A quote by Michael Horton.

Status
Not open for further replies.

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I believe our Puritan brother meant something other than what you do by the word "becomes." In the old days, "becomes" meant it "befits" something.
Webster's 1828....

become

BECOME, v.i. becum'. pret. became, pp. become.

1. To pass from one state to another; to enter into some state or condition, by a change from another state or condition, or by assuming or receiving new properties or qualities, additional matter, or a new character; as, a cion becomes a tree.
The Lord God breathed into his nostrils the breath of like and man became a living soul.

To the Jew, I became a Jew.

2. To become of, usually with what preceding; to be the fate of; to be the end of; to be the final or subsequent condition; as, what will become of our commerce? what will become of us?
In the present tense, it applies to place as well as condition. What has become of my friend? that is, where is he? as well as, what is his condition? Where is he become? used by Shakespeare and Spenser, is obsolete; but this is the sense in Saxon, where has he fallen?

BECOME, v.t. In general, to suit or be suitable; to be congruous; to befit; to accord with, in character or circumstances; to be worthy of, decent or proper. It is used in the same sense applied to persons or things.

If I become not a cart as well as another man.

This use of the word however is less frequent, the verb usually expressing the suitableness of things, to persons or to other things; as, a robe becomes a prince.

It becomes not a cart as well as another man.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
"BECOME, v.t. In general, to suit or be suitable; to be congruous; to befit; to accord with, in character or circumstances; to be worthy of, decent or proper. It is used in the same sense applied to persons or things."

I believe that's what Burroughs meant. Otherwise, his first sentence would make no sense at all: "What is it to live as becomes the gospel?"
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
When I hear someone say "live the Gospel" I think they really mean live out the implications of it. The Gospel is an objective reality, the good news of Christ, His gracious kingdom, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection. It is what Jesus, Peter, and Paul preached. It is also what Judas preached, as those whom Paul address in Philippians who did it out of envy, strife, and selfish ambition. It is the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes. It can be hindered (or, most amazingly, adorned!!) by our lives, but our lives aren't the Gospel message itself. They are fruits of it.
I dare say I RARELY hear the Gospel outside of church and if "by chance" I am discussing The Gospel with another believer 99% of the time they say they show The Gospel by their works.....and I think they don't imply "they really mean live out the implications of it". It is interesting how we see this in totally opposite ways. I think this is exactly what Horton quote addressed.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
would you concur, or do you think I ought to reconsider?
My dear brother,

Would you please give some thought to the following post by Mark Jones?

In Light of the Gospel » Blog Archive » The Gospel and Sanctification

What is at stake in the use of the term? It expresses the sanctifying power of the gospel. What is at stake in the condemnation of the term? It shuts us up to a justification-only gospel. The acceptance of such a gospel would require a wholesale rejection of "the gospel mystery of sanctification" such as Marshall understood it; or of the necessity of gospel holiness as Owen expressed it; or of the very idea of gospel conversation and gospel fear as Burroughs has taught it. Life and immortality are brought to light through the gospel. The life believers live is gospel life. It is a life which accords with what the gospel teaches but it is also a life which has been produced by the gospel. We are born again by the incorruptible word of God, the word which came to us by the gospel, 1 Pet. 2:23-25. We are changed into the same image we behold in the gospel glass, 2 Cor. 3:18. Our life is either gospel life or it is a living death.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A part of the great commission is, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." One should guard against receiving any gospel which dichotomises faith and life.
Indeed. And yet the teaching is not the observing it is the teaching. Conversely the observing is not the teaching, it is the observing.
John 3:21, "But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." One should be wary of any tendency which distorts the gospel so as to make it nothing more than propositional truth.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Thank you for sharing this article, Matthew.

