Friday, March 9, 2007

God is the Gospel -- Chapter 5

  • Sometimes when we hear that the Holy Spirit enables us to believe the gospel,
    or that the Spirit bears witness to the truth of the gospel, we have
    the notion in our minds that the validity of the gospel depends on
    new information given by the Spirit. But that is not what is meant
    historically by the internal testimony of the Spirit.
  • The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For as
    God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word
    will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the
    inward testimony of the Spirit.
  • The answer is not that the Spirit gives us added revelation to
    what is in Scripture, but that he awakens us, as from the dead, to
    see and taste the divine reality of the glory of Christ in the gospel.
  • Therefore illumined by [the Spirit’s] power, we believe neither by
    our own [note this!] nor by anyone else’s judgment that Scripture
    is from God; but above human judgment we affirm with utter certainty
    (just as if we were gazing upon the majesty of God himself)
    that it has flowed to us from the very mouth of God by the ministry
    of men.
  • In other words, by the Spirit we are enabled to see what is really there in the gospel. There is real light and real glory, and it is manifestly divine. It carries its
    own authentication.
  • many people profess faith in Christ in this way. It is not a faith founded on the
    glory of Christ himself but on tradition or education or other people’s
    opinion. If that is the case, the faith is not saving faith.
  • Therefore, the glory of God in the face of Christ—that is,
    the glory of Christ who is the image of God—is essential to the
    gospel. It is not marginal or dispensable. Paul calls the gospel “the
    gospel of the glory of Christ.” This glory is what the events of the
    gospel are designed to reveal. If a person comes to the gospel and
    sees the events of Good Friday and Easter and believes that they
    happened and that they can bring some peace of mind, but does
    not see and savor any of this divine glory, that person does not
    have saving faith.
  • A professing Christian can have many right words but no spiritual fruit. What is wrong?
    The supernatural change from darkness to light has not happened.
    The blinding effects of sin and Satan have not been lifted. The eyes
    of the heart are still unable to see and savor the glory of Christ who
    is the image of God.
  • It is true that all the Scripture has the mark of God’s glory on it, since he is its theme
    and author. But in the gospel events of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection—
    the terrible and wonderful events of Good Friday and
    Easter—the glory of God shines most brightly
  • The importance of seeing the glory of Christ in the gospel will
    become clearer and more urgent if we ponder how this truth affects
    the task of evangelism and missions and the manifold ministries of
    the church in trying to change people’s behavior.

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