By Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)
THERE is only one Gospel—only one true message of good news from heaven. But there are many substitutes offered in place of the Gospel. It was so in the beginning. It is so now. The apostle
Paul wrote to the Galatians:
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel; which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Galatians1:6-9)
THESE are intensely solemn words. They come bubbling up from the steaming heart of the indignant apostle in righteous wrath as he learns of pretentious carnal legalists deliberately seeking to mislead eternally-bound souls with a false message which could only, like a will-o-the-wisp, lead to ruin and destruction at last. He would have us know it is a fearfully wicked thing to trifle with the sacred heaven - sent message that has come to a needy world declaring the grace of God to poor lost sinners.
WHAT then is this Gospel of which the apostle was so jealous? He tells us plainly in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4,
"... I declare unto you the gospel... how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."
Note carefully: The Gospel is God's wonderful story of His beloved Son. It is a message of grace to be received in faith. It is not a code of laws to be obeyed or good advice to be followed. It is not a system of ritual observances or a call to submit to certain ordinances. It does not set forth the claims of any human church organization, however venerable, nor does it exhort men to seek after experiences, however remarkable, though a blessed experience follows its acceptance. It simply sets forth Christ crucified and risen as the Savior of all who believe in Him.
WHEN THE MORMON elder comes declaring that an angel revealed a gospel of salvation through a restored church and renewed ordinances, he is preaching another gospel, and angel and man are alike under the curse.
WHEN THE LEGALIST comes insisting that salvation is by obedience to God's holy law (which in itself is just and good), he is preaching another gospel, for the Word of God declares, "By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight."
WHEN THE REVIVALIST comes promising salvation to those "who make a full surrender" of all that they have to God, and who "pay the price of full salvation," he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender, when He yielded Himself unto death for us that we might be redeemed from the curse of the broken law and forever saved from the judgment to come upon all who refuse His grace.
WHEN THE MODERNIST prates in glowing terms and honeyed phrases of salvation by character, salvation by altruism, salvation by ethical culture, he, too is proclaiming another gospel, for if character could have saved, Christ need not have died; if altruism would have fitted sinful men for heaven, the Lord Jesus would surely have told us so; if ethical culture could deliver from the wrath of God, what place would Gethsemane, Calvary and the Empty Tomb have in the Divine economy?
WHEN THE CHRISTIAN SCIENTIST (falsely so-called) denies the reality of sin, disease and death and lulls sinners to sleep by telling them that "God is all and all is God," even going so far as to declare the death of Christ was unreal, and His resurrection simply spiritual, and that the blood of Jesus was no more efficacious to cleanse from sins when shed upon the accursed tree than when it was flowing in His veins, he, or she, is promulgating another gospel, which is not another, for it is a baseless dream, a weird and blasphemous "error of mortal mind" that will leave its votaries at last without God and without hope.
THE SOLEMN FACT IS THERE IS NO OTHER GOSPEL. Every pretended substitute is but a Satan-devised delusion meant to turn men away from the strait gate which alone leads into the narrow way, and make them contented as they crowd down the clear side of the broad way to eternal perdition.
BEFORE there can really be another gospel there must be another savior and another Holy Spirit, and this can never be. Nor is any other gospel needed, for the grand old Gospel of the grace of God is all-sufficient to save "whosoever will," and has demonstrated its power throughout the centuries by transforming lost miserable sinners into happy joyous saints. Paul says,
"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith" (Romans 1:16,17).
THE Gospel needs only to be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit to hold its own against every imitation and substitute that the mind of the natural man energized by Satan can devise. Like the Bible itself it is divinely inspired and, therefore, preeminently fitted for the needs of mankind... It convinces the mind and satisfies the heart, if men but take the place of repentant sinners and accept it by faith. It is the dynamic of God unto the deliverance of all who believe it. To refuse it is to be lost. To receive its message is to be saved.
IT reveals the righteousness of God, making known how He "can be just and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus." Satan's false gospels all pretend to show how man can establish his own righteousness. The Gospel of Christ comes to unrighteous men and tells them of a righteousness that is divine which is imputed to all who believe.
ANOTHER gospel—whatever its outward form—will always be found to center in something that man can be or do in order to obtain merit. The Gospel of God declares what Christ has done in order that the salvation purchased may be justly offered to sinners.
ANOTHER gospel presupposes some strength, some ability to please God, in the natural man. God's Gospel declares that when "we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."
ANOTHER gospel will land you in hell! God's Gospel, believed, will bring you safe to heaven.
TURNING from every false hope, I beseech my unsaved reader to rest in what Scripture declares concerning Christ, and thus be able to sing in faith:
"Upon a life I did not live, Upon a death I did not die, Another's life, Another's death I hang my whole eternity. None will ever be confounded who put their trust in Him."
[Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951), a godly Fundamentalist author and teacher for many years, served as pastor of Chicago's Moody Memorial Church from 1930-1948]. END
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