As I noted above, I do indeed fall in line with men such as Rutherford and Burroughs on the matter - in fact, it was your high estimation of Rutherford which made me pay close attention to his writings, for which I am most glad, as I have come to find him perhaps my most persuasive influence from the period. For that matter, all of Jeremiah Burrough's "Gospel" books, and Marshall's Gospel Mystery have been some of the foremost writings which have shaped my understanding of Biblical spirituality. In other words, I find myself in complete agreement with you on the importance of meaning of the term and what is at stake when an understanding of the gospel and the law/gospel contrast is advocated which disallows this meaning of the term. I do regret the fact that there are current (and very popular) understandings of the gospel or the law/gospel distinction in the Reformed world today which are at variance from that which (I believe) we have both inherited from a Rutherford or an Anthony Burgess, and that (unfortunately) these understandings may stand behind the quote cited in the opening post; and if that's the case, I certainly don't want to appear to be defending such an understanding of law/gospel. I do want to give the benefit of the doubt, however, and sympathetically read the quote as a necessary attack upon Emergent ideas about the work of redemption. I think you have reminded me, however, that I may have been too quick to defend the sympathetic aspect of what was being said while brushing over other less sympathetic aspects thereof. Thank you.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I do want to give the benefit of the doubt, however, and sympathetically read the quote as a necessary attack upon Emergent ideas about the work of redemption.
Dear Paul,

I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt if I did not think the systemic reconstruction of the reformed law-gospel distinction was behind the rejection of the phrase. The fact is, these gentlemen are thinking through their theology and making it consistently apply to the whole range of doctrinal loci. We wouldn't expect anything less from trained theologians. It is because of this systematising (leavening) process that the slightest deviation is bound to have far reaching consequences; that is what makes it indispensible for us to take every thought captive.
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Dear Paul,

I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt if I did not think the systemic reconstruction of the reformed law-gospel distinction was behind the rejection of the phrase. The fact is, these gentlemen are thinking through their theology and making it consistently apply to the whole range of doctrinal loci. We wouldn't expect anything less from trained theologians. It is because of this systematising (leavening) process that the slightest deviation is bound to have far reaching consequences; that is what makes it indispensible for us to take every thought captive.
Excellent thoughts; thank you. Individual thoughts ought not be separated from the vine which bears them.
 

mvdm

Puritan Board Junior
I do want to give the benefit of the doubt, however, and sympathetically read the quote as a necessary attack upon Emergent ideas about the work of redemption.
Dear Paul,

I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt if I did not think the systemic reconstruction of the reformed law-gospel distinction was behind the rejection of the phrase. The fact is, these gentlemen are thinking through their theology and making it consistently apply to the whole range of doctrinal loci. We wouldn't expect anything less from trained theologians. It is because of this systematising (leavening) process that the slightest deviation is bound to have far reaching consequences; that is what makes it indispensible for us to take every thought captive.

Amen.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
I would gladly give the same benefit of the doubt if I did not think the systemic reconstruction of the reformed law-gospel distinction was behind the rejection of the phrase.
I don't think it's behind it, at least not in my own reasoning it out. So if someone preaches a sermon on, say, children obeying their parents and yet neglects to speak of the power to obey coming from Christ, the crucified and risen and ascended Lord, was the Gospel preached? I'm not asking if it was "legalistic" (which I assure you I don't think it is- the Gospel demands duty too), I'm just asking, was the Gospel preached?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
So if someone preaches a sermon on, say, children obeying their parents and yet neglects to speak of the power to obey coming from Christ, the crucified and risen and ascended Lord, was the Gospel preached?
There is alot hanging on the definition of "sermon" in that hypothetical. A child might hear that "sermon" from his parents every day while both parents and child care nothing for God. If, however, the "sermon" is covenantal, and it refers to obeying them "in the Lord," then the grace of God is already operative and any call to duty is issued on the basis of that grace. That is Gospel. It should be the concern of a gospel preacher to articulate that grace and to make it evident for all to see that Christian obedience in this matter is gospel obedience.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
It should be the concern of a gospel preacher to articulate that grace and to make it evident for all to see that Christian obedience in this matter is gospel obedience.
Amen! I agree with that. But that does not make our obedience part of the actual gospel itself, right? The Gospel has indicatives and imperatives (we "obey the Gospel" by repenting and believing), but our response to it isn't the Gospel. As Sinclair Ferguson says:

