Rev. Hoeksema, as the first convention speaker, pointed out that the chief contents of the gospel is the promise. In a certain sense gospel and promise are synonymous. We as Protestant Reformed young people are always interested in the question of the Gospel. This is especially of interest to the Protestant Reformed people because we stand opposed to every Arminian and Pelagian doctrine because they cannot really speak of the gospel of the promise. We also are opposed to the Christian Reformed doctrine in the three points. In the first point they make a general offer without distinction. In this we can never agree. This subject also points out the difference between those who left us a couple of years ago. They also have conditions. “God promises to every one of you that if you believe you shall be saved.”
His first point was the Idea of the Gospel. The term idea means the general concept of anything. An example for idea would be a tree with its roots, trunk, leaves, etc. This is an easy subject because there is only one gospel described in the Holy Scriptures. Gospel in the original means glad news or tidings. The essential characteristics are: a) Light in the midst of darkness. b) God is sole author. c) Chief content is God as God of our salvation. d) Also of the Son of God. Gospel of Jesus Christ. e) The gospel of the kingdom of God through Christ in glory in heaven. f) The gospel of salvation. g) The gospel of peace. h) The gospel of grace. The gospel is the joyous work of God for his people where they are turned from darkness to light through Christ.
Rev. Hoeksema then pointed out the contents of the gospel. First, a promise is something favorable or good, never evil. Evil is called a threat and a promise we desire. A promise is impossible among men. A promise is a sure pledge. A promise is never doubtful. A promise is absolutely unconditional. A promise is a sure pledge of something good. The good in the Promise of the Gospel is eternal life from death. Eternal blessedness from deepest misery. A promise is in this case absolutely sure and cannot fail. That is why a promise among men is impossible. Many things may happen. We always have to add to our promises, “If the Lord wills.” God’s promise is surely fulfilled. This promise is realized to whomsoever he will have it realized. It is preached to all who hear but not promised to all who hear.
Rev. Hoeksema also pointed out the idea of its being preached. In Rom. 13 we read, “How shall they hear without a preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent?” The gospel alone must be preached, and preached according to the Scriptures. God pleases to send the word through men whom he has called. Christ Himself must speak through him who is sent and to those who hear the preaching. “Come unto me, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”