Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Heart of the Gospel

It is frustrating and tragic that again and again in the history of the professing church there are those from within (Acts 20:28-30) who strike at the very heart of the Gospel by denying the truth and reality of Christ's death as a substitutionary atonement.

But we should be clear, at least, on what is at stake. Those who deny and deride the Biblical doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement not only make a massive theological mistake (heresy), they also denigrate the central accomplishment of our Lord Jesus in his sacrificial death. Not only so, but such a denial eviscerates virtually every aspect of authentically Christian belief and experience, robbing Christians of deep assurance (Gal. 2:20-21), of motivation for ministry and mission (2 Cor. 5:14-15ff.), and of paradigm and motivation for brotherly love (1 Jn.4:10-11).

And were it not for the truth of substitutionary atonement, the worship of heaven would be diminished by at least half, since it is not only the reality of God as Creator that inspires the worship there, but also the crystal clear realization that the Lamb is worthy to be worshiped precisely because he has been slain, slaughtered as a redeeming ransom that sets believing sinners right with God and launches God’s great victory in Christ for reclaiming and redeeming the cosmos. (Rev. 5).

To depart from this Biblical Gospel is, again, not just a theological mistake – it is desertion from the one who calls by his grace, and it deservedly draws the apostolic anathema. For a ‘gospel’ without the accomplishment of the self-substitution of God (cp. Stott) is no good news at all, and saves no one. (Gal. 1:6-9).

1 comment:

diane boucher said...

Amen. Amen. and AMEN!!!!!