The Clarity of the Gospel

I've spent the last week preparing to preach from Romans 3:27-4:12. As I continue to preach through this section of Romans, this week I am continuing to focus on justification by faith, but emphasizing faith alone.

We manage to mix up the Gospel message so often. Any informed Christian would certainly decry the idea that faith is merely intellectual assent, but some of our techniques and approaches show a distrust for the Spirit's work. I wrote about this last week. I am not fundamentally against giving an invitation under certain circumstances, I lean away from it because I don't want to confuse faith with a human act of response that in the end becomes the source of hope for a person's salvation. The answer to the question of what makes me right with God is not that I went forward to receive Christ, that I prayed a prayer to receive Christ, etc.

I had the neatest experience this week. There is a young woman in our small group who has been attending our church since December. She and her husband are new to the Christian faith within the last year. As we discussed the meaning of Romans 3:21-26, it was so cool to hear her articulate - not in perfect theology-text language - the meaning of justification and the imputation of Christ's righteousness, and her realization that in order to be right with God she needed to do nothing but wholly embrace Christ by faith as her hope of righteousness. Those of you who minister will understand it when I say that I had a profound sense of joy - not in me, but in the power of the Word in the hands of the Spirit.

When I preach tomorrow, unencumbered by the need for statistical success or immediate outward response, I preach with freedom, knowing that God uses His Word and that the Holy Spirit does a far better job of pressing home the Gospel than I can.


Milton Stanley said...

Great to hear about the blessing in your small group, Peter. Peace.

Diane said...

Darn! I was going to blog about something else today but now it looks as if I am going to have to quote some of your post, that is if you don't mind. This is wonderful.
I wish every seeker sensitive and emergent church person would read this post.