TO PREACH CHRIST IS TO FEED THE SOUL, TO JUSTIFY IT, TO SET IT FREE AND TO SAVE IT."
Martin Luther said,
- "One thing, and one alone, is necessary for life, justification, and Christian liberty; and that is the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ, as He said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in Me shall not die eternally" (John 11:25) and also, "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36), and "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4)
· "Let us therefore hold the Word of God for certain and firmly established that the soul can do everything except the Word of God, without which none at all of its wants and provided for. But, having the Word, it is rich and wants for nothing, since that is the Word of life, of truth, of light, of peace, of justification, of salvation, of joy, of liberty, of wisdom, of virtue, of grace, of glory, and of every good thing. "
Luther then was right, and today his words are right. My grandmother started my journey in reading the Word. In 1960 when I was 13, she got me started on my reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation at least once a year. When I read the Word it’s as though I am reading the very words of Jesus Christ, speaking to me personally. That's better than speaking to any baseball player or person. My Bibles are never very far from my eye sight. In every room of my house there is a Bible. Even in my car there is always a Bible. The Words are never far from my mind.
When I was preaching/teaching, it was the Word that filled my preaching. Luther again said, "To preach Christ is to feed the soul, to justify it, to set it free, and to save it, if it believes the preaching. For faith alone and the efficacious use of the word of God, bring salvation. "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth thou shalt be saved" Romans 10:9 says. For the word of God cannot be received and honored by any works, but by faith alone. Hence Luther said, "it is clear that as the soul needs the word alone for life and justification, so it is justified by faith alone, and not by any works. For if it could be justified by any other means, it would have no need of the Word, nor consequently of faith. Luther
The one who believes the Word, has heard the Word of truth from the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1:13. One believes and one has faith, not on his own but comes to him by the Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in him.
Faith is the moment one believes the message proclaimed, as opposed to the moment he "asked Jesus into his heart." After he believes (because he's been born again by the Spirit of God) he then expresses an interest in calling on God.
What I realize, the cause of my faith is not me, but the cause of my faith is Christ and His word on my soul. Thus, we can say we are born again first which is the cause of our faith. As the Word says, "But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."
- John Chitty said, "This sentence does not say that God gave the right to become children to all who first receive Him. It excludes this by the clause, "...not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man..."
· The point is this "the reception must be the result of regeneration." Faith and being born again occur at the same moment.
R.C. Sproul counsels, We are JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, not regenerated. They are distinct works, although they typically happen simultaneously. Faith doesn't allow the Holy Spirit to regenerate us. The Holy Spirit regenerates us so that we can "see and enter the Kingdom of God" John 3. Which is to say, seeing and entering the Kingdom of God, being born again, is not a condition , but a work of divine monergism (the work of Christ alone) which enables you to believe, like wind causes the trees to sway.
Far too many good Christians have not learned to let go of the sovereignty of the individual over his own spiritual birth. They still want to allow the individual to have some free will to say yes to God for their salvation. We didn't have a free will to be born into this life and we don't have any choice to choose to be born spiritually.
- Ephesians 1 did the most to change my mind in this area of thinking about salvation. When teaching Ephesians in First Baptist Church in Altoona, and again at the Christ Church Apartments in Lexington, Kentucky, the truth bore out that God alone brings about the new birth in the lost person.
- I truly have the faith, I truly believe, it becomes my free will to believe and have the faith to believe, why? Because Christ breaks the chain of slavery of sin and frees me to believe. It’s all the work of Christ in me. Amen
- Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant May 8th 2007 Proof Read by Charity May 8th