THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD

(part 2)

 

 

Salvation is wholly dependant upon the grace of Almighty God and no part of that salvation relies on what a man does. This reveals to us the state, or spiritual condition, every man, including the elect prior to their salvation (see Eph. 2:1-3), is in by nature. Not only does the Gospel of grace say that man must not try to do anything to get or remain saved, it shows that salvation can only take place through the grace of God, and only through the grace of God. It shows that grace was needed in the salvation of man, not to merely make up for man’s shortcomings in failing to recommend himself to God by his works, but as that which alone can save him and does save him from beginning to final glory. Therefore the doctrine that teaches the total depravity of man by nature, or total inability of man ever being able to come to God or even to desire Him, of his own accord, is also an essential to the Gospel of grace. If there is nothing man can or must do to be saved or stay saved, then it shows that man must be utterly dead to God in that he cannot ever make any headway in gaining acceptance with God or even in approaching God. The Gospel of grace cannot do without the teaching that establishes the fact that man can do nothing to save himself, or contribute to his salvation. The Bible in fact tells us that "...the world by wisdom knew not God..." Therefore no man, by nature, understands or even seeks the true God (see Rom. 3:10-12), Who saves totally and exclusively by His grace, so how anyone can think that salvation is in the least bit conditioned on man is rather a mystery. "By grace are ye saved" (Eph. 2:8) saith the Scriptures, therefore the Gospel is about the grace of God in the salvation of His people. And if God has done everything to save His people, what else could His Gospel of their salvation be but a full explanation of how He has specifically done this miraculous act? How could the Gospel of the grace of God fail to teach every facet of that saving grace which was necessary to save His people from their sins? What right has anyone to think for a moment, who claims to believe in salvation by grace, that the whole of that grace which God’s entire salvation plan is in accord with, and by which God saves, is not part of, and therefore taught by, the vehicle of the great Gospel of God? We have seen that the Gospel is referred to as "the Gospel of your salvation" (Eph. 1:13), so coupled with "by grace are ye saved" (Eph. 2:8) and "the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24), it is obvious that according to these three verses the Gospel is all about salvation and all about grace. Grace, salvation and Gospel are eternally inseparable. Grace and salvation are spoken of in the Gospel; salvation and the Gospel are all about grace; and grace and the Gospel are all about salvation—the former makes it possible and the latter proclaims it! Clearly then, the Gospel is about the grace of God in the salvation of man. Therefore, how could the Gospel be anything but a doctrinal manifestation of the whole of the grace of God in the salvation of His people? In light of this, can anyone imagine in their wildest thoughts that God would leave any part of the grace it took for Him to save His people out of the Gospel He Himself has called The Gospel, or Good News, of His grace? Or that God would view any part of His saving grace as not worthy of, and therefore not essential to, His great and glorious salvation plan as specified in and by the Gospel of grace? Any gospel which omits any grace doctrine, or which says that any doctrine of the grace of God in salvation has no place in the Gospel, which was given to reveal how God saves, is a false gospel and all those who believe it stand accursed.

 

To properly understand why it is that the grace of God is the only way God saves, one must believe in the doctrine that reveals that all of salvation must be all by grace: the total and utter deadness of man in sin and to God. To believe in salvation completely by grace, one must believe that man is utterly unable to come to God or even seek God. No gospel failing to teach this fundamental truth about the natural, fallen and lost spiritual state of all mankind, can claim any right to a salvation which is wholly by the work, or grace, of God. There would be no reason to have a Gospel like this, for if it is not specified that man is dead in sin and dead to God, one would automatically presume that one can, and therefore must, do something to attain salvation. A Gospel of salvation wholly by grace would have no basis! The doctrine that teaches the total, complete depravity of man, his inability to do anything that could place him in good favor with God, that would attract God to him, is the very launching pad of grace. Any gospel that does not include this teaching which plainly lays out the spiritual condition of all men by nature, thereby revealing that no part of salvation could be by the obedience of a man but totally, completely and absolutely by the grace of God, is a false gospel. For if one does not have this teaching, one has room for man to glory in what he can do. Absence of this doctrine precludes any man from saying with Paul, "...in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." (Rom. 7:18 cf. Rom. 3:26-28). The true Gospel of the grace of God reveals that no part of salvation could ever be reliant upon what a man does, and thus that all of salvation is conditioned on the grace of God. The whole reason for a salvation plan that had to be completely conditioned on grace, which included sending a Savior to the earth, was that no man could do anything to save himself (see Matt.19:25,26). All of salvation, from election to final glorification, is conditioned solely upon the grace of God. Therefore any gospel which fails to talk about and cover every area of salvation and show that all the requirements for salvation have been adequately dealt with by grace, is a false gospel. Those who do not believe the fact that man is dead to God and therefore without hope in this world, believe and promote Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die, for they say ‘we are not surely dead'. One who denies the spiritual death of all mankind (see Rom. 5:12) is in agreement with Satan himself, who authored the lie that man would not die if he disobeyed God in the Garden, and who is therefore the father of the lie that man is not dead in sin. Such a person cannot rightly lay claim to believing that all of salvation is wholly conditioned and solely dependant upon the whole of the grace of God, for nothing can be construed from the lie that man is not dead in sin and dead to God other than there lies within every man an innate ability to seek, understand and come to God. There would not be any need for a Gospel that promotes all of salvation is all by grace if man were not utterly dead in sin. None of the grace of God would have been required if man were able to recommend himself to God by his own obedience.

 

According to Romans 11:6, no one who believes that man is not dead in sin can possibly believe in a Gospel which is completely dependant on grace. On the contrary, they would have every reason to believe that at least part of salvation is conditioned upon the works of a man. If you have a gospel which fails to include every doctrine that reveals the grace of God in the salvation of His people, you have a message that gives you ground to believe that you have to, and therefore have the ability to, do something to get or remain saved. The sole purpose behind every gospel which teaches that man is not completely dead in sin is to instill in the minds of its hearers the theological perversion that man can and must do something to get, or remain, saved. Such a corruption of the truth is nothing less than a direct attack upon the only thing by which a man can be saved: the grace of God. If man could be saved by what he does, then grace would not be required at all in the salvation of a man and Christ’s sacrificial death would have been in vain (see Gal. 2:21). From the lie that man is not dead in sin comes the equally spurious teaching that he can, in and of his own free will, make a conscious decision to choose God. This in turn has produced a cavalcade of false teachings, one of which promotes the idea, which is the devilish doctrinal offspring of man’s not being utterly dead in sin, that teaches salvation is an offer, and that the Gospel must be preached to every individual as a personal promise to them. This act of ‘free will’ reveals the teaching that man is not, as the Bible teaches, hopeless without God but that God is hopeless without man, that He has no hope of saving anyone unless they make the decision to choose and accept Him. Salvation would therefore not be by the will of God, as the scriptures say (Jas 1:18), but by the will of man. For the Good News of grace to be preached, we must show the reason for the need of grace in the salvation of a man, indeed the need for salvation at all. This can only be done by a proper and biblical exposition of the spiritual state every man is in by nature: dead in sin and dead to God (see Eph. 2:1,5). We see an example of this in Paul’s introducing us to man’s depraved state in the opening three chapters of Romans before launching into grace.

