||ship > Is Faith the Only Condition for Eternal Salvation?- Or, The Biblical Doctrine of Justification by Faith by Tom Stewart
Is Faith the Only Condition for Eternal Salvation?
Or, The Biblical Doctrine of Justification
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him
that sent Me, hath Everlasting Life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is
passed from Death unto Life"
by Tom Stewart
he question, "Is faith the only condition for
Eternal Salvation?", is crucial to the Body of Christ, because the answer on
one extreme leads to antinomianism (the concept that faith alone, WITHOUT obedience
to the Moral Law of loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind, and your neighbor
as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39), is all that is necessary for Salvation), while
the other extreme results in the "unfruitful
works of darkness" (Ephesians 5:11) as
seen in the sacramental salvation of the Church of Rome. The antinomian declares
anathema against any works in Salvation, as a type of legalism. But, they forget
that the LORD Jesus Christ declared faith to be a work that man was to perform.
"28 Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might
work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that
ye believe on Him whom He hath sent" (John
6:28-29). In addition, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Philippian Christians to be
personally active in their own Salvation. "Wherefore,
my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more
in my absence, work out your own Salvation with fear and trembling" (Philippians 2:12).
The "other extreme" is represented by Roman Catholicism, which has traditionally
been Babylon the Great (Revelation 17:5). It has, more than any other false cult,
made "works" a dirty word. Our response is that Rome's salvation depends upon
faith in Rome, while Christ's Salvation depends upon faith in Christ. "To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his
servants ye are to whom ye obey" (Romans
6:16). So then, faith in Christ is the great work we are called to do. "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom
He hath sent" (John 6:29).
The appropriate response to the question, "Is faith the only condition for Eternal
Salvation?", is JESUS SAVES. "For
the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). Though it is true that faith saves, i.e., "Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved" (Acts 16:31), faith saves only
because JESUS SAVES. And, yes, there are Other Conditions for our Justification;
but, the keeping of all the conditions in the world does not truly save us. JESUS
SAVES! "Not by works of righteousness
which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing
of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost"
(Titus 3:5). If we can focus upon the real issue of our Eternal Salvation-- that
JESUS SAVES-- then we can settle the question, "Is faith the only condition
for Eternal Salvation?", with satisfaction. "Now
I beseech you, brethren, by the Name of our LORD Jesus Christ, that ye all speak
the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly
joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment" (1Corinthians 1:10).
A Historical Note
hen Martin Luther raised that blessed cry against
the errors of the Church of Rome, Evangelical Christianity renewed its commitment
to the doctrine of justification by faith. "Therefore
being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our LORD Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). What freedom, to be justified by faith in
Christ, than to be bound by the uncertainty of Rome's salvation! "Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men" (1Corinthians 7:23). As a consequence, what Bible Believing
Christian today cannot recognize the quotation, "8 For by grace are
ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest
any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)?
And, so great is our certainty concerning justification by faith, that the undoubted
sentiment is that only a religious cult would desire to add a single condition to
Eternal Life than faith. "Strait is the
gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find
it" (Matthew 7:14).
However, what may be neglected in professing Christianity's understanding of the
faith that justifies is that faith works; or, as Charles G. Finney phrased
it in his "Systematic Theology" (1851):
- "[Faith] is not a feeling of any kind; that is, it does not belong
to, and is not a phenomenon of, the sensibility. The phenomena of the sensibility
are passive states of mind, and therefore have no moral character in themselves.
Faith, regarded as a virtue, cannot consist in any involuntary state of mind whatever.
It is represented in the Bible as an active and most efficient state of mind. It
works and 'works by love.' It produces 'the obedience of faith'" (from Lecture 55 on "Faith and Unbelief").
Faith is anything but passive, for "by faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac:
and he that had received the Promises offered up his only begotten son" (Hebrews 11:17). Faith is so bound up in the Other Conditions
for our Justification, that to knowingly omit those other conditions, would declare
our faith to be dead. "Faith without
works is dead" (James 2:26). All the
Other Conditions of our Justification are part of Evangelical Faith and are conditions
for Eternal Salvation. These conditions may properly be called the Works of Faith,
such as, perseverance (which is a description of those who follow Jesus to Heaven).
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed
on Him, If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed" (John 8:31).
What is Faith? Faith is Substance.
- God Requires Us to Have Faith in Him. Faith
in God is not optional, because we cannot please God without it. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that
cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently
seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is the
committal of ourselves to the Invisible God (Colossians 1:15). "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence
of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Faith
is leaning upon the Everlasting Arms (Deuteronomy 33:27) with the complete confidence
that "what He
[has] promised, He
[is] able also to perform" (Romans 4:21). Though faith is cultivated and engendered
by God, it is what man must do. "Believe
on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
(Acts 16:31). Evangelical Faith implies the presence of ALL the Other Conditions
for our Justification, i.e., repentance, present obedience, full consecration, perseverance,
etc., with each manifested as the Spirit gives opportunity. "5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to
patience Godliness; 7 And to Godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren
nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ" (2Peter 1:5-8).
