THE DOCTRINES OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD
The teaching that one can be justified by believing Christ’s righteousness and then saved by believing the other grace doctrines, which, though essential to salvation, are not part of the Gospel, makes about as much sense as the claim that, while Christ did not die for everybody, He is dead for everyone. It is about as sensible as the statement: ‘Apart from not being round, that square looks just like a circle'. To leave out any grace doctrine from the Gospel, which is the Good News of God’s grace in the salvation of His people, is to show oneself to be a spiritual buffoon. It does not take a genius to figure out that the doctrines which deal with grace in salvation ALL belong in the Gospel of grace!!! Where else could you put them? Why on earth would you not include them in the very thing which was set up to teach all about grace and salvation? Importantly, the fact that all these marvellous grace doctrines are in the Gospel does not mean each one is the ground of salvation, or that the ground of salvation is made up collectively of all these doctrines. To believe that God has elected people according to His grace and not their works is NOT the ground of salvation, it is not what justifies a man before God, it does not make a man legally righteous before God. But no one who does not believe in election by grace is saved, for being ignorant of, or knowingly rejecting, the fact that it took grace, through election, to get you to be one for whom Christ would die, shows that you believe in some other way. There is room to boast. Simply because a doctrine is not the ground of salvation is no reason to keep it out of the Gospel, for where is it said that the ground of salvation is all the Gospel is? The Gospel is that through which God speaks about His grace in the salvation of His people. Remember, that which is not in the Gospel is not essential to salvation. How can it be when Jesus the Lord said that belief of the Gospel is unto salvation! Doesn’t this prove that all that must be believed to be saved is in that Gospel? Of course it does. Therefore, those who believe the Gospel that speaks only of the righteousness of Christ, have no business in teaching that one must believe the other grace doctrines to be saved, for God says that belief in His Gospel saves. Therefore, any doctrine that must be believed in order for one to be saved MUST, by definition, be in the Gospel of salvation. Belief in the true God’s Gospel IS salvation!! There is nothing outside of its bounds that you must also believe to be saved. The ground of salvation is Jesus Christ—all that He is and all that He has done—but grace did not only have to provide a Savior, grace had to also choose those the Savior was to die for, and grace also had to provide the Holy Spirit Who would regenerate them. Surely one is not so foolish as to omit regeneration from the Gospel of salvation, or even election which provided the Son with a people to die for and the Spirit a people to make alive. The Gospel of God’s grace is all about God’s grace in salvation. It starts from election and ends with the glorification of all His chosen ones, to whom Christ has imputed His Righteousness and whom the Holy Spirit has made alive.
The Gospel is the Good News of the grace of God in doing everything to save His chosen people from their sins, therefore no one has any biblical right to keep any doctrine that teaches the grace of God in salvation out of the Gospel. The ground of justification, that by which we are made, and presented to God, blameless and faultless, is the righteousness of Christ. Christ washes away the sins of His people and replaces them with His perfect Righteousness so that there remains no condemnation for such people, their sins being forgiven and forgotten (see Rom. 4:6-8). They are pronounced innocent, and what’s more, entitled to heaven, which the righteousness of Christ they have had imputed unto them demands. As I said earlier, where some enemies of the Gospel have got it all wrong is their erroneous conviction that the whole Gospel should be about the ground of justification and so cannot include but one doctrine: the Righteousness of Christ! Their paranoid confusion dictates that if one adds any other doctrine to the Gospel, one is making belief in such a doctrine, or doctrines, part of the ground of salvation. But nowhere in Scripture does it say that the Gospel is the ground of salvation, just as it can nowhere be found that the Gospel is the Righteousness of Christ. All those who savingly believe the Gospel know full well that the ground of salvation is the righteousness of Christ, but they also know that there would be no one to impute this righteousness to were it not for election, and all would have been in vain were it not for regeneration. One does not need to separate the doctrine of the righteousness of Christ from the other grace doctrines to avoid ‘confusion’ as to what the ground of salvation is, for the distinction is made by God when revealing His Gospel to His people. There are no Christians walking about who are in any doubt as to what is the ground of their salvation; none who think that election is the ground of their salvation or that their faith is. All know that the only ground of their salvation is the Righteousness of Christ, but they are also aware of the fact that there could be no salvation without election or regeneration, and therefore belief of these Gospel