|Salvation by Grace Alone|
By Elder Clem E. Cook
THE GOSPEL ...
Most Christians think that the Gospel is the means that God uses to bring about new birth, spiritual life, or that all that have been born again will come to a true belief of the gospel. Though these be well meaning, honest, and God fearing children of our heavenly Father, they do not understand the teachings of the gospel: no more than those that Jesus told to "Search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of me." Jesus also taught in a parable of the sower that there would be some who hear the word and not understand it, and when this happens, the wicked one take the word out of their hearts, and even though some received it with joy, they cannot endure the tribulations or persecutions that comes because of the word, and some will allow the deceitfulness of riches to choke the word. Surely showing us that all of these are capable of hearing the gospel, but it is of no profit to them. Therefore, Jesus Christ preached, saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; Repent ye, and believe the gospel.
First, I would direct your attention to 2 Tim 1:10 where it tells us that the purpose of the gospel is to bring life and immortality to light: the word "light" is referring to understanding knowledge. The gospel does not bring life or immortality; it gives us an understanding of it. And to assure us that the gospel is also that which is known as the word of God we turn to Eph 1:13 and Col 1:5. The word "gospel" is defined as announcement of good news; as a good message, or glad tidings: whereas the word of truth is also defined as tidings of truth. The scriptures which testify of Christ, are the word of truth that brings glad tidings to the children of God.
Then these well meaning christians will say, But if you do not believe this gospel and repent, then you will not receive immortality; therefore, have no eternal life with God. Yet, the scriptures say, "What if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid.: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar: as it is written, that thou mightiest be justified in thy sayings. and mightiest overcome when thou art judged." [See Psa 51:4 and 62:9] Also they should know that believing is a work of righteousness which can never justify one before God.
GOSPEL SALVATION ...
The word of God teaches of a salvation that is not the gift of eternal life, one that the children of God can work out; one that comes through belief of the word/gospel which testifies of Christ. Thus teaching that there are those that are begotten with the word of truth. See 1 Cor. 4:15, James 1:18 and 1 Pet 1:3.
These words beget/begotten, which are used to show lineage, are also used to show what which is brought forth, and does not always indicate birth. This is the case of these scriptures. In James it is speaking of the gifts that comes down from Father of lights; thus showing that this is a gift of light: knowledge/ understanding. And the purpose of them receiving this gift was that they should be the kind of first fruit of his creatures: the creatures are those created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God had foreordained that they should walk therein. Ref. Eph 2:10; 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 6:15.
The gospel does not have any creating power; but it does testify of him who does. So it was written, "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving kindness, judgment and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."
Paul wrote to those he considered to be his sons through the gospel; the church at Corinth, to them that were sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. And James was speaking to those of the twelve tribes that had been scattered; Israelites.
Whereas Peter addressed those who were strangers, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit.
It is essential for us to know that the word/gospel of our Lord was not given to benefit all mankind; that it is given to and for the benefit of the elect. The elect being those that are the new creatures which are born of the Spirit. Also knowing that all mankind are flesh, but not all are spirit. And that God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth. [There be many that worship in spirit, but few in truth.] Therefore, let us strive to rightly divide the word of truth; that we may also worship in truth. And thereby work out our own salvation; for God has worked in the will and to do of his good pleasure.
By Elder Clem E. Cook
From - The Banner of Love
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|Salvation by Grace Alone|