- Faith Begins With an Intellectual Perception
of the Truth. The Gospels are replete with stories about demons acknowledging
Jesus to be the "Son of God" (Matthew 8:29), the "Holy
One of God" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34), and
"Son of the Most High God" (Mark 5:7). The enemy knows who Jesus is; but, that does
not make them Christian. In fact, without the motivation of Love for God, even our
faith is accounted as "nothing". "And though
I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and
though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not Charity [Love], I am nothing" (1Corinthians 13:2). But, Evangelical Faith cannot believe
what it does not understand, e.g.,
"I must first understand what a proposition, a fact, a doctrine, or a thing
is, before I can say whether I believe, or whether I ought to believe, or not" (Charles G. Finney from his "Systematic Theology", Lecture
55 on "Faith and Unbelief").
- "And we know that the Son of God is come,
and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are
in Him that is true, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and Eternal
Life" (1John 5:20). Scripture does not
tell us how Jesus is both God and man, only that He is. For this reason, we
are not required to believe how He can be both, only that He is both-- by the statement
of Inspired Scripture. "And the Word was
made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John
- Evangelical Faith Implies a Personal Appropriation
of the Truths of the Gospel. Jesus Christ saves mankind, only so far as He saves
individuals. "And last of all He was seen
of me also, as of one born out of due time"
(1Corinthians 15:8). Each one of us must heed the Word of God for our own circumstances.
"Thy Words were found, and I did eat them;
and Thy Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by
Thy name, O LORD God of Hosts" (Jeremiah
15:16). After the LORD Jesus thoroughly interrogated the Apostle Peter concerning
his love of Himself, Peter asked the LORD about the Apostle John's future, i.e.,
"LORD, and what shall this man do?" (John 21:21). Our LORD appropriately replied to Peter that
it was more important what Peter would do with he had just been told. "Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till
I come, what is that to thee? follow thou Me"
(21:22). Not only must we individually appropriate the Truths of the Gospel for ourselves,
but we cannot do it for someone else. Just so it is with our sin and rejection of
the Truth-- we can only bear the burden of our own faith or unbelief. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall
not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of
the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness
of the wicked shall be upon him" (Ezekiel
- Faith Implies Repentance Towards God. It
is morally impossible to trust in the LORD Jesus Christ while continuing in known
sin. "No man can serve two masters:
for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the
one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). This Unity of Moral Action [Please
read "Unity of Moral Action" ---New Window by Charles G. Finney] necessitates that all those who truly confide in Jesus
Christ for Salvation, must repent and turn away from their sins, or they have not
genuinely been saved by faith from their sins. "The
time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the
Gospel" (Mark 1:15). If someone tells
you that Repentance is not a part of Saving Faith or that Repentance is not a condition
of Salvation, then you must evaluate their words in light of the Word of God. "37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart,
and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall
we do? 38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of
Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy
Ghost" (Acts 2:37-38). Also, "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks,
repentance toward God, and faith toward our LORD Jesus Christ" (20:21). And, if these who maintain a Salvation By Faith Without
Repentance use Acts 16:31 literally-- "Believe
on the LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house"-- then they would be claiming Household Salvation, not
just Individual Salvation. (This, by the way, is a fine Promise for the Salvation
of loved ones; but, it must be first understood and then claimed by faith in believing
prayer to God.)
- Faith Renounces Self-Righteousness. It
is impossible for a good person to be saved, because the LORD Jesus Christ came only
to save sinners. "When Jesus heard it,
He saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that
are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17). Until a sinner comes to believe that his own
righteousness is unacceptable before God, he cannot be saved. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses
are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind,
have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). If
the Scriptures reveal to the sinner, "all
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
(Romans 3:23), then it would be the height of unbelief for the sinner to continue
to maintain his own righteousness. "Not
by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved
us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5). Self-righteousness is the mark of a man that
knows not the "righteousness which is
of God by faith". "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which
is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which
is of God by faith" (Philippians 3:9).
- Gospel Faith Points to Perfect Love of God
and Man. Even the Old Covenant Saints understood the necessity of perfect love
to God. "And thou shalt love the LORD
thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" (Deuteronomy 6:5). The concept that our neighbor ought
to be loved as ourselves is also Old Covenant. "Thou
shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD"
(Leviticus 19:18). "For all the Law is
fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Galatians 5:14). Do we claim to believe God? Then we ought
to receive His Word concerning the Moral Law. "36 Master, which is
the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:36-39).
- Faith Implies the Reception of All Known Truth.