particulars. The enemies of the Gospel of God say that the Righteousness of Christ as the ground of salvation is the whole Gospel because this is where our faith must be initially directed. Surely the Scriptures say we must have faith in Christ, that it is He Who is our Savior, that it is He Who should have the pre-eminence, but why should this necessitate the obliteration of the other grace doctrines from the Gospel? One of the clinchers in all this that reveals such a teaching to be wrong is the fact that those who believe it insist that the other grace doctrines are essential to salvation. The fact that they cannot deny this truth, that they cannot escape this truth, is the root cause of their downfall. In doing this, they are obviously trying to have a foot in both camps. It is a case of wanting their cake and eating it too. You must believe the Gospel to be saved. If this meant that all you must believe in is the righteousness of Christ to be saved, then why are other doctrines said to also be essential to salvation? Who cares about any other doctrine! If I am saved by believing aright only the righteousness of Christ, without knowledge of, or correct belief in, the other grace doctrines which teach what the Father and Holy Spirit have done to fulfill the salvation plan, which completely shuts out any works of man from being in that plan, what does anything else matter? Believe the Gospel and you’re saved, so why not take an eat, drink and be merry attitude to anything else: what careth we for other doctrines!! The Gospel includes within it the ground of our salvation; the Gospel includes within it the Righteousness of Christ, but is nowhere declared to be, or contain, only this doctrine. Anyone attempting to defend their belief that the Gospel is only the ground of salvation by saying, ‘But the Bible teaches that the Gospel is the Gospel of Christ', fails to realise that the Gospel is also called "...the Gospel of the uncircumcision..." and "...the Gospel of the circumcision..." (Gal. 2:7). Does this mean that uncircumcision or circumcision is the ground of salvation, or that Jews alone or Gentiles alone can be saved, that belief in such a doctrine is the ground of salvation? Of course not! The Gospel is also referred to as "...the Gospel of peace..." (Rom. 10:15). Does this mean that the ground of salvation is peace, whatever that might mean? Of course not. The Gospel is sometimes referred to as "...the Gospel of the Kingdom..." (Matt. 4:23; 9:35) and "...the Gospel of the Kingdom of God" (Mk. 1:14). Does this mean that the Kingdom of God is the ground of salvation? Of course not. Scripture also says, "...he that endureth to the end shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22). Does this mean that enduring to the end is the ground of salvation? Does "Thy faith hath saved thee..." (Lk. 7:50) mean that faith is the ground of salvation? Not at all. The Gospel includes within it the ground of salvation, the Righteousness of Christ, for we are told that the Gospel reveals the Righteousness of Christ, but is not exclusive to that one doctrine. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation...for therein is the Righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom. 1:17).
Without the Righteousness of Christ there would be no salvation. However much, and however accurately, one believed in the other grace doctrines, no one could be saved without the very thing that justifies a man, the righteousness of Christ. Grace could not be said to reign in a person’s life, one could not be saved by grace, without the righteousness of Christ. The righteousness of Christ is the capstone, if you will, of salvation. However, no one can be saved who knows and believes only the righteousness of Christ and yet remains ignorant of, or mistaken about, the other doctrines that spell out the whole work of grace in the salvation of man. Those who believe that the righteousness of Christ alone is the Gospel of God, and that anything included with this teaching as part of the Gospel makes those teachings part of the ground of salvation as well, fear that having these other doctrines in the Gospel is adding to the Gospel. But this cannot be the reality of the situation, as the doctrine which teaches the ground of salvation and the other doctrines which also have to do with salvation, are all doctrines of grace and they each have as much right as each other to be in the Gospel of grace. They speak of the Work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in salvation. They all deal with salvation and they all teach an aspect of the grace of God it took to enable the perfect plan of salvation to be fulfilled. That perfect plan of salvation is by grace through faith, and it can only be fully revealed by teaching all the grace doctrines that have to do with salvation. How can you have a salvation that is wholly by grace if one does not mention the fact that God has chosen those He wants saved purely by His grace? How can one have a salvation that is wholly by grace if one does not mention the fact that a man is made alive to God by His Holy Spirit? A gospel that does not specify these teachings, which immediately rule out the possibility that God chose a people based on anything concerning their character and conduct or that they managed to attract the Holy Spirit by some inherent goodness in themselves, is a gospel that fails to speak of total grace in the salvation of a man, thus leaving room for man to boast.
