Quote from "God's Way of Holiness," by Horatius Bonar

(Quote selected from Chapter Three, "The Root and Soil of Holiness")

"The apostles evidently had great confidence in the gospel. They gave it fair play, and spoke it out in all its absolute freeness, as men who could trust it for its moral influence, as well as for its saving power, and who felt that the more speedily and certainly its good news were realized by the sinner, the more would that moral influence come into play. They did not hide it, nor trammel it, nor fence it round with conditions, as if doubtful of the policy of preaching it freely. "Be it known unto you," they said, "men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by Him all that believe are justified" (Acts 13:38,39). They had no misgivings as to its bearings on morality, nor were they afraid of men believing it too soon, or getting too immediate relief from it. The idea does not seem to have entered their mind, that men could betake themselves to Christ too soon, or too confidently, or without sufficient preparation. Their object in preaching it was, not to induce men to commence a course of preparation for receiving Christ, but to receive Him at once and on the spot; not to lead them through the long avenue of a gradually amended life to the cross of the Sin-bearer, but to bring them at once into contact with the cross, that sin in them might be slain, the old man crucified, and a life of true morality begun. As the strongest motive to a holy life, they preached the cross. They knew that,

"The cross once seen is death to every vice,"

and in the interests of holiness they stood and pleaded with men to take the proffered peace.

. . . . Hence the apostles trusted the gospel with the sinner, and the sinner with the gospel, so unreservedly, and (as many in our day would say) unguardedly. "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5) was a bold statement. It is that of one [the Apostle Paul] who had great confidence in the gospel which he preached, who had no misgivings as to its unholy tendencies . . . . He himself always preached it as one who believed it to be the power of God unto holiness, no less than unto salvation. That this is the understanding of the New Testament, the "mind of the Spirit," requires no proof. Few would in words deny it to be so; only they state the gospel so timorously, so warily, so guardedly, with so many conditions, terms, and reservations, that by the time they have finished their statement, they have left no good news in that which they set out with announcing as "the gospel of the grace of God." The more fully that the gospel is preached, in the grand old apostolic way, the more likely is it to accomplish the results which it did in the apostolic days. The gospel is the proclamation of free love; the revelation of the boundless charity of God. Nothing less than this will suit our world; nothing else is so likely to touch the heart, to go down to the lowest depths of depraved humanity, as the assurance that the sinner has been loved--loved by God, loved with a righteous love, loved with a free love that makes no bargain as to merit, or fitness, or goodness. "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins!" (I John 4:10). — Horatius Bonar, "God's Way of Holiness"

See also: "The Cross and Its Power," Chapter 5 in this book