Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What Is The Gospel? Part 4

Continuing the bad news...
Man is spiritually dead

One of the most important and foundational doctrines in scripture dealing with man and his need of salvation is the fact that he is spiritually dead. This is often disputed. But, the Bible is clear- mankind is born spiritually dead; separated from God and unable and unwilling to glorify him as Lord. Spiritually dead people are just that- they are devoid of life. Their souls are dead. Dead to God, dead to his glory, dead to faith, dead to love for God, dead to Christ and his amiableness, dead to the Holy Spirit’s work and prompting. Man is merely an animated body housing a dead soul.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Col. 2:13). “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked” (Eph. 2:1). “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to the hardness of heart” (Eph. 4:18). We are born dead!

Spiritual deadness manifests itself by exhibiting man’s lifelessness when it comes to God, righteousness, good, and holiness. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh” (Rom. 7:18). “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Ps. 51:5). “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12). “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). “For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Tim. 3:2-5).

Because man is dead spiritually, he is separated from God who is the source of all life. “Your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear” (Is. 59:2). “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (Jn. 5:24). “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers” (1 Jn. 3:14). “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (Col. 2:13). “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [he] made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved-and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:5-6).

Man stands guilty, condemned, without hope, and destined for wrath and hell

As a result of our sin and deadness, we stand to inherit misery. God is the righteous judge and we stand before his bar as guilty, law-breaking, hell-deserving, God-hating, Christ-forsaking, Spirit-blaspheming, wretches. “For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin” (Rom. 3:9). “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men” (Rom. 5:18). “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (Jn. 3:18). “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).

Scripture cannot be denied: mankind is spiritually dead, separated from God, guilty of trespasses, condemned, doomed, and worthy of eternal punishment. Thomas Brooks, with his arresting verbiage, wrote,

The sentence that shall be passed upon them shall be eternal... There is the vengeance and continuance of it, you shall go into fire, into everlasting fire, that shall never consume itself, nor consume you. Eternity of eternity is the hell of hell... if all the fires that ever were, or shall be in the world, were concentrated into one fire, how terrible would it be! Yet such a fire would be but as a painted fire upon the wall, to the fires of hell.1

Brooks went on to write,

Impenitent sinners in hell shall have end without end, death without death, night without day, morning without mirth, sorrow without solace, and bondage without liberty. The damned shall live as long in hell as God himself shall live in heaven.2

All efforts to save self fall short

Because of the woeful state that man finds himself in, he is unable to contribute anything to salvation. What could he offer? All we as sinners posses is contaminated and corrupted by iniquity. So many of the fundamental truths that have been discussed thus far culminate here in man’s inability to merit salvation or impart something toward it. Humanity is desperately wicked and depraved. Our nature is dead spiritually, yet alive sinfully. A sinful nature produces sinful actions. Just as a dog barks, licks itself, chases its tail, and returns to its own vomit, sinful man sins, only sins, and will continue to sin. Nothing good can come from something tainted and evil.

A sinful, depraved person could never offer anything good enough to save himself. A holy God will not accept an unholy offering. In fact, as we will see shortly, God is so holy, righteous, and pure that He appeases himself. That is the gospel: what man cannot do, God does in sending his Son to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice.

Our works fall short. There is nothing pure or pleasing to God in them. Even if they seem good to us, our works (before conversion) are sinful. Impure motives, pride, self-righteousness, greed, self-love, and hypocrisy stain our oblations turning them to rancid feces. Who would dare present such filth to Almighty God? Who in their right mind would soil God’s hallowed sanctuary with this foul waste?

Those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). “Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ... by works of the law no one will be justifies” (Gal. 2:16). “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (Tit. 3:4-5). “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes the knowledge of sin” (Rom. 3:20). “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “[God] saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Tim. 1:9). “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment” (Is. 64:6).

1Thomas Brooks, “The Golden Key To Open Hidden Treasures” in The Works of Thomas Brooks, 6 vols. (Banner of Truth, 1980), 5:130.

2Ibid. 5:130.