What is the Righteousness of Christ? First and foremost, the Righteousness of Christ is a grace doctrine. It is something that could not exist were it not for the grace of God. The doctrines that some say should not be in the Gospel, but at the same time are just as essential as the righteousness of Christ to salvation, are also doctrines that deal with grace in salvation and they are also things which could not be, but for the grace of God. All are said to be essential to saving knowledge, so what is the difference? Why should one, or some, of these doctrines be in the Gospel and the others not? If the doctrine of Christ’s righteousness is in the Gospel because it is primarily a grace doctrine, why would anyone exclude any other grace doctrine from being part of the Gospel when they all have the same qualification? How could any of these other grace doctrines which are, admittedly, essentials to a saving knowledge of God and which enhance the beauty of, and draw one’s attention to, that which is the ground of salvation, possibly be excluded from the Gospel of salvation? This brings us full circle to the flawed premise that the Gospel is solely about the ground of salvation. ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’, but if that step is taken in the wrong direction, the others can but follow. If one has a flawed premise, one that is without foundation, it comes as no surprise that subsequent teachings will also be wrong, because they are based on a misunderstanding or perversion of the Scriptures. Until a scripture can be produced that says the Gospel is the ground of salvation rather than the power of God unto salvation, because it reveals, not because it is, the Righteousness of God unto salvation, such a notion will forever remain a flawed one because it is not based on truth, but on the ignorance of it.
Further to this false premise, that understanding the merits of Christ’s Righteousness alone is to be justified, they say it is where "...all who are truly and savingly submitted to the righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel begin. They may be confused and unlearned in other areas, but this issue is settled in their minds and hearts". I dare say that to be confused in other areas, other doctrines which deal with God’s saving grace, one could never have a proper, biblical understanding, let alone belief, in the righteousness of Christ. How could one believe in the Righteousness of Christ aright if one remains confused about, or ignorant of, the election of grace which is unto salvation? How can you know who Christ died for and therefore what He did if you are in unbelief towards, or ignorant of, the doctrine of election? How can you be preaching Christ’s atonement—what He has done in and through His glorious death—for example, if you have not specified that God, before the foundation of the world, chose a people to give to His Son to make atonement for? (see Jn. 17:2). How can one be preaching the Righteousness of Christ aright without specifying for whom that Righteousness has been established and to whom it will be imputed? Election is essential to knowing what Christ did on the cross. What right had the Old Testament high priest to offer sacrifice only for the people of Israel and not for the whole world? The fact that God had directed him to do this! So too, what right had Christ to offer sacrifice to God for some but not all? The fact that God had elected a remnant and given them to His Son to save! The two doctrines, election and righteousness, are inseparable. Keeping this light under a bushel will keep a man from knowing, and therefore believing, that Christ’s death was an atoning death for everyone for whom He died and not something He did that can only become effective if people accept it. By not knowing who Christ died for, whether it was for some or for everyone, one could never know exactly what He actually accomplished by His death, which lies at the heart of the doctrine of the Person and Work of Christ, and the Gospel. What would, indeed could, Christ have done without election? Who would He have died for? Who would He have come to save? Obviously then, if Christ needed a people to be elected and given to Him so that He could fulfill His role as Savior according to the Scriptures, to neglect or reject such an important doctrine as election as being a Gospel doctrine, would be to remove its essentiality in God’s salvation plan, its vital role in the salvation of God’s people. Hence, these two doctrines, election and righteousness, are forever linked, for they belong to the same salvation plan, not separate ones. They belong to the same Gospel, not separate ones. They enhance each other, and they confirm each other as true and indispensable Gospel doctrines.