The LORD Jesus declared that a willing heart is the requirement to know and understand
the teaching of His Word. "If any
man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether
I speak of Myself" (John 7:17). That same
willing heart will receive in faith all the Truth that is understood from the clear
teaching of Scripture, e.g., "In the beginning
God created the Heaven and the Earth"
(Genesis 1:1). Therefore, faith receives as a Truth that God is the Creator of Heaven
and Earth. "Through faith we understand
that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that things which are seen were
not made of things which do appear" (Hebrews
11:3). We deceive ourselves that we are dwelling in Evangelical Faith, if we can
look at the plainly revealed Truth of the Word of God on any subject, and reject
it. "But the natural man receiveth not
the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he
know them, because they are Spiritually discerned"
- The Faith of the Gospel Implies a Present State
of Sinlessness. Holiness and sin are opposites, just as are faith and unbelief.
"But ye, beloved, building up yourselves
on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 20). It is impossible to see God without faith or holiness.
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the LORD"
(Hebrews 12:14). Faith cannot entertain the presence of known sin, any more than
sin can abide in the presence of God. "Whosoever
abideth in Him sinneth not" (1John 3:6).
The holiness of the Saints is more than a theoretical imputation of righteousness
that some theologians ascribe to even Professed Christians dwelling in known sin.
"7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth
righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth
from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might
destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for His seed
remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1John 3:7-9). Evangelical Faith demands that we believe
that anyone walking in known sin, is a liar. "If
we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not
the Truth" (1:6). Later, in the Revelation,
the Apostle John declares by inspiration that "all
liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which
is the Second Death" (Revelation 21:8).
We are reckoned, accounted, or imputed as righteous before God only for faith--
the same faith that caused hundred-year-old Abraham to glorify God for a yet-to-be-born
son to ninety-year-old Sarah. "20 He staggered not
at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to
And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform.
therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness"
- Charles G. Finney comments in his "Systematic
Theology" that the Doctrine of Sin Nature-- "In Adam's fall, we sinned
all", or, "We are all sinners, some lost and others saved, but all are
still sinners"-- is a mistake in theology that causes the erroneous position
of an imputed righteousness
"while yet at least in some degree of sin". He wrote: "The relations
of the old school view of justification to their view of depravity is obvious. They
hold, as we have seen, that the constitution in every faculty and part is sinful.
Of course, a return to personal, present holiness, in the sense of entire conformity
to the law, cannot with them be a condition of justification. They must have a
justification while yet at least in some degree of sin. [WStS emphasis] This must be
brought about by imputed righteousness. The intellect revolts at a justification
in sin. So a scheme is devised to divert the eye of the law and of the lawgiver from
the sinner to his Substitute, who has perfectly obeyed the law. But in order to make
out the possibility of his obedience being imputed to them, it must be assumed, that
he owed no obedience for himself; than which a greater absurdity cannot be conceived.
Constitutional depravity or sinfulness being once assumed, physical regeneration [WStS explanation: Finney reasoned that the proponents
of "constitutional depravity" (or, the Doctrine of Sin Nature) teach that sin or human
depravity is passed on physically from Adam to us; and so, all of their theological
remedies for sin would erroneously but necessarily involve the physical.], physical sanctification, physical divine influence, imputed
righteousness, and justification, while personally in the commission of sin [WStS emphasis. Finney rightly opposed any teaching
of an "imputed righteousness... while
personally in the commission of sin".], follow of course"
(from Charles G. Finney's "Systematic Theology",
Lecture 56 on "Justification").
It appears that the Pharisees during Christ's earthly ministry believed in this same
mistaken notion that men were born sinners, i.e., "32 Since the world
began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind. 33 If this man were
not of God, he could do nothing. 34 They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born
in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out" (John 9:32-34). [For a fuller discussion
of this concept that the Doctrine of Sin Nature is not Scriptural, please
see our exposition, "An Urgent Call
to Christian Perfection". Of course, Charles G. Finney's
"Systematic Theology" is offered to those who are committed to the "strong
meat" of the Word of God, i.e., "who by reason
of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).]
What is the Defining Characteristic of Faith?
- Faith and Life as Present Possessions.
The LORD Jesus explained the relationship of His Word, Evangelical Faith, and Eternal
Life. "He that heareth My Word, and believeth
on Him that sent Me, hath Everlasting Life"
(John 5:24). Evangelical Faith-- "believeth
on Him that sent Me"-- comes by hearing
the Word of God-- "He that heareth My
cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God"
(Romans 10:17). When anyone truly believes on the LORD Jesus Christ, then
they presently possess Eternal Life, i.e., "hath
Everlasting Life" (John 5:24). "We know that we have passed from Death unto Life,
because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death"
(1John 3:14). Also, "He
that believeth on the Son hath Everlasting Life: and he that believeth not the Son
shall not see Life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). In fact, the entire Gospel of John is dedicated to
producing the Evangelical Faith that possesses Eternal Life. "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have Life through His name" (20:31).
- Hearing is Necessary, But Only Believing Saves.
