The Gospel of Christ
At the heart of the church's identity is its confession of the love shown by the holy and eternal God in redeeming his fallen people from their sins.
To adore and praise God for his love and majesty will be his people's vocation in paradise forever, and this destiny orients them in their present pilgrimage.
Their greatest joy is that God has brought them into an intimacy with himself, as sons of the Father, the bride of the Lamb, and objects of the Holy Spirit's comforting.
Their salvation springs from God's predestinating design. It is secured through the atonement made by Christ for his people. It is applied in a mystical union with Christ. All the praise is reserved for the originating, procuring and efficacious love of God.
This salvation is publicly offered to the world through the commission which the Redeemer has given to his church to preach the gospel to every creature. All are invited to embrace the Lord's free salvation, by resting on the great Substitute who has borne our sins in his body on the cross. All who come to him will have an irrevocable reconciliation with God, and will be transformed into a holy likeness to their Savior.
The love of God supplied the required satisfaction of divine justice. God's eternal and beloved Son was not spared, but was made by God to be a curse for us. Only in this way could divine love redeem us from the impending curse due to us for sin, restore to us the access to God that Adam forfeited, and carry us on to a closeness to God that surpasses anything Adam knew in his unfallen condition.
Sinners are justified before God not by anything they do, but through the double action of Christ, who suffered the deep penalty of the broken law, and fulfilled the law's entire precept. The Lord has credited to his people the righteousness of Christ's obedient life, so that his people are acquitted on the ground of their Substitute's record. Our faith is the empty hand of a beggar, to lay hold on the fullness which heaven's initiative pours down on the weak and needy.
Horatius Bonar: How Shall Man Be Right with God?
J. Gresham Machen: The Atonement
J. Gresham Machen: Faith Born of Need