Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Gospel According to Jesus ...repent and believe

by Ichabod Spencer

Mark 1:15 "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel."
These are the words of our blessed Saviour, addressed to poor guilty sinners like you and me. But what is repentance? It is a work of the Spirit of God upon the heart, producing such an inward sense of the evil and guilt of sin, as makes a man wonder that he is out of hell; such a hatred of sin as causes a man to forsake it; and such an apprehension of the consequences of sin, as makes a man willing to be saved wholly and solely through what Jesus Christ has done and suffered for lost souls. The penitent sinner is convinced that sin deserves punishment; that he himself, as a sinner, is liable to the wrath of God; that sin must be pardoned or punished; that he can make no amends for the least of his transgressions; and consequently that his salvation must be all of grace.

The man thus humbled, is prepared to welcome the news of a Saviour who came to seek and to save that which was lost (Matt. 18:11). Such is the Gospel. It is glad tidings to a lost, guilty world. The sum and substance of it is this, that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim. 1:15). He died to make satisfaction for their sins; and being God and man in one Saviour, "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him" (Heb. 7:25). His blood being the blood of God incarnate (Acts 20:28), was infinitely meritorious; and it was shed for this very purpose, to take away sin; so that if your sins, poor self-condemned sinner, are more in number than the hairs of your head, or the sand on the sea shore; if they are great and aggravated, and red like scarlet, yet there is hope. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth (hath virtue to cleanse) us from all sin" (1 John 1:7).

But how am I to become interested in this, and get comfort of it? "Believe the Gospel:" rely on what the Word of God says about Jesus Christ, and His willingness and power to save sinners. But may I without presumption believe that Jesus Christ came to save such a wretch as I am? Yes, "this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ" (1 John 3:23). There can be no presumption in doing what God has commanded, and taking God at His Word.


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