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Respect for the Doctrine of Christ’s Saving Power

J. Gresham MachenThere exists a body of facts at the very foundation of the Christian religion, which have to be treated with respect. These facts are called doctrine. J. Gresham Machen writes:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2 ESV)

It is vain, then, to speak of reposing trust in the Person without believing the message. … Without the eighth chapter of Romans, the mere story of the earthly life of Jesus would be remote and dead; for it is through the eighth chapter of Romans, or the message, which that chapter contains, that Jesus becomes our Savior today.

The truth is that when men speak of trust in Jesus’ Person, as being possible without acceptance of the message of His death and resurrection, they do not really mean trust at all. What they designate as trust is really admiration or reverence. They reverence Jesus as the supreme Person of all history and the supreme revealer of God. But trust can come only when the supreme Person extends His saving power to us. ‘He went about doing good,’ ‘He spake words such as never man spake,’ ‘He is the express image of God’—that is reverence; ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’—that is faith.

But the words ‘He loved me and gave Himself for me’ are in historical form; they constitute an account of something that happened. And they add to the fact the meaning of the fact; they contain in essence the whole profound theology of redemption through the blood of Christ. Christian doctrine lies at the very roots of faith. It must be admitted, then, that if we are to have a non-doctrinal religion, or a doctrinal religion founded merely on general truth, we must give up not only Paul, not only the primitive Jerusalem Church, but also Jesus Himself. (Christianity and Liberalism)

3 Responses

  1. We also need to be clear that (as many Evangelicals have done) “… it is a dangerous state of things if doctrine is made to drive out precept”– Spurgeon who was clear and focused on this saving doctrine gives us a great call to repentance if we will but listen:
    http://spurgeonwarquotes.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/a-call-to-holy-living-spurgeon/

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  2. Thanks for your thoughts on this.

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