Is it the True Gospel
by G.J. Stewart
In a wayside inn in a small township in F—, Victoria, the following conversation was overheard. The subject of it was a young man named P—, lately said to be converted, and occupying the position of a lay reader.
The innkeeper was relating how he had met this young man, and had “tackled him,” as they say, about his religion. The innkeeper had put this question to him:—
“Supposing, P—, you were driving along the road in your cart on a very stormy day, and your horses became restive and would not pull, and you began to swear as you did in the old days, and supposing just as you were swearing the wind blew a tree down on you and killed you instantly, where would you go, to heaven or hell?”
“I should expect to go at once to hell because I was taking the Lord’s name in vain,” replied the young man.
“Well,” said the innkeeper, “if that is your religion, all I can say is, I will have none of it! For to be a Christian I must give up all my present enjoyment, and then, according to you, there is no safety, for after giving up all I might forget myself for a bit, and then be again in the same danger as I am now.”
Reader, is this the true gospel? Surely, no. Emphatically, NO!
Yet how many thousands there are who would endorse this more human fallacy! How serious a thing for perishing souls to trust to it!
Admitting the terrible possibility that the true believer may fail and sin, and conscious of the danger of falling into Antinomianism, both of which are involved in the above incident, it is of all importance that souls should be built up in the truth of God, and be able to distinguish it from man’s base substitution for it. We would therefore with our readers briefly consider in the light of the Scriptures, Is this the true gospel?
Looking at it in this light we cannot for one moment allow that it is God’s gospel; yet we can easily understand how it conies to be so largely received. It arises from looking at things front a human standpoint, and attaching importance to a man’s giving himself to God, as though there were some merit in this act. From this point of view, what man does, may certainly be undone by the same hands.
Ah, yes! But blessed be God, there is the other side. What God does is eternal and can never be reversed! “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor can anything be taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him” (Eccl. 3:14).
But this is the question, Is salvation of man or of God?
If it be of man, let him do his best and he will fail in the end. If it be of God, it will stand for ever; let not man interfere with it.
God’s gospel is no exception to the above rule as to what God does, it comes straight from the heart of God, and declares what is in that heart. God is love and He can never change. The only gospel that can meet man’s need, is God’s gospel (Rom. 1:1).
It comes to lost men who are unable to turn over a new leaf and to lead a new life and so to save themselves. Could they do this they would need no Saviour.
It tells lost men of One who came to seek and to save that which was lost; One who did what they could never do, who settled the question of sin upon the cross, and settled it for ever.
It offers them salvation through faith in that blessed work, and in Him who accomplished it for them. An eternal salvation! “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:9). Such are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Pet. 1:5).
It enables them to lead a new life, because they are saved and have a new life communicated to them. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23), “This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son” (1 John 5:11).
They to whom this life is given shall never perish; none shall pluck them out of the hand of Him who gave it. The Father and the Son are one in pledging eternal security to them (John 10:28-30).
“For God so loved the world that be gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The old controversy still rages. The devil would substitute a false gospel in the place of God’s gospel, that souls, aroused as to the need of a change of life, may be deluded and ensnared and lost.
Young readers! Awakened souls! What gospel are you accepting? See to it! Your soul is at stake!
Perishing souls! Souls in the bush! Souls everywhere! Be warned!
All man’s works in every department of his existence shall perish for ever!
All that God does is eternal!
Alas, for those who, like the young man above referred to, rest for assurance upon their good conduct when death overtakes them! Such never know what rest or assurance is at all.
Alas, for those who, like the innkeeper, make a fellow-mortal’s mistaken notion an excuse for salving their conscience and continuing in a course of sin which must end in death and judgment!
May they accept at God’s hand the salvation He offers, wrought out in the blood of Christ and presented in mercy to “whosoever will”; thus obtaining power to abandon, alike their sin and their false doctrine, and to live to Him who died for them, to His praise and glory!
The Gospel Messenger 1903, p. 273