JI Packer’s summary of Puritan Gospel emphases helps correct some subtle ways the modern church has gone astray in its presentation of the message of salvation. Packer makes five points:
- Correct diagnosis of the plight of man: Our situation is not one of only guilt for sin, but of pollution from it and bondage to it. We are not merely weak, but in a corrupt state of enmity to God. A minister’s job is to make this state clear such that “the index of the soundness of a man’s faith in Christ is the genuineness of the self-despair from which it springs.”.
- Clear analysis of the issue of sin: God is presently hostile to the sinner and they are condemned in the future without His grace. A minister must make a broken relationship with God intolerable and drive sinners to repentance
- Correct understanding of the goal of grace: The goal is God’s glory for His’ name sake, not our own sake. Our salvation is a means to a greater end
- Reliance on the sufficiency of Christ: We trust in Jesus and his work that is adequate to save us
- Gratefulness for the condescension of Christ: The greatness of what Jesus left shows the depth of His love and His patience shows His kindness
In contrast, the Gospel is frequently presented as man-centric in purpose, downplays the threat of God’s wrath and under emphasizes the degree to which sin corrupts us. See True and False Gospels Contrasted , Complete Gospel or Calvin’s Gospel for more details.
Source: A Quest for Godliness (Chapter 10)