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The Wednesday Word: Motivated by Grace Alone

The daughter of one of the attendees at The Gospel of Grace Conference in Yadgir , India

In attempts to help congregations grow in the Lord, it is easy for pastors to cross the line between grace and works. To my shame I have to admit that I’ve crossed that line oftentimes … and I’m not alone. Sometimes we pastors find ourselves trying to motivate our listeners by the Law and its demands instead of by the gospel. However, it takes no spirituality whatsoever to get behind the pulpit and demand change as we warn about bad habits and lax living. But, this is not gospel preaching!

For example, in our zeal to see God’s people grow in grace we can continually demand repentance. Yet, the doctrine of repentance, although vital, saves no one. Granted, no one is saved without it, but repentance is not the gospel. It is the gospel of Christ alone that is the power of God unto salvation, not the gospel plus our repentance (Romans 1:16).

Here’s the gospel truth, the Good News is neither a call nor a demand to repent. In fact, the gospel is not even a demand that we change our lives. Indeed, the gospel is not a demand to do anything. In the gospel, all demands were laid on Christ and He fulfilled them all.

So let’s say it again, nowhere in the scriptures do we discover that the gospel is about our repentance. Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon once said, “You must not expect that you will be perfect in ‘repentance’ before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. ‘Repentance’ is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself.”

(CHS Repentance unto Life: Sermon # 44, New Park Street Pulpit).

The gospel is not the story of what we must do, it is the story of what has already been done in history, by the Lord Jesus Christ. Far from being about us or anything we can do, the gospel is about the perfections of the doing and dying of Christ.

The gospel is not about how we behave, it is about Christ’s behaviour in our place and stead. The gospel is not even a demand that we give up worldliness. Indeed, there are no demands at all in the gospel.

One old time preacher put it like this, “The Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed.” He was right! But as preachers, it is easier, at times, for us to demand that the flock obey the Word rather than for us to preach the accomplishment and person of Christ. It’s easier to demand personal righteousness than to hold forth an invisible, alien righteousness that is ours by faith alone.

Nowhere, in scriptures, do we find the gospel presented to us as a duty or a call to reformation. So why is our preaching so full of demands and devoid of the gospel? Behavioural demands, unless bathed in the gospel are a toxic diet to feed the flock of God.

This gospel, by the Spirit, produces godly desires in its hearers and under its preaching God’s people become a grateful people who desire to follow and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

A special greeting goes out to Pastor Devadas who forwards the Wednesday Word to seventy pastors in his state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Also, a big welcome to the pastors and leaders from Karnataka who have signed up to receive these gospel messages.

Many thrilling things are happening both in Ireland and India. Will keep you posted.

Gospel Blessings

Miles

www.milesmckee.com 

Please feel free to forward, post and blog etc. the Wednesday Word (without changing the content of the actual message)

Thanks to those of you who by your giving and prayers make this ministry possible. You are a blessing!

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