"...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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  • « Book Review: Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth, by John Gerstner | Main | R. C. Sproul on The Manhattan Declaration »

    What must I do?

    "What must I do to be saved!?"
    "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31)

    "...Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?...
    If you would enter life, keep the commandments." Matthew 19:15-17

    Notice the to different answers. One asks about salvation ... which means he sees his own desperate need and spiritual bankruptcy. The second question asks about what to do to get something? Jesus answers with the requirement of perfect obedience to God's Law.

    As Luther said, the law is for the proud and the gospel for the brokenhearted.

    Posted by John on December 9, 2009 10:36 PM


    That's a subtle, yet profound contrast. I've never seen that before.
    I recently wrote a post concerning the fact that false converts always speak in terms of getting to heaven and don't speak of the preciousness of Christ or of sorrow over their sin. This is the perfect illustration of that!

    In the verse below, please note that the branches cast out of our vine Jesus are not withered, meaning they are 'alive' and interested in getting personal benefits from the religious life.
    Joh 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered

    Dear Overseas,

    Perhaps you may have sleightly misunderstood the context for which I was speaking. The Scripture shows that we need to make a differentiation between a regenerate and an unregenerate person. The verses above in my post are all directed to unbelievers, or those who are spiritually dead and desperately need Christ. The goal of the gospel is to help people see their own spiritual bankruptcy and utter hopelessness of looking to their own resources for salvation and their need of a Savior.

    Unebelievers do not merely need to add Jesus to their life (how do I get eternal life). They need, by the grace of God, to die to their old life. All hope in self is lost. Nothing in it must stand but be torn down completely. No hope in anything save for Christ and his mercy alone. Only those who God reveals this truth are given the grace of faith.

    Your example above in John 15 is Jesus speaking to disciples, who already understand this, and encouraging them to persevere ... but they already recognize their utter need for Jesus. Note in John 15:16 Jesus assures them that he will preserve them to the end: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide."

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