Woe to You who Complicate the Gospel of Grace
In God’s condescension to communicate with man, He did not give us a complicated Word. A child should be able to comprehend the Gospel message (intellectual assent), even without the grace to apprehend it. It has long been the work of Satan to send philosophers into the church. His objective is confusion. Invariably, his means are to twist words, so as to twist meanings, resulting in twisted theology. The result will always elevate man into the role of a god (Gen 3:5). Glory will be stolen from God, and men will inevitably think more highly of themselves than they ought to.
It should ever be the preacher’s objective to tell the truth of God’s Word in plain language, and then to help his hearers to understand what the devil wishes to complicate. Unpacking major doctrines and helping people correlate ideas from the Bible, will heighten their view of God and lower their view of sinful man. God is most glorified when people see His sovereignty in all things, especially, the salvation of His chosen people (Mt 1:21; Acts 4:12; Rom 11:5; Titus 3:5).
God Himself is the subject of the Bible, and the Bible is the written Word of God that reveals God to us. The Bible is absolutely necessary, if we are to have a right view of God. Beyond that, we need to look no further, to know what God would have us to know about that which matters most. The Bible is clear, not complicated, about what it says. Finally, it is authoritative. We should believe it and do what it says to do (Jas 1:22).
A man would have to be blind, that is, spiritually blinded by the deceiver, in order to not comprehend (Jn 1:5; 2 Cor 4:4). This is exactly what the Bible says about the natural man (1 Cor 2:14), who may even be an intellectual in matters of the world. The wisdom of God, however, is foolish to the unbeliever. God must cause him to understand and believe in his heart. God does not gift understanding and faith to everyone (Mt 13:11; Lk 8:10).
We understand the Bible when we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5; 2 Cor 4:6), who is our Teacher (Jn 14:27). Our subject is Jesus Christ and His cross — foolishness to the natural man (1 Cor 1:18), but glorious to the born again of God (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).
God has made promises, and those promises are fulfilled in Jesus Christ (2 Cor 1:20). This was according to God’s predetermined plan (Acts 2:23), and it is executed as God’s eternal purpose for Christ (Eph 3:11). The Gospel of salvation is simple, “He saved us (Titus 3:5).” God’s work of salvation, whether it be the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit is called “grace.” We may speak of the Father’s election of His chosen people, as a “gracious election.” The same can be said of the Son’s substitutionary, sacrificial death on the Cross for His church, as a “gracious redemption.” It is the grace of the Spirit which sanctifies believers (1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2).
So if salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1), and it is all of grace by our Triune God, then, our expressions of God’s work, on our behalf, should be in the vocabulary of Scripture, with plain definitions for all terms. Adoption means adoption, as in the case of an orphan. Righteous means right standing before God. Justification means we are declared not guilty, despite the fact that we are guilty of sin.
The guilty are set free from the judgment and wrath of God because their debt of sin has been cancelled by a redemption price being paid (Col 2:14). The purchase price was paid by the precious blood of Christ (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet 1:19), being the acceptable currency with God. Jesus Christ, in the greatest demonstration of love (Jn 15:13; Rom 5:8), laid down His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11, 15), that is, He gave Himself up to death on a cross, for His church (Eph 5:23, 25; Phil 2:8).
The church is God’s elect people and Christ’s redeemed people (Eph 1:4–5; Job 19:35; Ps 78:35), who are being gathered from every nation around the world (Is 49:6; Rev 5:9; 7:9), in every generation. There has always, only been one people of God (Gen 17:7), the seed of Abraham (Gal 3:7), the believers in Christ. From this one seed (Jesus) comes life for a multitude of people, yet a remnant (Rom 11:5), in comparison to the masses of humanity (Mt 20:28; Mk 10:45).
The church, as the betrothed of Christ, awaits the return of our Lord and King, who will conquer His enemies in judgment (Rev 19:11–21), at His coming to rescue His beloved (Jn 14:3), who have been ravaged by the world, sin, and death (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21). The dead in Christ will be raised to resurrection life (Jn 5:25–29), which includes a glorified body and soul (Rom 8:30; 1 Cor 15) These, together with the still-living saints, after being changed in a twinkling of an eye (1 Cor 15:52), will be caught up together with Christ in the air (1 Thess 4:17).
The judgment of the wicked and their world will include fiery destruction. This will be hell in the lake of fire for eternity, for Christ’s unbelieving enemies (Rev 20:14–15). It will be a torching end to the sinful, physical universe (2 Pet 3:10–12). Then…
The new heavens and the new earth (Is 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet 3:13), created by the Word of God, will host the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:9). Christ and His church will celebrate in the city of our God, the New Jerusalem, heavenly Zion (Rev 3:12; 21:10). Jesus Christ has crushed His enemies, and His church has joined Him in the triumphant victory/wedding parade (2 Cor 2:14).
The kingdom of God and His Son has no end (Ps 145:13; Dan 4:3, 34). It is eternal, and it is impervious to sin (Dan 7:14). The glory of God’s indestructible life will be shared with those rebels He transformed into saints (Rom 12:1–2; Col 1:13). Songs of thanksgiving and praise will be never-ending, along with the joy and love of the Lord. It is that simple. God has given us His Word. He will make it happen.
Spokane Valley, Washington
November 25, 2022