Tom Harding

One preacher of the past has rightly said, “Every sermon should contain the three R’s, ruin by sin in Adam, redemption by the blood atonement of Christ and regeneration by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit.

We rejoice in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Phi. 3:3). It is indeed the message of God to guilty sinners how God can justly save His people from their sins through Christ’s redeeming blood to His own glory ( Rom. 3:24-26; Rev. 1:5-6). The gospel of Christ Jesus declares that He came to save sinners (Matt. 9:10-13). If all men are not guilty and can work up or work out their own righteousness and salvation, there is no need for Christ to come in the flesh (John 1:14) and to establish a righteousness and die for sinners. (Gal. 2:21). All men are totally depraved, guilty before God and unable to perform any righteous action or notion (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:9-12). To preach a gospel that denies total ruin is to deny the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ altogether (1John 1:7-9).

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ declares that the Lord was absolutely successful in His priestly work (John 17:4-5). Christ died, not to make salvation a possibility for all sinners (Gal. 1:3-6), but rather to make complete atonement for the sins of His covenant people (Heb. 2:17; 9:12). Those for whom He died shall be saved in Christ (John 6:37; Eph.2: 4-10). To preach a gospel that denies the effectual and particular redeeming work of Jesus Christ is to deny the gospel of Christ altogether (Gal. 1:6-10).

The gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ also declares that those for whom He died to justify (Rom. 5:6-9), shall be in due time irresistibly called with the preaching of the gospel (Rom. 10:11-17; 2Cor. 4:5-6; 1Thes. 1:4-7). This is not reformation and education of the old sin nature, but rather the revelation and exaltation of the glory of the person and work of Christ within us (John 16:9-15; Gal. 1:15-16; Phil. 1:6). This is the regenerating work of God the Holy Spirit making sinners new creatures in Christ, implanting within them a new sinless nature after the image of God (2Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24; Titus 3:5; 1Peter 1:23, 3:4; 2Peter 1:4; 1John 5:1). To preach a gospel that denies the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit is also denial of the gospel of Christ altogether (2Cor. 11:3, 13-15).

To deny any part of total ruin by the fall in Adam (Rom. 5:12) and complete redemption by the blood of Christ (1Peter 1:18-20) and powerful regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Eph.2:1), is a denial of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ altogether. “But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 10:33).

Tom Harding, Pastor
Zebulon Baptist Church
Pikeville, Ky.


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