Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Unpopular Gospel

- Thomas Vincent, 1674

Q. How is Jesus Christ to be received by faith?
A. Jesus Christ is to be received by faith as he is offered to us in the gospel.

Q. How is Jesus Christ offered to us in the gospel?
A. Jesus Christ is offered to us in the gospel, as a priest, prophet, and king; and so we must receive him, if we would be saved by him.

Q. When doth the soul rest upon him for salvation?
A. The soul doth rest upon Christ for salvation when, being convinced of its lost condition by reason of sin, and its own inability, together with all creatures' insufficiency, to recover it out of this estate, and having a discovery and persuasion of Christ's ability and willingness to save, it doth let go all hold on the creatures, and renounce its own righteousness, and so lay hold on Christ, rely upon him, and put confidence in him, and in him alone for salvation.

Q. What is "repentance unto life"?
A. Repentance unto life is a saving grace, whereby a sinner, out of a true sense of his sin, and apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ, doth with grief and hatred of his sin, turn away from it unto God, with full purpose of, and endeavor after, new obedience.

Q. Wherein doth repentance unto life consist?
A. Repentance unto life doth chiefly consist in two things - 1. In turning from sin , and forsaking it. "Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions: so iniquity shall not be your ruin" - (Ezek. 18:30). "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper,: but whose confesseth and forsaketh them shall find mercy:. - (Prov. 28:13). 2. In turning to God. "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon" - (Isa. 55:7).

Q. What is that turning from sin which is a part of true repentance?
A. The turning from sin which is a part of true repentance, doth consist in two things - 1. In a turning from all gross sins, in regard of our course and conversation. 2. In a turning from all other sins, in regard to our hearts and affections.

Q. Do such as truly repent of sin never return again unto the practice of the same sins which they have repented of?
A. 1. Such as have truly repented of sin do never return unto the practice of it, so as to live in a course of sin, as they did before, and where any, after repentance, do return unto a course of sin, it is an evident sign that their repentance was not of the right kind. 2. Some have truly repented of their sins, although they may be overtaken and surprised by temptations, so as to fall into the commission of the same sins which they ave repented of, yet they do not lie in them, but get up again and with bitter grief bewail them and return again unto the Lord.