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The Gospel is PERFECT
2 Sam 22:31 “As for God, his way is perfect;”
Heb 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”
Christ’s work for us, in the Gospel, is perfect. Just as His character is perfect so is his work. That which is perfect can not be added to or improved upon. Had Christ’s work been flawed or tainted there would have been no resurrection. The Gospel, being perfect is full and flawless and has therefore not developed over the years. There is neither need for a new Gospel nor an improved one: It is perfect! My Christian life is not perfect, it is developing and improving. Therefore if I preach my experience of Christ and how I am growing in God I am not preaching the Gospel, the perfect work of God in Christ.
My faith and repentance are growing year by year but since they are still growing they are neither perfect nor complete. Likewise my holiness is less than perfect, indeed it is at times greatly lacking therefore to preach my holiness is not to preach the Gospel.
There is nothing which has happened within the believer, no matter how profound, which can qualify as the Gospel because the gospel does not happen within the believer. The Gospel has already happened outside the believer, in the past, in the perfect work of the person of Christ on behalf of His people.
Let’s put it this way; that which happens in the believer---growth in faith and sanctification etc is the fruit of the Gospel but is not the Gospel. Now you may think this is being too picky about making the distinction between the Gospel and the Fruit of the Gospel. “Sure they are all the same”, you say, “you are just splitting hairs”. Hey listen to me! I have too much regard for the few hairs I have left to go around splitting them! But seriously, you wouldn’t think I was making too much of a distinction if we stood in an orchard and I told you to eat the apples but not the apple tree. What if I said, “Oh it really doesn’t really matter if you ingest the fruit of the tree or the tree itself for there really isn’t any difference!” You would know the lights were on but no one was at home if I ever suggested that. But the greatest act of pulpit treachery takes place when men take what should be the fruit of the gospel and make it the gospel. The Gospel is thus obscured. The Sheep of the Lord’s pasture are fed a second rate diet and God is robbed of His glory.
It is precisely the failure to distinguish between the Gospel and the Fruit of the Gospel which has brought so much death from our pulpits. Our Christianity in America is 3000 miles wide and ¼ of an inch deep. It is precisely because the Gospel has been replaced by the fruit of the Gospel that we are not seeing genuine awakening and revival. We are too busy eating apples when we should be planting apple trees. Eventually the apples will run out if there is no orchard to yield them.
Now let’s consider the fourth essential element:
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