Tag Archives: Sola Fide

“The one undivided and indivisible Christ” by Herman Bavinck

“The Reformation attacked this entire nomistic system at the roots when it took its position in the confession that sinners are justified by faith alone. By this act, after all, it all at once reversed the entire order of things.

Communion with God came about not by human exertion, but solely on the part of God, by a gift of His grace, so that religion was again given its place before morality.

If human beings received the forgiveness of sins, righteousness, adoption as children, and eternal life through faith alone, by grace, on account of the merits of Christ, then they did not need to exert themselves to earn all these benefits by good works.

They already possessed them in advance as a gift they had accepted by faith. The gratitude and joy that filled their hearts upon receiving all these benefits drove them to do good works before the thought that they had to do them even crossed their mind.

For the faith by which they accepted these benefits was a living faith, not a dead one, not a bare agreement with a historical truth, but a personal heartfelt trust in the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

In Justification that faith of course manifested itself only from its receptive side because in this connection everything depended on the acceptance of the righteousness offered and bestowed in Christ.

Yet, from its very inception, and at the same time as it justified, it was also a living, active, and forceful faith that renewed people and poured joy into their hearts.

Actually, therefore, it was not faith that justified and sanctified, but it was the one undivided and indivisible Christ who through faith gave Himself to believers for righteousness and sanctification, who was imputed and imparted to us on the part of God, and whom we therefore from the beginning possess in that faith as Christ for us and in us.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 242–243.

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“Joy is the fruit of grace” by Charles Spurgeon

“Do not set too much store by your own feelings as evidences of grace. ‘The fruit of the Spirit is joy,’ but you may not at this moment be conscious of joy: trees are not always bearing fruit, and yet their substance is in them when they lose their leaves.

Some young people say, ‘Oh, we know we are saved, because we are so happy.’ It is by no means a sure evidence, for joy may be carnal, unfounded, unspiritual. Certain Christians are afraid that they cannot be in a saved state because they are not joyous, but we are saved by faith and not by joy.

The word of God is a more sure testimony to the soul than all the raptures a man can feel. I would sooner walk in the dark, and hold hard to a promise of my God, than trust in the light of the brightest day that ever dawned.

Precious as the fruit is, do not put the fruit where the root should be. Please to recollect that. Joy is not the root of grace in the soul, it is the fruit, and must not be put out of its proper position.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 27 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1881), 77.

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“The one doctrine which I have supremely at heart” by Martin Luther

“I myself can hardly believe I was as verbose when I lectured on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, as this volume indicates. But since I recognise as mine all the thoughts which the brethren have taken such pains to set down in it, I am forced to admit that I said as much and perhaps even more.

For the one doctrine which I have supremely at heart, is that of faith in Christ, from Whom, through Whom and unto Whom all my theological thinking flows back and forth day and night.

Not that I find I have grasped anything of a wisdom so high, so broad and so profound, beyond a few meagre rudiments and fragments; and I am ashamed that my poor, uninspired comments on so great an Apostle and chosen instrument of God should be published.

Yet I am compelled to forget my shame and be quite shameless in view of the horrible profanation and abomination which have always raged in the Church of God, and still rage to-day, against this one solid rock which we call the doctrine of justification.

I mean the doctrine that we are redeemed from sin, death and the devil, and made partakers of eternal life, not by ourselves (and certainly not by our works, which are less than ourselves), but by the help of another, the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ.”

–Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

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“The only haven of safety for sinners” by John Calvin

“We bid a man begin by examining himself, and this not in a superficial and perfunctory manner, but to cite his conscience before the tribunal of God, and when sufficiently convinced of his iniquity, to reflect on the strictness of the sentence pronounced upon all sinners.

Thus confounded and amazed at his misery, he is prostrated and humbled before God. And, casting away all self-confidence, he groans as if given up to final perdition. Then we show that the only haven of safety is in the mercy of God, as manifested in Christ, in whom every part of our salvation is complete.

As all mankind are, in the sight of God, lost sinners, we hold that Christ is their only righteousness, since, by His obedience, He has wiped off our transgressions; by His sacrifice, He has appeased the divine anger; by His blood, He has washed away our sins; by His cross, He has borne our curse; and by His death, He has made satisfaction for us.

