I am so thankful for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in relation to the Gospel. He gives us faith (Ephesians 2:8) and then persuades us of impossible things, the most unlikely of these being the Gospel itself!
Have you ever considered the unlikeliness of the whole Gospel story? Here we are on a tiny, insignificant speck of a planet, un-noticeable in the vast array of galaxies and yet God, the Creator of all things, has a particular interest in us.
And the skeptic says, “What a far-fetched idea!”
Well, it may be far-fetched to some, but the truth is He came here and became one of us!
And the doubter says, “Wait a minute, I don’t believe in fairy stories!”
But this is no fairy story; not only did He become one of us, but He also died the cruelest of deaths for us as He took responsibility for our sins and failures. And not only did He die for us, but He also became a curse for us and at the cross became the greatest reject in the universe.
And the cynic says, “That’s impossible.”
Impossible to believe? Yes indeed, the whole thing is impossible to believe unless the Holy Spirit possesses us and, in grace, opens our spiritual eyes. It’s all impossible to grasp unless He gives us faith to believe. He lets us see that the baby born in the stable was the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). He births faith that we might see that our redemption and security are in the Lamb of God alone (John 1:29). He convinces us that our righteousness is in Christ alone (Jeremiah 23:6). He shows us that, because of the blood, our conscience can be at peace (Hebrews 9:14). He guarantees us that we are fully accepted in heaven, right now and forever, because of Jesus (Ephesians 1:6). He assures us that our adversary, Satan, has been judged and defeated at the cross (Colossians 2:15). He persuades us that there is a fierce judgment to come and yet witnesses to us that as His blood washed people, we have nothing to fear (Romans 3:25).
The Holy Spirit continually takes us to the Lord Jesus whom we have never seen and does the impossible by making Him exceedingly precious to our hearts. He magnifies the Lord Jesus and causes our desires to go after Him. We could see nothing in Christ Jesus to desire were it not for the ministry of the Spirit. The great English preacher, William Romaine said it this way;
“This is the way in which the Holy Ghost glorifies Jesus: He gives the believer such views of the infinite fullness and everlasting sufficiency of Emmanuel, that he is quite satisfied with Him. William Romaine: Letter 11 (Dec. 29th, 1764).
Without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the whole Gospel record and its ensuing mercies are impossible to grasp. It is far-fetched. It is foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). Someone says, “I see what you mean, when I think about it I find it’s almost impossible to believe that one simple act of faith on my part can wipe out the entire record of sin and the accumulated filth of a lifetime of wickedness.”
Well no, that’s not what I mean. You talk about the impossibility of faith wiping out your sin—– well I agree with you. No amount of believing on your part can erase the horror and depth of your sin—that is indeed impossible! But, here’s the reality; Jesus Christ has already purged our sin. He has already redeemed (paid for) us. Because of Him, we are out of spiritual debt; we are free and clear. Our believing does not purge our sins; our believing does not redeem us. Our believing doesn’t pay our debt to God. And it doesn’t have to because Christ has already finished and accomplished our redemption at Calvary. The Holy Spirit gives faith to believe this—He gives faith to rest on this. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Rest on Him and the impossible will become a reality—you will be saved!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
7. Though we confess that no man doth attain unto faith by his own good will, John. 1:13, yet we judge and know that the Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and so make him to believe and obey willingly; Ezek. 36:26; Psalm. 110:3; God thus working in us both to will and to do, of his good pleasure; Phil.. 2:13.
Benjamin Cox- An Appendix To A Confession Of Faith
by Michael Haykin
Andrew Fuller and the Sandemanians
In December 1967, Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones gave an address to what was then known as the Puritan Conference on the topic of ‘Sandemanianism’. Our initial reaction might be that the topic is esoteric, of little interest or value to modern men and women. But we would not feel this way if we were well-versed in the history of eighteenth-century Evangelicalism, the womb from which this particular doctrinal viewpoint came forth. Dr Lloyd-Jones proceeded to show that this theological aberration is of paramount importance for our own day. This article seeks to explore some aspects of the long-forgotten Sandemanian controversy.