But, if ONLY hearing the Word of God is Evangelical Faith, then Judas Iscariot, Pontius
Pilate, and even Satan himself would be Christians! "24 Therefore whosoever
heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a Rock..: 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth
them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand" (Matthew 7:24, 26). Reading the Word of God and hearing
the claims of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are necessary and good, but embracing Christ
by faith gives blessing only on account of your keeping of those things heard
and read. "Blessed is he that readeth,
and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep
[literally, to attend to carefully or to hold fast]
those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand" (Revelation 1:3).
- Intellectual vs. Evangelical Faith. A clear
distinction must be made between Intellectual Faith and Evangelical Faith. "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well:
the devils also believe, and tremble"
(James 2:19). Intellectual Faith is a clear understanding and apprehension of the
Truth that may even affect the hearer emotionally, but it does not produce Evangelical
Fruit, i.e., "as the body without the
spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also" (James 2:26). History is littered with multitudes who have heard
a clear presentation of the claims of Christ, but have chosen to withhold repentance,
trust, and obedience from the Son of God. "24 And after certain
days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul,
and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment
to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient
season, I will call for thee. 26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of
Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed
with him" (Acts 24:24-26).
- Faith That Does Not Work is Not Evangelical
Faith. "Even so faith, if it hath
not works, is dead, being alone" (James
2:17). Since faith cannot be humanly separated from works, we must evaluate faith--
or the lack of it-- by one's works. "By
their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew
7:20). Dear Martin Luther achieved such a victory for the cause of Christ to direct
so many away from the darkness of Rome's Christless salvation, that it was difficult
for him to reconcile the Epistle of James-- "What
doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him?" (James 2:14)-- with
the Pauline epistles-- "by grace ye are
saved" (Ephesians 2:5). Though Luther
asserted that the Epistle of James was a "right
strawy epistle" ("eine rechte stroherne epistle"),
he still included it as an inspired book in his German translation of the New Testament.
Bless his heart! But, Rome subverted the words of the Epistle of James-- "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified,
and not by faith only" (James 2:24)--
to bulwark their claims to a false representation of justification by works. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully" (Jeremiah 48:10). Instead of teaching Faith's consistency
with the Works of Faith, Rome used James simply to promote the keeping of Rome's
sacraments. "While they promise them liberty,
they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of
the same is he brought in bondage" (2Peter
2:19). Rome did not desire that her children would lean in faith solely upon the
Word of God and the Christ revealed therein; and so, Rome's justification by works
is really a justification by the deeds of the Law. "Therefore
by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the
Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20).
- Faith is an Act of the Will. Evangelical
Faith, according to Charles G. Finney, is a
"phenomenon of will. It is an efficient state of mind, and therefore it must
consist in the embracing of the truth by the heart or will. It is the will's closing
in with the truths of the gospel. It is the soul's act of yielding itself up, or
committing itself to the truths of the evangelical system. It is a trusting in Christ,
a committing the soul and the whole being to him, in his various offices and relations
to men. It is a confiding in him, and in what is revealed of him, in his word and
providence, and by his Spirit" (from Lecture 55
on "Faith and Unbelief" of Finney's "Systematic Theology").
- Though God gives Himself and His Word to be believed
upon, faith must be an act of the human will, or there is no more virtue in
believing than not believing. "Have faith
in God" (Mark 11:22).
This embarrassment and de-emphasis of the will of man in the exercise of Evangelical
Faith has been a traditional position of Professed Christianity. Sadly, the Westminister
Confession of Faith (1646)-- used currently, as well as with the Presbyterians of
Charles G. Finney's day-- confessed that the Believer's Justification was not
Imputed by Faith:
- "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 any thing 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 the obedience and satisfaction
of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on him and his righteousness by faith;
which faith they have not of themselves
[WStS emphasis], it is the gift of God" (excerpted from Chapter 11
"Of Justification" of the Westminister Confession of Faith ).
But, "What saith the Scripture? Abraham
believed God, and it was counted [literally,
imputed] unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3).
- Faith Works. The "righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7) cannot separate itself from works. "5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by
For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision;
but faith which worketh by Love"
(Galatians 5:5-6). In the Old Testament, it was understood that faith manifests itself
in the lives of the Just. "The just shall
live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4).
- Faith is the Medium, But Love is the Motivation.
"For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision
availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by Love" (Galatians 5:6). The Faith Chapter of the New Testament
is Hebrews 11. Throughout the annals of the History of the Saints, we find that the
people of God have been active like their LORD:
- (1) Abel offered a "more excellent sacrifice"
- (2) Noah "prepared
an ark" (11:7),
- (3) Abraham "went
out, not knowing whither he went"
- (4) Sarah "received
strength to conceive seed" (11:11),
- (5) Moses "forsook
- (6) Rahab "received
the spies with peace" (11:31), and
- (7) multitudes of others... "32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of
Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel,
and of the prophets: 33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness,
obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions... 38 (Of whom the world was not
worthy:)" (Hebrews 11:32-33,38).
- Love caused God to send us His Only Begotten Son.
