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Sunday, August 20, 2017
Date Posted:

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Reformation Battle

The Battle Cries of the Reformation

Lecture at the Opening Seminar of the European Institute of Protestant Studies
President of the Institute, Dr. Ian R.K. Paisley, M.P., M.E.P.


Ephesians 1: 6-8: "To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence."

At the Reformation the Gospel revelation was rediscovered and there shone again the Gospel of free grace.

"After darkness, light" is engraved on the Reformation Memorial in Geneva. So it was. After the darkness of the night of Rome's dark ages came the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ.

The religion of the Antichrist had deluded and overwhelmed the world in the perverted gospel of expensive works - payment by human efforts. Sacrifices and cash were the order of the day.

If you were unable to produce such works the Antichrist was the treasury keeper of a vast storehouse where indulgences - creditable extra holiness of which the saints had too much for their own personal needs - could be purchased. Rome got the money and the recipient got the proof in certificate form. This indulgence - sin document - assured its possessor that his sins were all forgiven even before they were committed.

It should never be forgotten that it was the exposure by Martin Luther of this doctrine of buying your soul out of the purgatorial hell which sparked off the Reformation.

Tetzel was the grand crusader for the Pope. He sold pardons for murder, incest, theft, adultery, perjury and all other crimes for hard cash. Having paid, the recipients indulged to the full in their so-called forgiven sins and a deluge of iniquity followed.

Luther vowed to beat a hole in Tetzel's drum and that he did.

This controversy, however, went to the heart of Gospel truth.

Is man his own Saviour? Is man partly his own Saviour? Can pardons be paid for by cash? Is there a treasury of holiness controlled by the Church and into whose benefits sinners can buy? Can good works attain forgiveness of past sins? Is a sinful priest God's sole appointee in the market place of payment for sins? Has he and he alone the sole prerogative to fix the amount and secure for himself the payment? Can he alone on earth forgive sins?

On the other hand, is salvation without money and without price - the free gift of God by His grace alone?

That is what the Bible says and that is what the Lord Jesus taught.

What we need to note is this - that the grace of God is not something apart from God but rather is God in operation in our hearts. Some would pigeonhole grace, isolating it as something apart from God. This is not so. Grace is God in the great redeeming act of love acting upon the sinful heart supernaturally and gloriously and thus bringing the heart into reconciliation with Himself.

Grace is more than love. It is love triumphant over the righteous judgement of God's Holy Law against the sinner and making God, the Holy God, absolutely free to embrace the sinner through the sacrificial death of Christ. It is God absolutely, inflexibly, just yet the justifier of him who believes in Jesus.

It is here we have the great divide with Rome's Antichrist. The Pope vests salvation in Himself and his cult of a sectarian priesthood and a sectarian priestcraft.

The Gospel brings in a universal priesthood of all believers in Jesus Christ who have no part, and want no part, in sacrificial acts or ceremony. The only thing they offer up is praises to God.

The Mass is an impostor sacrifice just as much as the Pope is an impostor Christ.

Hence the Reformation battle cry: Sola Gatia, Grace Alone.

"Saved by grace alone
This is all my plea.
Jesus died for sinful men,
But Jesus died for me."

Sola Gratia - Grace Alone


Romans 8:30: "Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

Christ alone is the righteousness which makes a chief of sinners acceptable and accepted by a Thrice Holy God.

The first Adam bartered for us our righteousness. By his disobedience many were made sinners.

The last Adam became for us our righteousness. By His obedience many were made righteous.The Heidelberg Catechism states:"My only comfort in life and death is that I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ, Who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and delivered me from the power of the Devil, and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head: yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation."

No one is loved by God but in Christ alone.
No one is chosen by God but in Christ alone.
No one is redeemed by God but in Christ alone.
No one is pardoned by God but in Christ alone.
No one is justified by God but in Christ alone.
No one is made righteous by God but in Christ alone.
No one is regenerated by God but in Christ alone.
No one is sanctified by God but in Christ alone.
No one is preserved by God but in Christ alone.
No one is glorified by God but in Christ alone.
No one is saved by God but in Christ alone.

II Corinthians 2:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

Outside Christ we are lost forever.
Inside Christ we are saved forever.
Christ is made unto us Righteousness.

