Gospel Light Or Gospel-lite?

Cover Dec 2014Only a crook or a clown offers what he cannot deliver. So which one is God when freewill preachers tell us He desires everyone to be saved and freely, sincerely and genuinely offers salvation to all men and women?
Can God deliver upon such a promise? Not if there is a definite number of individuals in the election of grace. Not if there is a limitation in the number of sinners for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross. Not if the quickening, regenerating, converting work of God the Holy Ghost is restricted only to those chosen in eternity and redeemed by the precious blood of Christ.

So which one is it? Is God a crook, deceiving men and women,
pretending to hold out a genuine salvation fully knowing that provision
for their atonement, forgiveness and reconciliation never was made and
never was intended? Or is God a clown? Has He made a mistake, got
the plan wrong, or perhaps just having a laugh at the sinners’ expense?
Perish the thought!
If sovereign grace believers were contending with Arminians
or Wesleyans of a previous age upon this subject we should be little
surprised. But amazingly, today, it is people who like to call themselves
Modern Calvinists after Reformation hero John Calvin who are dusting off
old heresies and fobbing them off as Biblical Christianity.
They teach that all men are potentially saved by virtue of Christ’s
atonement for sin. They speak of the unlimited value of Christ’s blood
and its sufficiency to save a whole world of sinners. In turn, this allows
them to preach the “gospel” to all men that since God loves sinners, and
Christ died for sinners all that is required of them is to love God in return
and let Him save them, which is, of course, what God has always wanted
to do anyway. They talk-up human responsibility, impose a universal duty
to believe, and appeal to the will of the sinner to “choose” Christ.
This is gospel-lite. It is a stripped down, patched-up, hobbled
together version of Bible teaching, using Bible language, but bereft of all
meaningful content and truth. It is presented as adequate to save sinners
in evangelism and sold widely as an introduction to grace, beyond which
the deeper, secret truths of the Bible can be taught later. Consequently,
the true gospel, the full gospel, the gospel which alone is the power of
God unto salvation is never actually preached to the unsaved.
What these modern Calvinists conceal by this message is the whole
counsel of God, the revealed purpose of God in time and eternity, to
save His people from their sins according to His own power and will.
Sovereign grace is skimmed over, substitution watered down, effectual
calling generalised and eternal security, logically, left swinging on the
hinge of the sinner’s own doubts and fears.
The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the true Light of the world, and His
work of efficacious atonement on the cross, is hidden from view. So, too,
the teaching of Holy Scripture concerning the Father’s eternal electing
love for His people, His everlasting covenant, total depravity, the effectual
calling of the Holy Spirit and eternal union with Christ.
We believe when the true gospel, Paul’s gospel of the Lord Jesus
Christ, of which he and we are not ashamed, is preached to all men
everywhere as the Spirit leads, sinners will truly be converted. We know
that the gospel comes as a savour of life unto life to some but as a savour
of death unto death to others. We know a few will be converted, many
will not. We know that not one sinner more or less will be in heaven for us
preaching Christ, the Gospel Light, in all of His glorious accomplishments.
And we know that we will not have to misspeak our Almighty God, as a
crook or a clown, to offer what He never purposed to bestow.

by Peter L. Meney

(This is the editorial from the December issue of the New Focus Magazine which is available freely as a download from the internet)

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Why Did Christ Die

Willam Gadsby (1)

I became aware of William Gadsby and his works about a couple of years ago through a site I found on the internet, what I read interested me a great deal, so much so that I purchased B.A. Ramsbottom’s book “William Gadsby” published by Gospel Standard Trust Publications. Gadsby was a faithful pastor and hymnwriter and made a great impact on church life in his day, that impact remains to this present day.

This is what William Gadsby wrote on the subject “Why did Christ Die”.

