Of all the doctrines of the Bible there is none so important as that of free salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. “He that believeth on Jesus is not condemned.” “By Him all that believe are justified from all things.”
This is the cornerstone of all Christianity. A mistake here is fatal: it is a worm at the root: it is a defect in the foundation. Let a man get wrong on this point, and his whole religion will get into confusion; let a man be right on this point, and he will never wander very far from the path of truth.
This is the doctrine for which we should contend to the very death. We should cling to it for our own soul’s peace; we should seek it in the public means of grace we use. Better a thousand times take away the sun from heaven than take out of Christianity free forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ.
This is the glorious doctrine that was the strength of the Apostles when they went forth to the Gentiles to preach a new religion. They began, a few poor fishermen, in a despised corner of the earth; they turned the world upside down; they changed the face of the Roman empire; they emptied the heathen temples of their worshippers, and made the whole system of idolatry crumble away. And what was the weapon by which they did it all? It was free forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is the doctrine which brought light into Europe 300 years ago, at the time of the blessed Reformation, and enabled one solitary monk, Martin Luther, to shake the whole Church of Rome. Through his preaching and writing, the scales fell from men’s eyes, and the chains of their souls were loosed. And what was the lever that gave him his power? It was free forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ.
This is the doctrine that revived our own Church in the middle of last century, when Whitefield, and the Wesleys, and Berridge, and Venn broke the wretched spirit of slumber that had come over the land, and roused men to think. They began a mighty work, with little seeming likelihood of success; they began, few in number, with small encouragement from the rich and great: but they prospered. And why? Because they preached free forgiveness through faith in Christ.