An outline of correct Gospel preaching will follow in the ensuing pages. For more detailed teaching, see this author’s other writings. Salvation. What does salvation mean and what is it to be saved? Can one be saved but not justified, or justified but not yet saved? Hardly. Can one believe the Gospel and yet not be saved? Can essential salvation doctrine exist outside of the Gospel? How can it? For Christ has said that if one believes the Gospel one is saved. If there is one thing we have learned, it is the fact that if it must be believed it must be in the Gospel. If this were not so, then we would have to say this: ‘God had to do it to save, but you don’t have to believe it to be saved'. Or, ‘God had to do it to save, but its not in the Gospel of God that saves'. If God had to do it TO save, you must believe it to BE saved and therefore it must be in the Gospel THAT saves!!! By definition the Gospel is what you must believe to be saved, and if you do believe it you are saved. Therefore everything that has to do with salvation, everything that you must believe about salvation, MUST be in the Gospel of salvation! Salvation is the fulfilment of God’s plan for His people. His goal is to save His people from their sins. His goal is to bring all His chosen ones into a saved state before Him, and in that saved state each and everyone of them is presented righteous by Him. Christ is said to save His people from their sins. How does He do this other than by justifying them by His blood (see Rom. 5:9). Scripture says that the Lord’s chosen are "justified by the faith of Christ" (Gal. 2:16); "justified by Christ" (Gal. 2:17); "justified in the name of Jesus" (1 Cor. 6:11). How can anyone presume to think that a person in such a justified-by-Christ state is not a saved person? And how can anyone think that such a person is not aware of, and a believer in, what the word of God says about who Christ died for and what He did by that death! The two go hand in hand, as do all the grace doctrines that teach the various aspects of God’s salvation plan. Ignorance of one part of that plan, or failure to believe one part of that plan, evidences a faith that has not come from God, for He gives faith to His people so that they believe His whole grace Gospel without contradiction or error. The word salvation is used 45 times in the New Testament alone, and a total of 164 times in the whole Bible. The variants of salvation, save, saved, saving can mean rescue or safety, deliver, health, deliver or protect, heal, preserve, be (made) whole, acquisition (the act or the thing) preservation, obtain, purchased, possession. Such is the state of the saved, such is the state of the justified. To be saved speaks "Specifically of salvation from eternal death, sin, and the punishment and misery consequent to sin". Doesn’t this sound like the state of the justified man? Isn’t the justified man spared or freed from all punishment due to his sin, from the guilt and misery and torment due unto his sin, because he stands "...faultless before the presence of His glory..." (Jd. 24)? Of course it does. If Christ is the Savior, what else did He do but save His people from their sins, and how else did He do this but by His righteousness, which justifies all those whom God has given Him. "Salvation of the soul is deliverance from death unto life through Christ (Jn. 6:56; 14:20; Rom. 16:7; 1 Cor. 1:30; 9:1,2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:13)." This of course does not mean that there is only one doctrine, that of Christ, that one must believe in order to be saved, for we know that there are several doctrines in the Bible that deal with grace in salvation. Ignorance of any one of these doctrines precludes a saving faith in the Righteousness of Christ. Righteousness saves, but who would it save without election? Righteousness saves, but who could it save without regeneration? A person cannot be saved if they are not elected, and a person cannot be saved if they are not also regenerated. Therefore, right and saving knowledge of the doctrine of Christ can never be whilst there is any abiding ignorance of all the grace/Gospel doctrines. Any doctrine that has to do with grace and salvation must be believed and is therefore part of the Gospel, for there is nothing essential to saving knowledge that can exist outside of the Gospel of God’s grace, for it is this very Gospel of grace that has borne these teachings and sustains their very existence. A doctrine that teaches God’s grace, which has to do with salvation, can only exist within the oxygen tent of the Gospel. Just as none can be saved who ‘believe’ in the righteousness of Christ without also believing in His resurrection, so too, none are saved who claim to believe in the doctrine of Christ’s Righteousness but remain in ignorance of, or in error concerning, the other grace doctrines that deal with salvation. Christ saves, but that salvation is never accompanied by an ignorance of any of the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God.
