April 15, 2016
Good Morning Church,
By the time you open this letter our family will be well on our way to Southern West Virginia for a quick overnight trip. I made a prior commitment to serve on the ordination council for a friend from Bible College. That ordination is this Saturday (16th), and so I will miss being at the workday with everyone, but I look forward to being back with you all for Worship this Sunday. The examination and ordination of leaders in the local church is no small matter as God gave clear direction pertaining to the character and competency of elders/pastors (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9)! The Bible is clear that one of the biggest threats that the church always faces comes from the destructive impact of ungodly leaders (Acts 20:29-32; 2 Tim 2:15-19; 2 Pet 2:1-3). Therefore, know that I take this opportunity very seriously, as I do my part to encourage another brother, while at the same time seeking to protect the purity of the Church (1 Tim 6:20). I covet your prayers as this will be a very busy weekend of ministry.
I want to turn your thoughts back to our biblical philosophy for living a godly life in this godless world. So far, we have considered four theological pillars (A high view of God; A sufficient view of Scripture; A low view of man; and an honest view of sin) that will serve as a solid foundation, which will enable you to walk with confidence and clarity amidst this confusing and compromising cultural. Today, I want to give you another part of this biblical worldview that is so critical, not only because it is an area that is constantly attacked, but also because it is directly connected to the truth of eternal life with God. Therefore, the next pillar in our philosophy for life is embracing an exclusive view of the gospel.
An Exclusive View of the Gospel
The Bible declares emphatically that the salvific benefits and ramifications of the gospel are very restricted and extremely limited to only those who repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ alone (Jn 1:11-13; 3:16-18; Rom 1:16). While the call and provision of the gospel is universal and open to everyone (Jn 3:16; Acts 17:30-31; 1 Jn 2:2), the way of the gospel is extremely exclusive, very narrow, hard, demanding, and only a few find it (Mt 7:13-14; Lk 14:25-33). Consider the clear teaching of Scripture that declares there is salvation in no other name except Christ (Acts 4:12). Jesus emphatically proclaims the exclusivity of the gospel when He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6). Furthermore, consider how everyone stands condemned (Jn 3:18) and will be eternally condemned (Rom 2:5-11; Mt 25:31-46) except for those “who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom 8:1) having their names written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 20:15).
Contemplate how Paul passionately proclaimed that if anyone taught another gospel contrary to the one he received from Christ, “let him be accursed” (Gal 1:6-9). That’s pretty exclusive! Good works or a good pedigree is totally insufficient to save anyone from their sins (Jn 1:10; Titus 3:5; 1 Jn 1:7), and keeping the Law will never bring justification before God (Gal 2:19)! Man can only have his sins forgiven and righteousness gained through the one life, death, and resurrection of Christ applied personally through repentance and faith (Eph 2:8-9; 1 Cor 15:1-11; Rom 3:23-26; Acts 2:38; 3:19-20, 26; 20:21; 26:20; Rom 10:9-13). God lucidly exclaims that there is only one mediator between God and man, and it is His one and only Son, Jesus Christ (1 Tim 2:5). Therefore, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, willingly or forcibly, the exclusivity of the gospel when the world proclaims Jesus Christ alone is Lord (Phil 2:11).
This foundational reality to the veracity and vitality of the gospel has been and continues to be attacked at every level. Moreover, it is the exclusivity of the gospel that sets biblical Christianity apart from almost every other religion and false form of salvation. The opposite of an exclusive gospel is an inclusive gospel where all people are eventually saved whether they confess Christ or not! Sadly, it is this false gospel that permeates the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which was even reiterated last week by the Pope in his lengthy document entitled “The Joy of Love.” He said, "No one can be condemned forever because that is not the logic of the Gospel!" Much more needs to be said about that, but the infectious nature of this heretical belief has also spread across the teachings of the emergent church movement. However, the biggest danger is how this kind of gospel, which is really no gospel at all, has subtly wormed its way into the lives and ministries of many in the so-called evangelical church. How you ask? Through the conduit and teaching of tolerance where biblical doctrine and the gospel itself is twisted, diminished, and often denied, being sacrificed on the altar of acceptance at any cost.
O that we never lose sight of the true gospel that humbly proclaims how salvation can only be found graciously in Christ, and Christ alone! May God protect us as we do our part in passionately spreading the gospel both here in Bowie and beyond. Moreover, may God help us as we seek to lovingly defend the faith in the face of the false gospel of tolerance that directly attacks the truth of God’s Word. Church, I look forward to worshiping with you this Sunday, Lord willing, as we will return to Colossians and consider the ministry of the Apostle Paul. He was a man driven by an exclusive gospel that he sought to preach globally, compassionately, and humbly. There are many important lessons for all of us to learn from the life and ministry of this model servant. What a blessing that we get to learn a few more this week as we seek to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ together!
Grace and Peace in Christ Alone,