Don Fortner

    God calls sinners to life and faith in Christ by the preaching of the gospel. This is, according to the plainest statements of Scripture, God’s ordained means by which he saves his elect. "It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." You cannot hear from God without a preacher, a true gospel preacher. Every time a true servant of God preaches the gospel of God’s free and sovereign grace in Christ, electing love, redeeming blood, and saving grace, sinners are thereby called to Christ (2 Cor. 5:20).

    The preaching of the gospel is not an offer of Christ, and of God’s grace and salvation by him. No preacher has the power to give grace and salvation. And no dead sinner has the power to receive God’s grace and salvation in Christ. The preaching of the gospel is not an offer of Christ, or an invitation to sinners to receive Christ. The preaching of the gospel is a proclamation of the unsearchable riches of Christ, of grace, of peace, pardon, righteousness, and life, and salvation by him (Isa. 40:1-2).

    It is this, the true preaching of the gospel, which is God’s appointed means of grace. God does not save sinners through the lies of false religion, but through the word of the truth of the gospel (Eph. 1:13-14; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:17; James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23-25). It is no more possible for sinners to be saved by the preaching of free will, works religion in the name of Jesus, than it would be for sinners to be saved by a voodoo witch doctor casting chicken bones on the ground in the name of Jesus! God saves his elect through the knowledge of the truth, by the Word of truth, which reveals Christ, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

    This gospel call is universal in its scope (Matt. 28:18-20). I mean by that that we preach the gospel to all who will hear us indiscriminately, calling all to repentance and faith in Christ, just as our Lord commanded us. Yet, even the outward preaching of the gospel is not absolutely universal. God has never sent his Word to all people universally. In the Old Testament, he sent his Word to Israel alone. During his earthly ministry, our Lord and his Apostles went to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. In the Book of Acts, God’s servants were frequently prevented from going to some places and sent to others. Even so, today, our God sends the gospel to some and hides it from others. As it is written, "Many" are called, but not all.

    The gospel's call of sinners to repentance and faith in Christ is an unqualified, unconditional call. That is to say, there are no conditions, qualifications, experiences, feelings, or anything else you must meet, go through, or measure up to before you can trust Christ.

    God almighty commands you to come to Christ (1 John 3:23). If God commands you to do something, I presume it is all right for you to do it! God does not say, feel, do, get, experience, but "believe"!

    The only terms of peace God sets before sinners is unconditional surrender to King Jesus. I speak to you as God's ambassador. He has sent me to you with his terms of peace. I have no authority to change his terms. I simply proclaim them to you. You must either surrender to the King or be destroyed by the King (Luke 14:25-33). God help you now to bow to Christ as your only and rightful sovereign King.

                             Don Fortner, Pastor
                             Grace Baptist Church
                                Danville, Ky.