Sandemanianism and the nature of saving faith
The roots of Sandemanianism lie in the 1720s when John Glas (1695-1773), minister of the Church of Scotland work in Tealing, Scotland, and a man of considerable erudition, gradually came to the conviction that Christ’s kingdom is one that is completely spiritual and, as such, independent of both state control and support. A church of some seventy believers was formed in the parish of Tealing, and over the next couple of decades ‘Glasite’ congregations could be found in Dundee, Perth, Edinburgh and booming textile centres such as Paisley and Dunkeld. Although the Glasites were never numerous, Glas’ views exerted wide influence throughout the British Isles and America, especially through the travels and writings of his son-in-law Robert Sandeman (1718-1771), whom Lloyd-Jones rightly describes as ‘a born controversialist’. In addition to adopting such practices as foot-washing, holy kissing, the use of lots to determine God’s will, and an insistence on unanimity in all church decisions, Glas’ and Sandeman’s followers also distinguished themselves from other eighteenth-century Evangelicals by a predominantly intellectualist view of faith. They became known for their cardinal theological tenet that saving faith is ‘bare belief of the bare truth’.
Read the entire article here.
If we were smart, we would line up with the Father’s thinking about the Son. In that way, we would be satisfied with Christ and would find ourselves enjoying the very life of the Gospel (John 20:31).
The Word declares that those who rest on Christ are doing the work of God (John 6:29). If we are doing God’s work, then, evidently, we are in God’s will. If we are in God’s will, then we will honour the Son as we honour the Father (John 5:23) In the heart of God’s will we come into agreement with the Father about His Son. The Father is entirely satisfied with the Son and so are we. Nothing more is required that agreement concerning the Son, but nothing less will do! The Father will not receive us on any other basis than that of the total sufficiency and acceptability of His Son.
“But,” says someone,” I must be a righteous person within myself before God accepts me!” Well actually—NO! Our acceptance is not grounded on our worthiness, but on Christ’s for the gospel concerns, “His Son” (Romans 1:1-3). The Gospel is, therefore, not about us and about how internally holy we can become. Indeed, satisfaction with our supposed inward holiness is like a wilderness path for a stray dog, it is dangerous and leads nowhere. Satisfaction with Christ Jesus, however, leads to glory, for Christ is ALL (Colossians 3:11).
The Father has said of the Lord Jesus, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”(Matthew 3:7). Notice the superlatives, Christ is not merely the Son, He is the beloved Son. The Father is not only pleased with Him, but He is also well pleased. When, therefore, we are well pleased with the beloved Son, we are in magnificent agreement with the Father.
Are you contented with the work of Christ? Are you satisfied that Christ has kept the Law perfectly on your behalf? We make problems for ourselves when we forget the necessity of a fulfilled law and view the Gospel as some sort of modified, legal arrangement with God. This kind of false thinking says, “Keeping the Law is irrelevant when it comes to salvation.” God, in this sort of thinking, was too strict in Old Testament times for He demanded perfection, but now in the New Covenant, we have the relaxed version of God. As one young girl naively put it, “God in the Old Testament was God before He got saved.”
In this new ‘chilled out’ notion of things, Christ lowered God’s demands because the commandments were too strict. Now we have milder terms more suited to our weakness.
But this is sheer nonsense!
Think about it, if the former law was too strict it was, as Bonar says, “neither holy nor good.” Is it too harsh to demand that we love God with everything we have? Has God so lowered His standards that His fundamental requirements are now obsolete? God forbid!
Faith, however, does not invalidate the law; it establishes it (Romans 3:31). God still demands perfect law keeping, and our confidence now rests in the One who has perfectly kept every aspect of the Law on our behalf. We are saved not only by Christ’s blood but also by Christ’s perfect law-keeping—He’s the one who both kept the Law’s precepts and paid the Law’s penalties. Christ’s perfect doing and dying are now imputed to us, reckoned as ours and received by us by faith alone. This is staggering!
God has nowhere relaxed His standard. It is by the perfect keeping of a perfect law that we are saved; otherwise, it would be an unholy and unrighteous salvation. Thus Christ alone is our only hope for He has kept the law for us; he has magnified it and made it honourable (Isaiah 42:21); and thus we have a holy and righteous salvation. Legally, Christ has both lived and died in our place, therefore, when God saves us he does so, not only as a matter of love and mercy but also as a matter of Justice.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
The work that purges the conscience has already been done and dusted. The more we understand this, the more we see there is no need for a guilty dread before the Father. The truth of the Gospel really does set us free. That is why a Gospel-educated conscience keeps us in perfect peace.
Of course, the truth of the purged conscience is only for those who have come to terms with their personal guilt. If you’ve seen, that by nature, you are a sinner, a dyed in the wool, incurable sinner. And, if you, as that wretched sinner, have by faith embraced the cross in repentance and are resting on the finished work alone, then a cleansed conscience is part of your inheritance.
The cleansed conscience sees that God Himself has disposed of our sins in a manner which has satisfied Him (Isaiah 38:17).