 

It is important to remember that the whole of salvation is covered by the whole of grace. No part of that which is required in the salvation of a man has failed to be dealt with, entirely and comprehensively, by the grace of God. Therefore, there are absolutely no grounds for anyone to build a biblical argument for the Gospel of salvation failing to be that which embodies all the doctrines which teach the grace of God in salvation. There is no part of salvation that does not require the grace of God in the salvation of His people. No part of salvation is conditioned on man, but every square inch of it is conditioned on the grace of God. And the vehicle through which God teaches the individual doctrines which deal with grace in salvation is the Gospel. The Gospel cannot be anything short of this and it cannot be anything else but this. The whole of the Gospel is about the whole of salvation, which is about the whole of the grace of God. If it had to happen for salvation to exist, then it must be believed for salvation to be experienced. Put simply, when it comes to salvation, if God had to do it then man must believe it! If man must believe it then it must be in the Gospel of salvation, for Christ says that to believe the Gospel is to be saved. Consequently, to be saved is to believe the Gospel: all that God says had to be done to save His people. Yes, there is only one ground of salvation: the righteousness of Christ, but this is incontrovertibly linked to the other acts of the Trinity in the salvation of man. If it is essential to salvation, it is essential to belief; If it is essential to belief, it is essential to the Gospel; If it is essential to the Gospel, one simply cannot be saved without it and without belief in it. The resurrection of Christ does not save us, but we cannot be saved without it and therefore without belief in it (see 1 Cor. 15:14,17). Therefore the resurrection of Jesus Christ is most worthy of being a Gospel doctrine. To biblically speak of Christ is to speak of the risen Christ. If there can be no salvation without it, if one’s preaching and faith are all in vain without it, it must be necessary to salvation and therefore must be a Gospel doctrine. Election does not save us, but none can be saved without it. In order for men to be saved, an election by grace was essential, for without it, who would Christ have died for and who would the Holy Spirit have regenerated? The fact that Christ did not die for everyone, coupled with man’s outright inability to understand, seek and therefore choose God, proves an election by God through grace was an absolute necessity for anyone to be saved. Election, then, is also most worthy of being a Gospel doctrine, for there could be no salvation without it and therefore is something which must be believed if a man is to evidence a saved state. The quickening work of the Holy Spirit, alone, is not what saves us, but one cannot be saved without it. What good would it have done for God to elect a people, and Christ to die for those people, if all these remained unregenerated, if they all remained in an unregenerate state? Therefore regeneration is also worthy of being a Gospel doctrine, for there could be no salvation without it.

 

The Gospel is about Christ the Savior, it is about the sovereign election of an all powerful all-knowing God, it is about the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, but all these things that have been done to save a people for God come out of, and each Member of the Holy Trinity have worked through the means of, the glorious grace of God. Salvation is by grace, and as this carries with it no qualification, we must understand that all of salvation is all by grace. No part of salvation comes by means of anything else but the grace of God, and therefore a gospel that does not cover the whole of grace cannot be the Gospel which comes from God. It takes the whole of the grace of God to cover the whole of salvation. It takes the whole of the grace of God to save a man and therefore a man, to be truly saved, must believe in the whole Gospel of the whole grace of God. IF IT HAD TO BE DONE, IT HAS TO BE BELIEVED, AND IF IT HAS TO BE BELIEVED IT MUST BE IN THE GOSPEL! Man must see and know all that it took to save him and he must believe that every requirement for salvation was fulfilled, and could only have been perfectly fulfilled, by the whole of the grace of God. It does a man no good to believe that the ground of salvation is the Righteousness of Christ if he has not heard of, or does not believe in, the election of grace which gave Christ the people He was to die for (see the author’s book, ‘Those Whom Thou Hast Given Me’). Any claim to believe in the Righteousness of Christ is rendered null and void if one does not believe in election by grace, for to believe in the righteousness of Christ aright one must know who He died for, which reveals what He has done. Yes"...believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31), but what is it to believe on Jesus Christ? Is it to remain ignorant of who He died for? How then would one know, and believe aright, what lies at the heart of the Gospel’s central tenet, what Christ has done? Some say, ‘The righteousness of Christ is all that the Gospel is about but one cannot be saved without knowledge of election and regeneration etc'. They say these doctrines get preached to a person after they have believed in the righteousness of Christ. But how can these grace doctrines, especially election, be preached later and not as part of the Gospel, when they are the very things that define what Christ has done and for whom He has done it? Scripture says that to trust in Christ is only possible "...AFTER that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation..." (Eph. 1:13). To trust in Christ one must know what He has done and for whom He has done it. How this could be done without knowledge of election, that God gave His Son the people He was to die for and impute His righteousness to, is beyond me. How can one speak about what Christ has done and yet remain silent as to whom His Work pertains to? How can one speak about who Christ has died for, and established a perfect righteousness for, whilst remaining silent on election? Essential, then, to the preaching of Christ is what He did and who He did it for. How can one talk about Christ establishing righteousness without mentioning who Christ died for and that the Father elected these ones from before the foundation of the world according to His grace? How can one talk about what Christ has done and who His righteousness was established for, and imputed to, without mentioning those whom the Father has elected? It is as impossible as a man coming to God by his own free-will.

 

There can be no room for ambiguity when it comes to the preaching of the Gospel, especially the central doctrine of the Gospel: the Righteousness of Christ. Imagine speaking of Christ’s death but not mentioning what He did by that death! What is a man supposed to believe about it? That He just physically died one day on a cross? Imagine, too, the preaching of Christ without any mention of exactly who He died for. Are we to simply say, ‘He died for hell-deserving sinners'Which sinners? Everyone? No? Then how praytell can we preach the Gospel truth that Christ ACTUALLY ATONED FOR THE SINS OF THOSE FOR WHOM HE DIED!!! What would we do with the words of God Himself Who said, "...for the transgression of MY people was He stricken..." and "...My righteous Servant (shall) justify many; for He shall bear THEIR iniquities" (Isa. 53:8 & 11). How can one keep the salvation truth that Christ was stricken for the sins of God’s people, and no others, from the Gospel? And how can one find biblical ground to rationalise hiding the truth of Christ’s justifying righteousness being connected with His bearing the sins of God’s elect people? Christ died for God’s people and they shall be justified because HE BORE THEIR SINS!!! Keep this from the Gospel and you have no Gospel. Keep this from your preaching of the Righteousness of Christ and you have no righteousness! No preacher of God’s Gospel will withhold this most vital of information of what Christ did and who He did it for from those he proclaims the Gospel to. Why would he? Why withhold the very glory of Jesus Christ from the Gospel of Christ? How could one withhold what Christ did—actually accomplish atonement—from the Gospel by refusing to divulge the fact that the people Christ died for were the people God had elected and given to Him? How can you rejoice in what Christ has done without knowing who He has done it for? How could this possibly serve the hearers and how could such preaching be a service to the Lord? Why, none can even mention the name of Christ without alluding to what He did and who He did it for, for the Savior was named Jesus "...for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). So much for those who want to keep who Christ died for secret from the ungodly, but insist that knowing who He died for is essential to salvation.