"9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because
that God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the
propitiation for our sins" (1John 4:9-10).
Likewise, our obedience to the Son is urged on by our Love for Him. "If ye Love Me, keep My Commandments" (John 14:15).
- Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial Law. Law can
be divided into the following classifications:
- (1) Moral Law, which has always been in force,
is a rule concerning moral actions for men of all times coupled with sanctions for
disobedience. "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt Love the LORD thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt Love thy neighbour as thyself" (Matthew 22:37-39).
- (2) Civil Law or national ordinances, which vary
from place to place and time to time, are required by a secular nation-state to preserve
its autonomy. "Let every soul be subject
unto the higher powers" (Romans 13:1).
Circumcision was required by Old Testament Israel to preserve its national identity.
"This is My Covenant, which ye shall keep,
between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised" (Genesis 17:10). And,
- (3) Ceremonial Law, which governed Old Testament
Israel's worship, was the rule of action that taught Israel about Jehovah, and--
by typology only-- teaches us today. "For
the Law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things,
can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make
the comers thereunto perfect" (Hebrews
10:1). Christ fulfilled-- and not abrogated-- the Ceremonial Law, so that we have
no need to keep the ordinances of the Ceremonial Law. "Think
not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy,
but to fulfil" (Matthew 5:17).
- The Apostle Paul condemned the Judaizers who would
make circumcision necessary for Salvation. "1 And certain men
which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised
after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension
and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other
of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question" (Acts 15:1-2). Circumcision was a national ordinance or
law for Israel, but Israel's Laws were unnecessary and without authority for the
Church. "Forasmuch as we have heard, that
certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls,
saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the Law: to whom we gave no such commandment" (15:24).
The Ultimate Ground of Gospel Justification
is the Love of God
- What is the difference between the Ultimate
Ground of Gospel Justification and the Conditions of Gospel Justification? The
Ground is the foundational argument or the fundamental reason, while the Conditions
are the qualifications and provisions based upon the Ground. "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which
is Jesus Christ" (1Corinthians 3:11).
The necessity to distinguish between the Ground and the Conditions of Gospel Justification
is to prevent the theological confusion that will ensue from an unstable foundation. "26 And every one that heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth
them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell: and great was the fall of it"
- Love is the Ground of Gospel Justification.
God is love. "And we have known and believed
the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth
in God, and God in him" (1John 4:16).
All of God's actions toward mankind in the giving of the Gospel, are an expression
of His Love. "9 In this was manifested the Love of God toward us, because
that God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
is Love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the
propitiation [the appeasement of an Offended
God, as accomplished at the Mercy Seat] for
our sins" (4:9-10). Of all the Moral Attributes
of God, that He is Love, best describes why He has troubled Himself with providing
a Sinning World with the means of pardon, reconciliation, and justification through
the Gospel. "The LORD is very pitiful,
and of tender mercy" (James 5:11). Who,
but a God of Love, would care if anyone was ever saved? "But
is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should
come to repentance" (2Peter 3:9).
- Holiness is not the Ground of Gospel Justification.
God is also holy. "Ye shall be holy: for
I the LORD your God am holy" (Leviticus
19:2). God's holiness seeks man's conformity to His idea of right, i.e., conformity
to His Moral Law. "For I am the LORD your
God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:
neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth
upon the Earth" (Leviticus 11:44). As
an attribute of Love, God's holiness seeks to promote man's happiness by conformity
to His Moral Law. "Rejoice in the LORD,
ye righteous; and give thanks at the remembrance of His holiness" (Psalm 97:12). Also, "Thy
people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness from
the womb of the morning: Thou hast the dew of Thy youth" (Psalm 110:3). So, holiness is not the Ground of Gospel Justification;
rather, holiness is an attribute of Love-- and, only a Condition of Gospel
Justification, i.e., "Present Sanctification or Full Consecration to God"--
that seeks our conformity to the Moral Law. "14 As obedient children,
not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as He which
hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1Peter 1:14-15). And, that Moral Law is the sum of all
that God requires of man, which the LORD Jesus Christ summarized as the Perfect Love
of God, and Perfect Love of our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). God's
Moral Law is still binding upon the Saints; and, we rejoice in keeping it as
the Perfect Law of Liberty and the Royal Law. "But
whoso looketh into the Perfect Law of Liberty, and continueth therein, he being not
a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed" (James 1:25). "If
ye fulfil the Royal Law according to the Scripture, Thou shalt Love thy neighbour
as thyself, ye do well" (2:8).
- Love and Hyper-Calvinism.
"This love [the Ground] made the atonement [the Condition], but the atonement did not beget this love" (from Lecture 56 "Justification"
of Charles G. Finney's "Systematic Theology").
