The Primacy of Preaching Christ, Part 2 (Acts 2:22-36) | Jared Betts

The Preaching of Simon Peter

We began last week with a question; how does one build a church? The answer is that the One who builds the church is Christ, and He builds His church by work of the Spirit in the hearts of people through the preaching of His word.

It seems fitting, therefore, to begin with another question; what then is the message we are to preach? The message Charles Hodge described as being “so simple that small children can understand it, and it is so profound that studies by the wisest theologians will never exhaust its riches.” What is the gospel? The answer to this question is in the text before us, and it is provided for us by an unlearned and untrained fisherman empowered by the Spirit of God.

We are pressing on in Peter’s sermon on Pentecost that bears all the marks of true expository preaching. It is text driven, God exulting, Christ centered, exegetically grounded, theologically precise, Spirit empowered, logically ordered, passionately delivered, boldly declared, and evangelistically aimed. Peter has taken his stand with the eleven and begun to give an elevated and dignified discourse on what the crowds have witnessed among the Spirit filled disciples. His text is Joel 2:28-32, and His purpose is not only to explain to the crowd the phenomenon that has just occurred, but more importantly to impress upon their minds that they have now entered the final age; an age that will inevitably end in divine judgment for all who have not turned from themselves and trusted in the Lord. As we recall, Peter’s sermon seeks to answer but one question; who is the Lord that is to be called upon to be saved from the wrath to come? The answer is going to result in his hearers being “pierced to the heart.”[1] The Spirit-empowered words will pain their hearts because they will come face to face with the fact that the Lord they are to call upon is their long awaited Christ; and this Messiah they have been looking for is the very Man they just murdered fifty days prior on Passover.


Jesus, The Man they Knew and Killed

This first thing we see Peter do to answer the question of the Name they are to call upon to be saved, is respectfully direct his audience’s attention to the Man of Nazareth urging them to head his words:

22 Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene…”

There is no doubt that at the mention of Nazareth, a little city in Galilee, that many would immediately think as Nathaniel did when Philip told him that they had found Him whom Moses and the prophets wrote about, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”[2] Many have suggested that Nazareth had a poor reputation among Israel and was not favorably looked upon. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? The message of life declares, yes, something good has come out of Nazareth; The Man, Jesus, who is both Christ and Lord.

Based on 2 Samuel 7:12-16, the Jews rightly understood that the Messiah would come through the line of David:

12 When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.”

Based on Micah 5:2, the Jews rightly understood that this Messiah, their King, was to come out of Bethlehem:

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.”

The Jews undoubtedly knew that Jesus was of the line of David because genealogies were able to be accessed by the public. The easiest way for them to disprove that Jesus was the Christ was to look at His family tree to see if David was his distant granddaddy. This would have been the first thing they did when He came on the seen claiming to be the Son of Man, which is a Messianic title. They would have gone to the genealogies, and what would they find? Jesus is in fact a descendent of David through both Joseph and Mary. He has the legal right to the throne through His stepfather, and the blood right through His mother. Again, they knew this, and there is good reason to believe that they knew this very early on. We can see this in John 7:40-42 after Jesus spoke of the Spirit being given to those who believe:[3]

40 Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, “This certainly is the Prophet.” 41 Others were saying, “This is the Christ.” Still others were saying, “Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? 42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?”

Again, we see that they understand two things which must be true in order for Jesus to be the long-awaited Messiah:

  1. He had to come from David.
  2. He had to come from Bethlehem.

Notice, however, the only thing they determine to discover in John 7:52:

            “Search and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.”

What do they not concern themselves with discovering? Whether or not Jesus is of the lineage of David. Why? Because they already know that He is! What they do not realize is that though Jesus resided in Nazareth, He was born in Bethlehem. He is the One to “be ruler in Israel,” whose “goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

At this point, Peter does not demonstrate to his hearers that Jesus’ birth or lineage proved that He is indeed the Christ, but to the fact the God had declared Him to be so. As Peter said, Jesus was, “a Man attested to you by God.” God had already proven to them that the Man of Nazareth was the Person they were looking for. To attest is to show. It is to prove by argument or demonstration. Jesus was proven to be the Christ “with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him.” Jesus healed those suffering with sickness and disease. He gave sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. He restored withered hands and lame legs. He spared many from death, and resurrected others who tasted it. Jesus’ works were a validation of His claims. They confirmed that He was who He said He was. Just consider Jesus’ response to John the Baptist who sent messengers to Jesus to ascertain if He truly was the One they were looking for. Matthew 11:2-6 says:

Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

People did not, and could not, refute the works that were being done by Him, but they could, and did, deny His claims. Jesus claimed to be God. He referred to Himself as the “I AM”,[4] a title reserved only for God. He also declared Himself equal with the Father: “I and the Father are one.”[5] His works were the confirmation of His claims. John 10:31-33 tells us that after Jesus made the claim of equality with the Father, which was a claim of being God, that:

31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” 33 The Jews answered Him, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.”

