The Efficacy of the Gospel Depends on the Holy Spirit!

Written By: John - Sep• 26•12

For the last few weeks I’ve been quoting from a book that I’ve been reading with a group of men on Tuesday mornings.  As I have made my way through JC Ryle’s, Holiness, I noticed the number of times Ryle quoted or referred to John Owen’s book The Holy Spirit.  On Saturday I waded into some very deep water and began to read that great work.  Wow!

Sinclair Ferguson wrote the forward to this particular edition and said, “Whenever I return to read Owen I find myself at least in part wondering why I spend time reading lesser things.”  I have to tell you I found myself wondering the same thing as I made my way through the first few chapters on Saturday.

In Chapter One there was a section on how the Efficacy of the Gospel Depends on the Spirit.  He said, “The ministry of the Spirit is either that ministry which the Spirit makes effectual, or that ministry whereby the Spirit in His gifts and graces is communicated to men.  And this alone gives glory and efficacy to the gospel.  Take away the Spirit from the Gospel, and you render it a dead letter…” (page 45)

If you are like me the word “efficacy” isn’t in your day-to-day vocabulary.  The word speaks of the ability to produce a desired or intended result.  So go back and read Owen’s quote again.  When we preach the Gospel the reason it reaches the desired or intended result is not because we are such good preachers or because we are such gifted evangelists…the reason the Gospel changes men and women is simple—The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God.

In the introduction Ferguson quoted John Calvin, “He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the Word had as good as burn his Bible.”  It is the Spirit of God who inspired the Word of God, it is the Spirit who illuminates the truth to our mind, and it is the Spirit who brings us to Salvation.  The Spirit will take the Word of God and renew our minds and conform us into the image of Christ.  Ferguson said, “It is the Holy Spirit who metamorphoses bare ‘head knowledge; into experience of the power of the truth.”

We have a lot of bare head knowledge in the Church today, but not enough experience of the power of the truth of the Word of God.  I would encourage you this morning to open up the Word of God and to simply ask the Third Person of the Trinity who lives in you to open your heart to the truth He led the writer to pen and ask Him to drive that truth into you heart until it bears fruit.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>