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must aver that God will demand two payments for the same debt, which is an impeachment of the divine justice, or he must affirm that the atonement of Christ is not infinite, which is a denial of his divinity.
When pressed upon this point, the Romish advocates are wont to quote the following text: “ Whereof I Paul was made a minister, who now rejoice in niy sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." (Col. c. i. v. 23.) But it is evident that Paul here refers to the kind sympathy of the Redeemer with the sufferings of his saints. He speaks of the afflictions of Christ in his, that is, in Paul's flesh, and nothing was further from his intention than to derogate from the all-sufficiency of the atonement of Christ. In the Epistle to the Hebrews Paul makes a declaration which precludes all doubt respecting his opinion upon this matter; “ By one offering he hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified.” (Heb. c. x. v. 14.) Some other texts are frequently adduced, such as the following: (2 Peter c. i. v. 10), “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.” (1 Cor. c. ix. v. 27,) “I therefore so ruu not as uncertainly, so fight I, not as one that beateth the air; but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others I myself should be a castaway;" and a few more of this genus. These, however, are evidently only exhortations to believers to prove themselves, and to certify to themselves that their calling and election is sure. For how forcibly does Peter proclaim the doctrine of salvation by faith (1 Pet. c. i. v. 5,) “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ;” and again (v. 9.) “ Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
To the text which is sometimes alluded to, “ Work out your salvation with fear and trembling," the succeeding verse presents a conclusive
both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philip. c. ii. v. 12.) The context also furnishes us with a similar reply to the verse “He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly, and he which soweth bountifully shall reap bountifully.” (2 Cor. c. ix. v. 6.) For it is written (v. 8), “God is able to make all grace abound towards you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work;" and (v. 11) “ Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God;" and (v. 15,) “ Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” To the text, (Rev. c. ii. v. 21,) “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me on my throne,” i John C. v. v. 4 is a complete reply; “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.". Our opponents, therefore, generally fly for safety to the Epistle of James, wherein in one passage the letter favours them, whilst the argument of the apostle is evidently directed to a very different end. The scope of the inspired writer cannot be mistaken. Faith only justifies in the sight of God; the fruits of faith only justify in the sight of
It is by faith ibat the believer is 'engrafted in Christ, and it is
as impossible for the believer who is quickened and nourished by the spirit of Christ, to continue dead in trespasses and sins, as it is for a living branch, when grafted in a healthy vine, to abstain from bearing fruit. The omniscient God sealeth those with the Spirit of promise whose faith is clearly visible to his all-seeing eye; but man can only learn that believers are animated by a living faith by the external signs of faith. St. Paul refers to Abraham's faith as justifying him in the sight of God. He does not appear to deny that he had whereof to glory, that is, something to exhibit
, to the eyes of man, but he expressly denies that he had any-thing whereof to glory in the sight of God. James introduces the same holy patriarch to illustrate his position, that faith must be evidenced by works. He speaks of proving it in the sight of man; for he says, “ Show me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James c. ii. v. 18.) Taul instructs us that faith is imputed to believers for righteousness by God. James on the other hand admonishes us that it is not sufficient to pretend to our fellow men that we believe; that there is a dead faith as well as a living faith; that a living faith is always evidenced by its fruits; and that in the eyes of man believers are not justified by a mere profession of faith, but by works also. According to this interpretation the writings of Paul and James are in perfect harmony; but the Romish commentators set them completely at variance. Unfortunately for the church of Rome, there is no epistle in the New Testament which more strongly proves the impossibility of any other justification before God, but the justification that is by faith only, than the Epistle of James. In the second chapter, after referring to the moral law, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour,” he adds (v. 10), “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all :" and (c. iii. v. 2) he says, “ In many things we offend all.” James, therefore, convicts all men, sanctified and unsanctified, of breaking the whole law. Now with all due respect for the holy fathers of Trent, we cannot believe that a man can add to the righteousness of Christ by the infraction of the whole of the royal law.
A multitude of passages in the Scriptures establish the blessed doctrine of Salvation by Christ only. The following will suffice for its confirmation.
(Acts c. xiii. v. 38, 39.) “Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by him, all that believe, are justified from all things, from which'ye could not be justified by the law of Moses."
(Acts c. xvi. v. 30, 31.) “ Sirs, what must I do to be saved and they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.”
(Rom. c. v. v. 1.) “ Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(Rom. c. X. v. 9, 10.) “ If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised. him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth coufession is made unto salvation.