The question now is not whether or not the Father is satisfied that our sins have been paid for and put away. The question is, are we convinced that this has been done? Is our conscience informed about the accomplishments of God through the blood? Or is the guilt of old sins proving to have a longer than usual shelf life? Are old sins casting long shadows? If so, we need to apply the Gospel to ourselves.
Here’s the newsflash. The Father has laid all our sins on His spotless, sinless Son. This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous in our sight. Christ the Lamb poured out His blood and took our sins away. The blackest and worst of our sins have gone. They were laid on Christ Jesus, and now they are no more. The man who represents us before God has taken them away, and they will never again be found (Isaiah 43:25).
These truths, when received by faith, will heal the conscience.
But our capacity for unbelief is staggering. We know, in theory, that the Father is satisfied with the blood. We say we believe that to be the case, yet we scrape out an ever limping, frustrating Christian existence supported only by a broken and troubled conscience. Is it that our sin is too great for the blood? Is it that our case is too extreme for God? I hate to tell you, but if you think like that, it is nothing other than self-righteousness. What is so extraordinary about your sin that the blood of Christ cannot take it away?
If God assures us that our sins are taken away, then they are taken away! The man who represented you at the cross is now in heaven seated on the Throne of Cosmic Majesty! This means that we can, right now, enjoy the truth of a purged conscience.
May these truths sink into us. We will never be any more righteous than the blood of Christ has made us. We will never be more accepted than we already are in the ‘Beloved One’ (Ephesians 1:6). Works could not get us into right standing with God, and our failings cannot get us out. Peace with God and freedom from all condemnation can only be obtained and maintained in the Gospel.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“Whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25
When the blood of Christ is highly prized and valued, the result is a vibrant spiritual life. However, when the blood is undervalued and under-emphasised, it leads to spiritual decay. When there is a shallow view of the blood, it results in a shallow view of sin and vice versa. When we look at Church history, we see that as the church loses sight of the blood, it goes into spiritual recession. How we urgently need to be filled with the Father’s thoughts about the blood. The more we understand the blood, the more we will become vibrant worshippers and appreciative followers of the Lamb.
Our verse introduces us to the word “propitiation“, one of God’s “salvation words” rarely used today. It refers to Christ’s death as the sacrifice which exhausted the wrath of God. Because of the shed blood, there is no longer any storm of wrath for God’s people. As in the days of the flood, Noah’s family was safe in the Ark and sheltered from the storm of God’s fury and justice. So it is that each one who trusts in Christ alone to save them, is safe from the wrath to come. Jesus is our Ark. He alone has accomplished a real redemption that has dealt with the retribution of God and the curse of the broken law of God.
Now here’s some more good news; Jesus is a greater saviour than we are sinners. By grace, believers have been given faith. It’s a faith which believes that Christ’s shed blood has made the satisfactory offering for our sins. The wrath offering was made. His blood was shed, and faith now sees what it accomplished for us. Indeed, it is by faith alone that the accomplishments and benefits of this one great wrath offering are applied to us. Without a doubt, faith in the blood is an essential part of our Christian life.
Of course, none of this makes any sense unless we see our part in the death of Christ. Sometimes I find it good to look at myself and say, “Miles McKee you are a crucifier of the young Prince of Glory. Your sins shed His blood.”
Have you ever done that? Have you ever seen yourself as the Christ slayer? If not, the matters of faith and grace are a mystery to you. It’s only in the measure that we see ourselves as undeserving sinners, guilty of killing the one who was God that we can enjoy the abundant grace and mercy of Heaven. After all, if we are worthy, we don’t need grace for grace is exclusively for the unworthy. The person who has never had even a small sense of abhorrence for the part they played in the death of Christ is still in spiritual darkness.
‘Twas you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear.
‘Twas you that pulled the vengeance down
Upon His guiltless head:
Break, break, my heart, O burst my eyes!
And let my sorrows bleed.
But for those of us who have seen the part we played in that awful death, we see that the only way of deliverance is by faith in His blood. Faith in the blood is God’s appointed way for sinners. However, if we believe that none of this applies to us, then we are lost.
Strike, mighty grace, my flinty soul,
Till melting waters flow,
And deep repentance drown my eyes
In undissembled woe.
Jesus has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood …” Romans 3:25.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
William F. Leonhart III
Q.4: What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.1
12 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:20
In ages past, God revealed Himself in many ways. He spoke through visions, dreams, a burning bush, and even a donkey. At one point, He spoke through a stuttering, stammering prophet. At other points, He spoke directly to people. This same God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world,” (Heb. 1:2; NASB). These words of Christ, by the work of His Spirit, were brought to His apostles’ remembrance and written down in His holy word.
Read the entire article here.