Consider their reaction in John 11:45-48 after Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life and proved it by raising Lazarus back to life after he had been rotting in the grave for four days:

“45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.47 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48 If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 

The works of Jesus were well known among everyone, and one of the greatest purposes of them was that they validated that He was in fact the Christ, the Son of the Living God.

Peter impresses upon the minds of His audience that they were aware of all the astounding works that Jesus did in their midst:

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know.”

We see the principle that sight does not generate belief resulting in salvation. Men and women can be presented with all the evidence in the world and yet remain in unbelief. This is because unless the Spirit regenerates a person, unregeneracy will remain a reality for them. They heard and saw all that God performed through Him, and instead of turning to Him as the One sent from God, they nailedHim “to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.” They killed God’s Christ.


Jesus, The Man God Delivered to Them

Peter first points out, that they did this “by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.” What is this saying? Is this saying that God merely looked down the corridors of time and saw what would happen? Is this simply suggesting that God knew that the people of Israel, His people, would deny their Messiah and kill Him, so He decided to incorporate that into His plan? No! Peter says that Jesus was “delivered over.” It literally means that He was given over, or delivered up into the hands of His enemies, or to the power or will of someone else.[6]He was given over by “the predetermined plan” of God, and the “foreknowledge”of God.

Predetermined plan speaks of the established counsel of God from all of eternity. Foreknowledge conveys foreordination or prearrangement. It is not just knowing something beforehand; it is active in bringing it to pass. This is exactly what we see in the only other place in the New Testament where this word is used, and it is Peter that employs it to comfort the believers suffering under sever persecution with the truth of God’s sovereignty in their salvation. Peter says in 1 Peter 1:1-2:

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.”

The Apostles prayer to God in Acts 4:27-28 makes it abundantly clear that we should understand Peter’s words on Pentecost to mean that Christ’s death was the foreordained plan of God before the world was:

27 For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.”

Jesus’ death on the cross in the place of His people was not an afterthought. It was the plan of redemption. The Angel said to Joseph:

“You shall call His name Jesus (Jehovah is Salvation), for He will save His people from their sins.”

John the Baptist called Him “the Lamb of God who came to takes away the sin of the world.”[7] The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.[8] He did not come to be served, but to serve by giving His life as a ransom for many.[9] He is the seed of the woman who would come, whom God promised after the fall of man when He delivered to Satan what has been called throughout church history as the Protoevangelium, which means the First Gospel or Goodnews. God said to Satan:

15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”[10]

This Person would crush the work of Satan, but He would suffer a crushing in order to accomplish this. Christ is this Person. He is the One in Psalm 22 crying out:

1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning…All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, ‘Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”…14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.”[11]

He is the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53, who Isaiah says was:

Despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.

Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.

He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
By oppression and judgment He was taken away;
And as for His generation, who considered
That He was cut off out of the land of the living
For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.

10 But the Lord was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the Lord will prosper in His hand.
11 As a result of the anguish of His soul,
He will see it and be satisfied;
By His knowledge the Righteous One,
My Servant, will justify the many,
As He will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.”

Many times, Jesus brought to His disciples’ attention that “the Son of Man must suffer many things.”[12] He plainly told them on several occasions that He:

33 Will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. 34 They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again.”[13]

As Jesus said to two men on the road to Emmaus that were grieving His death and unaware that the One before them was the resurrected Person who they were grieving for:

25 O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.”[14]

Who killed Jesus? Yes, the Romans delivered the stroke of death, but who delivered Him to them? Yes, the Chief Priests and the Scribes and the Pharisees were the ones to do this, but who handed Him over to them? Yes, Judas Iscariot is the one for whom it would be better if He had never been born, but who delivered Him into his hands? God did. They all meant it for evil, but He meant it for good to preserve many people alive for all of eternity.[15] It is no coincidence that the Scripture refers to Jesus Christ is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world.[16] Before the world was, the Godhead purposed that the Father would give His Son to be the propitiation of our sins,[17] and that the Son would willingly and humbly become a Man to lay down His life for His sheep upon the cross,[18] and that the Holy Spirit would regenerate the hearts of men and woman throughout both the world and time to turn from themselves and to trust in the message preached of Christ crucified and risen again.[19]

Is God sovereign? Yes! Is man responsible? Absolutely! Can we fully comprehend this? No, we cannot, but we can rest assured they are true, for the Scripture clearly articulates both of them. This is a swinging pendulum we do not want to be on. Undermine one ounce of God’s sovereignty to keep man free, and you ungod God because you diminish His infinite and unchangeable qualities of being sovereign and all powerful. Strip mankind of its responsibility to keep God in complete control, and you ungod God because you inevitably make Him the author of evil. There is a reason why, after much consideration over the truth of the Scripture, the Westminster Confession of Faith beautifully declares:

“God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.”

