Friday, December 4, 2009

The object of the Gospel

The great object of the gospel of Christ is to create men anew in Christ Jesus. It aims at resurrection, and accomplishes it. The gospel did not come into this world merely to restrain the passions or educate the principles of men, but to infuse into them a new life which, as fallen men, they did not possess.

I saw yesterday what seemed to me a picture of those preachers whose sole end and aim is the moralizing of their hearers, but who have not learned the need of supernatural life. Not very far from the shore were a dozen or more boats at sea dragging for two dead bodies. They were using their lines and grappling irons, and what with hard rowing and industrious sailing, were doing their best most commendably to fish up the lost ones from the pitiless sea. I do not know if they were successful, but if so, what further could they do with them but decently to commit them to their mother earth? The process of education and everything else, apart from the Holy Spirit, is a dragging for dead men, to lay them out decently, side by side, in the order and decency of death, but nothing more can man do for man.

The gospel of Jesus Christ has a far other and higher task: it does not deny the value of the moralist’s efforts, or decry the results of education, but it asks what more can you do, and the response is, “Nothing.” There it bids the bearers of the bier stand away and make room for Jesus, at whose voice the dead arise. The preacher of the gospel cannot be satisfied with what is done in drawing men out of the sea of outward sin, he longs to see the lost life restored, he desires to have breathed into them a new and superior life to what they have possessed before.

From a sermon entitled "Resurrection With Christ," delivered April 12, 1868. Image by Jule_Berlin under Creative Commons License.

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