Monday, October 21, 2013

What Is the Gospel? Part 3

We have begun our presentation of the gospel with God. And rightly so. But now we must move to the other side of the gospel coin. Sinful man or the bad news. The bad news must be understood before the good news of the gospel can be trusted and appreciated.

Man is desperately and woefully sinful

We do not need the gospel if mankind isn’t wicked. That is the bad news- humanity is desperately corrupt, cannot save itself, is at enmity with God, lost, and hell bound. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom. 3:10-12).

The Bible is clear: man is unrighteous, worthless, fallen, without godly wisdom and knowledge, and not good. This flies in the face of our modern sensibilities. This is the exact opposite of what we are taught or led to believe about man. The world’s message is that we are basically good, must have self-worth, and are to trust our inner light/wisdom. Who or what are we going to believe? The almighty sovereign majestic God or an insignificant glob of dirt? What is our authority? God’s inerrant, infallible, inspired, sufficient word or sinful man’s deluded, misguided, debauched, perverted, non-authoritative philosophies and humanistic dribble?

Scripture portrays humankind as rebels. Man is rebellious against God and his rule. The first chapter in the book of Romans illustrates this. The attitude of rebellion is apparent in many of the descriptions used for sinful man. Unrighteous men “suppress the truth” (vs. 18). They know that God exists but do not “honor him as God or give thanks to him” (vs. 21). Instead of worshiping the true God, “they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (vs. 22-23). “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie” (vs. 25). Their rebellion went so far as to even commit homosexual acts (vs. 26-27).

The rebellious nature of humanity is further seen in Paul’s catalogue of sins in verses 29-32. It reads:

They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

Another characteristic of sin is seen in that man is the consummate lawbreaker. “For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification” (Rom. 6:19). “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness” (1 Jn. 3:4). “Who gave himself [Jesus] for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).

What transpired in the garden of Eden shows that man is a lawbreaker. Adam, the federal head, broke the commandment of God. He was instructed by God himself to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 2:17). God’s law was transgressed; relegated to an un-authoritative suggestion instead of the very word of God. Man became a law unto himself. He thought that he had the right to make his own decisions and therefore not obey his Creator. Lawless. Rebellious. Hence, godless.

Lawless men crucified Jesus. “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23). Lawlessness describes the life prior to conversion. Peter wrote, “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” (1 Pet. 4:3). “The mystery of lawlessness is already at work” (2 Thess. 2:7). Sinners break God’s laws; it is that simple and plain to see. “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (Jms. 2:10).

Disobedience characterizes sin. “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 5:6). Unbelievers, before salvation, are said to have been “following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). Jesus is said to be coming back “in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 2:8).

It was by disobedience that mankind fell. “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous” (Rom. 5:19). Before salvation we “were at one time disobedient to God” (Rom. 11:30). The unbeliever professes “to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work” (Tit. 1:16). Peter, using strong language, reveals that unbelievers stumble over the rock of offense [Jesus] “because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do” (1 Pet. 2:8).

Monday, October 14, 2013

What Is the Gospel (part 2)