Divine sovereignty and human responsibility hold their longest kiss at the cross. Mankind acts of their own volition, and God carries out His purpose. Man’s injustice is fully displayed while divine justice is fully satisfied. The human will was not violated and freely expresses itself making people culpable while God remains free from sin. Spurgeon was asked if he could reconcile the two truths together to which he replied, “I wouldn’t try. I never reconcile friends.” As J.I. Packer said:

“Divine sovereignty and human responsibility are not enemies. They are not uneasy neighbors; they are not in an endless state of cold war with each other. They are friends, and they work together.”[20]

This is precisely what is presented before us in Peter’s words:

23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”


Jesus, The Risen Christ and Exulted Lord

Peter goes on to proclaim to His hearers the greatest way God proved Jesus to be the Christ, and that was by bringing Him back to life on the third day never to die. They killed Him:

24 But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 

It was impossible for Him to be held in deaths grip. Literally speaking, death could not master Him. Why is this?

  1. First and foremost, Jesus had the authority to lay down His life, and He had the authority to take it up again.[21] He is the Resurrection and the Life.[22] Death could not hold Him because of His own power.
  2. Second, He is the One that declared, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”[23] Death could not hold Him because the promise of His resurrection was to be fulfilled.
  3. Third, He said, “Because I live, you too shall live.”[24] Death could not hold Him because His purpose was to give eternal life to all who call upon Him.
  4. Forth, death could not hold Him because the Old Testament Scriptures foretold both His resurrection and His ascension to the throne of God.

It is this final point that we see before us. Peter seeks to point out to them that the death of their Christ was always apart of the plan of God because David spoke of His resurrection and ascension. He first draws their attention to Psalm 16:8-11 where David says:

25 saw the Lord always in my presence;
For He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken
.
26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted;
Moreover my flesh also will live in hope
;
27 Because You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
Nor
 allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of gladness with Your presence
.’

The Psalm is written from the perspective of One who found strength and protection in God, as is symbolized by speaking about God being at His righthand. It is because of this they would not be shaken, rather their heart will be glad and they will live in hope. Why? Because God will not abandon them to the grave. He will not allow them to decompose. How? He will make known to Him the ways of life. In other words, this person will go down into the grave, but they will not experience any decomposition because God will raise them out it. Peter’s point is clear:

29 Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.”

This is Peter’s way of saying, “David is still dead, and you all know it:”

30 And so, because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

Peter, and the eleven whom he has taken His stand with, are doing exactly what Christ had commissioned them to do in Luke 24:44-48 when:

44 He said to them, ‘These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,46 and He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things.’”

They are fulfilling their commission and preaching Christ crucified and risen again.

            Peter goes on to explain to them that the phenomenon they are witnessing at Pentecost is a result of Christ’s ascension into glory, which David also spoke of in Psalm 110:1. Peter says in Acts 2:33-34:

33 Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear. 34 For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at My right hand, 35 Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ vindicates Him as the Son of God. The ascension of Jesus Christ confirms His superiority over all things. Philippians 2:6-9 says of Him that:

Although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Peter’s point is this, “The fact that you are all witnessing the outpouring of the Spirit means that Jesus has been exalted to the throne of God; and since He is at the right hand of God, He is not just the Man of Nazareth and the Christ, but the Lord:”

36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ – This Jesus whom you crucified.”


The Glorious Gospel of God

Take a moment to consider The Parable of the Vine-growers in Mark 12:1-11, which Jesus told to the crowd after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. There is no question about it that many of the people standing before Peter on Pentecost would have heard Christ share this parable. Let me provide you with a brief key to understand what is being said in it. There is a man, a vineyard, vine-growers of the vineyard, slaves sent to the vine-growers, and the son of the man. The man is God the Father. The vineyard is Israel. The vine-growers are the leaders of Israel. The slaves are the prophets of God, and the son of the man is God the Son. Mark 12:1-11 says:

1 And He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard and put a wall around it, and dug a vat under the wine press and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey. At the harvest time he sent a slave to the vine-growers, in order to receive some of the produce of the vineyard from the vine-growers. They took him, and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Again he sent them another slave, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. And he sent another, and that one they killed; and so with many others, beating some and killing others. He had one more to send, a beloved son; he sent him last of all to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ But those vine-growers said to one another, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’ They took him, and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vine-growers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not even read this Scripture: ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone;11 This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

In Matthew’s account, Jesus asks them, “When the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?”[25] Their response is this, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end.”[26] They are correct.

