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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Monday, October 01, 2012

Regarding Red Beetle's Question



Hi, Brandon:

Monty seems to be trying to create a false dilemma.  Faith is both active and passive.  Faith is passive in the sense that it is absolutely a gift of God.  (Ephesians 2:8-9).  But since believing and assenting to the Gospel is something we do as human agents, it is also active.  Of course, faith is completely a monergistic gift of God.  God works faith in us and without that gift or grace of God we would not believe in the first place.

This is another area where I tend to disagree with some Clarkians in general.  They want to appear to have some sort of secret insight that no one else has.  Clearly that is not what the doctrine of Sola Scriptura teaches.  Clark did not teach that either.  Scripture is propositional truth.  It is so plain that even a child can read Scripture and understand what God says and be saved.  (2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).  It's called the "perspicuity of Scripture".

I think maybe what Monty is trying to get at is that faith does not "do" anything to merit justification.  Maybe he's hinting at the distinction between justification and sanctification.  As you know, justification is a legal righteousness and justification is imputed.  Sanctification is an inherent righteousness which is infused into the mind or heart.  (Remember that mind and heart are synonymous in the Bible in the vast majority of the verses where "heart" occurs).  Justification is objective and outside of us while sanctification is infused into the heart and is subjective.

Faith is resting in Christ.  Sanctification is what we do to please God out of gratitude.  Sanctification cannot save anyone, the reason being that we are comparing ourselves to other men on the natural level.  Compared to the inmate in prison most people are "good" folks.  But when we compare ourselves to God we are miserable sinners and evil.  (Matthew 5:17-20, 48).  "If you being evil give good gifts..."  (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13).  Quite often people in other religions are very good to their neighbors and do many good works.  But their works are unacceptable to God because they are done with the wrong motives of glorifying self or false gods.   Basically, unless good works are done by faith in Christ God will not approve.  And since no one keeps the moral law perfectly no one can possibly please God apart from the imputed righteousness of Christ.  This is where the Lordship salvation folks get it wrong, too.  It sounds like William Godfrey is one of the neo-legalists who thinks Arminians are just fine Christian brothers.

Even our sanctification is all a work of God in our hearts.   (Philippians 2:11-12).  Sanctification is a monergistic gift of God whereby He works in our hearts to cause us to progress in the faith.  But we are active because when God works in us He actually accomplishes something.  At times God withdraws His grace of sanctification to humble the proud.  If we think we stand by our own will, look out:

 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJ)

 You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; (2 Peter 3:17 NKJ)

We are to take responsibility for our choices and actions.  (Ezekiel 18:20).  But we also pray, "Lead us not into temptations or trials...."  (Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4). Why? Because when we are tested we often fail the test.  Only God can keep us from sinning and we ought to give HIM all the glory for keeping us from falling.  He will give us a way of escape but we don't always take it.  It is sinful to brag or boast even indirectly about our personal holiness.  A true Christian always gives God ALL the glory for any progress we make in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 3:18).

 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJ)

God will not allow His elect to permanently fall away.  (Jude 1:24; Matthew 24:24).  But that does not mean that God will not ordain that the saints are allowed to fall into grievous sins.  Job was tested.  Although Job passed the test, he did not do so without sinning.  Job's sin was in complaining bitterly against God because of the trial of his faith.  The Lord's discipline is meant to humble the elect.  At end of the book of Job we can see that Job humbled himself and repented of his complaining. 

But the Lord's punishment for the reprobate is that these trials cause them to be hardened even more and they become outright apostates as in atheism or false teachings of other religions.

And regarding Monty's defensiveness, I understand why he is that way since he runs into persecution often because of his defense of Clark's Scripturalism.  But I don't think that excuses him.  We all fall short of God's glory because of our weakness. 

I don't attend churches where self-righteousness and sanctification are the major message rather than the Gospel and God's promises to save His elect by grace and mercy alone.  I believe in free and sovereign grace, not the golden idol of free will.

God's peace be with you:)

Charlie

Addendum:  Ultimately salvation rests solely in God's unconditional election and not in our personal faith.  Faith is merely an instrument God uses to apply the benefits of the atonement and of Christ's active obedience.  (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11).


On 10/1/2012 3:44 AM, Brandon wrote:
Monty:
Brandon,
looks like you will be having some interesting
conversations in the near future.
Let me ask you, and you can pass this to your friend
with the blog, too:
Is faith active or passive when it comes to justification before God?
Me:
Actually, I really don't care much for talking with this Godfrey guy. He contradicted himself so many times when talking with me, I started to feel dizzy from attempting to make sense of him. And I don't care who's son he is.

If you're asking me if somebody's 'active' faith actually matters concerning their justification before God, my answer is a resounding 'Hell no'. And thank God it's a 'Hell no', because faith comes from God alone in the first place, along with anything else.

--
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. Visit 1662 Book of Common Prayer: Daily Prayer and Reasonable Christian Blog

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