“The great gospel imperatives to holiness are ever rooted in indicatives of grace that are able to sustain the weight of those imperatives. The Apostles do not make the mistake that’s often made in Christian ministry. [For the Apostles] the indicatives are more powerful than the imperatives in gospel preaching. So often in our preaching our indicatives are not strong enough, great enough, holy enough, or gracious enough to sustain the power of the imperatives. And so our teaching on holiness becomes a whip or a rod to beat our people’s backs because we’ve looked at the New Testament and that’s all we ourselves have seen. We’ve seen our own failure and we’ve seen the imperatives to holiness and we’ve lost sight of the great indicatives of the gospel that sustain those imperatives. Woven into the warp and woof of the New Testament’s exposition of what it means for us to be holy is the great groundwork that the self-existent, thrice holy, triune God has — in Himself, by Himself and for Himself — committed Himself and all three Persons of His being to bringing about the holiness of His own people. This is the Father’s purpose, the Son’s purchase and the Spirit’s ministry” (Sinclair Ferguson, message from the 2007 Banner of Truth Conference, Our Holiness: The Father’s Purpose and the Son’s Purchase)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
But that does not make our obedience part of the actual gospel itself, right?
It is a difficult subject because we tend to dissect everything into its parts. Take the vine and branches analogy. In reality they are one, and yet theoretically they can be distinguished. Proper obedience to the gospel is an obedience produced by the gospel. Romans 6:17, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you." At the point at which the doctrine is taught it is possible to distinguish it as the "form;" but at the point as which it is obeyed we have both form and substance and it is not possible to practically tell them apart -- being set free from sin (the promise) and obeying the gospel (the requisite) is all one. The gospel promise is, Live, and do this. The doing comes out of the living, and the living is given in the gospel. This is gospel life; obedience to the gospel is living the gospel.

PS., that is an exceptionally incisive statement by Dr. Ferguson.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
One should be wary of any tendency which distorts the gospel so as to make it nothing more than propositional truth.
My dear Rev. Winzer,

God forbid that I would ever distort the gospel. My concern, which may or may not be the same as that of Dr. Horton, is to guard against that very thing. I fear that there is afoot in our day just such an attempt to subjectivize the term τὸ εὐανγγέλιον (the gospel) and at least blur, if not extinguish the objective definition of that two word biblical phrase. In a day or two I will seek to more fully express this. Your patience is requested.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
The Gospel IS the love of God in Christ. "Herein is [the Gospel], not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

The emphasis is on GOD's love for us, NOT OUR love for Him and others. This is, I think, the very essence of what Horton is trying to communicate to us by neglecting such phrases as "live the gospel," or "be the gospel," because they emphasize OUR love for God, and not GOD's love for us. So, OUR love IS NOT the Gospel, GOD's love IS the Gospel.
 
Last edited:

Michael Doyle

Puritan Board Junior
With all do respect, it seems Horton may be being made out to say something he is not. The implications seem pretty clear in the context as he is speaking it.
We must never take Christ's work for granted. The gospel is not merely something we take to unbelievers; it is the Word that created and continues to sustain the whole church in its earthly pilgrimage. In addition, we must never confuse Christ's work with our own. There is a lot of loose talk these days about our "living the gospel" or even "being the gospel," as if our lives were the good news. We even hear it said that the church is an extension of Christ's incarnation and redeeming work, as if Jesus came to provide the moral example or template, and we are called to complete his work.
and he closes in saying the following and throughout, in no way saying, we are not to be gospel witnesses and living out our salvation for the world to see. I am not disagreeing so much with the concerns posted here but am concerned that a fair shake may not be being given to a faithful brother. His quote:
Before there can be a mission, there has to be a message. Before we go, we must stop and hear—really hear—what has happened that we are to take to the world. Before there is a witness, there must be a person whose accomplishment is worthy of proclaiming even at great personal risk. Before there is an evangelistic outreach, there must be an evangel. The gospel comes first. We must hear it—not just at first for our own conversion, but every moment of our lives—if the Great Commission is to be a joyful delight rather than an intolerable burden with an impossible goal. Hear our Lord's assurance again, with all of the supporting evidence of his incarnation, life, death, and resurrection: "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."
Am I wrong here?
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
Notice what matters here, a new creation. The New Creation is a part of the Gospel as I understand it. It is not in total the Gospel but the Gospel is made up of parts that make a whole.
It occurred to me after my last post that this might also be something you were driving at: the announcement of the Gospel includes an announcement that the new world has begun, and of course those who already partake in the palingenesis show the reality of this new beginning - though not perfectly, as even the exhortations and rebukes addressed to us indicate. And the Gospel reality is to shape our lives, and increasingly does so. But living as becomes the Gospel is still different from presenting ourselves as part of the Gospel message, or from using the phrases "live" or "become the Gospel". What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.