 

In order to see whether or not a doctrine is part of the Gospel, one must ask oneself, Could there be salvation without it? Could there be salvation if God had not elected a people from before the foundation of the world? How could there be? Who would Christ have died for and who would the Holy Spirit have regenerated, and how could anyone be drawn to God if they had not first been predestinated? Could there be salvation had Christ not lived a perfect life and atoned for the sins of the one’s God entrusted to Him? How could there be? Who would have benefitted from what Christ did if God had not elected a people for Him to do it for? Don’t tell me people would have chosen Him and accepted Him, for if this could have occurred, if people could have come to Him in and of their own free-will, there would have been no need for an election of grace. What use would there be for the Holy Spirit to regenerate people if their sins had not been atoned for and a perfect righteousness established? Could there be salvation if the Holy Spirit did not quicken people, open their eyes to, and grant them faith to believe, the truth? How could there be? What would have been the use of God electing a people for Christ to die for, if all remained in their spiritually blind state and thus could never see and understand and believe what had been done for them? From all this we see how very necessary the work of the Trinity is to salvation, and therefore how essential it is to believe what the Trinity did in the salvation of man. That any of these doctrines could even be thought of being left out of the Gospel is in itself a travesty.

 

Only the doctrine of election according to grace can bring to light how those Christ died for got to be the ones He died for. This is vitally important, for to not be taught rightly about how one got to be who Christ died for is to be left with only two alternatives: (1) Christ died for everyone and one’s decision for Christ is what makes the difference between those who go to heaven and those who go to hell, or (2) one’s acceptance of Christ was foreseen and was, subsequently, the basis for Christ’s dying for that person. How the ones Christ died for got to be the ones He died for is crucial to knowing what He did on that cross. For to not speak of election is to not speak of those Christ died for, which is to not speak accurately of His Righteousness, making it impossible to speak honestly about what He has done. Therefore the Righteousness of Christ makes no sense if it is not accompanied by the other grace doctrines which make up the Gospel of God. The Gospel does not leave anything unexplained. No part of what grace had to do in the salvation of God’s people leaves anything to the imagination. The Gospel is about what God had to do and what the people have to believe. That God elected His people in eternity is just as important as Christ dying for those people in history. From this we see that election is very much a part of the Gospel and no mere footnote. One man has stupidly said, ‘Election did not die on the cross therefore election is not in the Gospel'. Well, I dare say righteousness did not die on the cross either but does this mean that righteousness is not in the Gospel? Of course not!! The Father did not die on the cross either but this cannot rule out what the Father did as being essential to a grace-based salvation knowledge. The Holy Spirit did not die on the cross but does this automatically rule out of the Gospel the essentiality of what He has done in the salvation of a man? Of course not. Regeneration did not die on the cross, neither did resurrection, or sanctification, or repentance, or faith but no one can be saved if even one of these salvation elements is missing. This kind of thinking has been borne out of the flawed notion that the ground of salvation, Christ’s righteousness, is the entire Gospel. Nowhere in the scriptures is this taught. The Gospel reveals the Righteousness of Christ but is not exclusively about the doctrine of the Righteousness of Christ, for it is termed the Gospel of the GRACE of God. It is the Gospel, or Good News, of what the entire Godhead has done and not simply One Member. The Father elected His people unto righteousness, the Holy Spirit regenerates those people to receive that righteousness and Christ has actually produced that righteousness which is imputed to them. Some who hold to the ‘righteousness only’ gospel say that election must not be preached to the ungodly, that only the Righteousness of Christ should be preached, and once a person ‘believes’ this then one can preach election etc. If election must not be preached to the ungodly, and one is not saved who has yet to believe in election and the other grace doctrines, and if it can be preached to one who ‘believes’ in the Righteousness of Christ, are we to understand that those who believe in only the Righteousness of Christ as the Gospel are godly but not saved? Perhaps the ‘evidence’ for such a claim is ‘found’ in some of Paul’s writings. Because Paul wrote about election, our spiritual depravity and the quickening work of the Holy Spirit etc. to those who were already believers, in passages such as Ephesians 1 & 2, it could be gleaned that they were saved prior to learning these truths, while ignorant of them in fact. This is a perfect example of eisegesis, interpreting a biblical text using one’s own ideas, in other words reading into the scriptures what is simply not there, for the same can be said about Christ’s Righteousness, the ground of our salvation (see Rom. 3-5). Paul also wrote to believers about this, but does that mean we are to assume that one does not have to believe, or even know about, the righteousness of Christ before one is saved? Of course not. Are we to assume that because Paul wrote to believers about redemption and even the fact that they are saved by grace (see Eph. 1 & 2), this means they were ignorant of these Gospel essentials yet saved? Hardly. Then we have Paul’s preaching to the men of Athens, in Acts 17, where neither election nor the righteousness of Christ are mentioned. Are we to glean from this that neither doctrine is essential to Gospel preaching? Of course not. Now, our enemies will say, ‘But Acts 17:18 says that Paul preached Jesus unto them, so he must have included righteousness'. This is true, but if Paul preached about righteousness he must also have spoken about the fact that Christ’s death was for all the elect of God, for to preach Christ aright one must speak about what He has done and to rightly elucidate what Christ has done, one must speak about those for whom He has done it. One man has said, ‘You can preach the Gospel all day and never mention election'. Of this I have no doubt, for there are many who preach false gospels all day long who do not mention election, as if embarrassed, or even ashamed, of such a teaching. You cannot speak about righteousness without specifying who that righteousness was established for and imputed to. To separate who Christ died for from the righteousness He has established, is to draw a line between what He has done and those for whom He has done it. More on this later. All of what it took to get God’s chosen ones from a lost state to a saved state, from election to final glorification, must be believed. The Gospel is all about grace and salvation, therefore all such doctrine that deals with grace and salvation is Gospel doctrine.

