Thursday, June 25, 2009

Faith that Justifies

Calvin's Institutes (1559)
Book 3 of 4 - How We Receive the Grace of Christ

Chapter 11:13-20 - Justification by Faith: not by works!

13. Faith righteousness and works righteousness are mutually exclusive. You have to abandon your own to seek Christ's. Phil 3:8-9; Rom 10:3. As long as any works righteousness remains, there remains room for boasting - Rom 3:27; 4:2, 4.
14. Sophists argue that we are justified by faith and works given us by the Spirit; that Paul argues against works done in the flesh apart from faith. But Gal 3:11-12 rules out any works.
15. The Romans say the grace of justification is not imputation but the "Spirit helping in the pursuit of holiness" - Heb 11:6. Where Augustine goes a bit astray here, Lombard corrupts it far worse to Pelagianism.
16. The believer trusts in the sole righteousness of Christ, not His own Spirit-generated or fleshly works.
17. Faith justifies as it "receives and embraces the righteousness offered in the gospel."
Gospel righteousness depends on God's free mercy; law righteousness depends on our fulfilling conditions, which we never do perfectly. Rom 10:5-6, 9; Gal 3:18.
Our Spirit-wrought righteousness can't justify, for even that is never perfect.
18. If we are justified by faith, then it is apart from and without the merit of works. We must come empty to receive Christ's righteousness. Hab 2:4; Gal 3:11-12; Rom 4:2-5, 16; 3:21.
19. Luther was right to translate "faith alone" in Rom 3:28. What else could it be, if works of the law are excluded? Rom 1:17. They try to say the works Paul means are ceremonial, not moral. But God didn't promise life to doers of the ceremonial law only - the whole law is meant.
20. Faith that justifies must be the kind that works through love - Gal 5:6 - but "it does not take its power to justify from that working of love."

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