We maintain that in this way man is reconciled in Christ to God the Father, by no merit of his own, by no value of works, but by gratuitous mercy. When we embrace Christ by faith we come, as it were, into communion with Him.”

–John Calvin, “Calvin’s Reply to Sadoleto” in A Reformation Debate, Ed. John Olin (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1966/1539), 66-67.

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“Faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing” by Martin Luther

“Faith is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1). It kills the old Adam and makes altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit.

Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. And so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them.

He who does not these works is a faithless man. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words about faith and good works.

Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man would stake his life on it a thousand times. This confidence in God’s grace and knowledge of it makes men glad and bold and happy in dealing with God and all His creatures.

And this is the work of the Holy Spirit in faith. Hence a man is ready and glad, without compulsion, to do good to everyone, to serve everyone, to suffer everything, in love and praise to God, who has shown him this grace.

And thus it is impossible to separate works from faith, quite as impossible as to separate burning and shining from fire. Beware, therefore, of your own false notions and of the idle talkers, who would be wise enough to make decisions about faith and good works, and yet are the greatest fools.

Therefore, pray to God to work faith in you. Else you will remain forever without faith, whatever you think or do.”

–Martin Luther, Commentary on Romans, Trans. J. Theodore Mueller (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1954), xvii.

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“Good, merry, glad and joyful tidings” by William Tyndale

“The New Testament is a book, wherein are contained the promises of God and the deeds of them which believe them, or believe them not.

Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy.

Just as when David had killed Goliath the giant glad tidings came unto the Jews, that their fearful and cruel enemy was slain and that they were delivered out of all danger.

In like manner is the Evangelion of God (which we call gospel; and the New Testament) joyful tidings. The gospel is published by the apostles throughout all the world, of Christ, the right David, who hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them.

Whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil, are, without their own merits or deservings, loosed, justified, restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the favor of God, and set at one with Him again, which tidings as many as believe laud, praise, and thank God and are glad, sing and dance for joy.

This Evangelion or gospel (that is to say, such joyful tidings) is called the New Testament because man, when he shall die, appointeth his goods to be dealt with by testament and distributed after his death among them which he nameth to be his heirs.

Even so Christ before His death commanded and appointed that such Evangelion, gospel, or tidings should be declared throughout all the world, and therewith to give all His goods unto all that repent and believe.

What goods? That is to say, His life, wherewith He swallowed and devoured up death; His righteousness, wherewith He banished sin; His salvation, wherewith He overcame eternal damnation.

Now the wretched man (that knoweth himself to be wrapped in sin, and in danger to death and hell) can hear no more joyous a thing, than such glad and comfortable tidings of Christ so that he cannot but be glad, and laugh from the low bottom of his heart, if he believe that these tidings are true.”

–William Tyndale, “A Pathway Into the Holy Scripture,” in Doctrinal Treatises, Ed. Henry Walter, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1531/1848), 8-9.

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“We don’t have to wonder if He likes us” by Jerrry Bridges

“The Bible tells us the bad news that we are in trouble with God, and then it tells us the good news that God has provided a solution that far surpasses our problem. Three times in his letters the apostle Paul paints a grim picture of bad news about us, and then each time he says ‘but.’

In effect, he is saying, ‘Here is the bad news, but here is the Good News as well.’ And in Paul’s message, the Good News always outweighs the bad news. Take just one of these instances, in Ephesians 2:1-9. After telling us that we were, by nature, objects of wrath, Paul says, but now ‘God, who is rich mercy,’ has actually ‘raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.’

That is surely a dust-to-glory story. What could be a greater contrast than an object of God’s wrath seated with His Son in a position of glory? This good news doesn’t begin when we die. It certainly does address that issue, but it also tells us that there is good news for us now. We don’t have to feel guilt-ridden and insecure in our relationship with God.

We don’t have to wonder if He likes us. We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization that I am accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

–Jerry Bridges, The Gospel for Real Life (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2003), 18.

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