The evangel of the felled foe.
G. Campbell Morgan on the Spirit’s message of accomplished judgment.
What makes God’s good news so “good”? There are, I admit, a plethora of responses to that question, but that which the acclaimed orator G. Campbell Morgan articulates is among the very best, touching upon the work and wisdom of Christ who breaks the power of canceled sin by being broken himself. That twin-headed monster of Sin and Death appeared to have felled that beloved Son as he hung lifeless on the tree. But he arose three days later, felling that ghastly enemy (1 Cor. 15:26). As Morgan explains, the accomplishment of this judgment by Christ the Victor is precisely what Christ’s Spirit has come to promulgate in the hearts and souls of sinners and saints. Commenting on John 16:7–11, he writes:
“He came to break oppression and set the captives free.” You have been mastered by the foe. He masters the foe, and if you will, you can go out; your prison door is open, the prince is judged. He bruised the heel of the Lion of the tribe of Judah; but the Lion of the tribe of Judah put His foot upon the neck of the roaring lion. The prince of this world plunged his venomous dart into the side of the Prince of glory; but the Prince of glory quenched its venom in blood, and you are free if you will be so. The Spirit is not here to convince you of judgment of to come, unless that is your choice. He is here to convince you that judgment is accomplished. The monster is dead. His power is broken. The foe that held you has been despoiled in the mystery of the cross, and you and I may be free . . .
The Spirit’s testimony is the most solemn and searching declaration that men can ever receive concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. Yet my heart bids me declare to you that if it be solemn and searching, it is the one evangel of hope that is worth having. It does not seem to me that to preach Jesus as an ideal is an evangel at all. It does not seem to me that if He told me He was willing to forgive my sin without any reference to myself or my state it would be enough. When I learn by the ministry and witness and testimony of the Spirit that if I will believe on Him the sins that bound me shall bind me no more, the fierce fires of passion that burned shall be quenched. When I hear that if I will believe on Him Who went to the Father, Who bends out of His high heaven, and says, “I will that ye also shall be with Me where I am, though I know the worst of you — that you will deny me on the way — let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, trust Me and I will bring you home,” then I have an evangel! When I hear that He who calls me to follow Him is not asking me to escape and run away from a foe that may dodge my footsteps and may overtake me, but is asking me to follow Him, has met the foe, and has broken his power, and has delivered me, then I hear the evangel.1
Words such as these ought to be etched upon your heart. Indeed, there’s no more cheering news than hearing of our felled foe. “The monster is dead.” The prowler’s been ensnared. The lion defanged. You are free. The work is finished! Christ arose and vanquished the foe, liberating your soul from that wretched prince of darkness so that you may enter the kingdom of light. That’s news of the very best sort.
Grace and peace, my friends.
G. Campbell Morgan, The Westminster Pulpit: The Preaching of G. Campbell Morgan, Vols. 1–10 (Fincastle, VA: Scripture Truth Book Co., 1954), 1:164–65.