The Gospel: The power of God unto salvation
Five qualities in the Gospel which command our confidence in its power to save:
1. Strictly speaking, proper gospel preaching is done "with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven" (1 Peter 1:12). Otherwise it come to men only in word, with no saving effect at all (1 Thessalonians 1:5). But where the Holy Spirit is operative, convicting men of sin, righteousness and judgment, there the gospel comes with power and with much assurance.
2. The gospel is the narration of historical facts, interpreted by God for us, to be embraced and kept. Since Christ truly died and was raised, therefore our salvation is in him alone; he is our hope. The gospel is the outworking of God's eternal decree to save his elect. The same God who plans our salvation has also executed it. It must therefore be powerful and infallible in its purpose.
3. It is the gospel of grace, as Paul called it (Acts 20). Grace from beginning to end. We can be confident because the gospel does not depend on men's capacities and goodness (for he is totally depraved); rather it depends on God; it is the declaration of what he has accomplished through his Son on Calvary. The mission is already accomplished. Man does not need to sign on the dotted line, as if the gospel depends on him for success. No! By grace, God himself gives us the gift of faith, to embrace His Son in all his saving efficacy.
4. It is the gospel suited for sinners par excellence. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. I came to serve and to give my life a ransom for many. The gospel addresses all as condemned sinners, under God's wrath, but it goes us to speak of a way of escape. Sinners, who are made poor in spirit, will certainly realize how adapted the gospel is to them. It's exactly what they need to hear. It is relevant to all in every age.
5. Preachers may be bound and beaten; but the Word is not and cannot be bound. God, in his sovereignty, send the gospel wherever he desires and to whomsoever he wishes, so that it accomplishes his purpose. God's ministers are unto him "a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish; to the one we are the savour of death unto death, and to the other the savour of life unto life." (2 Corinthians 2:15-16). Even where it seems to fail, the gospel accomplished God's wise and inscutable purpose.