Drinking Deeply

Tuesday, March 07, 2006 at 7:25 PM

Faith Alone

The thing that distinguishes biblical Christianity from all other religions in the world is the concept of faith alone.

The alone, which was as central to the Reformers' doctrine of sola fide as the faith aspect, refers to the fact that justification is through faith apart from works.

So far apart from works, that works presents no merit upon which we are justified (or seen righteous) by God.

To put it in a mathematical term, most religions present a picture of "Earn x% righterousness" and you will be saved (be it salvation, or a good resurrection, or your own planet). This x% ranges from epsilon>0 (take the first step) to 50% (positive karma) to 100% (perfection).

Now, in one sense, Christianity presents a requirement of 100%. Be perfect, as the Lord God is perfect. He who sins against one area of the law is guilty of the whole. And so on.

This picture of salvation should (and does!) lead us to despair, "Then who can be saved?!"

The answer is etched into our hearts as Jesus replies, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

We, who are guilty of the whole law, must confess that we're stuck at that 0%, we are unable to even take that first initial step. But the beauty of faith alone, is the fact that God has provided all 100% of that salvation through Jesus Christ, who lived that perfect life and purchased salvation for the elect. This includes the step from 0% to epsilon% and so on (through sanctification) up to 100% (at glorification).

God does not require (for us) that 100% because Christ has fulfilled it. And our sins, which were deserving of wrath, have been punished upon Christ as well.

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

It's good that you don't separate Sola Fide from Solus Christus. Indeed, the basis of our justification by faith alone is Christ's work alone.

James White (in God Who Justifies) argues that power and authority of Sola Fide is Sola Scriptura. When the Sole infallible authority of Scripture is denied, Sola Fide soon errodes and the church crumbles with it.

"Alone" of Sola Fide means ultimately that it is God alone who accomplishes the work of salvation. Even our faith and any good works that comes by its necessary consequence is granted by Him. This is why all glory goes to Him. Rom. 11:36.

I love the Solas of Reformed theology! =)Again, nice entry.  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

Isn't it marvelous that upon regeneration the Lord completely Justifies us completely sanctifies us and completely glorifies us. Our rest is in Jesus Christ and his finished work.

"to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,"

and again
"but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus"

and again
"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all"

and again
"to them that are sanctified by God the Father"

No greater promise has anyone than the christian now and in times to come.  

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Blogger mxu said...

Sanctification and glorification (as I am using them) isn't exactly complete at regeneration, as last I checked I was not perfect, and I am doubtful that anyone would claim they were.

Yet, sanctification and glorification are promised, and will be completed in the times to come for those for whom the process had begun.  

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

puritan says "already"...and you say "not yet." We can get along, yeah? =)  

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Blogger mxu said...

*chuckles*

Well said  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

In terms of someone who is completely sanctified still sinning or not being perfect. We are sanctified (set apart) from the world because we have been set apart from sin. We have been set apart from sin because it is no longer counted against us. We are purified and made holy this way. (Totally Sanctified)

This is why so many verses say we are Sanctified such as before “to the Sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” by this it is saying through the Lord’s complete work of washing away Sin we are made holy and set apart.

I do agree that through the truth and knowledge of the Holy Spirit teaching us daily of the things of Christ by doing this he is sanctifying us and we are growing in grace.  

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Blogger Puritan Belief said...

The definition of sanctification is not "to be perfect" But "to be set apart from sin to be made holy and undefiled."  

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Blogger mxu said...

Ah, a semantic issue. I apologize for misunderstanding you then.  

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