We have already learned of man’s deadness in sin and therefore deadness to God, of his fallen sinful state and subsequent inability to even seek the true God. We have also learned that this is the launching pad of, indeed that which necessitates, the grace of God in the salvation of man. The Gospel not only proclaims salvation by grace, it tells you why one needs to be saved and why it could only be by grace. The doctrine of man’s total inability to come to God, or even seek God in and of himself before regeneration, is our introduction to the whole concept of a salvation all by grace. It is the prime doctrine that substantiates and validates the doctrinal truth that salvation can only be, and therefore must only be believed to be, by total grace. If one refuses to believe in the hopelessly sinful state of every man and woman to come out of Adam’s seed, then there is no way they will ever believe the complete Gospel of the total grace of God. Any teaching in regards to the fall of man, even if it is an angel from heaven teaching it, that does not clearly declare that man is DEAD in sin and cannot, and therefore will not, come to God, God’s Way, will lead a man to believe in a false gospel which proclaims that salvation in some way, and to some degree, is conditioned on man. Without this doctrine established in the minds of the hearers, grace just doesn’t make any sense, for why did God have to do everything in the salvation of a man if man has any innate ability to choose God by his own free-will or to find favor with Him according to his own good works. One cannot speak of grace without teaching the reason, and the necessity, for it. One cannot teach the glory of God’s goodness seen in grace, without the doctrine that teaches man’s utter hopelessness and helplessness without Him. Interestingly, God did not even speak about His glory without mentioning the fact that He "...will be gracious to whom (He) will be gracious, and (He) will show mercy on whom (He) will show mercy" (Ex. 33:19). God’s being willing to show mercy to some and not others is the foundation stone of election (see Rom. 9:16-20). Once having established from the Scriptures that man is dead in sin and therefore utterly dead to God to the point he cannot understand the true God, and therefore does not seek Him, the remedy for such a condition destitute of hope can be taught. Of course, that which motivates the grace of God is the love of God, which is all part and parcel of the purpose and will of God according to His mercy. For salvation to be all of grace, it stands to reason that ALL of salvation must be all of grace. Man’s Fall teaches that he cannot choose God but must be chosen of God; he cannot make up for his sins but must have them atoned for by a Savior; he cannot produce a righteousness that can present him blameless and faultless before a Holy God but must have that Righteousness imputed to him by a Savior; and he cannot make a free-will decision for God but must be made alive to God by the Spirit of grace. No area, no issue, no matter that has to do with salvation can be without grace or have anything added to grace for it to be properly dealt with by grace. And the place where salvation by grace is dealt with, the place where salvation by grace is taught, is the Gospel of God. Grace must cover the issue of salvation like a carpet covers a floor: WALL TO WALL! There must be no gaps, or sections left uncovered. The doctrine of salvation cannot be properly, biblically taught if one of these aspects of grace is left out or deemed unnecessary to saving faith, and therefore does not feature in the Gospel.
The Scriptures which make all this perfectly clear, and which lay the very foundation for the Gospel as that which teaches the whole of the grace of God in salvation, and which in fact teach more than may at first be realised, are Ephesians 2:8 and 9: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast". What wonderful Scriptures these are and how crystal clear they are when it comes to the matter of what it is that saves a man and what it is that does not, and cannot, save a man. It is the grace of God through the faith of God that saves a man. From that grace comes election; from that grace comes the Savior, all that He is and all that He has done; and from that grace comes the Holy Spirit Who quickens the minds and hearts of all those the Father has chosen to be His people. Again, election does not save anyone but one cannot be saved without it. Regeneration, alone, does not save anyone but one cannot be saved without it. Any gospel which forbids any part of this saving grace to be part of it, or which labels it as ‘non-Gospel doctrine’ or ‘extra-Gospel doctrine’, reveals itself to be a false gospel, for it leaves room for people to think that salvation in some way, and to some degree, is conditioned upon them. Whether a person is given room to think their obedience contributes to their salvation, or that God has elected them according to His foreseeing that they would choose Him, that they would be receptive to His call, such a one has been preached a false gospel. The true Gospel leaves a man in no doubt as to the why’s and wherefore’s of his salvation, and upon Who that salvation is conditioned, and upon what that salvation is based. The faith that God gives is placed solely and wholly on the grace of God and all that that grace entails. This does not mean that one’s faith is to be placed on election, or regeneration, or even one’s faith, for salvation, but it does mean that a true believer’s faith in the Savior is never without a wholehearted belief in the fact that those for whom Christ died and whom the Holy Spirit regenerates are all elected by God through the means of grace. The belief of, and faith in, the whole of the doctrines of the Gospel of God’s grace are believed instantly upon regeneration and is not a prolonged process that takes days, weeks, months or even years to complete. After the grace doctrines of the Gospel are taught, and at the appointed time God has chosen for a person to believe, one is regenerated by God and given the faith to believe all His Gospel which details the whole of His grace which was necessary, and made the whole of His salvation plan, possible and functional (see Acts 13:48 & Acts 2:47). Salvation does not come in steps. Nor is there any degree of a saved state reached by ‘believing’ one doctrine at a time, for no one could be in a saved, justified state whilst holding to any error concerning any of the doctrines which belong to the Gospel, for this would leave room for man to boast. No one could ever be saved whilst believing a gospel that conditions any part of salvation on a man’s works, or that leaves room for a man to think that at least a part of salvation is conditioned on what he does. A man is not first justified by believing one doctrine, and then saved by believing others. This would leave us with the dilemma of when exactly regeneration takes place, and with such questions as ‘Can a man be justified and regenerated, but not saved?’ or ‘Can a man be justified, but not yet regenerated?’