- If we were to mistake the Atonement and Vicarious
Sufferings of Christ as the Ground of Gospel Justification, then we could incorrectly
conclude with Hyper-Calvinism or Universalism. Hyper-Calvinism understands the world
for whom Christ died, to be only the Elect; since, Love-- they would say-- did not
originate redemption at its source. However, Scripture plainly declares: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only
Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have Everlasting
Life" (John 3:16). Also, they incorrectly
argue that Christ's Atonement satisfied an exact payment-- of punishment or reward,
i.e., a Retributive Justice-- where Christ purchased Gospel Salvation for only the
Elect, and did not obtain a pardon for "whosoever
will". But, the Scripture clearly states:
"Whosoever will, let him take the Water
Of Life freely" (Revelation 22:17).
- Universalism's Misuse of the Love of God.
Universalism is the belief that all will be saved-- in direct contradiction to the
LORD Jesus' Words, i.e., "Because strait
is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto Life, and few there
be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). Also,
"23 Then said one unto Him, Lord, are there few that be saved?
And He said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you,
will seek to enter in, and shall not be able"
(Luke 13:23-24). Universalism bases its conclusion of Universal Salvation upon its
reaction to Hyper-Calvinism's flawed argument that the Atonement was an exact payment
for the Sinners' Salvation-- a Retributive Justice. But, unlike the Hyper-Calvinist,
the Universalist views all mankind as the world for whom Christ died. Hence, a salvation
that is an exact payment for the sins of all mankind purchases a Universal Salvation--
which is a lie. "Say unto them, As I live,
saith the LORD GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked
turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye
die, O house of Israel?" (Ezekiel 33:11).
Universalism today bears little resemblance to Christianity-- only a few claim even
to be Christian-- and, the sentiment of Universal Salvation more nearly describes
much of Mainline, Denominational Professed Christianity today. "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised
triumph" (2Samuel 1:20).
Faith is the Predominate Condition of Our
- Faith Saves, Only Because Jesus Saves.
Even in the days of the Old Covenant, our God has gone on record as offering Himself
as a Saviour for "all the ends of the
is no God else beside Me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside Me. Look
unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the Earth: for I am God, and there is none
else" (Isaiah 45:21-22). The New Testament
records the initial reaction of the Believing Jews to the advent of Jesus as their
Messiah was that the Saviour had appeared for Israel-- with no thought of the Gentiles.
"68 Blessed be the LORD God of Israel; for He hath visited
and redeemed His people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of Salvation for us in the house of His
servant David; 70
As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us" (Luke 1:68-71). But, the greater light of the New Covenant
showed that Jesus came to save the world, not just the Jews. Hallelujah! "For the grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath
appeared to all men" (Titus 2:11).
- Justification by Faith Goes Back to the Beginning.
God has always justified man by faith. "By
faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he
obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by
it he being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews
11:4). The Apostle Paul's monumental epistle to the Romans attests to the Doctrine
of Justification by Faith. "For what saith
the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3). Self-righteous works are in opposition to
the Works of Faith. "For if Abraham were
justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God" (4:2). The obedience of the LORD Jesus Christ does not
take away our need to obey God; and so, in that regard, Christ's obedience is not
imputed to us-- not taking away our necessity for obedience. "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the
house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey
not the Gospel of God?" (1Peter 4:17).
- Our View of Man Affects Our Understanding of
Justification by Faith. If man does not possess the free will agency to repent
and believe the Gospel, then man would be condemned without the opportunity of choice. "What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness
with God? God forbid" (Romans 9:14). Regrettably,
we usually underestimate the goodness and kindness of God toward us in describing
His actions toward us. "7 That in the ages to come
He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through
Christ Jesus. 8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is The Gift
of God" (Ephesians 2:7-8).
"This doctrine [of a sinful nature] is a stumbling-block both to the church and the world,
infinitely dishonourable to God, and an abomination alike to God and the human intellect,
and should be banished from every pulpit, and from every formula of doctrine, and
from the world. It is a relic of heathen philosophy, and was foisted in among the
doctrines of Christianity by Augustine, as every one may know who will take the trouble
to examine for himself. This view of moral depravity that I am opposing, has long
been the stronghold of universalism. From it, the universalists inveighed with resistless
force against the idea that sinners would be sent to an eternal hell. Assuming the
long-defended doctrine of original or constitutional sinfulness, they proceed to
show, that it would be infinitely unreasonable and unjust in God to send them to
hell. What! create them with a sinful nature, from which proceed, by a law of necessity,
actual transgressions, and then send them to an eternal hell for having this nature,
and for transgressions that are unavoidable? Impossible! they say; and the human
intellect responds, Amen" (from Lecture 40 "Moral
Depravity" of Finney's "Systematic Theology").
- "But it is good to be zealously affected
always in a good thing" (Galatians 4:18).
