As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. – Galatians 1:9 (ESV)
The precious good news of Christ is that His people, those God calls to repentance and faith, have been bought with a price, their sins imputed to Christ, and His righteous portion fully credited to them. With sins fully atoned and having Christ’s righteousness, God is just to save His elect people while judging the rest of sinful humanity. To this end, God calls and sends preachers into all the world to declare this good news (Mark 16:15)!
The Gospel affords true spiritual security to the believer because it does not seek validation or activation from the sinner. Oh no! The Gospel is Christ’s finished work (Mathew 1:21)! And it is the Spirit of God that testifies to the truth of this glorious reality to elect sinners in the preaching (Zechariah 4:6; Matthew 16:17; 1 Corinthians 2:14; ). When God grants faith, a person once dead in trespasses and sins repents of dead works (everything they thought made them right in God’s eyes) (Hebrews 6:1) and trusts in Christ’s work alone for salvation (Psalm 37:39; 2 Timothy 2:10). Faith is NOT man’s contribution toward salvation. Much to the contrary. Faith is God’s gift, a supernatural gift enabling a child of God to rest in Christ’s promises (Romans 3:28; 2 Corinthians 5:2; Galatians 2:16; 3:2; 3:5; 3:11; 3:24; Ephesians 2:8). Christians understand salvation to be God’s work in Christ, from first to last, from beginning to end.
The Gospel affords spiritual assurance to the believer because Christ’s promises are true! Christ declared, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out” (John 6:37). Later in the same book, Christ promises, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Since the work of redemption is finished, God’s people assuredly rest in Christ. And from this wellspring of assurance, this full assurance of faith (Colossians 2:2; Hebrews 6:11l; 10:22), they endeavor, however imperfectly, to serve the Lord from hearts filled with love and gladness (Psalm 100:2; 2 Corinthians 9:7; Galatians 5:6). Just as faith is NOT man’s contribution to salvation, righteous deeds are not the ground of a saved person’s assurance . In fact, the only acceptable works offered to God are those offered by Christians who possess assured faith in Christ’s promises. We don’t work to get saved. We don’t work to assure our salvation. We are saved by Christ, assured by His promises in the Gospel, and offer faith-filled, works in full assurance of faith.
Christ’s Gospel is God’s work of security and assurance. He sets our feet upon the rock to stay! It is no wonder the Apostle Paul was so zealous in defending this precious message. Paul did not believe that just “any ole message” heralded God’s salvation. In fact, he plainly rebuked the Galatians for even entertaining the notion of a different gospel! There is only one Gospel, says Paul. If anyone were to come preaching something different than the Gospel of God’s accomplished redemption in Christ (the very message Paul taught the Galatians), let them be accursed!
Our day is filled with competing messages, all boldly declaring themselves to be “the good news” of Christ. But as Paul makes it abundantly clear, not all that parades itself around as the gospel is, in fact, the true and saving Gospel.
What do you believe concerning Christ? Do you believe Christ alone accomplished redemption for His people alone for all time by his death on Calvary? Have you repented of dead works, resting fully in Christ as your only hope of righteousness? Do you believe Christ has secured you for all time and will never let loose of you? Do you endeavor to please the Lord out of assured love and not mercenary reward or legal fear?
There is only one Gospel, one way whereby God makes His people righteousness in His sight. The other so-called gospels all lack the distinction of being true. There is no other Gospel but the Gospel of God’s Free and Sovereign Grace in Christ.
“so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 5:21 (ESV)
Would that God grant each reader repentance from dead works and faith toward the living God in Christ, for Christ – Amen.
Jason K. Boothe serves as Pastor of Horizons Baptist Church of Piketon, Ohio. For more information concerning the ministries of the church, please visit www.HorizonsBaptist.org.