Only the Gospel…

In a sermon on Proverbs 11:30, in 1787, John Newton explained the power of the gospel – the good news that Jesus died and rose to save sinners.  While the law commands, the gospel comforts:

“The Gospel removes difficulties insuperable to human power.  It causes the blind to see, the deaf to hear; it softens the heart of stone and raises the dead in trespasses and sins to a life of righteousness.  No force but that of the Gospel is sufficient to remove the mountainous load of guilt from an awakened conscience, to calm the violence of tumultuous passions, to raise an earthly soul from groveling in the mire of sensuality or greed, to a spiritual and divine life, a life of communion with God.”

“No system but the Gospel can communicate motives, encouragements, and prospects, sufficient to withstand and counteract all the snares and temptations with which the spirit of this world, by its frowns or its smiles, will endeavor either to intimidate or to bribe us from the path of duty.  But the Gospel, rightly understood and cordially embraced, will inspire the slothful with energy and the fearful with courage.  It will make the miser generous, melt the churl [rude person] into kindness, tame the raging tiger in the breast, and, in a word, expand the narrow selfish heart and fill it with a spirit of love to God, a cheerful and unreserved obedience to his will, and benevolence to mankind.”

“…The Gospel, then, is a message from God.  It stains the pride of human glory, and, without regarding the petty distinctions which obtain among men, with respect to character or ranks, it treats them all as sinners in the sight of God, and under the power of depravity strengthened by habit.  As such, it points them to a Savior; it invites and enjoins them to apply to him, to submit to him, and to put their whole trust in him, to renounce all pleas of their own, and to plead his name and his atonement for their pardon and acceptance.  It promises to all who thus plead, that the Holy Spirit of God will visit them, dwell in them, and abide with them, to enable them, by his gracious influence, both to will and to do according to his good pleasure.”

Therefore, we should never be ashamed of the gospel, “for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).

The above quotes are found on pages 198-199 & 202 of volume 5 in Newton’s Works.

rev shane lems

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