If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
1 Corinthians 14:8
I know that the things we believe and preach place us in direct conflict with the religious world around us. That really shouldn’t surprise us. When our Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of his day the things regularly preached in this house of worship, they started grabbing rocks to stone him to death. So we must never be surprised when lost religionists get upset with us for preaching the gospel. Here are four things which place us in direct conflict with the entire religious world.
That which we believe and preach about God himself is the primary, basic difference between us and those who do not believe the gospel. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that the one true and living God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the absolute sovereign of the universe (Psalms 115:3; 135:6). That simply means that God is God. He does, he always does exactly what he will everywhere, with everyone and everything! God always has his way. God always does all his pleasure. None can stay his hand. None can resist his will. In heaven, earth, and hell God rules!
This great, sovereign God is absolutely, perfectly, immaculately holy. Everything he does is holy. Everything he requires is holy. He is so perfectly, absolutely, inviolably holy that he cannot and will not accept anything or anyone who is not perfectly holy.
Our great, sovereign, holy Lord God is immutably just. God our Savior declares himself to be both “a just God and a Savior.” His justice is unbending and unbendable. He will not forgive sin, except upon the grounds of strict justice. The just God must and shall punish all sin. He cannot forgive sin until full satisfaction for sin has been made. And this gloriously just God cannot charge any sin upon any sinner for whom atonement has been made. Justice, once satisfied, demands the release of all for whom satisfaction has been made.
That which we believe about man also separates us from the entire religious world around us. We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that all men and women are sinners, born in spiritual death, corrupt at heart, inclined toward every evil, incapable of doing good, and totally incapable of changing their condition. In a word, fallen man is “dead in trespasses and sins,” lost, justly condemned, under the wrath of God, doomed, damned, willfully ignorant of all things spiritual, without Christ, and without hope, apart from God’s sovereign mercy.
Everything we believe about the Lord Jesus Christ sets us apart from the religious world in which we live. Unlike most religious people, we actually believe the Bible. We believe all that the Bible reveals about the Son of God. We really do believe that Jesus Christ is God, God in human flesh. — That he is the eternal Surety of an everlasting covenant. — That he brought in everlasting righteousness for his elect by his obedience to God as our Representative. — That he fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of his people, which were imputed to him when he was made sin for us and died as our Substitute at Calvary. We believe that all for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died must and shall be saved, because he cannot fail. He is an almighty, effectual Redeemer, an omnipotent Savior, an unfailing Advocate, and an all-prevailing High Priest!
Believing what the Bible teaches about salvation also separates us from the lost religionists of this world, who foolishly imagine that God’s salvation depends in some way, or to some degree, at some point upon the will, work, or worth of man. It does not! “Salvation is of the Lord!” Salvation is accomplished in its entirety by the free, sovereign, irresistible grace and power of God Almighty, through the person and work of his dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotent operations of his Holy Spirit, who alone can raise sinners from death to life, reveal Christ in them, and give them the gift of faith in him.
Every aspect of God’s salvation is by grace alone. Are we chosen of God? We were chosen unto salvation by the election of grace. Are we redeemed by the blood of Christ? We were redeemed because God the Father gave us to God the Son in the covenant of grace before the world began. Are we called, born again? We are born again by the Spirit of God, who called us from death to life in Christ by the power of his omnipotent grace. Are we justified? We are justified by grace. Are we sanctified? We are sanctified by grace. Are we kept? We are kept by the power of God’s grace. There is no place between the pit of hell and the gates of pearl where salvation depends on us. It is written throughout the Book of God in bold, capital letters — “BY GRACE YE ARE SAVED!” That is the message written upon every page of the Bible. Any religion, any doctrine, any preacher, any religious teacher, anything or anyone who contradicts that message contradicts the Word of God. Salvation is by the grace of God, entirely by the grace of God. Human works, human effort, and the will of man have absolutely nothing to do with it. — “Salvation is of the Lord!”
I know that men object to these things. I know preachers everywhere deny them. I know that proud men are offended by them. But I am not running for political office. I am sent to proclaim the truth to eternity bound sinners for the glory of God. That which we have heard and learned of the Father, we must declare. God’s servant must be true to God, true to the Scriptures, and true to your souls.
Don Fortner, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church