Other Conditions of Gospel Justification--
in Addition to Faith
- 1- The Grace of God. "By grace ye are saved"
(Ephesians 2:5). God's Grace is the First Condition of our Justification, and is
entirely the work of God. "And if
by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it
be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Romans 11:6). God's grace is the unmerited favor, so
richly undeserved by all men. "But
we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,
crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for
every man" (Hebrews 2:9). Unlike the Limited
Atonement of Hyper-Calvinism, where grace appears only to the Elect, the "grace of God that bringeth Salvation hath appeared
to all men" (Titus 2:11). But, sadly,
not all men have willingly received the grace of God. "For
all men have not faith" (2Thessalonians
3:2). We ought not take for granted the Matchless Grace of God. "Receive not the grace of God in vain" (2Corinthians 6:1). Since God's Grace is key to our Justification,
we should be careful not to frustrate His Grace in us, e.g., not seeking out the
LORD's help through Promise and prayer to overcome the "sin
which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews
12:1). "I do not frustrate the grace of
God" (Galatians 2:21).
- 2- The Atonement and Vicarious Sufferings of
Christ. The Atonement and Vicarious Sufferings of the LORD Jesus Christ-- also,
completely the work of God-- are the means by which God is able to reconcile the
legal requirement that "the soul that sinneth,
it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4) with the
pardoning of guilty sinners. "6 For when we were
yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous
man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth
His Love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8). Rather than to allow God's Moral Government
to collapse from the lack of enforcement of His Law, i.e., Supreme Love for God,
and Love of your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-39), either the sinner is to
be executed, or a Sinless Substitute must be offered in the sinner's place, i.e.,
the "Just for the unjust, that He might
bring us to God" (1Peter 3:18). But, Christ's
Substitutionary Atonement does not satisfy the literal payment of the penalty for
all men's sins, i.e., a Retributive Justice; or, all men would be necessarily saved--
which is Universalism. "For all men have
not faith" (2Thessalonians 3:2).
Instead, His Atonement satisfies the righteous demands of the Law, i.e., a Public
Justice, while making it appropriate for Him to mercifully pardon the sinner that
repents. "1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin
is covered. 2
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity" (Psalms 32:1-2). Without the Vicarious Suffering and Voluntary Sacrifice
of the Son of God, it would be unnecessary to discuss faith, repentance, etc. as
Conditions of Gospel Justification. "But
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our LORD Jesus Christ"
- 3- Repentance. Changing the heart's preference
away from selfishness to Love, from sin to holiness, from a state of consecration
to self to a state of consecration to God, is Evangelical Repentance, which is a
definite Condition of Gospel Justification. David repented of his adultery with Bathsheba.
"1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of Thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly
from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever
before me. 4
Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Thy sight" (Psalm 51:1-4). The Apostle Peter's famous Pentecost sermon
gave clear instructions to his hearers to repent. "37 Now when they heard
this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the
apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts
- The wonderful response that the Apostle Paul and
Silas gave to the Philippian jailer's question, "Sirs,
what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30)
is an example of Spirit-filled directions. Instead of entering into a discourse on
all possible Conditions of Evangelical Salvation, they were led by the Spirit to
give the jailer the instructions that would remove the obstacle from the jailer's
path to Eternal Life. "Believe on the
LORD Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). It is an oversimplification to say that the correct
instructions to an anxious sinner must ALWAYS be, "Believe"-- just look at Peter's instructions to the Pentecostal
converts. It would be just as erroneous to conclude that ALL anxious sinners must
be told, "Repent". Wisdom will dictate just what needs to be emphasized to bring the
sinner "from the power of darkness" and "into the
kingdom of His Dear Son" (Colossians 1:13).
"He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30). But, just as the "fruit of the Spirit"
manifests itself in "love, joy, peace,
longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance" (Galatians 5:22-23), as the opportunity arises; just so,
the Saints will fulfill-- as Providence allows-- all the Conditions of Gospel
Justification that will bring them safely to Heaven. "For
if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and
not according to that he hath not" (2Corinthians
- 4- Present Sanctification or Full Consecration
to God. Most have probably been taught that we are first justified, then sanctified,
and finally glorified; but, sanctification is actually a condition of our justification.
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the LORD"
(Hebrews 12:14). Confession and repentance of all KNOWN sin renders us pure in
the sight of God. "If we confess our
sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness" (1John 1:9). The
Holiness of God demands a holy people. "But
as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation" (1Peter 1:15). And, if (as some say) holiness is only the
LORD adjusting His perception of us, why does He command us to be holy, if
it is not also our willful cooperation with Him? "But
now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto
holiness, and the end Everlasting Life"
- The Apostle Paul prayed for the Present and Entire
Sanctification of his readers with the assurance that such a thing was possible.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you
wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless
unto the Coming of our LORD Jesus Christ"
(1Thessalonians 5:23). This Entire Sanctification corresponds to our LORD's command
to keep the Moral Law: "37 Jesus said unto him, Thou
shalt Love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul,
and with all thy mind... 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt Love thy neighbour
as thyself" (Matthew 22:37,39). And, lest
we conclude that our obedience alone must be relied upon for our Salvation, the Saints
of the New Covenant have been promised and given the Spirit of the Living God to
"will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). This is the New Testament's "Promise of the Spirit"
(Galatians 3:14). "26 A new heart also will I
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony
heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit
within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments,
and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26-27). So,
God has assured to the end, the obedience of all that will lean in faith upon Him.
