Justification by Christ 7

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 11

1._____ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ’s active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.

Justification by faith alone is the article upon which the Church stands or falls. Martin Luther

Romans 9:13 Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” 14 What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!15 For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. 17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” 18 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. 19 You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?”

This is a vital subject and as such needs to be dealt with over and over. Faith is not a work of the fallen human soul by which a person is able to work it up and God responds to it with salvation. Faith is not an easy replacement for keeping the law. Faith is the work of God in the human soul and unites the human soul to Christ. The difference between these two views is enormous and is the difference between a works salvation versus one by grace alone. For the Gospel of grace alone to be truly by grace alone faith must be a gift from God. For the Gospel of Christ alone to be truly by Christ alone then faith must have been purchased by Christ and worked in the soul by the Holy Spirit. This is why we must always be vigilante to know what people preach and teach about faith.

We must be careful to understand that sinners are dead in sins and trespasses (Eph 2:1-3) and by nature are children of wrath. When it is said that a person is dead in sin, this means that the person is in bondage to sin and is dead to spiritual things. However, that person is not necessarily dead to spiritual things. That very nature must be changed in order to become a spiritual person and as such one who can exercise spiritual faith. Those who are dead in sins can have a physical faith, but never a spiritual faith. A spiritual faith is one that comes from a new heart and the person is united to Christ and as such has a proper object of faith and is constantly receiving from Christ Himself. A physical faith is one where the person is (in one sense) fixed on self for faith and looks to his faith to earn things from God. A physical faith is one that is quite in accordance with a dead and sinful nature and is also one that can be very, very religious.

A religious and physical faith may know a lot of truth and be quite solid in conservative and biblical doctrine, but it will never be taught the inward realities of those truths by the Spirit of God unless God draws that sinner and regenerates him or her. A religious and physical faith can be very external and very logical from a this world sense, but it is not united to Christ and as such does not have Christ and His spiritual blessings and gifts. The Pharisees can be said in many ways to have had a lot of faith, but it was not a true faith which always comes from Christ. The Pharisees had a lot of religion and believed fervently that they were the elect of God, but they did not have true faith but instead had faith in themselves and worked hard from that faith.

A religious and physical faith, since it is not united to Christ, will never have the love of God flowing through it to God and to others. Religious faith is from the selfish heart and is always about the selfish heart. Religious faith still flows from a fallen heart and does not need the life of Christ in that soul to be very religious and very moral in the externals. A true faith receives all from Christ and looks to grace alone for all it receives. A true faith knows that for it to do one good thing it must receive it from Christ first. A religious faith may in fact know that as true and say that it is true, but the religious faith can only know that in the head. The true faith which is united to Christ lives in utter dependence upon Christ for all things. The true faith, since it is united to Christ, will love as the fruit of the Spirit and will love God from love received. After all, only those who are born of God and know God can have true love (I John 4:7-8). This is true because only those that receive from God can love since God is the only source and origin of true love in the universe. True faith, then, must be a Divine work and given only to the children of God. It is the work of God, not the work of men. Let us point men to Christ for faith rather than point men to faith to have Christ.

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