The Gospel Begins With God
To proclaim and define the gospel properly, one must begin with God. To start anywhere else would be tantamount to idolatry. This would make the gospel man focused instead of God centered. What saith the scriptures?
Psalm 79:9, "Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!"Psalm 3:8, "Salvation belongs to the Lord; your blessings be on your people!"Isaiah 43:11, "I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior."Jonah 2:9, "... Salvation belongs to the Lord!"Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."Ephesians 1:4, "even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world...."Ephesians 2:8, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God...."Revelation 7:10, "and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’"Revelation 19:1, "After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, crying out, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God....’" Theses are a few verses among many that could be multiplied to show that salvation is initiated by God. Thomas Brooks, in his usual elegant and magisterial manner, wrote,
God is Alpha, the fountain from whence all grace springs, and Omega, the sea to which all glory runs... God is an all-sufficient good... God hath in himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you. God is a satisfying good, a good that fills the heart and quiets the soul....(Thomas Brooks, "Apples Of Gold" in The Works of Thomas Brooks, 6 vols. (Banner of Truth Trust, 1980), 1:187.)"The glory of the new covenant," wrote Michael Horton, "is that God gives in the gospel what he demands in his law: both justification and the renewal of heart and life. Only because of God’s one-sided act of regeneration does anyone repent and believe." (Michael Horton, The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims On the Way (Zondervan: 2011), 565.)
God is the CreatorThe gospel begins with God as the Creator. "The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth" (Acts 17:24). "By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host" (Ps. 33:6). "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created" (Rev. 4:11).
As the Creator, God is sovereign over his creation. "Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is your. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all" (1 Chron. 29:11). "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen" (Rom. 11:36). "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him" (Col. 1:16). See also Hebrews 1:2; Psalm 97:1, 103:19, and 115:3.
As the Creator, God has rights over his universe. "The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers (Ps. 24:1; see also Ps. 50:12, 89:11; Ex. 9:29; Job 41:11). "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?" (Matt. 20:15). "For who can resist his will?" (Rom. 9:19). "Has the potter no right over the clay...?" (Rom. 9:21).
Lastly, as Creator, God issues forth laws; he is the Lawgiver. "For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us" (Is. 33:22). "There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy" (Jms. 4:12). "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes" (Ps. 19:7-8). The reader may also consider Exodus 20:1-17 and Isaiah 51:4.
God is righteous and holyThe Lord of lords is holy and righteous. Hear the testimony of scripture, "righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne" (Ps. 97:2). "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty" (Rev. 4:8). "Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel" (Ps. 22:3). "You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy" (Lev. 11:45). "Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules" (Ps. 119:137). "The Lord is righteous is in all his ways" (Ps. 145:17). "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all" (1 Jn. 1:5).
The holiness of God implies that he is pure, without sin, and opposed to anything and everything that is contrary to his nature as God. "Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders" (Ex. 15:11)? "Exalt the Lord our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy" (Ps. 99:9)! "You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong" (Hab. 1:13). "Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. And nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed" (Rev. 15:4). "The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence" (Ps. 11:5). "The boastful shall not stand before you eyes; you hate all evildoers" (Ps. 5:5).
As righteous, God always does what is right and can only do right. "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just" (Gen. 18:25)? "For the Lord is righteous" (Ps. 11:7). "The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he" (Deut. 32:4). "The Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him" (Ps. 92:15). "Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means" (Rom. 9:14)!
God is the JudgeBecause of who he is (the righteous, holy, sovereign, just, Creator who has rights over his creation), God is entitled to judge. He is the Judge! The author of Hebrews calls him "the judge of all" (Heb. 12:23). "But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed" (Rom. 2:5). "The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge" (Ps. 50:6)! "It is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another" (Ps. 75:7).
Our great God is not like earthly judges. No. He knows all and sees all. His judgments are just, precise, and upright. Nothing goes unseen by God. There are no mistrials, contaminated evidence, corrupt lawyers, or paid jurors. He has all of the evidence. Nothing is missing; it is an airtight case when God judges. There are no appeals. "He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable" (Is. 40:28). "Great is the Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure" (Ps. 147:5). "We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man... that you will escape the judgment of God" (Rom. 2:2-3)? This last verse implies that not only will God judge, but that there is no escape. Remember, God is sovereign and has rights over his creatures. Period. He rules and judges perfectly. How would we expect anything different? Can a perfect and holy God judge imperfectly? No, of course not.
God is graciousNot only is God just, holy, sovereign, and righteous, he is also gracious. Oh, thank God for his grace. We are beginning with God, remember, and if we were to stop our discussion without mentioning grace, we would all be doomed. We would be without hope. Why? Because without God being gracious we would get what we all deserve-hell and judgment and condemnation and misery and justice and wrath.
But God is a God of grace! "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people" (Tit. 2:11). "In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). "For by grace you have been saved through faith" (Eph. 2:8; see also vs. 7). "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace" (Heb. 4:16). "But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness" (Ps. 86:15). Believers "are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 3:24). "For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17).
Jonathan Edwards taught on the greatness of grace,
It was of mere grace that God gave us his only-begotten Son. The grace is great in proportion to the excellency of what is given. The gift was infinitely precious, because it was of a person infinitely worthy, a person of infinite glory; and also because it was of a person infinitely near and dear to God. The grace is great in proportion to the benefit we have given us in him. The benefit is doubly infinite, in that in him we have deliverance from an infinite, because an eternal, misery, and do also receive eternal joy and glory. The grace in bestowing this gift is great in proportion to our unworthiness to whom it is given; instead of deserving such a gift, we merited infinitely ill of God’s hands. (Jonathan Edwards, "God Glorified in Man’s Dependance" in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, 2 vols. (Hendrickson, 2004), 2:4.)God is gracious. Luke 24:47 records the Lord’s words to his disciples before he ascended to the Father. He told them to proclaim repentance and forgiveness of sin in his name to all the nations beginning in Jerusalem. Beginning in Jerusalem are some of the most gracious words ever spoken. Why? It was in Jerusalem that the Saviour was betrayed. Those people who worshiped Jesus as he rode into the city were some of the same ones that cried, "crucify him" to Pilate. These wretches mocked and scorned the Lord of Glory. As he hung on the cross they ridiculed even more. In Acts 2, Peter preaches as says that the people present killed Jesus (vs. 23).
So where is the grace? Those same murderous people were the first to hear the gospel. Further, three thousand were converted in one day. That’s grace. The disciples were to begin preaching in the very place in which Christ was crucified to the same people that killed him. Oh, marvelous matchless grace! This is grace because what God did would have been the last thing we would have done. We would have preached Christ’s message all throughout the known world and then proclaimed it in Jerusalem. But, praise God, he is not like us. God is gracious. (John Bunyan preached a sermon entitled The Jerusalem Saved Sinner from which I used his main premise as an illustration of God’s amazing grace.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

