender to the just claims of Christ, before he will forsake his cherished sins and abandon his beloved idols, before his proud heart is lead to cast off all his righteousness as filthy rags, before he is willing to be saved by grace alone, before he is ready to whole-heartedly receive Christ as his Prophet, Priest, and King, God must draw him by His mighty power. Nothing short of the exercise of omnipotence is sufficient. Nothing but the Holy Spirit of God can make a dead man aware of his inoperative, lifeless spiritual position. The mighty power of the Holy Spirit of God must first bring life to a dead man before he can be saved - “So that your faith and hope might rest in God” (1 Peter 1:3-9, 13,20,21).
The fall brought fearful havoc in the whole of man’s nature and condition. Every descendant of Adam was “shaped in iniquity” and is born into the world the slave of sin. No efforts of our own or any attempts by our fellowmen can, to the slightest degree, deliver us from our fearful bondage. Therefore it is apparent that a supernatural power must intervene if the sinner is ever to be emancipated from his captivity - none but the hand of God can smite his fetters loose and bring us out of prison. If the spiritual darkness of man’s understanding, the perversity of his will, the disorderliness of his affections and passions were better understood, it would be more evident that no mere reformation could suffice, that nothing short of personal regeneration - the communication to him of a new nature and life - could be of any avail. The sinner must have an effectual call before he can be saved.
What do I mean by an effectual call? Broadly speaking there is a two-fold calling of God - the call from God: an external one and an internal one. The former is made to all who hear the gospel: “Unto you, O men, I call; and My voice is to the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:4). “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 20:16). That external call through the scriptures is addressed to human responsibility and meets with universal rejection. “I have called, and you refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded” (Proverbs 1:24). “Come, for all things are now ready; and they all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:18). This is an external call to all of humanity.
But God gives another call to His elect: a quickening call, an inward call, an invincible call, what the theologians term His “effectual call.” “Whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified” (Romans 8:30). This is a calling from death to life, out of darkness into God’s “marvelous light” (Peter 2:9). As the closing verses of 1 Corinthians 1 tells us, not many receive this call; it is one of mercy and discriminating grace to His elect alone.
Ephesians 1:18 speaks of this effectual call, and terms it, “His calling” because God is the author of it. The regenerate are “the called according His (eternal) purpose” (Romans 8:28), because God is the Caller. But “not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called” with His internal “calling.” Only His chosen elect will ever experience this effectual call of God to the saving of their souls.
As the Father ordained peace, as the incarnate Son made peace, so the Holy Spirit brings us into the same. He communicated faith to the heart of His elect whereby we savingly believe in Christ. Then, “being justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5:1) objectively. We are brought into His favor. But more, we enjoy peace subjectively. The intolerable burden of guilt is removed from the conscience and we “find rest for unto souls.” Then we know the meaning of that word “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). By His Spirit, through Christ Jesus, the Father has now actually bestowed peace upon His believing child; and, in proportion as his mind is stayed on Him, by trusting in Him, the child of God will be kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
Blessed is this biblical Gospel of our loving God and Father.
The Biblical Gospel
Published: 1 July 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
Published: 22 July 2010 in the FAITH Column of The County Journal.
(precursor to the author's END-TIMES APOSTATE CHURCH SERIES)
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