The Person and Work of Christ
"The only Redeemer of God's elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so
was, and continueth to be, God and man, in two distinct
natures, and one person, forever" (Shorter Catechism, 21).
Paul said, "There is one God, and one mediator between God
and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for
all, to be testified in due time" (1 Tim. 2:5-6). The same apostle
wrote, "We preach Christ crucified" (1 Cor. 1:23). Christ's person
and work, then, lie at the very heart of the Christian message.
THE ETERNAL DEITY OF CHRIST
Jesus Christ is essentially and eternally God. "In the
beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and
the Word was God....And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt
among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:1,
14). In Romans 9:5 Christ is said to be "over all, God blessed
for ever." In Titus 2:13 He is called "the great God and our
Saviour Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is "God...manifest in the
flesh" (1 Tim. 3:16).
THE TRUE HUMANITY OF CHRIST
The miracle of all miracles is that God the Son became a man.
He did not cease to be God, but He took a true human nature--
a real body and a reasonable soul--into union with Himself.
He came into the world as a babe, having been conceived by
the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:31-35).
What a miracle! What condescension! "God sent forth his Son,
made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that
were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons"
(Gal. 4:4, 5). Only as a true man could our Saviour suffer, be
tempted, take our place, bear the wrath of God against men,
and by His own meritorious obedience procure salvation for
His people. The price of such a salvation was incalculable, but,
as the hymn writer so beautifully put it, "Jesus paid it all."
THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
The key note of the gospel in the preaching of the apostles is
the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every time they
preached they gave prominence to the resurrection. "Christ
died for our sins according to the scriptures;...was buried,
and...rose again the third day according to the scriptures"
(1 Cor. 15:3, 4). His resurrection declares His deity (Rom. 1:4)
and the reality of His people's acceptance with God in Him
(Rom. 4:25). Our Saviour is a living Saviour and is therefore
able to save. He who conquered sin and death can save souls
from both. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the
uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to
make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25).
THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST
This same Jesus is coming again (Acts 1:11). The bodily return
of Christ is the "blessed hope" of the church (Titus 2:13). It
is a hope that causes those who cherish it to live in purity
(1 John 3:3). God's people have differing interpretations as to
the prophetic details of their Saviour's return--for example,
whether it will be pre-, mid-, or post-tribulational, and whether
it will be pre-, post-, or a-millennial--but they are all perfectly
agreed that He is personally coming again.
The Free Presbyterian Church encourages Christians
to major on the glorious certainty of the Lord's return. We
do not exclude believers from our fellowship because of
minor differences in eschatology. Every preacher obviously
has to preach what he is convinced the Scripture teaches,
but his appeal is to God's Word, and he will not try to bind
the conscience of a brother who happens to disagree with
him on some details of eschatology. These matters are not
unimportant, but to us they are not matters over which
Christians should separate one from another.
When Paul said he preached Christ, he meant it. And so do
we. Jesus Christ is the great subject of our preaching. We
lay great emphasis on the objective work of Christ. He has
made an all-sufficient atonement for all His people. In a day
of man-centered preaching we constantly proclaim that it
is not the strength or merit of our faith that saves, but the
strength and merit of Him in whom it rests. Christ is all our
merit, and we need no more (1 Cor. 1:30). By the imputation
of His righteousness we are freely justified (Rom. 3:20-
28). This free justification provides the motive power for
our service (Gal. 5:1; 2 Cor. 5:14). We do not believe in guilt
theology--making believers feel bad enough for doing or not
doing something that they will do what we command just to
ease their consciences. It never works! We believe in grace
theology. We will preach against sin in the lives of Christians,
but always to point them to Christ (Heb. 12:1-3). It is only as
"we see Jesus" (Heb. 2:9) and understand our full acceptance
by God on His merit without our added works (Eph. 1:6) that
we will have the power to do good works and strive after
holiness. Thus we preach Christ as the message both sinners
and saints need to hear.
C. H. Spurgeon's eloquent statement at the opening of his
great Metropolitan Tabernacle in London perfectly states our
purpose in preaching.
I would propose that the subject of the ministry
of this house, as long as this platform shall stand,
and as long as this house shall be frequented by
worshippers, shall be the Person of Jesus Christ.
I am never ashamed to avow myself a Calvinist,
although I claim to be rather a Calvinist according
to Calvin, than after the modern debased fashion.
I do not hesitate to take the name Baptist [in our
case, Presbyterian]...but the body of divinity to
which I would pin and bind myself for ever, God
helping me, is...Christ Jesus, Who is the sum
and substance of the gospel; Who is in Himself
all theology, the incarnation of every precious
truth, the all-glorious embodiment of the way, the
truth, and the life.
This is the heart of the ministry of the Free Presbyterian
Church. This is the undergirding reason for every stand we
adopt. We expose and oppose the apostasy that is all too clear
in many churches. We do not do so because of a desire to be
contentious. No, our contending is for "the faith which was
once delivered unto the saints" (Jude 3). It is our commitment
"not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and
him crucified" (1 Cor. 2:2). That compels us to be "set for the
defence of the gospel" (Phil. 1:17).
Peter said, "Unto you therefore which believe he is precious"
(1 Pet. 2:7). We want every worshipper in our services to feel
and know the preciousness of Christ, the One whom Solomon
described so beautifully in his Song: "Yea, he is altogether
lovely" (Song of Sol. 5:16).