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 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.
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 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.