Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Too Precious

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

Chapter 16 - Refuting false accusations about justification by faith alone
1. Rome says this doctrine keeps people from doing good works. But when you are justified in Christ, you are also sanctified in Him. Good works are not downplayed, but "encouraged and strengthened" by justification by faith alone. "Having admitted that faith and good works must cleave together, we still lodge justification in faith, not in works."
2. Rome says this doctrine keeps people from wanting to do good works - no reward results! But if you do a work for the reward, instead of to freely serve God, it isn't a good work, anyway. Scripture lodges our motivation for doing good in "the end of our redemption," our calling to be holy: 1 John 4:19; Heb 9:14; 10:29; Luke 1:74-75; Rom 6:18, 6, 4; Col 3:1-3; Matt 6:20; Titus 2:11-13; 1 Cor 3:16-17; 2 Cor 6:16; Eph 2:21; Eph 5:8-9; 1 Thess 5:4-5; 4:7, 3; 1 John 4:11; John 13:34; 1 John 3:10; 2:10-11; 1 Cor 6:15, 17; 12:12, 25; 1 John 3:3; 2 Cor 7:1; 1 Pet 2:21; John 15:10; 13:15.
3. We are to be motivated by God being glorified in us - Matt 5:16. Occasionally, we have to remember His benefits to be prodded on to good, but Rome sets up a tit for tat system that contradicts 2 Cor 9:7. Scripture does speak of God rendering to us according to our works - Rom 2:6-7; Matt 16:27; 1 Cor 3:8, 14-15; 2 Cor 5:10. But this isn't the root of our relationship with God; trust in His mercy is- Ps 130:4.
4. Rome says this doctrine invites people to sin, since it is free. But "not so for Christ, who dearly bought it at the cost of His most sacred blood." How can we defile our souls again (Song of Sol 5:3)? Our works of satisfaction themselves are but dung - Phil 3:8. The righteousness we have received in Christ is "too precious to be matched by any compensation of works."

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