Musings 92

Others have set up with conditional offers, with conditional proposals, and with conditional tenders. That is, you shall enjoy heaven and salvation, if you repent and believe, and perform sincere obedience to the Condition of the New Law. And thus the Neonomians interweave a coarse thread of Popery {out of which the terms of New Law and Conditions first arose} which runs through all their fine cloth they make up for heaven, out of other men’s spinning, into the reformation of manners, and sincere obedience. But how short is this of the fine linen, white and clean, and the white raiment, {Rev.3:18,} which is the Imputed Righteousness of Christ put upon the ungodly, and therein made the righteousness of Saints, as the Holy Ghost calls it, “and to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” Rev.19:8.

Grace is either free of all conditions that man can perform or it is given to men based to some degree on conditions that they can keep. This should be kept in mind in all situations and in all cases when we are speaking and thinking of grace. If we think or speak or write and grace is based on a condition that a person must perform, then it is something other than grace that we are dealing with. Regardless of whether we call it grace or not, if there are conditions that we can meet that God then responds to us by giving grace, then we are no longer speaking of grace at all. In that case we have turned grace into a form of works.

It is very true that we must repent, but do we repent in order to obtain grace or is a true repentance a result of grace? This is a point where the truth of our hearts may be seen. If we truly think that we can repent apart from grace, then our hearts should reveal that we don’t truly believe in grace alone. If we truly think that God will not give grace until we repent, our hearts should reveal to us that we don’t truly understand the nature of true and free-grace. This is a vital point and it separates Arminians and modern Calvinists from the old Calvinism. Modern Calvinism holds to works for grace at many points and as such is no longer biblical. We must fight and content at this point at all times for the view that grace is conditioned upon God as triune and there is nothing a fallen human being can do to earn grace or even make it more likely that God will give grace. True grace is contingent upon God and nothing else. True grace is given from the sovereign hand of God quite apart from any worth, value, or condition that man can meet.

We are told that we must believe so that God will save us. Once again, let us put it plainly. If the sinner will work up faith apart from grace, then God will give the sinner salvation because the sinner came up with faith. This is clearly a system of works. Yes, the Bible speaks of faith and of sinners being justified by faith apart from works. However, in the modern day we mean something different by “faith” than the Bible does. It is true that the person with faith is saved, but it is not true that the person with faith was saved because s/he came up with faith. It is true that the Bible speaks of being saved through faith, but it does not teach that we are saved because of faith. We must fight with ourselves and content earnestly with the teachings of the modern day in order to remain free of the works salvation and the conditional salvation that is taught so widely in our day using the word “faith” with a meaning that is far different than the Bible’s usage.

The grace of God comes to poor sinners who are dead in sins and trespasses and have absolutely nothing to commend themselves to God. The living God who sent the Son to die for them 2,000 years ago also sent the Son to purchase faith and repentance for them. Faith is a gift of God that was purchased by Christ and repentance is also granted by God on the basis of grace. Sinners who have received grace repent and sinners who have new hearts of faith are those who have faith. Grace must precede our faith and repentance or those things are works that contribute to our salvation. Grace is given before salvation but it works salvation and gives more grace. Sinners are never, ever, ever given grace because of their own work of faith and repentance, but when God shows them mercy and grace and works a new heart in them by grace, they will have faith and repent. The Gospel is not BY faith alone, but it is BY grace alone THROUGH faith alone. Our faith is a result of grace, but if we make grace a result of faith, we have a different gospel. All conditions of the Gospel (speaking in this way) are met by Christ as we have no ability to do so and all grace must come because of Christ and not because of us.

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