"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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    Our Faith and God's Grace

    God justifies the ungodly by Christ through faith so that it may be by grace ALONE. God gives salvation as a free gift. But our redemption is infinitely valuable for it was purchased by the precious blood of his Son. Yet God gives it to the undeserving freely, apart from any conditions. ‘Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.’ (Isaiah 55:1).

    But why is it that faith corresponds to grace? It is because the saving grace that works genuine faith in the heart can finally say,

    I am unworthy sinner; I am helpless and powerless; I plead guilty and I have no defence; My righteousness are filthy rags; I merit God’s wrath, condemnation, hell!
    Faith despairs of self, but faith does not despair of God! Faith fixes its gaze confidently upon the Lord Jesus Christ, saying,
    You are worthy, for you shed your precious blood on the cross; You are powerful, for you arose victorious from the grave; You are gracious, kind and compassionate; You promised rest to all who come to you; So Lord, be merciful to me a sinner. I am your sin, you are my righteousness. May I never boast save in the cross of Christ my Lord; And forever glory in the grace of God.

    Note: Faith looks away from itself and its own resources and places its trust in Christ alone for salvation. It is Jesus Christ plus nothing that saves us. Even our faith and good works must spring from a renewed heart.

    "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." Eze 36:25-27

    As evidenced by this passage, and many others, that it is by the Holy Spirit within us that we EVEN have the faith, or the strength to do, believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock; It reveals that the assistance of grace does not even depend on the humility or obedience of man since it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, ... "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). So Christ purchases, not only the opportunity for His people to be saved but makes certain they are saved by doing all for them that they are unable to do for themselves, including granting them understanding and the faith to take hold of the promises.

    "...flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).

    John Hendryx and Dr Joseph Mizzi

    Posted by John on January 29, 2009 11:53 AM


    Faith despairs of self, but faith does not despair of God! Faith fixes its gaze confidently upon the Lord Jesus Christ,

    Amen. I wish more reformed persons would take that to heart and focus on the object of faith, Christ, and less on their own and other persons' performances and supposed holiness.

    Mr. Helmet

    Thank you for your response. However, the focus on the person and work of Jesus Christ, rather than OUR faith, OUr works and OUR holiness is actually a Reformed distinctive. Among Christian traditions the Reformed faith alone focuses on Solus Christus, Sola Gratia -- or salvation by grace alone in Christ alone. That even faith is not a product or our unregenerated human nature. That all faith and obedience are the result of God doing a work of grace in our hearts ... Look at the Reformed conference I just advertised. The topic is the gospel, is it good news or good advice? The gospel is GOOD NEWS and this whole conference that we hope to promote is about what Jesus has done for us, not what we do for Him. Go down the list of essays on this site an you will only find more of the same. A true Christian glories in Christ Jesus and has no confidence in the flesh.

    This must be communicated because I believe you may have your traditions confused. You would be hard pressed to find any Reformed literature which emphasized personal performance and holiness apart from initial working of God's grace. All good works are dead unless they spring from a renewed heart. Apart from Christ we can do nothing. If ever there was a Reformed distinctive, this is it.

    To believe the gospel we must repent both of our good works and bad works, because neither of the can save us. It is Christ alone who is sufficient. If we ask why does one person believe the gospel and not another, our answer is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who makes us to differ, not because we were wise enough to believe. Jesus and Jesus alone. To Him be all the glory.

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