The Power of the Gospel (Hodge)

Select Sermons of Charles Hodge On November 20, 1842 Charles Hodge gave a chapel message to the students at Princeton Seminary.  It was on Romans 1:15, where Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (NASB).  In this chapel message Hodge did an excellent job highlighting the power of the gospel.  Here’s one excerpt worth reading:

…the Gospel is adapted to secure the salvation of men because it, in the first place, reveals a righteousness suited to their necessities. This is the reason which the apostle himself assigns. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation because therein is revealed the righteousness of God. It is plain from other passages in his epistles that by “righteousness of God,” he means a righteousness which is from God, which he gives, and which is available at his tribunal. It is opposed to our own righteousness and declared to be his gift. The Gospel therefore is effectual to salvation because it makes known, offers, and confers a righteousness which secures our justification and reconciliation with God. This is the grand source of its power without which all their excellencies would be of no avail.

If it left us still under the curse of the law, if it disclosed no method by which we can obtain the forgiveness of sins, it could not be effectual to the salvation of sinners. Its disclosures of the infinite holiness and justice of God; of the spirituality and extent of his law; of the necessity of perfect obedience in order to justify the nation, would but drive us to despair. But revealing as it does a method by which God can be just and yet justify the ungodly, it is exactly suited to our necessities. The righteousness which it presents is absolutely perfect, it meets and answers all the demands of the law; it, fully satisfies the justice of God; it satisfies the demands of conscience, it satisfies all the interests of the moral government of God. And instead of endangering the welfare of holy beings, it in the highest degree exalts their blessedness by its display of the manifold grace and wisdom of God.

It is with unspeakable delight that the sinner sensible of his guilt acquiesces in a plan of salvation which thus honours God; which thus sustains the divine law, and which, while it humbles and saves himself, ministers to the blessedness of all holy beings. He sees that there is now no reason why the believing sinner should be punished. All the ends of punishment are answered far more effectually by the atoning righteousness of Christ than they could ever have been by his own perdition. Being justified by faith he has peace with God, through the Lord Jesus Christ. ‘Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather that has risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’ ‘There is no condemnation to him that is in Christ Jesus.’ To such a man they [the ends of punishment] can be a rational source of disquiet. [But] God has forgiven him, his Saviour ever lives to intercede for him, and by that intercession to secure him from all fatal evil and the enjoyment of all necessary good.

Charles Hodge, “Not Ashamed,” in Select Sermons of Charles Hodge (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015).

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI, 54015

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