Oct 11, 2022

The One Word That Makes All the Difference

4 Min Read

You and I must never forget that words matter.

The words of the gospel are vital, and we’ve developed a special resource to help remind people of that fact—the devotional book The Heart of the Reformation. We’ll send you a copy of this resource when you give a gift of any amount to Ligonier Ministries. More on that below.

Time and again, Scripture tells us of the importance of words—both our words and God’s words. Consider what James 1:18 tells us: God “of his own will brought us forth by the word of truth.” The Apostle is talking about the gospel, the announcement of what God has done in Christ Jesus to seek and save the lost.

Dr. R.C. Sproul reminded us that “In New Testament terms, the gospel is the proclamation of the person and work of Jesus Christ and includes how the benefits of that work can be appropriated to us by faith and by faith alone.” A proclamation, of course, is made up of words, and if you change the words of the gospel proclamation (or change the meaning of those words), you end up with no gospel at all.

When it comes to conveying the gospel message, the word alone bears particular significance. The infallible authority of Scripture alone tells us that our salvation rests on what Christ alone has done. We benefit from His work by God’s sovereign grace alone, which moves us to trust in Christ alone, all to the glory of God alone. Without the alone, we’ll obscure the gospel or even lose it altogether.

Ligonier exists because the words of the gospel matter and because God’s people need to know Christ’s gospel clearly. We celebrate the Reformation because it helps us give biblical answers to many of the most pressing questions we are asked today.

Is there a sure place where God speaks to His people? Yes, in Scripture alone. The Bible, being the infallible Word of God, is our highest and final authority for all things pertaining to life and godliness.

Does God ever fail to save those whom He has chosen to redeem? No, we are redeemed because of His grace alone. Since our redemption rests solely on the mercy of our sovereign God, His grace will always bring about the salvation of His elect people.

Has God provided a Savior who succeeds at every point where I have failed? Yes, Christ alone. As the only Redeemer of God’s elect, He reconciles sinful people to God through His perfect obedience, complete atonement, and triumphant resurrection from the grave.

Must I do something besides trust the promises of God in order to be righteous in His sight? No, for we are justified by faith alone. Our good works contribute nothing to our acceptance by God; only by faith do we lay hold of Christ and receive all the benefits of the gospel. Of course, good works are to follow our conversion, bringing us to the next question.

Does my life have an eternal purpose that means right now counts forever? Yes, for everything we do is to be done for the glory of God alone. He alone is worthy of our utmost devotion, and God’s glory is the ultimate purpose of our salvation and our lives.

In all of those answers, the word alone is vital. Setting it aside can have dreadful consequences. To reject Scripture alone as our supreme authority leaves us to invent “our own truth,” which is no truth. When Christians forget that salvation is the work of God’s grace alone, they can think that the redemption of sinners depends on how attractive we “make” the gospel. If we deny that we’re declared righteous through faith in Christ alone, we’ll lack assurance of salvation. Worse still, by believing that salvation is possible elsewhere besides in Christ alone, we become susceptible to all manner of false “gospels.” And living for anything but the glory of God alone makes us look for purpose where we cannot hope to find it. Identity issues, sexual deviancy, and much more can’t help but result.

Ligonier stresses the word alone in all these doctrines in order to assist the church, whose modern theology is often shallow and undeveloped. Through our trusted teaching and by the grace of God, your support points millions of people every month to the sovereign, good, and gracious God who alone redeems His people. The future for God’s people is secure because our God reigns.

One of our recent popular resources is The Heart of the Reformation, a ninety-day devotional created to take readers through the biblical teaching on the five solas of the Reformation: Scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, Christ alone, and the glory of God alone. This book was designed to help people see how these doctrines arise naturally from the Scriptures and how they are transformative for faith and life. We’ll send you a copy this month when you give a gift of any amount to Ligonier Ministries.

People are hungry for this life-renewing teaching. Churches and missionaries around the world are requesting more resources than we can currently supply and more teaching events than we can currently host. Your gift today will make more resources available and make it possible, by the grace of God, for those enslaved by falsehood to find freedom.

Billions of dollars are being spent to spread falsehood; only a fraction of that amount is needed to spread truth. You make it possible to help distribute gospel teaching far and wide. Thank you.