Grace, that whereby a man is saved, is not a work of man’s, nor is it something deserved or earned, but is a free gift of God. Salvation is not by works so that no man can boast that he has done anything to contribute to his own salvation, or anything he has done that has led God to favor him, which would naturally take away from the glorious grace of God. In fact, anything which takes away from the grace of God is that which completely does away with the grace of God (see Rom. 11:6). If one has works, even one work, one has not grace nor can one claim grace (see Gal. 5:3,4). Likewise, if one has a gospel that leaves out any grace doctrine dealing with salvation, one has a works gospel. If any part of grace is left out of the Gospel, that which must be believed for any to be saved, then salvation must be of works, or at least partly by works. You see, if grace doesn’t cover absolutely everything to do with salvation, there would be room for a man’s works, there would be room for him to boast. Seeing that the scriptures speak clearly on this, that man is saved purely by grace and not according to works, the Gospel of God must not have any room in it to give man’s works a foothold. If man were not, by nature, dead in sin then salvation would not be impossible for him to achieve in and of himself—there must be something he can do to get saved thus there is room to boast. If God had not elected a people by grace alone He must have done it according to respect of persons, or according to the works of a man, and so there would be room to boast. If righteousness did not have to come from another, then man’s own righteousness would have sufficed and so there would be room for man to boast. If man did not need the Holy Spirit to quicken him, to raise him up from his spiritually dead state, then it must be that man can do this himself and thus there is room to boast. If any of these things were true, the Gospel of God would not be a showcase of His glorious grace in salvation, but that which points to the ability of man to get himself out of the spiritual dilemma he is in. As this could never be the case with a God Who saves by grace alone, Who justifies His people by grace alone, it must be concluded that the Gospel is that whereby God teaches all His grace necessary in the salvation of His people. Every square inch of God’s salvation plan is covered by His grace, and so it stands to biblical reason that His Gospel must be the same. Neither the plan, nor that which announces it, leaves any room for man to boast in anything he is or anything he has done. If you’re gospel does, then you have a false gospel, a works gospel. A works gospel is one that conditions salvation on a man’s works, or even partly conditions salvation on what a man must do. A works gospel is one that does not teach all of the grace of God in salvation. Even a gospel that only teaches the righteousness of Christ and no other doctrine is a works gospel. Whilst not leaving its hearers in any doubt that one is justified by what Christ has done and not by their good works, such a gospel leaves room for a man to think that he is responsible for coming to God and choosing Him. As we have seen, this is exactly what the ‘righteousness only’ gospel is linked to, for it does not include election and is offered to its hearers, awaiting their decision to accept it. Any gospel which leaves you to think that you are among the saved because of your choosing God, or that you are saved by what you have done, or that you become saved because of any decision on your part, IS A FALSE GOSPEL!! It is obvious from the above scriptures that salvation, all of salvation, must give all the glory to God, and no part of the Gospel must even hint at the smallest amount of glory being attributed to man for anything he has done (see the author’s book, ‘To Whom Belongs the Glory?). All the glory for salvation belongs solely to God, so what else could the Gospel be, what else could the whole of salvation be reliant upon, than that glorious grace of God!! Only the Gospel of total grace rightly and fully elucidates the whole salvation plan of God. Anything short of this fails in what it claims to be: the Gospel of the grace of God. How could the Gospel be the Gospel of the grace of God if it did not teach all of the grace it took to save a man, from election to final glorification? There are no works of man involved in the Gospel of God, nothing a man can do to get himself saved or keep himself saved, for the Gospel—God’s message of salvation—is all about what God has done to save His people by His grace. The Gospel, rightly and fully preached, as the Lord Himself preached it, allows absolutely no room for a man to think, or be left under the slightest illusion, that any condition of salvation has been reserved for him to fulfill. If it did, it would not be the Gospel of grace, for it would not give all the glory to God for salvation as it would leave room for a man to boast and therefore to think that some of the glory for salvation is rightly and deservingly his. This is why all of salvation had to be all of grace because all of the glory belongs to God.