"Look, Father, on His anointed face,
And look on us as found in Him.
Look not on our misusings of Thy grace,
Our prayer so languid and our faith so dim.
For lo, between our sins and their reward
We set the passion of Thy Son, our Lord."

Solo Christo - Christ Alone


Romans 1: 17: "The just shall live by faith."Faith is not itself salvation. It is rather the hand that takes the Saviour. It is the eye that beholds the Saviour. It is the arm that enables me to cling to the Saviour. It is the feet that bring me to the Saviour. It is the lips that receive the kisses of the Saviour. It is the ear that listens to the Saviour.

Jesus alone saves, but faith alone enables me to trust Him.

Faith is the concentration on Jesus Christ to the exclusion of everything else, including self.

the F = Forsaking;
the A = Allthe I = I
the T = Trust
the H = Him, our Lord Jesus alone.

Forsaking all, I trust Him.

Faith alone enables me to see nothing but Christ.
Faith alone enables me to know nothing but Christ.
Faith alone enables me to trust nothing but Christ.
Faith alone enables me to cling to nothing but Christ.
Faith alone enables me to want nothing but Christ.

The Shorter Catechism defines it thus:

"Faith in Christ is a saving grace whereby we receive and rest on Him alone for salvation as He is offered to us in the Gospel."

Luther was right when he said the Spirit "takes the crucified and risen Christ out of the remoteness of history and heavenly glory and places Him as a living reality in the midst of our life with its suffering, inner conflict and death".

Remember: it is not the amount of faith or the strength of faith which saves you; it is the One in Whom you put your faith.

Sola Fide - Faith Alone.


"Salvation is of the Lord ." That was Jonah's lesson well learned in the theological school of the fish's belly. Yes, there was nothing fishy about it!

Jonah 2: 9: "But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord."

The Bible gives all the glory to God and to God alone.

No wonder C. H. Spurgeon had printed in the preface of all his sermon volumes:

"To the one God of Heaven and Earth in the Trinity of His Sacred Persons be all honour and glory, world without end, Amen.
To the glorious father, as the covenant God of Israel;
To the gracious Son, the Redeemer of his people;
To the Holy Ghost, the Author of sanctification;
Be everlasting praise for that Gospel of the free grace of God."

True faith is that unbounded willingness to give God all the glory in saving my soul.

As John Calvin said: "Nothing is more consistent with faith than to acknowledge ourselves naked of all virtue, that we may be clothed by God; empty of all good, that we may be filled by Him; lame, that we may be guided; weak, that we may be supported by Him; to divest ourselves of all ground of glorying, that He alone may be eminently glorious and that we may glory in Him."

Sola Dei Gloria - God's Glory Alone


Luke 4:4: "[…]man shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God."

True faith respects every part of the Word of God. The Bible, the Holy Bible and nothing but the Bible is its supreme Rule of Faith and Practice.

What the Bible teaches, Faith receives.

What the Bible does not teach, Faith rejects.

The believer is the happy man with a Book - the Law of God - and in this Law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1)

Faith has an eternal relationship to the Word of God. Faith comes from hearing that Word, and the hearing itself is by that same Word of God.

Romans 10:17: "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Hence the Battle Cry of the Reformation: "The Holy Word, nothing but that Holy Word, the Whole Word of God."

Spiritually dead men can only be made alive by every Word of God and only be kept alive by every Word of God.

Christ said of that Holy Word that it is Spirit and that it is Life.

The Reformation rediscovered the Holy Bible and it is that same Holy Bible which produced the Reformation which we hold onto today.

Away with the perversions of the Holy Scripture; give me the Bible from which the Reformers preached. There is none like it; give it me.

Sola Scriptura - the Bible Alone.


Galatians 6:14: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

I heard an old-time street preacher say: "Pick up your Bible and open it at its centre. There you will find the Book of Isaiah. It is in itself a little Bible. The Bible has 66 books, and the Book of Isaiah has 66 chapters. Strange to relate, each one of those chapters corresponds with the order of the number of the Books in the Bible.

For example, chapter one corresponds with Genesis the Bible's first book. "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth." Isaiah 1:2.

The last chapter corresponds with the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. "The heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool." Isaiah 66:1.

Each chapter has a similar correspondence. Note, however, that the New Testament part of Isaiah starts in chapter 40 - chapters 40-66 (27 chapters - 27 Books of the New Testament).

