THE GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF THE BLESSED GOD
by JOSEPH IRONS
“According to the GLORIOUS GOSPEL OF THE BLESSED GOD, which was committed to my trust.” (1 Timothy 1:11)
It seems as if there were abroad a gospel, or news, that is not glorious; and I am sure, you must bear with my censoriousness, for I want to go out of the world with a clear conscience, that nine-tenths of what passes for gospel in these days is not glorious. That is a glorious gospel which finds its way to a sinner’s heart, bringing him everything that is suitable to his ruin, and asks no favour at his hands, and consults no will or caprice of mortals; that is a glorious gospel.
Now allow a familiar illustration here. An insolvent debtor is shut up in prison, and he has not a single farthing to call his own. A herald comes with a trumpet, and blows at his window, “Good news! Good news! I am come to preach a gospel to you, glad tidings.” The poor wretch sinks down in despair, and says, “You insolent impostor, to call that good news! You know I have not a farthing in the world. It is no good news at all.” But if he who comes proclaims, “Liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound,” (Isa. 61:1) and shows him in the law-book “Paid,” “Paid,” in the red letters of atoning blood, “Ah!” says the man, “that is good news; that will do; that will suit my case.”
Now the thing I want, before I dare call it a glorious gospel, is, that it must be suitable; it must be news to suit the sinner’s case. To tell a ruined, depraved, rebellious, hard-hearted sinner that if he will but pray, if he will but repent, if he will but believe, if he will but turn, God is merciful, and Christ has died, and there is hope for him, is that good news? IT IS TANTALIZING HUMAN MISERY, MOCKING THE GOD OF SALVATION, AND CONTRADICTING THE WHOLE BIBLE; it is not good news at all. If I come to a sinner with good news, it must be news that suits a sinner’s case.
Tell him that Jesus Christ, the only-begotten of the Father, who assumed human nature for the express purpose, has become wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, to every ruined sinner; whom grace Divine gives to feel his need of Him, and makes willing to accept Him. That comes home, and the man says, “Well, I had not such a will; I had not such a desire; I had not such a knowledge of my need, but it is created in me. I now feel I am lost, guilty, and ruined, and deserving nothing but hell. This is news, good news. It brings me exactly what I want; it suits my case exactly.”
Well, then, it must be a gospel that suits saints as well as sinners, else I will not have it. “Oh,” say you, “saints! What do they want of the gospel? It tells them of such privileges, such comforts, such supplies, such securities, such prospects, that every saint of God must be delighted when he hears the glorious gospel, not the accursed gospel; and he says, “This is just what I want.” There was an instance occurred the other day, which filled me with sacred delight; and I have another to tell you of presently, which must appear by-and-bye before the public. A sinner, black and laden with sin, and on the very verge of hell, had one of our “Grove Chapel Pulpit” sermons read in his hearing. His own statement is, “It was as if a glass was placed before me, and I saw all the vileness of my whole life at one glance. I could not take off my look, but soon afterwards I saw also the fullness of salvation in Christ Jesus.”
Now that is a glorious gospel. It suits the sinner, and it suits the saint too. If a saint is a fool, it brings him the wisdom of God; if he is guilty, it brings him a righteousness to clothe him; if he is depraved and vile, and he feels it and knows it, it brings him sanctification in Christ Jesus; if he has been long enslaved to the devil, and feels that he shall be dragged back again into his bondage, it brings him liberty, salvation, full and free. Now I call that a glorious gospel, and I cannot do without it.
Be sure of this, that is not the glorious gospel of the blessed God that does not honour and exalt Christ. Bring me the gospel that sets up the creature, and bolsters his pride, and talks of what he is capable of doing; it is false, and will damn thousands of souls, and I will neither believe it, receive it, nor preach it. But bring me a gospel that lays a sinner in the dust, shows him what he is, and brings to him all that he wants, and secures to him all he can seek, and supplies him after his conversion with all he can crave, and at the same time honours the Saviour with all possible glory, and might, and majesty, and dominion; that is a glorious gospel.
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