“According to some people, Christ died to give all a chance of being saved! I do not know that I hate anything more in my soul than to hear that. It makes Jesus Christ so little that He should do so much, and after all only to get us a chance of being saved. Why, if a man is set up in business, you see how often it happens that he fails in it; and if man cannot manage the paltry things of time and sense without being insolvent, what will he do with eternal realities? And if you come a little closer, when God “made man upright” and he had no sinful nature, what did he do with his innocence? He lost it all! And yet poor presumptuous man has the vanity to think you and I could manage the chance of being saved. What an insult it is to the Lord Jesus Christ to fix the eternal honour of God upon chance, and that chance to be managed by a poor sinful creature who is tumbling into half a dozen holes every hour of his life! NO, NO. Thanks be to God for immortal realities and certainties. WHAT IS SAID CONCERNING WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE?He has “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself;” He has “finished transgression and made an end of sin;” He has “redeemed us from all iniquity;” He has “redeemed us from the curse of the law,” from destruction and from the power of the devil; He has “obtained eternal redemption for us;” He has “redeemed us to God.” To the honour of the Eternal Trinity it is said, not that the redeemed shall have a chance, but that the redeemed shall “come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” The Lord Jesus Christ has done this “great” work; and He has gone to heaven shouting “Victory,” for “God is gone up with a shout; the Lord with the sound of a trumpet.” He rose from the grave as a demonstrative proof that sin was destroyed, law satisfied, God honoured, His people eternally and everlastingly saved. And the immortal honours of God unite in their salvation; therefore, He ever lives at the right hand of the Father to make intercession”.

WILLIAM GADSBY

To me one of William Gadsby’s greatest hymns has to be:

IMMORTAL HONOURS REST ON JESUS’ HEAD.

Immortal honours rest on Jesus’ head;
My God, my portion, and my Living Bread;
In Him I live, upon Him cast my care;
He saves from death, destruction, and despair.

He is my Refuge in each deep distress;
The Lord my strength and glorious righteousness;
Through floods and flames He leads me safely on,
And daily makes His sovereign goodness known.

My every need He richly will supply;
Nor will His mercy ever let me die;
In Him there dwells a treasure all divine,
And matchless grace has made that treasure mine.

O that my soul could love and praise Him more,
His beauties trace, His majesty adore;
Live near His heart, upon His bosom lean;
Obey His voice, and all His will esteem.


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Banners of the Reformation

By Grace

At the Reformation the Gospel revelation was rediscovered and there shone again the Gospel of free and sovereign grace.

However, when thinking about this wonderful grace from the heart of God we need to note – that the grace of God is not something apart from God but rather it is God in operation in our hearts. Grace is God in the great redeeming act of love acting upon the sinful heart supernaturally and gloriously and thus bringing the heart into reconciliation with Him.

Grace is more than love. It is love triumphant over the righteous judgement of God’s Holy Law against the sinner and making God, the Holy God, absolutely free to embrace the sinner through the sacrificial death of Christ. It is God absolutely, inflexibly, just yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.

The Gospel brings in a universal priesthood of all believers in Jesus Christ who have no part, and want no part, in sacrificial acts or ceremony. The only thing they offer up is praises to God. This then is the first of the Reformation banners: Grace Alone.

So what are the other banners that define Gospel of Grace?

Christ Alone

Christ alone is the righteousness which makes a chief of sinners acceptable and accepted by a Thrice Holy God.

The 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith states:

“Christ by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified, and He did, by the sacrifice of Himself in the blood of His cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the father for them, and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners”. (Chapter 11 clause 3)

So Christ through His precious blood has fully satisfied for all man’s sins, and delivered him from the power of the Devil, and so preserves him that without the will of his heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from his head.

Just think:

No one is loved by God but in Christ alone.

No one is chosen by God but in Christ alone.

No one is redeemed by God but in Christ alone.

No one is pardoned by God but in Christ alone.

No one is justified by God but in Christ alone.

No one is made righteous by God but in Christ alone.

No one is regenerated by God but in Christ alone.

No one is sanctified by God but in Christ alone.

No one is preserved by God but in Christ alone.

No one is glorified by God but in Christ alone.

No one is saved by God but in Christ alone.

Faith Alone

Faith is not itself salvation. It is rather the hand that takes the Saviour.

It is the eye that beholds the Saviour. It is the arm that enables us to cling to the Saviour. It is the feet that bring us to the Saviour. It is the ear that listens to the Saviour.

Jesus Christ alone saves, but faith alone enables us to trust Him. Faith is the concentration on Jesus Christ to the exclusion of everything else, including self.

Faith is forsaking all, I trust in Him.

Faith alone enables me to see nothing but Christ.

Faith alone enables me to know nothing but Christ.

Faith alone enables me to trust nothing but Christ.

Faith alone enables me to cling to nothing but Christ.

Faith alone enables me to want nothing but Christ

Glory to God Alone

The Bible gives all the glory to God and to God alone. No wonder C. H. Spurgeon had printed in the preface of all his sermon volumes:

“To the one God of Heaven and Earth in the Trinity of His Sacred Persons be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen. To the glorious father, as the covenant God of Israel; To the gracious Son, the Redeemer of his people; To the Holy Ghost, the Author of sanctification; Be everlasting praise for that Gospel of the free grace of God.”