Hence, we see what the Gospel is all about: the grace of God. Not just some of the grace of God, not even most of the grace of God, but ALL of the grace of God in the salvation of His people. If there is any part of salvation that was by the grace of God you can be certain you will find it in the Gospel of the grace of God!! If it must be believed it must be in the Gospel. Any gospel that fails to tell you the whole story of grace, or that teaches part of the story leaving the other parts well outside the confines of the Gospel, is a fake gospel. It doesn’t even deserve the ‘dignity’ of being called a counterfeit, for it is nothing but a worthless dud! The Gospel of grace is what man must believe to be saved, therefore it must be that which leaves no room for man to boast. If a man is saved by grace alone, then it stands to biblical reason that the Gospel he must believe tells him of all the grace it took to save him. If this were not the case, he would have reason to think that there is something he must do, or something he has done, that has contributed to his ‘saved’ state. The multitudinous arguments about what the Gospel is and what it is not all boil down to one question: what qualifies a doctrine as that which must be believed. The answer is simple: any doctrine which points to and teaches the grace of God and gives all the glory to God alone in the matter of salvation is a doctrine fit and worthy to be in the Gospel of God, and therefore must be believed from the outset of one’s being born again. But why is this so? Why is a doctrine which points to and teaches grace that which qualifies and identifies a doctrine as part of the Gospel? The answer is another simple one: grace has made salvation possible. In fact there can be no salvation without the grace of God. Likewise, there can be no salvation if any part of the grace that is necessary in the salvation of a man is left out of the Gospel which must be believed at the outset of one’s Christian life. At no stage during a Christian’s life does he believe that he was saved, is saved or will be saved, based on anything he has done, for he believes in a Gospel that has taught him that ALL of salvation is ALL by grace. If one is ignorant of any part of saving grace, one cannot rightly claim to trust in the grace that saves, and thus, be a Christian. We know from the words of Jesus that whatever the Gospel is, it must be believed, for one’s salvation depends on right and accurate belief of it, so it stands to reason therefore that whatever it is that must be believed MUST be in the Gospel (see 2 Thess. 2:13,14). Any omission of any part of grace leaves room for a man to think that salvation is in part dependant on what he does. Even if a man were not aware of this consequence, it would not change the fact that any omission of grace leaves room for a work of man’s, it would condition some part of salvation on man and not solely on the grace of God. Such a gospel does not give all the glory for all of salvation to God. It would leave some part of salvation independent, or free, from the work or grace of God. And a gospel being presented as an offer leaves a person with no alternative but to think that salvation depends on their free-will choice to accept what has been offered, that it is their ‘decision’ which makes the difference between heaven and hell rather than God’s alone (see 1 Cor. 4:7). This makes the ‘gospel’ being offered one which is based on works, and salvation as something which man chooses and not that which God gives to whom HE WILLS. Any gospel which fails to cover all of salvation by grace leaves room for a man to boast and is that which takes his eyes off God and onto himself. If you believe this to be an overly simplistic appraisal of what constitutes the Gospel of grace, may I alert the reader’s attention to the words of Paul the apostle: "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21); "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4 cf. 5:2); "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal. 5:9 & Romans 11:5,6). The grace of God is diametrically opposed to the work of man, and therefore a Gospel which does not cover all the bases of salvation by the grace of God cannot but leave part of salvation dependant on what a man does. Seeing then that any absence of grace automatically means the presence of works—just as salvation by grace means no part of it could have been by works—the Gospel must cover with grace all that has to be believed, just as salvation itself had to be all by the grace of God. There is no such thing as a gospel of works and grace. It is either by grace or by works. Salvation is either by God or man and never a co-operative effort. If it is not all of grace, then it is works, and if it is of works, it cannot be by grace at all.