 

 

 

 

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The belief of the truth of the word of His Gospel does not take an age to complete, it does not come slowly and gradually, but the whole Gospel is believed at the outset of one’s being born again, for no spiritual birth can occur without the seed of the whole Gospel of God. No spiritual birth has occurred without belief in all of the grace necessary to ensure and secure salvation. The Gospel is the Seed of grace, and the Body of Christ is the product, or fruit, of that grace, and none can be saved who know not what that Seed of grace, the Gospel, is. A seed is not sown in the ground after the tree has begun to grow. No part of a seed is withheld in the sowing stage and only added as an afterthought once growth, or life, is evident. The whole seed is that which must be sown and then, and only then, comes the life. The Seed of God is the whole Gospel and not merely part of it. "Being born again...of incorruptible (seed), by the Word of God....And this is the Word which BY THE GOSPEL is preached unto you" (1 Pet. 1:23,25). From the Word comes the life; from the Gospel, which is preached to you, or sown in you, comes the life. Therefore a man is born again when he is born of the whole Gospel, the whole Seed of God, and not just part of it. Relevant to this is the fact that if one plants a whole apple seed, an apple tree will result. But if any part of that apple seed is cut off, even if it receives the slightest nick, it is corrupted and nothing will grow from that seed! Nothing in the physical world used symbolically in the Scriptures to represent a spiritual truth will conflict with its spiritual counterpart. If a man could be saved by believing part of the Gospel, there would be room for him to believe wrongly about the part he remains ignorant of. And this would reveal his gospel as nothing but a false gospel, for none can say that the Gospel of God, the only Gospel which saves, contains or could contain any falsehood whatsoever. Having a faith which believes in only a few salvation doctrines and not all, is to have a faith which is indistinguishable from the faith that is common to all men, by which God has never saved anyone. Each grace doctrine is part of that Gospel Seed, and not one of those doctrines stands alone as the Gospel of God and relegates the others to mere fruits. No one is born again who remains ignorant of any part of salvation. The Gospel is the Seed of God, therefore the Gospel of the grace of God is the Seed of God which gives birth to His eternal offspring. This is due in part to the fact that there must be no room, when it comes to the salvation of a man, for man to boast in any of his works as that which contributes to a man’s salvation. No one claiming to be saved by the grace of God could possibly be ignorant of what the Gospel of that grace teaches. They cannot either knowingly or ignorantly deny any of the grace doctrines, all that it took for God to save His people by His grace, or the rightful place each of these doctrines have in the Gospel, thereby changing what the Gospel is and what they must believe at the outset of their Christian lives.

 

From all this, it is not difficult to see that the Gospel of the grace of God could never be made up of only one doctrine, no matter what it is. For no one doctrine can cover, or was meant to cover, the whole of the work of grace in salvation. I can immediately hear the enemies of the cross say, ‘But there is only one doctrine that is the ground of salvation, therefore only belief in one doctrine is necessary at the outset of a believer’s life'. My response is: How can you preach about what Christ did if you do not mention those whom He did it for, and therefore election? How will you preach Christ’s death, and imputation of righteousness, if you do not mention the chosen generation? You cannot say, ‘Christ died’, for whom did He die for? You cannot even say that ‘Christ saves’, without explaining how He saves, which will reveal who He saves. Can you begin to see that the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness does not stand alone, and therefore cannot be preached without the other doctrines which explain saving grace? No one Member of the blessed Trinity did all that was necessary to save God’s people from their sins, but rather the entire Godhead was needed and necessary for the salvation of God’s elect. Yes, Christ had to die for a people to establish for them a righteousness by which God could pronounce them just, but there would have been no people for Christ to die for had the Father not elected a people based on His purpose and grace. Imagine leaving out the Father’s work from the Gospel or that of the Son’s! Imagine the Gospel of salvation without the Almighty Holy Spirit! Or imagine Christ saying to His people, ‘You don’t have to believe that what My Father did or what the Holy Spirit did in salvation is in the Gospel, just believe what I did. You don’t have to believe that I atoned for the sins of My people, those whom the Father gave Me, just believe that I atoned for sins. You don’t have to believe that My righteousness is imputed to God’s elect, just believe that My Righteousness is imputed'. What a way to proclaim the glorious Christ and the fact He has died for God’s chosen, whom the Holy Spirit quickens. Christ could not have done what He did if He were not given the people He was to die for, and all of this would have been pointless if the Holy Spirit did not quicken each one of those people that they might believe with the faith of God. This is why Christ came to the earth after God had elected the people He was to be a Substitute for, just as the High priest performed his sacrifice after he had been directed by God to do it for His peopleIn light of all this, it is made clear that you cannot separate the doctrines of grace for they enhance one another and justify each other’s very existence. To rightly believe one is to know and believe the others.

 

NO ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION EXISTS OUTSIDE THE GOSPEL. Each Gospel doctrine, each act in the salvation of man, made the subsequent act possible which in turn confirmed the necessity of the one which preceded it. For instance, there could have been no atonement if there was no election whereby those whose sins were to be atoned were determined. Therefore, election made atonement possible and atonement confirms that those whose sins were atoned for had to have been previously elected by grace unto salvation. Likewise, there could be no regeneration if Christ had not done what He did for the people God chose. Therefore, if God had not chosen a people for Christ to die for, there would have been no need of, and no purpose for, regeneration for all would have remained in their sin. If one cannot separate what Christ did from what the Father has done and what the Holy Spirit does, then surely these great acts cannot be detached from the Gospel message. To separate the grace doctrines which make up the Gospel, in any way and for any reason, is to split the Trinity. It is to cause division within the Triune Godhead by saying that one doctrine is more important than the others or that one Member of the Trinity is more important than the other. It would be pointless to say ‘Christ established perfect righteousness’ if there had not been a people for Him to establish righteousness for and impute it to, and if these one’s were never made alive to God, and therefore His salvation truth. To cause division within the Trinity is to say that one can be saved without the work of the Father or the Holy Spirit but by the Son alone, or without the work of the Son or the Father but by the Holy Spirit alone, or without the work of the Son and Holy Spirit but by the Father alone. It is to say that the work of one or more Persons in the Trinity is not an essential and irrevocable part of the Gospel, of God’s salvation plan. Again, when speaking of salvation, if it had to be done it must then be believed. If it had to be done to save, then it must be in the Gospel that saves, and if it is in the Gospel that saves it must be believed for one to be saved. It is nonsensical, blasphemous, and of the highest heretical order, to cause the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God, which deal with salvation, and therefore the Trinity itself, to be in competition with each other. Salvation is a work of the WHOLE GODHEAD!! Salvation is a work that took all of the grace of God to make perfect and is something that can never be, if there is any part of it missing. If one is ignorant of any part of the grace it took to save a man, or knowingly refuses to believe in the whole of grace as that which is necessary to save a man—that which Scripture calls The Gospel—one is destitute of the truth and remains an unjustified sinner.

