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    October 8, 1891

    “The Gospel the Power of God” The Present Truth 7, 21.

    EJW

    E. J. Waggoner

    Romans 1:16.

    “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”PTUK October 8, 1891, page 328.1

    There are few more comprehensive texts in the Bible than this. John 3:16 is another like it; either one of them could well be taken as the text for a sermon on almost any doctrinal subject, and they are of the greatest practical importance. They are vast treasure-houses, which can never be exhausted, but whose rich stores seem to increase in proportion as they are drawn upon.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 328.2

    The text tells us that the gospel is the manifestation of God’s power, and before we consider the greatness of this power, and how it is applied, it may be well to note briefly what the gospel is. Primarily, the word means good news. It is the good news of a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,-the good news of salvation. But a Saviour and salvation imply that somebody needs to be saved from something; and so the angel in foretelling to Joseph the birth of Christ, said: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus [Saviour]; for he shall save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. But sin brings death, for James says that “sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:15), and Paul tells us that “the wages of sin is death.” Therefore since Christ came to save from sin, it is evident that he saves from death; and this is what the apostle says in Romans 5:8, 9: “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”PTUK October 8, 1891, page 328.3

    When Christ saves from sin, he saves from the transgression of the law, “for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4. The law, of which sin is the transgression, is the law of ten commandments, for, says Paul, “I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Romans 7:7); and the only law which says, “Thou shalt not covet,” is the ten commandments.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 328.4

    The tenth commandment is doubtless taken by the apostle to show how he was convicted of sin, because it is the only one of the ten the transgression of which is wholly in the mind, and it therefore affords the most direct proof of his later statement that “the law is spiritual.” David said: “I have seen an end of all perfection; but thy commandment is exceeding broad.” Psalm 119:96. We are told also that “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12. To the same intent the wise man wrote:-PTUK October 8, 1891, page 328.5

    “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.1

    The injunction to fear God and keep his commandments, is based on the fact that God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, and derives its force from it. Therefore the text quoted is proof that the law of God has to do with every work and every secret thing. It is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. But we are not left to draw conclusions in this matter, for Jesus has told us plainly that murder may be committed in the heart, and that a single impure look and desire is a violation of the seventh commandment. See Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, 28. Solomon tells us, also, that “the thought of foolishness is sin.” Proverbs 24:9.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.2

    These few texts are quoted for the purpose of showing the nature of sin, that we may the better understand the power that is required to save men from it. In addition to these we might note the Saviour’s statement that evil thoughts flow naturally from the human heart (Mark 7:21), and the words of God through the prophet, that the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9. As showing the loathsome nature of sin, and how completely it has fastened itself upon men, we quote the words of the Lord through Isaiah:-PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.3

    “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more; the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores; they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” Isaiah 1:4-6.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.4

    To save people from their sins is to change all this. It is not merely to forgive the sins of the past, but it is to save from sins in the future, by changing the heart and the whole being,-to make a man entirely new. It is no less a work than to cleanse a man “full of leprosy,” or to raise the dead. The man who is saved from sin is saved from doing that to which his whole being naturally inclines. There is no earthly power that can do this. No man can change his own nature so that good thoughts will come naturally from the heart in the place of evil thoughts; no man has power to resist the fierce temptations that come through the lusts of his own heart, and that have been strengthened by long practice. Nothing but the power of God can do that; and that power is manifested in the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation. Many doubt the efficiency of even this power, for they say it is impossible for them to overcome. “The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.5

    It is the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses from sin. He “was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans 4:25. In this the power of God to save believers is manifested. The death and resurrection of Christ show not only the great love of God, but, also, his power to redeem. Note the words of the apostle Paul to the Ephesians, to whom he wrote that he ceased not to pray for them,-PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.6

    “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 1:17-20.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.7

    From this we learn that if we believe God, we shall know the exceeding richness of His power, even of that power which raised Jesus from the dead. The death and resurrection of Christ is God’s pledge to us that He will save us from sin, if we believe in Him; and it shows the power that will be put forth in order to effect this. This was the thought in the mind of Paul when he wrote that he counted all things loss if he might win Christ, and be found not having his own righteousness, “but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith; that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” Philippians 3:9-11.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.8

    To know the power of Christ’s resurrection, is to experience the working of that same power, in the removal of sin, which God wrought in Christ when he raised Him from the dead. Who could fail with this strength?PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.9

    It is of this power and its results that the apostle Peter speaks, when he says to us: “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue; whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” 2 Peter 1:2-4. This is an assurance that the divine power of God, exhibited in the resurrection of Christ, is amply sufficient to enable one to overcome all the lusts of the flesh This is what we are taught also in the following:-PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.10

    “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.11

    What is it that will bring to us this mighty power? Faith in Jesus Christ. Let the sinner but have an intense desire to be freed from the bondage of sin, and let him have the faith that the man “full of leprosy” had when he said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean,” and the Lord will say to him, as He did to the leper, “I will, be thou clean.” If Christ dwells in the heart by faith, the soul will be strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit, according to the riches of the glory of God, and may “be filled with all the fulness of God.” See Ephesians 3:16-19. What greater power could one ask for than this? And the possession of this power is a sure antidote for sin, and a preserver against it, for sin is the working of Satan, and the resurrection of Christ from the dead marked His victory over Satan. He had entered into Satan’s house and bound him, and had taken all his armour wherein he trusted, so that when He ascended into heaven He could say, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.12

    And this power is continued so long as the person has faith. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone that believeth. The same power that forgives the sin, and that changes the nature, will still remain to keep the soul from sin. Says Peter: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5. The power of God is the gospel of Christ, and the resurrection of Christ has begotten us unto a lively hope, because we know that the power of the gospel is the same power that brought Jesus from the dead, and is able to keep us, through faith, until the Lord returns.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.13

    Let none say then that he cannot overcome any evil habit. “But it is a part of my nature, and I have no power to resist it.” Exactly, but the power of God can change the nature, and make a new man. It could change a leper, so that his flesh became like that of a child. It could give power to the man who was impotent from birth. More than this, it could raise the dead, even after the body had undergone decomposition, as in the case of Lazarus. All these things are done by the same power that raised Jesus, which is a pledge of all things that we need. Romans 8:32. The same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead, will, if it dwells in us, strengthen us with the same power against sin, and, having kept us through faith unto salvation to be revealed when Christ comes, will quicken our mortal bodies, so that as we are now in spirit made to sit in heavenly places in Christ, we shall then be made to sit at his right hand, clothed in glory according to the riches of His grace. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.” E. J. W.PTUK October 8, 1891, page 329.14

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