"To testify the gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24)
There is a continual need to return to the great fundamental of the faith. As long as the age lasts the Gospel of God's grace must be preached. The need arises out of the natural state of the human heart, which is essentially legalistic. The cardinal error against which the Gospel has to contend is the inveterate tendency of men to rely on their own performances. The great antagonist to the truth is the pride of man, which causes him to imagine that he can be, in part at least, his own savior. This error is the prolific mother of a multitude of heresies. It is by this falsehood that the pure stream of God's truth, passing through human channels, has been polluted . . . Now the Gospel of God's grace is epitomized in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." All genuine reforms or revivals in the churches of God must have as their basis a plain declaration of this doctrine . . .
The Gospel is a Revelation of the Grace of God.
Our text speaks of it as the "Gospel of the Grace of God," for this is its source . . . Grace is a truth peculiar to divine revelation. It is a concept to which the unaided powers of man's mind never rises . . . Now the Gospel is a revelation of this wondrous grace of God. It tells us that Christ has done for sinners what they could not do for themselves—it satisfied the demands of God's Law. Christ has fully and perfectly met all the requirements of God's holiness so that He can righteously receive every poor sinner who comes to Him. The Gospel tells us that Christ died not for good people, who never did anything very bad; but for lost and godless sinners who never did anything good. The Gospel reveals to every sinner, for his acceptance, a Savior all-sufficient, "able to save unto the uttermost those who come unto God by Him."
The Gospel is a Proclamation of the Grace of God.
The word "Gospel" is a technical one, employed in the New Testament in a double sense: in a narrower, and in a wider one. In its narrower sense, it refers to heralding the glorious fact that the grace of God has provided a Savior for every poor sinner who feels his need, and by faith receives Him. In its wider sense, it comprehends the whole revelation which God made of Himself in and through Christ. In this sense it includes the whole of the New Testament . . . Grace is God's provision for those who are so corrupt that they cannot change their own natures; so averse to God, they cannot turn to Him; so blind they cannot see Him; so deaf they cannot hear Him; in a word, so dead in sin that He must open their graves and bring them on to resurrection-ground, if ever they are to be saved. Grace, then, implies that the sinner's case is desperate, but that God is merciful.
The Gospel is a Manifestation of the Grace of God.
The Gospel is the "power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes." It is the chosen instrument which God uses in freeing and delivering His people from error, ignorance, darkness, and the power of Satan. It is by and through the Gospel, applied by the Holy Spirit, that His elect are emancipated from the guilt and power of sin. "For the preaching of the cross is to those who perish foolishness; but unto us who are saved it is the power of God . . . But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:18, 23).
This is the glory of the Gospel: it is the power of God unto salvation. In one of his books, J. H. Jowett says: A little while ago I was speaking to a New York doctor, a man of long and varied experience with diseases that afflict both the body and mind. I asked him how many cases he had known of the slaves of drink having been delivered by medical treatment into health and freedom. How many he had been able to "doctor" into liberty and self-control. He immediately replied, "Not one." . . . Doctors might afford a temporary escape, but the real bonds are not broken. At the end of the apparent but brief deliverance, it will be found that the chains remain. Medicine might address itself to effects, but the cause is as real and dominant as ever. The doctor has no cure for the drunkard. Medical skill cannot save him. But grace can! . . . Hallelujah! Yes, grace saves. It snaps the fetters of a lifetime, and makes a poor sinner a partaker of the divine nature and a rejoicing saint. It saves not only from the bondage of fleshly habits, but also from the curse of the fall, from the captivity of Satan, from the wrath to come. What effect has this message on your heart? Does it fill you with praise to God? Are you thankful to know that salvation is by grace? Can you see and appreciate the infinite difference between all of man's schemes for self-betterment and the "Gospel of the Grace of God?"
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.