 

Choose any doctrine of the Gospel of God’s grace as that which alone must be believed in order for a man to be saved and you will immediately see the gaping holes which are left which can only leave a man to think that he must perform certain works in order to make his salvation complete, or that He was chosen because of something God foresaw he would do, or that regeneration comes after one has made his ‘choice’ for God. Any ‘Gospel’ that demands the belief of anything lying outside of it, such as who Christ actually died for and their election according to grace, as essential to salvation, which does not already have these teachings encapsulated in it, reveals itself as an incomplete gospel, a powerless gospel, a gospel which simply cannot save. Such a concept is foreign to all that the Scriptures teach. In other words, a gospel that requires supplementation of any kind, even if that supplementation is made up of right doctrine, before one can be pronounced saved, is a gospel that God has not authored, it is not the Gospel of salvation. For it to be the Gospel of salvation, it stands to biblical reason that belief in all that is in the Gospel is enough to save. For it to be the Gospel of salvation, it stands to biblical reason that everything to do with salvation must be in that Gospel. Some may argue, ‘But we are not supplementing the Gospel because the things we speak of are all to do with salvation, and we don’t take away from those doctrines because we insist that one must believe them to be saved'THEN WHY AREN’T THEY IN THE GOSPEL!!! And if they are not in the Gospel, why must they be believed? What have you turned the Gospel into if one remains lost whilst believing it? How can you say that there are doctrines which are essential to salvation, but not part of the Good News of salvation? The Gospel is what a person must believe to be saved (Mk. 16:16). Once you believe the Gospel you evidence a saved state. So to say that there is anything one must believe in addition to what Christ Himself has said is essential to, and therefore sufficient for, salvation, IS adding to God’s Word. Believe the Gospel and you shall be saved is God’s declaration. To say that one must believe anything outside of that Gospel to be saved is to say, ‘Believe the Gospel and you will not be saved until you believe these other things which are not part of what you must believe to be saved'It is sheer and utter nonsense. "If one can be saved whilst being wrong or ignorant of a grace doctrine, how then can it be essential to one’s salvation?" No one can prove or show from the Word of God that there exists anything outside of the Gospel itself that is an essential to the salvation of a man. Christ says that those who believe the Gospel "SHALL BE SAVED" and those who don’t believe the Gospel—who fail to believe all of its doctrines, or even all but one of its doctrines"shall be damned" (see Mk. 16:16). So we see that whatever the Gospel is, once you believe its teachings, you evidence a saved state. Therefore there can be nothing outside of what the Gospel teaches that can be said to be essential to salvation, for Christ pronounces you saved upon your belief of His Gospel. Belief of the Gospel shows that God has regenerated you, made you alive, to see and believe all that it took to save you and that it is all due to the grace of God, which His Gospel teaches. Failure to believe all that the Gospel says and is, is to reveal a lost state. There are things over which not all Christians are in agreement, and things that all Christians agree are not part of the Gospel, but rather the fruit of believing it. But every Christian believes the same doctrines of the same Gospel of the grace of God. No one can say, after reading these words of the Lord Jesus Christ, that there is anything essential to salvation which lies outside of the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God. In light of this, how can anyone fall for such a lie and say that a doctrine dealing with grace in salvation, which is therefore an essential to a right and saving knowledge of God, Who He is and how He saves, is not part of the Gospel of the grace of salvation?

 

Gospels that do not cover the whole of the grace of God leave a man with nothing else to conclude but that salvation is partly conditioned on what he does rather than on all of what God has done to save him by His grace. The Gospel is that which must be believed if any are to be saved. The reason for this is that the Gospel articulates what God has done to save His people from their sins. It shows what it is that God has done, and by what means He has done it, that a man must place his trust in and look to for the whole of his salvation and not some of it or even most of it. The doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God must all be believed, for salvation is based on what a man believes, what he trusts in. TO TRULY TRUST IN GRACE, ONE MUST BELIEVE IN GRACE, THE WHOLE OF GRACE. Salvation is by grace through faith. Therefore, as there can be no salvation without the whole of grace, there can be no saving faith unless it is that faith which believes in the whole of the Gospel of the whole of the grace of God. Faith is given so that grace might be believed, so that salvation can be evidenced. There is no salvation evident unless all the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God are firmly and unremittingly believed. If one does not trust in the true God and the only way He saves, which is totally by grace, one cannot be said to be a true believer, for it is obvious that one has not received the faith of God, by the grace of God, to believe exclusively all of what He has said must be believed if any are to be saved. If one is to believe in and hope in and trust in that whereby God saves His people, one must believe in all that God has done, not just one part of it, via His great plan of salvation, which plan is revealed in His Gospel. If one holds to a gospel which does not reveal that whole plan of salvation by grace, one simply does not have the Gospel of God. Whether your gospel is made up of one doctrine, or all but one doctrine, you have not the Gospel of God unless you have ALL the doctrines that have to do with grace and salvation. One can be assured that God’s Gospel teaches all of the grace it took to save all of His people from their sins. It leaves nothing to the imagination. It needs, and therefore leaves, nothing to be added to it. There is nothing you must believe subsequent to the Gospel in order to be saved, or ‘more saved’.

 

