Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Design of the Gospel

A selection from a letter by John Newton to Thomas Scott. Mr. Scott was a neighbor to Newton. He was an Anglican minister in a nearby parish but he didn’t know the Lord. It was through his friendship with Newton that he came to understand the gospel and was converted. After his conversion Scott wrote A Commentary on the Whole Bible that went through many editions, being popular both in England and America. He wrote his spiritual biography in a book first published in 1779, published now by The Banner of Truth Trust, The Force of Truth. This letter was written August 11, 1775, during Newton’s witnessing stage to Scott.

The gospel, my dear sir, is a salvation appointed for those who are ready to perish, and is not designed to put them in a way to save themselves by their own works. It speaks to us as condemned already, and calls upon us to believe in a crucified Saviour, that we may receive redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins. And the Spirit of God, by the gospel, first convinces us of unbelief, sin, and misery; and then by revealing the things of Jesus to our minds, enables us, as helpless sinners, to come to Christ, to receive him, to behold him, or in other words, to believe in him; and expect pardon, life, and grace from him; renouncing every hope and aim in which we once rested, ‘and accounting all things loss and dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.’

Letters of John Newton: with Biographical Sketches and Notes, by Josiah Bull, reprinted by the Banner of Truth, p. 256.

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