I hear what Paul and Matthew are saying, and it's very informative; and I'm not commenting about Dr. Horton at all, since I don't follow him or know much about him. I'm just trying to figure out what you are saying, and why you like a phrase I don't.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
"Christ died for our sins," said the primitive disciples, "according to Scripture; he was buried; he has been raised on the third day according to the Scriptures." From the beginning, the Christian gospel, as indeed the name "gospel" or "good news" implies, consisted in an account of something that had happened. And from the beginning, the meaning of the happening was set forth; and when the meaning was set forth then there was a Christian doctrine. "Christ died" - that is history; "Christ died for our sins" - that is doctrine. Without these two elements, joined in an absolutely indissoluble union, there is no Christianity."

Machen wrote this in "Christianity and Liberalism" and that is I believe what Horton et. al. are getting at. The Gospel, the good news is that Christ died for our sin, was buried and rose again on the third day. That is what makes the difference - that is the message. Believe that and be saved. I do not believe that Horton et. al. are driving a division between orthodoxy and orthopraxy but rather are speaking against the all too common exchange that is presently taking place in people's mind between this history and doctrine on one hand and the life that flows for receiving that truth.
 

MarieP

Puritan Board Senior
What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.
Exactly, brother! I was thinking the same...I don't think you can...

---------- Post added at 10:38 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:14 AM ----------

How can there be a Gospel if we are not? You can't remove humanity from it or it isn't.
Was the Gospel still the Gospel before any of us believed it? If it was, then there's the answer to your question.

"Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people" Revelation 14:6

Albert Barnes expounds:

Having the everlasting gospel. The gospel is here called everlasting or eternal,

(a) because its great truths have always existed, or it is conformed to eternal truth;

(b) because it will for ever remain unchanged--not being liable to fluctuation like the opinions held by men;

(c) because its effects will be everlasting--in the redemption of the soul and the joys of heaven. In all the glorious eternity before the redeemed, they will be but developing the effects of that gospel on their own hearts, and enjoying the results of it in the presence of God.
Revelation - Chapter 14 - Barnes' Notes on the New Testament on StudyLight.org
 
Last edited:

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I recently came across a quote by Dr. Horton that troubled me a bit on Facebook. I have some agreement with it. But I had some concern with it. I don't have access to the whole article so I can't be sure I truly understand it in its full scope. But here it is.

"We must never confuse Christ's work with our own. There is a lot of loose talk these days about our 'living the gospel' or even 'being the gospel,' as if our lives were the good news." Michael S. Horton (Quoted Jan/Feb 2011 Modern Reformation Magazine pg 14)
I listened to the radio program they did on this very topic. The program was The Great Commission Survey. If you'll listen to the program I think you'll understand and fully agree with his point.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
The Gospel IS the love of God in Christ. "Herein is [the Gospel], not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)

The emphasis is on GOD's love for us, NOT OUR love for Him and others. This is, I think, the very essence of what Horton is trying to communicate to us by neglecting such phrases as "live the gospel," or "be the gospel," because they emphasize OUR love for God, and not GOD's love for us. So, OUR love IS NOT the Gospel, GOD's love IS the Gospel.
You have missed the boat.... This isn't about our duty to obey the law or love Christ. It is about what God is doing in us to obey him.

I am going to post the blog article by Mark Jones so you will read it and understand what I am trying to say. He said it much better than I can.

This article says exactly what I am trying to express. Thanks Rev. Winzer for linking us to it.