"Being confident of this very thing, that
he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). [For a
Scriptural examination of our necessity to be Entirely Sanctified, see our exposition,
"An Urgent Call to Christian Perfection".]
- 5- Perseverance in Faith and Obedience.
The faith that does not persevere to the end, is not truly Gospel Faith. "And ye shall be hated of all men for My name's sake:
but he that endureth to the end shall be saved"
(Matthew 10:22). The outcome of a "patient
continuance in well doing" is Eternal
Life. "To them who by patient continuance
in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, Eternal Life" (Romans 2:7). Even the Apostolic Church of Ephesus was
warned, "To him that overcometh will I
give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7), with the understanding that those who
did not overcome, do not partake of the Tree of Life. "He
that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh
shall not be hurt of the Second Death"
(Revelation 2:11). Those who do not persevere in faith and overcome the wicked one
(1John 2:13,14), shall experience Eternal Damnation, i.e., the Second Death in the
Lake of Fire. "But the fearful, and unbelieving,
and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters,
and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone:
which is the Second Death" (Revelation
- Godly repentance is not repented of. "For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to Salvation not
to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death" (2Corinthians 7:10). Since the Saints do not repent of their repentance,
they will persevere to the end. "4 For whatsoever is
born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world,
even our faith. 5
Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son
of God?" (1John 5:4-5). A morbid dread
of not overcoming the world, is not Gospel Faith. "There
is no fear in Love; but Perfect Love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in Love"
(4:18). Instead, an Active Faith lays hold of the "Sword
of the Spirit, which is the Word of God"
(Ephesians 6:17), and boldly pitches camp upon the Promises of God, that are specifically
designed to make us "partakers of the
Divine Nature" and to help us escape the
corruptions of the world. "Whereby are
given unto us Exceeding Great And Precious Promises: that by These ye might be partakers
of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through
lust" (2Peter 1:4). The Living God has
a Promise to match our every necessity of life. "According
as his Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and Godliness,
through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (1:3).
Quite the opposite of a uncertain and fearful pilgrimage to the Celestial City, the
True Saint is to advance by faith, overcoming all obstacles, while persevering in
faith and obedience. "37 Nay, in all these things
we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels,
nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor
depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God,
which is in Christ Jesus our LORD" (Romans
8:37-39). The faith of the True Saints cannot be stopped because it is actively and
continually placed in the person of the LORD Jesus Christ. "30 But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom,
and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let
him glory in the LORD" (1Corinthians 1:30-31).
Better to stand with the Son of God in the "burning
fiery furnace"-- "Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire,
and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God" (Daniel 3:25)-- than to fail to persevere because of the
"pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). May God bless you, the reader, with the
faith that endures. "Faithful is He that
calleth you, who also will do it" (1Thessalonians
- "Faith in Christ is, in the same sense, another
condition of justification... I fear that there has been much of error in the conceptions
of many upon this subject. They have talked of justification by faith, as if they
supposed that, by an arbitrary appointment of God, faith was the condition, and the
only condition of justification. This seems to be the antinomian view. The class
of persons alluded to speak of justification by faith, as if it were by faith, and
not by Christ through faith, that the penitent sinner is justified ["And that from a child
thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus"
(2Timothy 3:15)]; as if faith, and not Christ,
were our justification [WStS emphasis]. They seem to regard faith not as a natural, but merely
as a mystical condition of justification; as bringing us into a covenant and mystical
relation to Christ, in consequence of which his righteousness or personal obedience
is imputed to us. It should never be forgotten, that the faith that is the condition
of justification, is the faith that works by love
[Galatians 5:6]. It is the faith through and
by which Christ sanctifies the soul ["That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance
among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me" (Acts 26:18).] A sanctifying
faith unites the believer to Christ as his justification; but be it always remembered,
that no faith receives Christ as a justification, that does not receive him as a
sanctification, to reign within the heart. We have seen that repentance, as well
as faith, is a condition of justification [Acts
2:38]. ...perseverance in obedience to the
end of life is also a condition of justification. Faith is often spoken of
in scripture as if it were the sole condition of salvation, because, as we have seen,
from its very nature it implies repentance and every virtue [WStS emphasis]" (excerpted from Lecture 56
on "Justification" from Charles G. Finney's "Systematic Theology").
- "He being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4).
We must resist the orthodoxy of Laodicea in succumbing
to a salvation by antinomian faith-- that worketh not by love. Instead, we ought
to "earnestly contend for the faith which
was once delivered unto the Saints" (Jude
3) by insisting upon a Gospel Salvation that worketh, and that, by love.
Amen, and Amen.
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