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"...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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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « Evangelism is Highly Theological | Main | Divine Election in the Scriptures »

    Is Faith Meritorious?

    Visitor: The Bible never presents faith as something meritorious, and in fact distinguishes it from works or any trust in oneself (Romans 4:5).

    Response: indeed faith is not meritorious UNLESS you make so by declaring that it is not the gift of God that springs from the renewal of our heart ... and in refusing to acknowledge faith as God's gift, by default, you thereby ascribe your repenting and believing to your own wisdom, humility, sound judgement and good sense and not to Christ alone. In other words you affirm the necessity of grace but deny the sufficiency of grace. That is, deny that Christ is sufficient to provide EVERYTHING we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe. When people reject faith as a grace, it means they have made faith into a work. The Scripture declares, "And because OF HIM you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

    So even the very wisdom we have to believe is by God's grace.

    Posted by John on July 2, 2013 01:01 PM

    Comments

    John,

    You said: "indeed faith is not meritorious UNLESS you make so by declaring that it is not the gift of God that springs from the renewal of our heart ..."

    Where are you getting this from? Scripture?

    God be with you,
    Dan

    Hi Dan,

    Forgive me for not posting the chapter and verse but I actually did quote one of the the scriptures in the above post - >>> 1 Cor 1:30. I highly recommend reading that passage in context. It is in the midst of a discussion about how Jews and Gentiles all may hear the gospel outwardly but only those who are inwardly called by God are saved

    "...we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God." 1 Cor 1:23, 24...

    And actually the entirely of scripture declares that we are to attribute all the glory to God for everything, including our salvation. Salvation is ALL OF GRACE ... grace and faith are not the same thing. Grace is not a reward for faith but the cause of it.

    Likewise Jesus himself goes out of his way to make this point in John chapter 6. In a discussion with some unbelieving Jews he says "no one can come to me unless God grants it" and "all that the Father gives to me will come to me" He is saying only those God calls will believe and All those he calls will believe. And afterwards many walked away from him because it was a hard teaching.

    In other words, unless you give all glory to God for your salvation then you are attributing at least part of the salvation to yourself. But the apostle said, "let them them who boast boast in the Lord" including our new heart to believe.

    Among other citations that could be added, having read the post and the follow-on comments to Dan, I'd offer these Words too:


    Psalm 21:7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.

    If there is any doubt, God, I'm certain, can removed that too so that your rest is soley the Rest that comes from Him, the God of Peace!

    To John: In order to find out that you experience grace or disgrace there should be work done good or evil, you cannot give a judgement as long as you do not perform the word in its proper part of speech. Grace is from God but you cannot experience grace without performing good work. It is like you cannot tell you are cooking when you are watching TV. So faith is meritorious because God cannot be mocked, we harvest what we planted evil or good. James 1:17 all good and perfect gifts are from above so nothing we can claim our own because we are only compose of dust without the breathe of God, so everything good comes from God and everything bad from the opposite of good. Therefore God conclude in the book of St. James faith without work is dead because the word made flesh and if the word remain word itself without being alive in human flesh as Jesus life have revealed unto us we are damned or perishable because we did not use our free will to make the word alive in each proper part of speech usage. God bless you. Lora

    John, you said: "So even the very wisdom we have to believe is by God's grace."

    Spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are:
    1. Prerequisites to salvation – “From childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). “To give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of sins” (Lk. 1:77). “For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds [understands] the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life” (Jn. 6:40). “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true” (1 Jn. 5:20).
    2. Prerequisites divinely produced - “For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding” (Prov. 2:6). “The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is his treasure” (Is. 33:5-6). “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). “And Jesus said to him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven’” (Mt. 16:17; cf. Lk. 10:21-22).
    3. Prerequisites the unregenerate refuse - "Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Prov. 1:7). “Always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). “A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised” (1Cor. 2:14). “There is none who understands” (Rom. 2:11).

    Other virtues necessary for salvation besides faith and spiritual wisdom, knowledge, and understanding are repentance or godly sorrow (Lk. 13:3; 2 Cor. 7:10-11), humility (Lk. 18:14), godly fear (Prov. 19:23), love (2 Th. 2:10), and hope (Rom. 4:18; 8:24; Ps. 130:7-8). All these saving virtues the scriptures assert the unregenerate do not possess but are divinely produced. These saving virtues are "deeds...having been wrought in God" to enable the sinner to come to the Light (Jn. 3:21). God puts His laws (including commands to "repent and believe in the gospel"- Mk. 1:15) into His people's minds and writes them on their hearts (Heb. 8:10).

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