What Is The Gospel? Part 1

What is the gospel?
Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations (Rom. 1:1-5).
So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith (Rom. 1:15-16).
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you---unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
The reader may also consider 2 Corinthians 4:3-6; 1 Peter 1:3-12; and Acts 20:17-22.
Henry Bullinger wrote this definition of the gospel,
       "The gospel is the heavenly preaching of God’s grace to us-ward, wherein it is declared to all the world, being set in the wrath and indignation of God, that God the Father of heaven is pleased in his only-begotten Son, our Lord Christ Jesus, whom, as he promised of old to the holy fathers, he hath now in these latter times exhibited to us, and in him hath given us all things belonging to a blessed life and eternal salvation, as he that for us men was incarnate, dead, and raised from the dead again, was taken up into heaven, and is made our only Lord and Saviour, upon condition that we, acknowledging our sins, do soundly and sorely believe in him." (The Decades of Henry Bullinger, 2:3-4)
James Montgomery Boice penned,
       "The Good News is not just that God became man, nor that God has spoken in Christ to reveal a proper way of life for us, nor even that death, our great enemy, has been conquered. The Good News is that sin has been dealt with, that Jesus suffered its penalty for us as our representative, and that all who believe in him can look forward confidently to heaven." (Whatever Happened To The Gospel of Grace, 105)
Paul Washer defines the gospel in this way,
       "In accordance with the Father’s good pleasure, the eternal Son, who is equal with the Father and is the exact representation of His nature, willingly left the glory of heaven, was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, and was born the God-man: Jesus of Nazareth. As a man, He walked on this earth in perfect obedience to the law of God. In the fullness of time, men rejected and crucified Him. On the cross, he bore man’s sin, suffered God’s wrath, and died in man’s place. On the third day, God raised Him from the dead. This resurrection is the divine declaration that the Father has accepted His Son’s death as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus paid the penalty for man’s disobedience, satisfied the demands of justice, and appeased the wrath of God. Forty days after the resurrection, the Son of God ascended into the heavens, sat down at the right hand of the Father, and was given glory, honor, and dominion over all. There, in the presence of God, He represents His people and makes requests to God on their behalf. All who acknowledge their sinful, helpless state and throw themselves on Christ, God will fully pardon, declare righteous, and reconcile to Himself. This is the gospel of God and of Jesus Christ, His Son." (The Gospel's Power and Message, viii)