PAPER NO. 26
THE GOSPEL AND THE CALL TO REPENTANCE
- The Good
Man’s chief end is to glorify God in all that by which he makes himself known, in all his works of creation and providence. Man is created in the image of God and given dominion over the creation. Man is called to fill the earth with the knowledge of God through the work of dominion. The good is eternal life, the knowledge of God.
Man’s sin is rooted in disregard of what is clear about God and man and good and evil. Left to oneself no one seeks, no one understands and no one does what is right. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God; not glorifying God as God is man’s original sin.
The inherent consequence of sin is spiritual death. In disregarding what is clear about God, man’s thinking is emptied of meaning; he seeks to avoid and resist the light of reason. Man in sin falls into a state of meaninglessness and boredom and guilt, without end.
- Curse and Promise
God calls man to repentance through the curse and the promise.
The curse of toil and strife and old age, sickness and death serves to restrain, recall from and remove sin, covered up by self-deception and self-justification.
The promise is that through a spiritual war, which is age-long and agonizing, good will overcome evil: the seed of the woman will crush the head of the serpent.
- The Gospel
Christ, the seed of the woman in the place of Adam, came to undo what Adam did and to do what Adam failed to do.
Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Christ is Lord, who rules through his people to fill the earth with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea.
- The Church’s Calling
The Church is the pillar and ground of the Truth. It is to be salt and light in the world. It is to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all things Christ has commanded.
The Church in sin is divided, not one. It is the tail of the culture, not the head. It has been taken captive; it has not taken captive thoughts raised up against the knowledge of God.
- The Church’s Repentance
Unless the Church repents of root sin in misconceiving the cornerstone of good and evil, it will be cast out and trampled underfoot.
Unless the Church repents of its divisions and apostasy, the culture will decay until its collapse.
Unless the Church builds on its foundation, it cannot go on to maturity, fruitfulness, unity and fullness.
- The Church’s Foundation
The Church’s foundation is built upon the clarity of General Revelation, the Biblical Worldview of creation–fall–redemption, and the cumulative insight of the Historic Christian Faith.
General Revelation concerning God and man and good and evil is clear to all so that unbelief is without excuse.
Biblical Revelation concerning creation–fall–redemption is clear to all affirming Scripture so that divisions within theism are without excuse.
The cumulative insight of Historic Christianity summed up in its Creeds and Confessions is clear to all professing Christ as Savior and Lord so that divisions within Christianity are without excuse.