Equipping the Saints... Edifying the Body of Christ

Sojourn Baptist

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The command of God given to Adam being broken by sin, and made unprofitable unto life, God was pleased to give forth the promise of Christ, the seed of the woman (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 13:8), as the means of calling the elect, and begetting in them faith and repentance; in this promise the gospel, as to the substance of it, was revealed, and is therein effectual for the conversion and salvation of sinners (2 Timothy 1:10).

The promise of Christ, and salvation by Him, is revealed only in and by the Word of God (Romans 1:17). apart from the which, men are unable to discover Christ or attain saving faith or repentance (Isaiah 25:7-8; Isaiah 60:2-3). God provides, by command and providence, that proclamation of the full counsel of God be made to all men as sinners. The law initially written on the heart, as well as the moral law revealed to Israel, fully complies with the grace of the Gospel. This reality most forcefully implies that Christ’s Gospel be proclaimed to all fallen humanity. The decree of salvation for the elect of every tongue, tribe, nation, involves of necessity the proclamation of both the Gospel and the accompanying duties of repentance from sin and faith in the Lord Jesus to all men everywhere (Revelation 5:12-14; 7; Acts 17:24-31; 1 Timothy 1:12-16).

The revelation of the gospel unto sinners is merely of the sovereign will and good pleasure of God (Psalm 147:20; Acts 16:7); and therefore in all ages, the preaching of the gospel has been granted unto persons and nations, according to the counsel of the will of God (Romans 1:18-32). The careful dissemination, defense, and confirmation of the Gospel among all nations bares fruit only by virtue of the sovereign, inscrutable, and insuperable work of the Spirit embedding the preached word with vital power, and at the same time manifestes itself in the understanding of the command to make disciples (Acts 13:48; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:3-6; 1 Thessalonians 1:4-7; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15; 2 Timothy 2:8-10; James 1:17-18; 1 Peter 1:22-25).

We, therefore, affirm and have joyful confidence in these indivisible truths: the gospel is the only outward means of revealing Christ and saving grace, and is, as such, abundantly sufficient to that end; yet that men who are dead in trespasses may be born again, quickened or regenerated, there is moreover necessary, beyond the mere persuasive power of bare truth, an effectual irresistible work of the Holy Spirit upon the whole soul, for the producing in them a new spiritual life (1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 1:19-20); without which no other means will affect their conversion unto God (John 6:44; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Romans 8:30). The substance of all missionary and evangelistic labors, therefore, must be the proclamation of the Gospel. Apart from this message we may not expect God’s Spirit to honor our efforts with the reclaiming of the lost. In the context of such labors one may always hope that the Spirit will lead the lost to Christ.