I cannot claim to see inside the heart of any man – this is the prerogative of God Himself ‘I the Lord search the heart’ but upon reading the recent speech by the Prime Minister I am left wondering what the (short-lived) fuss was about. He epitomises the art of the politician – to say much without saying anything. I struggled to find anything in his speech that gave a shred of confidence that he has any true understanding whatsoever of the Gospel of God at all. To apply The Gospel morally is to destroy it and ‘deny it’s power’.
‘CHRISTIAN faith has appeared to many an easy thing; nay, not a few even reckon it among the social virtues, as it were; and this they do because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is. For it is not possible for any man to write well about it, or to understand well what is rightly written, who has not at some time tasted of its spirit, under the pressure of tribulation; while he who has tasted of it, even to a very small extent, can never write, speak, think, or hear about it sufficiently. For it is a living fountain, springing up into eternal life, as Christ calls it in John iv.’
I applied this to the PM because he would ‘even reckon it (Christianity) among the social virtues’ but deny it’s very heart. Why? Luther again, ‘this they do because they have not made proof of it experimentally, and have never tasted of what efficacy it is’. He betrays himself here as having never tasted the efficacy of The Gospel. Now this is a very sad situation. I will also just make this very important point because the PM is extremely careful not to upset anyone, he has to deny the exclusive truth claims of the Christian faith. Of course people are free to believe whatever they wish. But, either Christianity is true and the others are false, or Christianity is false. If people were to spot it, the PM is really on the horns of a dilemma. This has not been picked up.
I was really thrilled as I read of the Gospel in the writing of Luther. And yet at the same time saddened that so many have not the foggiest idea as to its truth. In writing of Christopher Hitchens some have quoted the phrase “We are created sick and commanded to be well” and again through the darkness of their understanding completely miss the thrust of the Gospel message. Here’s Luther again on this very point:
‘Now when a man has through the precepts been taught his own impotence, and become anxious by what means he may satisfy the law-for the law must be satisfied, so that no jot or tittle of it may pass away, otherwise he must be hopelessly condemned-then, being truly humbled and brought to nothing in his own eyes, he finds in himself no resource for justification and salvation.
Then comes in that other part of Scripture, the promises of God, which declare the glory of God, and say, “If you wish to fulfil the law, and, as the law requires, not to covet, lo! believe in Christ, in whom are promised to you grace, justification, peace and liberty.” All these things you shall have, if you believe, and shall be without them if you do not believe. For what is impossible for you by all the works of the law, which are many and yet useless, you shall fulfil in an easy and summary way through faith, because God the Father has made everything to depend on faith, so that whosoever has it has all things, and he who has it not has nothing. “For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all” (Rom. xi, 32). Thus the promises of God give that which the precepts exact, and fulfil what the law commands; so that all is of God alone, both the precepts and their fulfillment. He alone commands; He alone also fulfils. Hence the promises of God belong to the New Testament; nay, are the New Testament.’
So we have in the misunderstanding of the enemies of the Gospel the default position of fallen humanity – Works. This is what it comes down to ultimately every time. The Gospel of the Grace of God is completely counter to this. It’s no wonder that to bring a person to faith it takes the extraordinary work of God to do so. We cannot do it, and will not do it. Praise God for the Gospel. This is what the Incarnation is all about – God doing something amazing. Let’s thank God for sending Christ.
BTW Concerning Christian Liberty is available in Kindle format for free via Amazon.