In Light of the Gospel » Blog Archive » The Gospel and Sanctification


Gospel Sanctification
Mark Jones
What is the gospel? Even in Reformed theological circles today the answer to that question is answered differently. The very idea that the gospel not only promises but commands may seem to some a departure from Reformed theology. Yet, the great Scottish theologian, Samuel Rutherford upholds the position that the gospel both persuades and commands. Concerning the “commanding” nature of the gospel, Rutherford writes: “it both commands, (as the Law doth) and with a more strong obligation of the constraining love of Christ…so here be no differences at all” (Spirituall Antichrist, II.122). John Davenant, a British delegate to the Synod of Dort, argues similarly: “The law, because it regards man as created by God in uprightness of nature, requires good works to be done in the strength of nature; but the Gospel, because it regards man as fallen, requires good works from the justified; but to be done, not by the strength of nature of free will, but from infused grace” (Treatise on Justification, 1:288).
Rutherford elsewhere affirms that the law and the gospel require the same obedience (Pt. II.7). Indeed, “positively”, they are not contrary to one another. “Perfect obedience, which the Law requireth, and imperfect obedience which the Gospel accepteth are but graduall differences” (II.8). Furthermore, “the Gospel abateth nothing of the height of perfection, in commanding what ever the law commandeth in the same perfection….In acceptation of grace, the Gospel accepteth lesse than the law, but commandeth no lesse” (Pt. II.8). (Maybe Rutherford was thinking of Acts 14:15b?). Rutherford’s position can also be located in theologians such as William Perkins and John Owen.
How can Rutherford maintain such a position? He, like many of his contemporaries, understands Paul’s law-gospel contrast not to be primarily that of command versus promise, but instead a redemptive-historical contrast. But there is more than that.
We need to understand that the gospel is really about Christology first and foremost. Reformed Christology places a stress on the organic relationship between Christ’s person and work; he is prophet, priest, and king; and all of these offices relate to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is to say, the Gospel is the whole Christ, his person and his work, and our receiving the whole Christ by faith. More than that, Reformed Christology has historically placed a great deal of emphasis on the role of the Spirit in relation to Christ. Hence, Christology informs our pneumatology and vice versa. Paul’s Christology is Paul’s pneumatology; and these two aspects are integral to the gospel (see 1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 3:17-18). The Spirit’s work in us is actually Christ’s work in us and for us (Rom. 8:9).
Now, we might possibly come to the conclusion that the gospel is only about “Christ for us”, which some might take to mean: “Christ died for the penalty of our sins; thus the gospel is synonymous with justification by faith alone, that is, the gospel is a forensic declaration that lies entirely outside of us.” Or, you may have heard it put this way: “what Christ has done for us is Christianity; what he does in us is his own business, but what he’s done for us is Christianity. The Reformers really believed, and their followers really believed, that nothing that happens in me is the gospel…the gospel is external. It has to do with Christ dying for me.” However, not only is that not the case for some of our finest Reformed theologians, but such an idea certainly flies in the face of the biblical evidence.
The gospel certainly is “Christ for us”, but that does not mean that that does not include “Christ in us”, something the great English Puritan theologian Thomas Goodwin was careful to point out (see below).
Some theologians have typically distinguished between three works of God: immanent (e.g. the Father electing in eternity), transient (e.g. the Son dying in time), and applicatory (the Spirit applying the merits of Christ’s work). The scope of the gospel involves God’s immanent, transient, and applicatory works. This not only provides a wide scope to the nature of the gospel, but also enforces a fully Trinitarian understanding of salvation.
Thomas Goodwin elaborates on this idea. The concept of “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27) occupies a central place in the gospel. Basing his exposition of the gospel on Colossians 1:3-23, Goodwin shows that “the gospel does not only thus convey the Holy Spirit to you, to dwell in your forever, clotheth you with this righteousness, enableth you with open face to behold God…I say the gospel doth not only do all this, but it changeth you into the same image, from glory to glory” (Works, 4:329).
The distinction between “Christ for us” and “Christ in us” is certainly helpful; but, we should be careful to note that “Christ in us” really is “Christ for us”. Indeed, Goodwin argued that “the main sum and substance of Christianity then is, that Christ be revealed in us, and not only to us; that you come to have Christ by application in and to your souls; Christ brought down into your heart….All, then, that God works upon you savingly, from first to last, is a discovery of Christ, some way or other, in you. It is either the knowledge of his person, or it is a conformity to him…and this I call the sum or substance of our religion” (4:345-46). The gospel includes all soteric blessings, including those that are “in” us (e.g. sanctification & glorification).