Before we proceed any further in our study of what qualifies a teaching as part of the Gospel of salvation, before we look any further into that which actually defines, and therefore that by which God has determined the doctrines of the Gospel, let us spend some time looking more closely at the claim of those who insist that the Righteousness of Christ is the only doctrine that must be preached and believed, and therefore what the Gospel of God is about, in order for a person to show they have been justified by God. Of particular significance is the fact that coupled with this teaching there exists an unwarranted yet quite concentrated attack on the doctrine of election. It is said that election, though a true and very real part of essential salvation knowledge, must never be preached to the ungodly! The reason for this, according to some people, is that if election were mentioned it would prevent the Gospel being preached as a sincere promise to every individual ever born, and so would cause people to wonder if they were elect rather than concentrating on what Christ has done. There are some of those in the ‘Calvinist’ camp who say that election is the Gospel. That once one has preached sovereign election, one has preached the Gospel of God. This is as ignorant a statement as that which says that once one has preached the Righteousness of Christ one has preached the whole Gospel of God. Let me make it quite clear that election is NOT the Gospel but there can be no Gospel, no complete Message of the grace of God, without it. The same can be said about regeneration. Regeneration is not the Gospel but there can be no Gospel, no complete salvation message, without it. If the righteousness of Christ is the heart of the Gospel, then its soul is the election of grace: God electing the people to whom Christ’s righteousness would be imputed. Again, this unwarranted attack on the beautiful, love-motivated, grace-based doctrine of election as part of the Gospel is based on the teaching that one cannot preach the Gospel as a sincere promise to all, reprobate included, if election is part of that Gospel. One cannot say to an individual or to a crowd of people that ‘God has chosen you’, or ‘Christ has died for you, and so leaving election out. But where in the Scriptures is the Christian directed to preach to anyone that ‘God has chosen you’, or ‘Christ has died for you’"Moreover as God wants to save all and offers Christ to all in the preaching, the Gospel is reduced to a crippled truncated version of itself. You cannot under the offer preach the doctrine of election as good news for sinners that, ‘all that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me’ (Jn. 6:37). This goes into the theological closet. Likewise, since faith, repentance and conversion are the conditions man must fulfill to receive the proffered salvation, they also can no more be preached as the glorious work of God, the effectual fruit of the atonement. They too must go into the theological closet. The Gospel is reduced to a truncated word about the cross, without its efficacy, design, power and purpose. That by ‘one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified’ (Heb. 10:14) belongs in the closet, it is too definite. Soteriology and the saving efficacy of the cross in Christology, likewise join God’s Sovereignty in the theological closet, especially on the mission field. Instead an unfruitful divine desire to save all men must be preached." This election-less preaching to the ungodly is the flip side of the coin which promotes the spurious teaching of the Primitive Baptists that Christians are to only preach the Gospel to the elect! But how can one know who is elect prior to their hearing and believing the Gospel of God? How one can recognise an elect person before their belief of the Gospel is a mystery none can solve. Equally mysterious is the claim that one cannot preach the Gospel to people if election is part of that Gospel. But how can it be preached that Christ died to save His people from their sins but not that God elected those people according to His glorious grace? Were this claim found to be true, we would also have to say that one could not, in the preaching of the Person and Work of Christ, preach what He actually did on the cross for this would reveal who He had done it for. To speak of who Christ died for is to instantly speak of a select group of people and not every individual ever born. That this could be done without mention of election by grace is an impossibility. How could, and why would, anyone want to freely talk about the act of grace of Christ’s dying for His people but not mention the act of grace that elected those people whom Christ was to die for? If you do not agree with this, try and preach Christ and Him crucified to yourself and see if you can do it without mentioning what He did, who He did it for, and why He had to do it. Any preaching of Christ and what He has done that is not as specific and definite as what He did, will always lead to some form of universalism. The angel in Matthew 1:21 declared election when he said of the Lord Jesus, "...He shall save His people from their sins"; and Christ also preached election when He proclaimed, "I am the Good Shepherd: the Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep"; and "...I lay down My life for the sheep" (Jn. 10:11,15). Christ had no problem speaking of election to His disciples and the unregenerate: "Jesus proclaimed the election that is of grace and the Gospel of grace before large congregations of lost people. He did not try to hide the elective grace of God. To a large crowd of more than 5,000 He declared, "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to me...and this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (Jn. 6:37-39). On another occasion Jesus was speaking to a congregation of people among whom were lost folk. He said to some of them: "...ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep..." (Jn. 10:26). He then proceeded to say unto them: "My sheep hear My voice..." (Jn. 10:27)." Those who frown upon the preaching of the doctrine of election to the lost, who condemn us for preaching the election of grace as part of the Gospel when the lost are present, are obliged to condemn the angel’s declaration in Matthew as well as the preaching of Jesus and the apostles, for they never kept the light of the Gospel of grace hidden away in some sanctified corner. As we have seen, election is a doctrine of grace that the Gospel of grace cannot do without and therefore it MUST be preached as part of that Gospel.

 

Various ones, even some so-called reformed folk, have gotten it into their heads that the Gospel is to be preached as a personal promise to everyone, that it is an open and free ‘offer’ of salvation to all. Because of this, some claim that nothing should be part of the Gospel but the ground of salvation: the righteousness of Christ. This ‘free offer’ is the essence, the very heart, of Arminian teaching that has spawned the doctrinal monstrosity known as universal atonement, and scores of other perverted doctrines! Where, it may well be asked, does the Word of God say that the Gospel is to be preached as a promise to all? Of a certainty, anyone who believes the Gospel will be saved, but this is a far cry from what is taught by the enemies of the Gospel, that the Gospel must be preached as a personal promise to all who hear it. "Nowhere in the Bible does God make an offer of salvation to anyone. He doesn’t even offer the Gospel to His elect! The Bible never uses the word ‘offer’ or ‘proffer’ in connection with the Gospel. The word(s) that is used in conjunction with it is ‘preached’", (which can mean proclaim or publishor ‘declare’ (1 Thess. 2:9; Heb. 4:2; 1 Cor. 15:1). Salvation through Jesus Christ is to be proclaimed, it is to be announced and published "throughout the world, but never is an offer to be made to accept Him or for salvation (see Matt. 24:14; 26:13; Mk. 6:12; 16:20; Lk. 4:44; Acts 8:5; 9:20;13:5; 14:7; Col. 1:23)." The only offer the Bible alludes to when speaking of Christ is that which He has made to the Father in offering Himself up as a perfect sacrifice for those whom the Father has given Him (see Jn. 6:37). Paul told the Christians at Ephesus that Christ "...hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour" (Eph. 5:2 cf. Heb. 7:27; 9:14; 10:10,14).

 

The Gospel is a declaration of what must be believed in order for one to be saved. The Gospel stipulates what the salvation of God’s people involved, and consequently what they all must, and will, believe. The Gospel cannot be preached to anyone as a personal promise, that ‘this is what God has done for you’, but only as a proclamation, a public announcement, of what it is that God has done to save, NOT EVERYONE, but His people from their sinsOne cannot keep secret who salvation is for, just as one cannot be secretive about what has been done to save. How can one preach salvation without preaching what has been done to save and for whom salvation has been purchased? As we have already learned, one cannot even preach the name of Christ without alluding to those He would save. Matthew 1:21 tells us: "...thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins". This verse of Scripture alone encapsulates the Person of Christ, the Work of Christ, and who He would die for—which tells us what He would do and in turn shows that He would be the Savior Who would save HIS people from their sins. You cannot preach Christ unless you speak of what He did and for whom He did it. Once believed, the Gospel becomes a personal statement by God to the believer that this is what God has done to save him from his sins. Words such as preached and proclaim teach us that the Gospel is never taught as "...an offer conjoined to that proclamation. Nowhere in the scriptures do we ever find the blasphemous idea that God is begging or pleading with sinners to ‘accept’ His Son....We are to just preach and proclaim the Good News, and God makes the application to those that He has predestined. This idea of the ‘offer of salvation’ comes from the belief that spiritually dead people can regenerate themselves by their own free will unto salvation." Verses like John 10:28 and John 17:2 show us that eternal life is given to God’s chosen ones and not something that is ‘offered’ to the world. "Salvation is applied to the elect, but never offered. It is preached to the world, but never offered. The offer destroys the authority, seriousness and power of the call of the Gospel by introducing an anaemic gospel of an impotent god. The very need for a Sovereign Savior of mere grace is destroyed, for God is said to offer that which was not purchased in the blood of Christ, to desire to impart to sinners that which Christ did not effect on the cross for them. It destroys the holiness, righteousness and truth of God. It sets God’s mercy against His own justice by overthrowing the principles of atonement. Jesus no longer actually saves, but only wants to if we will accept Him. It is demeaning to Christ crucified." The Gospel, therefore, is to be proclaimed as a heavenly statement that this is how God saves.The Gospel is intrinsically a declaration of how God saves and who God saves; that salvation is wholly of God and therefore wholly of grace and does not require even a single work of man’s to ensure its success. If the Gospel leaves no room for man to boast in what he has done, then it must be that grace covers all that was necessary for the salvation of a man, from election to glorification. If that grace in salvation is not what the Gospel of salvation is about, then someone had better rewrite the Bible! A Gospel that pronounces the spiritual deadness of man cannot expect, and therefore presume, to call on man to make a free-will decision to ‘accept’ Christ by making itself an offer to every individual. To properly offer the Gospel to every man, one must preach a christ who has died for every man. Otherwise one would have the absurd situation of Christ dying only for the elect, but what He did for them being offered to those for whom He did not die, upon the condition of their faith!! The Gospel of grace pronounces the deadness of man and then turns his attention to the grace of God as the only thing by which he can be saved.