The centre chapter of this section is chapter 53 - thirteen chapters, 40 to 52, on one side; thirteen chapters, 54 to 66, on the other side; and chapter 53 in the centre.

What is the theme of chapter 53? It is the theme of the CROSS ALONE. Behold the CENTRALITY OF THE CROSS - THE CROSS ALONE.

God found a way whereby His banished be not always expelled from Him, and that way was the WAY OF THE CROSS.

Isaac Watts wrote of it well in his hymn The Wonders of the Cross:

"Nature with open volume stands,
To spread her Maker's praise abroad;
And every labour of His hands
Shows something worthy of a God.

"But in the grace that rescued man
His brightest form of glory shines;
Here, on the Cross, 'tis fairest drawn
In precious blood and crimson lines.

"Here I behold His inmost heart,
Where grace and vengeance strangely join,
Piercing His Son with sharpest smart,
To make the purchased pleasures mine.

"Oh, the sweet wonders of that cross,
Where God the Saviour loved and died!
Her noblest life my spirit draws
From His dear wounds and bleeding side.

"Yes, the Just for the unjust
Has died on the Tree
That's my way to God
And God's way to me."

Sola Cruce - the Cross Alone.


Romans 1: 16: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

The world by wisdom knew not God. The Greeks wanted wisdom. The Jews required a sign.

God's Gospel, God's Good News, is Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God. Who is made known by God's sole method of preaching? "It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save those who believe. But we preach Christ crucified." 1 Corinthians 1: 21, 23.

1 Corinthians 2: 7-13: "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

The Reformation came by a return to God's method, the preaching of the Glorious Gospel of Free and Sovereign Grace.

The Mass altar was removed and the pulpit took its place. The priest was removed and the preacher took his place. The Infallible Word of God replaced the word of the fallible Pope.

"Let everlasting glories crown
Thy head, my Saviour and my Lord,
Thy hands have brought salvation down
And writ the blessings in Thy Word.

"What if we trace the globe around,
And search from Britain to Japan,
There shall be no religion found
So just to God, so safe for man.

"In vain the trembling conscience seeks,
Some solid ground to rest upon;
With long despair the spirit breaks,
Till we apply to Christ alone.

"How well Thy blessed truths agree!
How wise and holy Thy commands!
Thy promises, how firm they be!
How firm our hope and comfort stands!

"Should all the forms that men devise
Assault my faith with treacherous art,
I'd call them vanity and lies,
And bind the gospel to my heart."

By Grace alone, by Christ alone, by Faith alone, by God's Glory alone, by the Bible alone, by the Cross alone and by the Gospel alone.

Dr. Wm. Childs Robinson put it well when he said: "We supply nothing but the sinners to be saved."

Salvation is God in the commencing, God in the continuing and God in the conclusion. It is not all of man and none of God. It is not some of man and some of God. It is all of God and none of man.

To this Gospel of Free Grace this Institute is dedicated.

The Papacy is the greatest enemy to that Gospel - it is Antichrist and against it there must be war to every generation. There can be no peace with Rome for Rome is forever at war with God. The other day I picked up a book in my library by the late Rev. John Robertston of Glasgow. The following extract from that book is appropriate:

"There's nae gospel noo, lassie,
There's nae covenant blood,
There's nae Lamb o' God.

"And the grandfather's stroking the curls of his daughter's girlie, and the quivering voice goes on:

"There's nae Chalmers noo, lassie,
There's nae guid McCheyne,
And the dear, dear Cross they preached, lassie,
The dear, dear Cross is gane.

"And the old eyes are filling, but the hand is keeping on the sunny head, and the little chubby face is looking up in awe to the sad old singer -

"Folk dinna want the Cross, lassie,
They've cutten down the tree,
And naebody believes in't,
But fules like you and me."

I call you to hearken and heed the prophetic trumpet.

"Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken […]." Jeremiah 50:2.

This day by God's grace we lift up God's standard. May we never dip the flag or lower that standard.

"The Cross, it standeth fast,
Defeating every blast
Hallelujah for the Cross."

N.B. - I gladly acknowledge the great help I got in preparing this lecture from Dr. William Robinson's book The Reformation. A Rediscovery by Grace. Erdmans, Grand Rapids, 1962.

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