MY GOSPEL. By Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.

D
MY GOSPEL. Romans ii. 1-16. The first chapter of Paul's letter to the Komans is one of the darkest pictures of human life where the heart has been given over to sinful lusts that was ever portrayed in human language. After writing that chapter concerning the vile and monstrous condition of heathenism, it is not astonishing that Paul should turn with great relief and thanksgiving to the Gospel of Christ which had been committed to him. He turned to the good news in Christ Jesus which had brought such comfort and blessing into his own life with a certain sense of ownership ; and clinging to it with more love and tenacity than ever, he speaks of it not as " The Gospel, " but as " My Gospel. " As Mr. Spurgeon says, Paul did not mean to indicate by this that he was the author of it, or that he had an exclusive monopoly of its blessings, but that he had so received it from Christ himself, and so fully taken it into himself, that he could not do less than 156

^^ ©ospeU 157 call it " My Gospel. " A very common phrase with Paul is "Our Gospel," which indicates that sense of preciousness which the true Christian feels as he revels in the richness and fulness of the promises of God in Christ. But it is another suggestion from this unique phrase of Paul to which I wish to call your special attention. Whether Paul meant it so or not, I do not know. But whether he was conscious of it or not, there was a sense in which the Gospel was to Paul something different from what it was to anybody else. Not that Paul sought to make it a partizan gospel, but that it took on something of the color of his own individuality. We want to be very careful to keep ourselves free from partizanship or sectarianism, by which we would come to feel that we see the only truth there is in the Gospel. Truth is many-sided, and the Methodists see one side, the Presbyterians, and Baptists, and so on, see other phases of the truth, and it is not wise nor just that any one of us should claim to have the truth of the Gospel exclusively. Some day in heaven we shall see all around on all sides of truth,

and then we shall lose all these distinctive names that are only local and temporary. John Wesley once, in the visions of the night, found himself, as he thought, at the gates of hell. He knocked and asked who were within.

158 a l?ear'6 iprai^ers^eetfng tTalfta. " Are there any Eoman Catholics here?" he asked. "Yes," was the answer, "a great many." "Any Church of England men? " "Yes, a great many." " Any Independents? " "Yes, a great many." "Any Baptists?" " Yes, a great many." "Any Wesley ans here?" "Yes, a great many." Disappointed and dismayed, especially at the last reply, he turned his steps upward, and found himself at the gates of Paradise, and here he repeated the same questions. "Any Wesleyans here? " "No." "Any Presbyterians? " "No." "Any Church of England men?" "No." "Any Roman Catholics? " "No." "Any Baptists?" "No." "Any Independents?"

"No." "Whom have you here, then?" he asked in astonishment.

iffs^ (Bospel. 159 " We know nothing here, " was the reply, " of any of those names you have mentioned. The only name of which we know anything here is ' Christian. ' We are all Christians here ; and of these we have a great multitude which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues." And so we must be careful that we live in harmony with the heavenly spirit while we are on our way thither. And yet there is a sense in which Paul's gospel was peculiarly his own, and whenever we compare Paul's writings with those of John we see in each the temperament and peculiar characteristics of the individual man. And each in his own way presents the Gospel with a strength and a fervor and a beauty which are colored by his own originality. Not that either changed the Gospel of Christ from being what it was, Christ's Gospel, but each adorned and beautified the Gospel by the cultivation of the talents which God had given to him personally. And in that sense each of us may say with all reverence and yet with humble confidence, "My Gospel." And many who would never be won to Christ by Paul's gospel or by John's gospel may be won by the new setting which you are able to give the Gospel yourself. You can interpret the Gospel into the language and life of to-day so that your friend

160 B l^ear'0 pra^ers^eetlng XTalfta. or your neighbor will be attracted by it when neither John nor Paul could interest him. It is certainly a solemn but at the same time a most inspiring thought that it is granted to each of us to present the one Gospel of Christ in a special edition of our own, illuminated through God's grace by our own personal consecration and fidelity in such a way that some will find Christ in it who would not be able to find him in any other gospel that ever was proclaimed. Let us be careful that our gospel gives no uncertain sound, and that we make it as attractive as the living presence of Christ in our hearts and the aid of the Holy Spirit can help us to do.

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