 

Christ told His disciples to "...preach (not offer) the Gospel to EVERY creature" (Mk. 16:15). And one could not find a word further removed from the principle of what it means to offer, than ‘preach’! To offer something is to present something for acceptance or rejection. What Christ did does not become real upon a person’s acceptance of it, but upon the Father’s acceptance! Christ’s sacrifice was made for His people TO God. Christ is not on offer to men but is an offering to God, and it is God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrificial offering which has validated and confirmed what He has done as that which takes away the sins of those He did it for (see Eph. 5:2; Heb. 9:12,14; 10:12). God promised an inheritance for His people and it was put into force by the Death of His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore it was by means of Christ’s death, and not the ‘free-will’ acceptance of it, that put into effect His last Will and Testament (see Heb. 9:15-17). The receiving of this great gift of salvation is, in reality, not a work of man’s but the granting of a gift by God; it is the moment that God has appointed to open the eyes of one of His elect by His Holy Spirit through regeneration. Religion has always placed the emphasis on the moment (in time) when a man is saved, on man’s choosing God, on man assenting to the will of God, when in reality it is the granting and reception, by God’s grace, of a Gift—the Gift of salvation. It is a presentation by a loving God to a vessel made willing by Him to receive it (see Heb. 9:15,16; 9:22; Lev. !7:11). In terms of salvation being an offer to all, it would mean that salvation had been achieved for all, otherwise how could one offer that which has no basis in reality? How could a man both love his wife and simultaneously offer that love to another woman? His love is exlcusively for his wife and is not made available for any other woman. So too, Christ’s love is for His people, those whom God has given Him, and what He has done for them is not available or offered to anyone else (see Eph. 5:25). In short, Christ did not offer Himself to the world but to God (Eph. 5:2). "There was never a generalized atonement or sacrifice made on behalf of all men and nations. Abel’s sacrifice, a firstling of his flock, availed for himself but not for Cain. On the first Passover, each family’s firstborn was protected by their own, individual, specific lamb. There was no lamb slain universally, offered to Israelites and Egyptians alike, if they would only accept it. In the Old Testament, offerings were always offered to God. God is never presented as offering love, salvation, grace, a chance, or anything else to the sinner. The Gospel is not ‘Christ died for sins.’ It is not ‘Christ died for you.’ Nowhere does any prophet or apostle say indiscriminately, ‘Christ loves you,’ ‘God loves you,’ or ‘Christ died for you’ to a general audience. The Gospel is never ‘Christ died for your sins,’ but it entails exactly "...how that Christ died for OUR sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3). WHOEVER IS INCLUDED IN THE ‘OUR’, ALONG WITH PAUL, MUST BE DEFINED BY THE OLD TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES OR IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL. Then, in order to have the true Gospel, (1) Christ, (2) died, (3) our and (4) sins must all be defined according to the Old Testament Scriptures. Man’s idealistic and often hypocritical ‘love for mankind,’ his desire to offer salvation to all, and his hatred of sovereign election are all part of a false and perverted gospel."

 

Atonement was not conditioned on a man’s choice, but was made by Divine appointment for those God had Sovereignly elected unto salvation. The Lord Jesus informed His disciples that those who hear Him and believe shall be saved, and that those who hear and do not believe shall be condemned, in fact, are condemned already (Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:18)! This certainly would have prevented His disciples from ever thinking that anyone would be saved who ‘believed’ some of the Gospel doctrines, but not the whole Message, or that any were to be judged saved because of their character and conduct, despite their not believing the Gospel. Those who believe the whole Message of the whole grace of God shall be saved and those who do not believe any of it, part of it, or even most of it but not all of it, WILL NOT!! How can the Gospel possibly be preached as a promise to all, when Christ has died only for those God has given Him? The command is for it to be preached to all because we do not know who will believe. The command is for all to repent, but this is not because all can repent based on their alleged ‘free will’, it is simply a call to all types of men—poor, rich, good, bad—men of every nation, be they paupers or kings. All must repent, all must believe, if any are to be saved.

 

How could the whole Gospel ever be preached, and therefore how could salvation ever take place, if the great truth of Christ’s death for God’s elect, which contains within it what Christ has actually done, is hidden away in some dark corner? To clear up any misgivings one might have as to whether or not the Gospel is to be preached as a personal promise, or as an offer, to everyone, we turn to Acts 2:39 which states in no uncertain terms: "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Here the writer speaks of the promise of the Holy Spirit in connection with salvation. That this promise, that all who repented and believed would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, was not only for the current generation but extended to future generations. Clearly, the promise is not to all, in terms of every individual, but to all whom the Lord shall call. God cannot and has not promised anything to anyone He has not done anything for! The promise of eternal life is to His seed, His people, and no others (see Heb. 2:16,17). Those who believe this, believe that God has elected a people to be saved, has elected a people for His Son to die for, has elected a people for His Holy Spirit to quicken. No one can be saved who does not believe this. The Scriptures say that salvation is of faith "...that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure TO ALL THE SEED..." (Rom 4:16; cf. Isa. 45:17,25; 53:10,11; Rom. 9:1-8; Gal. 3:6,7,16-18,29). The promise of salvation is to all of God’s seed. As all the work of salvation was performed on the behalf of, and for the benefit of, the seed, how could one go about sincerely promising salvation to every individual, and then condition that salvation on their faith and repentance? How can one say to every individual, ‘Christ has died for you’, when the Scriptures make it clear that Christ has died for the elect and not for everyone? Any gospel that does not proclaim Christ’s death for God’s elect is a gospel that cannot detail what Christ has accomplished by His death. Any gospel that does not proclaim Christ’s death for the elect will always condition a person’s salvation upon their decision to accept what He has done. The Gospel is to be preached, proclaimed and declared, not promised based on a condition man can fulfill.

