Monday, April 26, 2010
The Whole Work of Christ Apprehended by Faith Is the Gospel
I fear that there is significant alteration and misunderstanding of the gospel being propagated in our day, from pulpits evangelical and non. The gospel is a simple, clear thing, and anyone who makes it complicated, denies it.
The complicating of the gospel centers upon what theologians call the imputed righteousness of Christ. One simply cannot deny the imputation of Christ's obedience and death and be saved. Do not be scared away from these words, because, if you are truly a Christian, you know precisely what they mean, though you might use different words. They simply mean this:
"God justifies the ungodly." (Romans 4:5)
Philippians 3:8-9 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith -
Notice: God does not save the righteous, or the godly, but the ungodly and the un-righteous.
In short, if I am to be saved, I need someone else's righteousness, a righteousness from outside myself. I do not need someone to make up for my shortcomings, I do not need someone who simply pays for my failures. If I would come to God, I must give up every pretense of my own goodness, and reach up to Christ with empty, sin-stained hands, and grab hold of him and his righteousness, for he alone has the perfect righteousness that is worthy of God's acceptance and approval.
Some are saying we will be saved by our faithfulness. Some are saying we are saved by our own righteousness. Some are saying we are saved the same way Adam was --by faithful obedience. Brothers and sisters, sin renders this an impossibility. At my best, I am only an unprofitable servant. God does not save me based on my fidelity to his covenant --as Turretin says it, I am saved by obedience and faith: by Christ's obedience and through my faith. And, it must be stressed, that faith does not in any way render me worth saving. It is nothing but the outstretched hand to God to save me --and that not of myself, it is a gift of God.
Do not let go of this. It is the gospel. Sinclair Ferguson says it like no other.