True faith is that unbounded willingness to give God all the glory in saving my soul.

As John Calvin said:

“Nothing is more consistent with faith than to acknowledge ourselves naked of all virtue, that we may be clothed by God; empty of all good, that we may be filled by Him; lame, that we may be guided; weak, that we may be supported by Him; to divest ourselves of all ground of glorying, that He alone may be eminently glorious and that we may glory in Him.”

Glory to God is not just something we seek to offer we come to worship, it is something that should radiate from the whole of our lives every minute of every day, when we reflect on what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, surely seeking to bring glory to Him should be the greatest desire of our lives.

These banners of the Reformation need to fly as high today as they did in Luther’s Calvin’s and Knox’s day.

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Pastor Rick Warren speaks at Vatican conference on family, marriage – The Orange County Register

Pastor Rick Warren speaks at Vatican conference on family, marriage – The Orange County Register.

Warren joined leaders from 23 countries and 14 religions invited by Pope Francis on at the kickoff Monday to The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium.

“It’s great to be with leaders from different streams of Christianity from all over the world,” Warren said from the Vatican on Monday. “Although we have some differences, we all love Jesus Christ and we all want marriages and families to be healthy and strong.”

Upon meeting Pope Francis, Warren said: “Up close, you can feel the humility and compassion that others see from afar.”

It seems that Rick Warren never loses an opportunity to show how lost he is.

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A spring shut up, a fountain sealed – Song of Solomon 4:12.

“A spring shut up, a fountain sealed.”—Song of Solomon 4:12.

N this metaphor, which has reference to the inner life of a believer, we have very plainly the idea of secrecy. It is a spring shut up: just as there were springs in the East, over which an edifice was built, so that none could reach them save those who knew the secret entrance; so is the heart of a believer when it is renewed by grace: there is a mysterious life within which no human skill can touch. It is a secret which no other man knoweth; nay, which the very man who is the possessor of it cannot tell to his neighbour. The text includes not only secrecy, but separation. It is not the common spring, of which every passer-by may drink, it is one kept and preserved from all others; it is a fountain bearing a particular mark—a king’s royal seal, so that all can perceive that it is not a common fountain, but a fountain owned by a proprietor, and placed specially by itself alone. So is it with the spiritual life. The chosen of God were separated in the eternal decree; they were separated by God in the day of redemption; and they are separated by the possession of a life which others have not; and it is impossible for them to feel at home with the world, or to delight in its pleasures. There is also the idea of sacredness. The spring shut up is preserved for the use of some special person: and such is the Christian’s heart. It is a spring kept for Jesus. Every Christian should feel that he has God’s seal upon him—and he should be able to say with Paul, “From henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Another idea is prominent—it is that of security. Oh! how sure and safe is the inner life of the believer! If all the powers of earth and hell could combine against it, that immortal principle must still exist, for He who gave it pledged His life for its preservation. And who “is He that shall harm you,” when God is your protector?

Morning by Morning by C.H. Spurgeon – November 18th

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To whom be glory for ever. Amen – Romans 11:36

O whom be glory for ever.” This should be the single desire of the Christian. All other wishes must be subservient and tributary to this one. The Christian may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this—”To Him be glory for ever.” He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that “To Him may be glory for ever.” You are not acting as you ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than a single eye to your Lord’s glory. As a Christian, you are “of God, and through God,” then live “to God.” Let nothing ever set your heart beating so mightily as love to Him. Let this ambition fire your soul; be this the foundation of every enterprise upon which you enter, and this your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow chill; make God your only object. Depend upon it, where self begins sorrow begins; but if God be my supreme delight and only object,

“To me ’tis equal whether love ordain
My life or death—appoint me ease or pain.”
Let your desire for God’s glory be a growing desire. You blessed Him in your youth, do not be content with such praises as you gave Him then. Has God prospered you in business? Give Him more as He has given you more. Has God given you experience? Praise Him by stronger faith than you exercised at first. Does your knowledge grow? Then sing more sweetly. Do you enjoy happier times than you once had? Have you been restored from sickness, and has your sorrow been turned into peace and joy? Then give Him more music; put more coals and more sweet frankincense into the censer of your praise. Practically in your life give Him honour, putting the “Amen” to this doxology to your great and gracious Lord, by your own individual service and increasing holiness.

Morning by Morning by C.H.Spurgeon – November 17th

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Beware of false teachers

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