I believe this is vitally important. In my experience, there is a tendency that I have noticed in some Reformed churches to view the gospel as co-extensive with justification. Thus, sanctification becomes the “response” of the believer to the gospel. In other words, sanctification can be viewed as simply “gratitude” on our part. Some who adopt this view recoil in horror at the thought that good works are necessary for salvation, particularly if they make justification synonymous with salvation or the gospel synonymous with justification. In connection with this, Richard Gaffin has made the following point:
“With such a construction justification and sanctification are pulled apart; the former is what God does, the latter what we do, and do so inadequately. At worst, this outlook tends to devolve into a deadening moralism. What takes place, in effect, is the reintroduction of a refined works principle, more or less divorced from and so in tension with the faith that justifies. These self-affirming works, those self-securing and self-assuring efforts, so resolutely resisted at the front door of justification, creep back in through the back door of sanctification” (BFNBS, 76-77). (Incidentally, the sharp Lutheran antithesis between “law” and “gospel” appears to have been partly responsible for the rise of pietism.)
Gaffin adds: “Sanctification, first of all and ultimately, is not a matter of what we do, but of what God does. As the best in the Reformation tradition recognizes, it (sanctification), no less than our justification, is a work of his grace” (BFNBS, 77). And, that really is good news.
As Berkouwer noted, “the path of good works runs not from man to God, says Paul, but from God to man” (Faith & Sanctification, 191). Are we really prepared to say that our obedience is not part of Paul’s gospel message when we recognize that our good works have been prepared in advance for us to do?
These emphases are necessary because Christ died to make his church holy (Eph. 5:25-27; 1 Peter 2:24; Col. 1:21-23; 2 Cor. 5:15). Herman Bavinck notes the importance of sanctification: “To understand the benefit of sanctification correctly, we must proceed from the idea that Christ is our holiness in the same sense in which he is our righteousness. He is a complete and all-sufficient Savior. He does not accomplish his work halfway but saves us really and completely. He does not rest until, after pronouncing his acquittal in our conscience, he has also imparted full holiness and glory to us….[Evangelical sanctification] consists in the reality that in Christ God grants us, along with righteousness, also complete holiness, and does not just it impute it but also inwardly imparts it by the regenerating and renewing working of the Holy Spirit until we have been fully confirmed to the image of his Son” (Reformed Dogmatics, 3:248).
Justification answers to God’s righteousness; sanctification answers to his holiness. “Hence, the two are equally necessary and are proclaimed in Scripture with equal emphasis….Justification and sanctification…grant the same benefits”, namely, “the entire Christ” (RD, 3:249). And the entire Christ is the entire gospel, which brings me back to my initial contention that the gospel really is about Christology and all that that means, which includes “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
For Thomas Goodwin this was actually a source of comfort: “that whatsoever glory, and whatsoever riches of Jesus Christ the gospel lays open, it is all yours, it is all in you, and for you” (4:337). By making the gospel not simply about “Christ for us”, but also “Christ in us”, Goodwin actually heightens the Christological glories of the gospel by making a similar point to the one made by Gaffin above:
“if I act anything, it is not I, but the grace of Jesus Christ in me…If I be sanctified it is not grace, so much as Christ, is made sanctification. The truth is, that as a man still grows up more and more gospelised in his spirit, so Jesus Christ is in him, and works out all things else, till there be nothing but Christ in him…” (4:339).
All of this is to suggest that just because many in the church today have a faulty idea of “living the gospel”, we need not over-react to this principle by making the gospel to be totally outside of us. Such an idea would have been foreign to Thomas Goodwin, and I’m sure the Apostle Paul. Based upon the above, any charge of moralism towards those who make the gospel larger than simply justification by faith is utterly groundless. Indeed, in my opinion, moralism is best avoided when the gospel includes the whole Christ, who is both for and in us, the hope of glory.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
What I would like to see is an explanation of how to say, "I am the Gospel" and "We preach not ourselves" while sincerely meaning both.
I think I am being a bit misunderstood. I think I am also being a bit taken out of context. I am not the Gospel. I am a part of the gospel. I can be gospel truth and light to others.

