In the third place, we teach with Christ and say, “Believe the gospel,” Mark. 1:15. That gospel is the glad tidings and promulgation of the favor and grace of God toward us, and the forgiveness of our sins through Christ Jesus. The believer, by faith, receives this gospel through the Holy Ghost, and does not look upon his former righteousness or unrighteousness, but hopes against hope, Rom. 4:18, and with the whole heart depends upon the grace, word and promises of the Lord; since he well knows that God is true, and that his promises are sure, Ps. 33:4; Rom. 3:4; 1 Cor. 1:9; thereby the heart is renewed, converted, justified, made pious, peaceable and joyous, Rom. 14:17; Gal. 5:22; he is born a child of God, John 1:13, approaches, with full confidence, the throne of grace, Heb. 4:11, and thus becomes a joint heir of Christ and a possessor of everlasting life, Rom. 8:14; 1 Tim. 1:16. Such then awaken in time; they hear and believe the word of the Lord; they weep over their past unworthy lives and conduct; they desire help and advice for their sick souls. To such, Christ, who is a comforter for all troubled hearts, says, “Believe the gospel;” that is, fear not; rejoice and be comforted; I will not punish nor chastise you, but will heal you, comfort you, and give you life, Is. 41:10. A bruised reed I will not break, and smoking flag I will not quench, Matt. 12:20; “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick,” Ezek. 34:16; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, Matt. 9:13; Mark. 2:17; Lu. 5:32; according to the good pleasure of my heavenly Father, I came into the world, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, I became a visible, tangible and dying man; in all points like unto you, yet without sin, Heb. 4:15; I was born of Mary, the spotless virgin; I came down from heaven, proceeded from the mouth of the Most High; I am the first born of every creature, the first and the last; the beginning and the end, Rev. 22:13; the Son of the Almighty God, Luke 1:32, anointed with the Holy Ghost to preach the gospel to the poor, and to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, to give sight to the blind, to open the prison to them that are bound, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, Is. 61:1, 2; Luke 4:18. Believe the gospel. I am the Lamb that was offered for you all. I take away the sins of the whole world. My Father has made me unto you “wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,” 1 Cor. 1:30; Rom. 6:10. Whosoever believeth on me shall not be ashamed; yea, all that believe that I am he, shall have eternal life, Rom. 10:11; John 3:16.
Behold, beloved Sirs, Friends, and Brethren, all who believe this are those of whom the scriptures say, “To them, gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” Jn.1:12,13. These are they who are justified by faith, and have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, Rom. 5:1, 2, and this, as Paul says, is all of grace and love, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, &c., Rom. 3:23-25. There is none, that of himself, can rejoice in, or boast of this faith;* it is the gift of God, Eph. 2:8. All who receive faith from God, receive a tree full of all manner of good and delicious fruit; happy are they who receive this gift of God, for it is more precious than gold, silver or precious stones; it is incomparable, he that obtains it, obtains Christ Jesus, forgiveness of sins, a new mind and eternal life, for the true faith, which is acceptable to God, cannot be dead; it must bring forth fruit, and thus manifest its nature; it works continually in love; walks willingly in righteousness; mortifies flesh and blood; crucifies the lusts and desires; rejoices in the cross of Christ; renews and regenerates, quickeneth, makes free and gives peace in Christ Jesus. Behold, such a faith, I say, is the gift of God, Eph. 2:8, by which the righteous, according to the scriptures, are to live as did Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Rahab and all the saints. Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit after its kind, Matt. 7:17; every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit, although in its full foliage, must be accursed and consumed with fire, Matt. 3:10. Thus also a fruitless, powerless faith, such as is possessed by the world, and does not work by love, be it ever so learned, wise, eloquent, plausible and miraculous, still, it is in the sight of God unclean, dead and accursed, 1 Cor. 13:2.
Therefore, we exhort you, with Christ Jesus, “Believe the gospel;” that is, believe the joyful news, the message of divine grace through Jesus Christ; leave off sinning, manifest repentance for your past lives, submit to the word and will of the Lord; then you will become heirs and joint-heirs, citizens and children of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, made free from your enemies, hell, sin, death and the devil, and walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, Rom. 8:6. Quid credit filio dei habet vitan aeternam, i. e., He that believeth on the Son of God hath everlasting life, John 3:36.
* Salvation is the gift of God.