 

We have the Primitive Baptists in one corner preaching a gospel only to the elect, and in the other corner we have those who claim that for the Gospel to be preached at all, it must be preached without election so that it may be preached as an offer to all. Both schools of thought have arisen out of a carnal understanding of what salvation is and therefore what it is to preach the Gospel. The latter group believe preaching the Gospel is to preach it as a personal promise and free offer to every individual that hears it that God will save them if they would only believe. But how can one make such a grand promise as this when God has elected, not everyone, but a remnant from every nation according to the election of grace and given these ones to Christ to die for, and to the Holy Spirit to regenerate. To offer salvation to every individual is to lie and give false hope to those whom God has appointed not unto salvation but unto His wrath (see 1 Thess. 5:9). ‘Preach the Gospel of Christ’s death for God’s elect to all’ is the call of every Christian. A free offer/personal promise not only eliminates election from preaching, it completely does away with the doctrine of election altogether. What need was there for God to elect anyone when man can choose for himself? You cannot have predestination if you have a salvation which is conditioned on a man’s decision. Can you see how these teachings always put man first and God second, and that God is always bowing to man’s will and not the other way round? Obviously, election and the free offer cancel each other out. If one has election, the Gospel cannot be a free offer, and conversely if one has a free offer to all then one cannot have election. The biblical response to this is to not ‘preach the Gospel only to the elect’, for no one knows who the elect are until they believe the Gospel. The biblical response is not ‘preach salvation as an ‘offer’ to everyone’, for salvation has not been accomplished for everyone. All that remains is for one to preach the Gospel as God’s way of salvation, preach it as a declaration and herald it as a public announcement to every creature in every corner of the globe and rest assured in the knowledge that the Lord will apply it to the hearts and minds of those He has elected and appointed unto salvation. Hence the words of Christ "...preach the Gospel to EVERY creature" (Mk. 16:15). At once, preaching the Gospel to every creature precludes it from being a promise of salvation to all as Christ has died for only some, and from preaching it only to the elect or to any one group of people. Now of course, all those who believe the Gospel will be saved, but far from meaning that the Gospel is an offer to all, it simply means that any and all who believe it will be saved. Salvation is not exclusive to any one group based on which country a person was born in or how religious one has been or because one belongs to this religious group or not. Salvation is for those who believe the Gospel, and all believers have been predestinated to salvation through election by grace (see Eph. 1:4,5).

 

Not preaching election to the ungodly could never change the fact that the elect are the ones Christ died for, establishing a perfect righteousness on their behalf, and to whom His affections are drawn. God will save those who believe the Gospel, and these are they whom He elected unto salvation. It is of the utmost importance to know that one cannot rightly preach the Gospel, and therefore is forbidden to preach it, in a way that would leave a person under the false impression that Christ has died for them, for one does not know whether Christ has or has not died for them. And it is no small thing to say, or even imply, that Christ has done anything for any man, let alone shed His precious blood for them! This shuts out the erroneous belief that the Gospel is to be presented as a personal promise, or offer, to everyone it is preached to. The Gospel is not to be preached as an offer, but as a proclamation of how God saves. The Gospel is a declarative statement in regards to God’s saving His people by His grace. The Gospel is a defining statement of how God saves and who God saves. Every part of the Gospel, apart from the doctrine of the spiritual fall of mankind in Adam, talks about those people for whom salvation is prepared. God chose a people, Christ died and is risen again for those people, and the Holy Spirit quickens those people, and no others. Faith is given to them, repentance is given to them, they are the ones who are sanctified, they are the ones to whom is given everlasting life etc. Their salvation does not depend upon them, it does not await their decision for God, but is made possible by the grace of God via the ground floor doctrine of election, for Christ died for those people and the Holy Spirit regenerates those people. This is how God saves and if you believe this, you too will be saved. Your faith in this Gospel evidences your election, which guarantees your reception of the Gospel as the truth of God. There is no generality when it comes to the Gospel, no ambiguity, for every part of its message is speaking specifically about the elect. From election to Christ’s atonement to the quickening work of the Holy Spirit, all was performed for a particular people and not for every individual ever born. Why anyone would think that to preach that Christ died for the people God has given Him is to immediately place doubt in a person’s mind that they could be one of those people, is rather a mystery. There is nothing in such a teaching that even remotely suggests this. On the contrary, election immediately gives hope to the person who believes that all are dead in sin and dead to God. Every person who knows this knows that all they have to do is believe. Christ’s Gospel places the emphasis on believing, not on whether one is elect or not. PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE, TELLING THEM WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED AND FOR WHOM IT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED. Anything short of this, any gospel that fails to preach the specifics of the salvation message, any gospel that shields its listeners from any part of salvation knowledge, is a false gospel. THE GOSPEL IS GIVEN TO REVEAL THE TRUTH, NOT OBSCURE ONE’S VIEW OF IT. In light of this, one can see in an immediate and absolutely conclusive way that the Gospel is not, and cannot be, something to be offered to people like some cheap product awaiting the public’s acceptance, but it is to be proclaimed as the way to salvation. To offer the Savior is to "...degrade the Savior and His salvation into articles of vendition offered at the cheap price of the sinner’s goodwill". To offer Christ suggests by implication that He cannot save anyone without a person’s consent, thus conditioning salvation upon a man’s will and not the will of God.

 

The truth of the Gospel of sovereign grace has always been under attack from the lie of universalism. This is principally due to the fact that universalism is a humanistic tenet. It places man first and God second in its theological order. "The student of Church history soon learns that the lie which preaches a universal love of God, sovereign-man and self-salvation is a chameleon, constantly changing its appearance in order to infiltrate...and gain control of the content and preaching of the Gospel. Augustine engaged this foe when he defended the Sovereignty of God’s grace against the rank universalism of Pelagius. The Reformers dealt it a mighty blow when they demolished Rome’s stronghold of semi-Pelagianism. The Synod of Dordt, when it condemned Arminianism, attained a glorious victory over it. Undaunted however, it assumed the even more plausible guise of Amyraldianism, but was again driven back by the Church of Scotland in the 18th century Marrow controversy. The old enemy has not abandoned the field, nor has it been idle. Having transformed itself yet again, it now marches under the banner of ‘common’ grace and a ‘well-meant’ offering. Its battle cry is that God loves and desires the salvation of all men in the preaching of the Gospel. It has finally gained the ascendancy and now vaunts itself in the Reformed churches as Reformed ‘orthodox’." One of Satan’s main aims is to get people away from the truth that Christ has died for the elect. If he can do this, he can limit the glory due unto God for salvation from being something that is wholly of grace and shift the focus to what a man must do, thus giving him a share in that glory.