Thanks Ruben for bringing this passage to light. In fact it is the very next verse that makes me say what I am trying to express.

(2Co 4:4) In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

(2Co 4:5) For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.

(2Co 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.

(2Co 4:7) But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

(2Co 4:8) We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;

(2Co 4:9) persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;

(2Co 4:10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

(2Co 4:11) For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

(2Co 4:12) So death is at work in us, but life in you.

(2Co 4:13) Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, "I believed, and so I spoke," we also believe, and so we also speak,

(2Co 4:14) knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.

(2Co 4:15) For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

(2Co 4:16) So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

(2Co 4:17) For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

(2Co 4:18) as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
The essence of the Gospel lives in me by the Spirit. The Spirit of God by grace (Remember, I don't hold to the pinheaded view that grace is just unmerited favor) is influencing me to exhibit the life of Christ, His love for those he died for, and life that is new and changed. He continues to exhibit this work of Christ's anointing as Prophet, Christ's Priesthood, and Christ's Kingship in our lives and through our lives.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
I thought Mark Jones' article was very good too; but I still wouldn't say "I am a part of the Gospel". I didn't mean to misrepresent you: but if someone is told to "be the Gospel" (not just "part of the gospel) at some point the obeyed imperative produces an indicative.
So what meaning do you give to "We preach not ourselves"?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
I thought Mark Jones' article was very good too; but I still wouldn't say "I am a part of the Gospel". I didn't mean to misrepresent you: but if someone is told to "be the Gospel" (not just "part of the gospel) at some point the obeyed imperative produces an indicative.
So what meaning do you give to "We preach not ourselves"?
The same as I would here....

(Gal 2:20) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

(2Co 4:10) always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
But the two verses say two different things, Randy: you can't say they mean the same thing, though what they do mean is consistent. If you can spell out what you see as the connection between them, that would be helpful. Do you, for instance, think that Paul did not preach himself in the same sense that he no longer lived?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
We are to be the light unto the World Ruben. We are not that Light but we are light unto the World. So yes, in the sense that Galatians and this go together, "that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies."

I still like the old KJV... I can't help it.

(2Co 4:10) Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.

(2Co 4:11) For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
I don't mean to be thick, Randy, but I still don't feel like you're explaining what it means, and I'm hesitant to import my own meaning into it, because you do like a phrase that I find to be more trouble than it's worth.

Christ is the Light of the world. The church is the light of the world. No one disagrees. So what does the church do? It points to the totality of Christ's person and work. In what it is and does, the work of Christ is evident (sometimes more, sometimes less); but while there is no salvation outside of the invisible church, and outside of the visible church ordinarily no possibility of salvation, that is not because the church is the saviour or the gospel, but because the church is the sphere created by the saving activity of Christ, the agency that proclaims the gospel of Christ. The gospel is at work in us; but as Machen put it, the gospel is not some principle that has been discovered, but an event: one located and bounded in history by the Virgin Mary, by Pontius Pilate. And while I can stake my soul on that event, and while I can explain that it was the most important thing ever to happen, and while I can even say that I'm partaking of a world that began with that event - yet that event would be quite true, and quite sufficient to save sinners, without me: which is why I am uncomfortable, without even entering into the background that Paul provided for the phrase, encouraging anyone to "be the gospel". If you consider what some people mean by it, of course, then it's downright horrifying.
I doubt I can make my point of view any more clear.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
And I have tried to do the same. I have tried to be clear also. Just because some abuse the language doesn't make it poor language. It seems we are at an impasse also. Maybe Rev. Winzer can help me understand.

As Mark Jones made this point....
All of this is to suggest that just because many in the church today have a faulty idea of “living the gospel”, we need not over-react to this principle by making the gospel to be totally outside of us.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top