Peter has just made it clear to His audience that they are guilty of killing God’s only Son, and God has raised Him up again and seated Him at His right hand “waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.”[27] Being Christ’s footstool is not a good thing to be. It conveys a person who, after conquering an enemy, puts their foot on their neck before executing them. If they killed Jesus, what they? His enemies which will be brought to a wretched end. All of Christ’s enemies will become a footstool for His feet. Whoever is not with Him is against Him, and whoever does not turn to Him will perish under His wrath for all of eternity. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 tells us that there is a day coming when He:

“Will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

Who is the Lord whose name we are to call upon to be saved? Jesus:

“There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”[28]

Jesus said of Himself:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”[29]

He is the only mediator between God and men.[30]

We need a mediator because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The standard of God’s glory is found in His Law. It reflects who He is, therefore, when His holy Law is lifted up we are left sinners in the hands of an angry God. We are left striped of every fiber of confidence we have ever had in ourselves. We are left helpless and naked before the One with whom we have to do. We are left spiritual bankrupt and thirsting after another person’s righteousness. We are left dead and deserving of His wrath. We are wretches that will be brought to a wretched end. J.C. Ryle said:

“Christ is never fully valued, until sin is clearly seen. We must know the depth and malignity of our disease, in order to appreciate the great Physician.”

Spurgeon said:

“I do not believe that any man can preach the gospel who does not preach the law. The law is the needle, and you cannot draw the silken thread of the gospel through a man’s heart unless you first send the needle of the law to make way for it. If men do not understand the law, they will not feel that they are sinners. And if they are not consciously sinners, they will never value the sin offering. There is no healing a man till the law has wounded him, no making him alive till the law has slain him.”

We know we are to call upon Christ to be saved, but how is the Lord Jesus able to save us? He became a Man to live a righteousness for us according to His Father’s Law. He loved Him perfectly without flaw, as well as His neighbor, yet He hung upon the cross as if He had never loved His Father or others. He lived an innocent and righteous life yet hung there as if He were guilty and unrighteous. Why? He had become our sin. He bore it on His body on the cross so that He might be pierced through for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. He bore it so the chastening for our well being would fall upon Him. The Son became our sin, and the Father poured out the wrath we deserve for our sin upon His only Son, who came to give His life a ransom for many. Jesus, “died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God.”[31] God proved that there is forgiveness in His name, and that there truly is hope of eternal life freely for all who believe, and He did so by raising Him from the dead and seating Him at His right hand. We serve a risen and Living Lord who is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, and those who come to Him, He will not cast out.

As George Whitfield said, a man by the way whose preaching played a fundamental role in the Great awakening:

“Other men may preach the gospel better than I, but no man can preach a better gospel.”

What is the gospel? It is the message that is all about God, and how He saves sinful people from Himself, by Himself, through Himself, to Himself, and for Himself all in Christ alone. It is the good news of how the Living and Holy God freely justifies wicked and sinful people, not on the basis of their works, for no one can ever be made right with God by their own merit, but on the basis of turning from themselves and trusting in the Person and work of His Son. The Prince of Preachers said:

“Let this be to you the mark of true Gospel preaching – where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.”

What is the gospel? Simply put, it is the message of how He who was rich became poor, so that we who are poor might become rich through His poverty.[32] As Calvin once said:

“The Son of God became the Son of Man, so that the sinful  sons of men might become the sons of God.”

Athanasius said:

“He became what we are so that we might become what He is.”

Let us close with a wonderful quote from Spurgeon:

“Avoid a sugared Gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that Gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the Gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his Gospel soak into your soul.”


[1] Acts 2:37

[2] John 1:45-46

[3] John 7:37-39

[4] John 8:58

[5] John 10:30

[6] Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance; G1560: ekdotos (Delivered)

[7] John 1:29

[8] Luke 19:10

[9] Mark 10:45

[10] Genesis 3:15

[11] Psalm 22:1,7-8,14-18

[12] Mark 8:31

[13] Mark 10:33-34; Cross Reference Mark 8:31, 9:9,31

[14] Luke 24:25-27

[15] Genesis 50:20

[16] Revelation 13:8

[17] 1 John 4:10

[18] John 10:15

[19] Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 1:12-13; John 3:3,5; Ephesians 2:4-5

[20] Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, J.I. Packer; Page 40

[21] John 10:18

[22] John 11:25

[23] John 2:19

[24] John 14:

[25] Matthew 21:40

[26] Matthew 21:41

[27] Hebrews 10:12-13

[28] Acts 4:12

[29] John 14:6

[30] 1 Timothy 2:5

[31] 1 Peter 3:18

[32] 2 Corinthians 8:9

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