Thursday, November 20, 2008

The heart of the gospel

Adrian Warnock is keeping us abreast of the Chalke debate. Adrian is right again; this is no time for debate and certainly not for coolness; it's a time for white-hot passion. When Spurgeon stood for the truth in the Dowgrade Controversy, it broke his heart that some of his own students stood against him. What would he think now, when liberalism and unbelief (for that's what it is) is invading evangelicalism with its car driven by a graduate of "Spurgeon's"?

It's a good time to include some Spurgeon on my blog. Here he is:

THE heart of the gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the
substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the
gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the
atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance
of the divine message. In these days I feel bound to go over and over again
the elementary truths of the gospel. In peaceful times we may feel free to
make excursions into interesting districts of truth which lie far afield; but
now we must stay at home, and guard the hearths and homes of the church
by defending the first principles of the faith. In this age there have risen up
in the church itself men who speak perverse things. There be many that
trouble us with their philosophies and novel interpretations, whereby they
deny the doctrines they profess to teach, and undermine the faith they are
pledged to maintain. It is well that some of us, who know what we believe,
and have no secret meanings for our words, should just put our foot down
and maintain our standing, holding forth the word of life, and plainly
declaring the foundation truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Even now, despite the emphasis, clearness, and distinctness of the language used here and elsewhere in Scripture there are found men daring enough to deny that substitution is taught in Scripture. With such subtle wits it is useless to argue. It is clear that language has no meaning for them. To read the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and to accept it as relating to the Messiah, and then to deny his substitutionary sacrifice is simply wickedness. It would be vain to reason with such beings; they are so blind that if they were transported to the sun they could not see. In the church and out of the church there is a deadly animosity to this truth. Modern thought labors to get away from what is obviously the meaning of the Holy Spirit, that sin was lifted from the guilty and laid upon the innocent. It is written, “The Lord hath laid on him the
iniquity of us all.” This is as plain language as can be used; but if any
plainer was required, here it is, — “He hath made him to be sin for us.”
The Lord God laid upon Jesus, who voluntarily undertook it, all the weight
of human sin. Instead of its resting on the sinner, who did commit it, it was
made to rest upon Christ, who did not commit it; while the righteousness
which Jesus wrought out was placed to the account of the guilty, who had
not worked it out, so that the guilty are treated as righteous. Those who by
nature are guilty, are regarded as righteous, while he who by nature knew
no sin whatever, was treated as guilty. I think I must have read in scores of
books that such a transference is impossible; but the statement has had no
effect upon my mind I do not care whether it is impossible or not with
learned unbelievers: it is evidently possible with God, for he has done it.
But they say it is contrary to reason. I do not care for that, either: it may be
contrary to the reason of those unbelievers, but it is not contrary to mine;
and if I am to be guided by reason, I prefer to follow my own. The
atonement is a miracle, and miracles are rather to be accepted by faith than
measured by calculation. A fact is the best of arguments. It is a fact that the
Lord hath laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all. God’s revelation proves the
fact, and our faith defies human questioning! God saith it, and I believe it;
and believing it, I find life and comfort in it. Shall I not preach it?
Assuredly I will.

“E’er since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme
And shall be till I die.”

And, for what it's worth, I will too.

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