(Rom. c. 8. v. 4.) “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
(1 Cor. c. vi. v. 11.)“ But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
(Gal. c. iii. v. 24.) 6 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
(Gal. c. v. v. 6.) “ In Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, or uncircumcision, but faith, which worketh by love."
(Philip. c. iii. v. 8, 9.) “ I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have, suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ; and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith.”
(2 Tim. c. i. v. 9.) “ Who hạth saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our own works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before . the world began."
(Titus, c. iii. v. 5-7.) “ But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour towards man appeared, 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, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
(Hebrews, c. X. v. 38.) “ Now the just shall live by faith.”
(John, c. ii. v. 16.) “ 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, c. vii. v. 47.) “ He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
There is, perhaps, one other text which needs some comment. “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matt. c. xii. v. 37.) This passage at first sight seems to militate against the doctrine of justification by faith only, but the context shows that on the contrary it decidedly supports it. For our blessed Saviour was here rebuking the Pharisees for their incredulity, and he says, “ Either make the tree good, and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt, for the tree is known by its fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye being evil speak good things, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." Now it is by faith in Christ that the heart is purified. (Acts c. xv. v. 9.) “ Purifying their hearts by faith.” But the Pharisees disbelieving the word of Christ, and blaspheming the Holy Spirit, brought forth evil out of their evil hearts, even as the faithful bring forth a true confession, and praise and thanksgiving to the glory of God. The tree can only be made good and fruitful by being engrafted, through faith, in Christ.
The second question which we have to decide is, whether the reward of the saints is wholly of grace, or partly of grace and partly for merit. In sess. 6, cap. 16, the council of Írent affirms, that “ the goodness of God towards man is so great, that he wills that those things should be their merits which are his own works.” But we have seen that the same council subsequently decrees, can. 39, “ that good works are not so completely the gifts of God, that they are not also the good merits of the person justified.” We must here be careful to remind the meeting that the question is not whether there is a reward in store for the saints, for this we are repeatedly taught in the Scriptures ; but whether the reward be of debt or of grace.-Upon this point Paul is very distinct. (Rom. c. iv. v. 3.) “What saith the Scripture ? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth in him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” And again, (Rom. c. xi. v. 6,) “ And if by grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work is no more work.” And again (Coloss. c. iii. v. 24,) “ Knowing that of the Lord, ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance," that is, the reward of sonship, and not of service.
In the parable of the labourers of the vineyard, there is a payment, but it was evidently not given with reference to value received. It is said that many of the last shall be first, and many of the first shall be last. And we find that those who were hired last were paid the same as the first, who had borne the heat of the day. In fact the labour of love is a privilege conferred on man. If a reward were to be apportioned according to the work done, it ought to be in the inverse ratio. For if we truly love God, to labour and to suffer in his cause, is in itself a reward. Such was the feeling of the apostles. (Acts v.
4.)“ And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Phil. c. i. 29.) “ For unto you it is given on the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake.” It is written, it is true, “ He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a prophet's reward." And again, "Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” (Matt. c. 8. v. 42.) And again it is written,“
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered and ye gave me drink, &c.” (Matt. c. xxv. v. 34.) From these passages, however, it can only be gathered that Christ has a reward in store for those that love him; a reward, however, we contend, of pure grace. For who will affirm, that there is any merit in loving Christ, who descended from the kingdom of his glory and suffered upon the cross for guilty man? Is there a head that will not reject, or a heart that will not repudiate, the notion of there being any merit in loving Christ? But if there be no merit in loving Christ, then is the reward not of debt; and if it be not of debt, it must inevitably be of free grace. Every good work of the Christian is described in holy writ as being the workmanship of the Spirit, and therefore to the sole glory of God.
• Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." (John c. xv. v. 8.) “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. c. v. v. 16.) “ Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” (Matt. c. vii. v. 13.) “ There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are diversities of administrations, but the same Lord.
And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1 Cor. c. xii. v. 4.) “Much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one, Christ Jesus.” (Rom. c. v. v. 17.) “ Unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Eph. c. iv. v. 7.) " I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Christ Jesus, that in every thing ye are enriched by him in all utterance and in all knowledge
so that ye come behind in no gift.” (1 Cor. c.i. v. 4.) “ We are labourers together with God, ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.” (1 Cor. c. ii. v. 9.) “Who maketh thee to differ from another ? and what hast thou, that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received?" (1 Cor. c. iv. v. 7.) “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain, but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God, which was with me.” (1 Cor. c. xv. v. 19.) “ Whereof I was made a minister according to the gift of the grace of God, given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that