Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Salvation by grace . . . through faith . . . through grace?

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand . . .

Faith comes first, then grace. Faith introduces us to grace. Faith is the doorway into grace.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Salvation is by grace, through faith.

Acts 18:27 And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace . . .

which believed through grace-one of those incidental expressions which show that faith's being a production of God's grace in the heart was so current and recognized a truth that it was taken for granted, as a necessary consequence of the general system of grace, rather than expressly insisted on. (It is against the natural order of the words to read them, as Bengel, Meyer, and others, do, "helped through grace those who believed").

Faith comes . . . through grace?

These verses form the perfect Reformed paradox. We're saved by the grace that is received through faith. But the faith itself is a gift of grace. So God saves us, all by Himself, all by grace, and not we ourselves by any supposed self-originating faith.

From the human perspective, all we see is that we believed the message and received salvation. But then God casually mentions that He elected us in Christ from before the foundation of the world, predestined us to be saved, and gave us the grace to believe. The faith is ours, but it is ours by gift and not by origination. Everything good is a gift, not original to us, but rooted in the ONE SOURCE: God Himself. There is a huge difference between faith we HAVE (i.e. really and truly possess as our own) and faith we CREATE (i.e. develop or manufacture from our own resources).

Faith is required, essential, and indispensible. But let us never forget that our faith is placed squarely between electing grace and saving grace, forming the connection between them, so that there can be no Sola Fide without Sola Gratia.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to respond to anything written in the posts, or to the comments left by others. All comments are reviewed before they are published.

Please be charitable. If you disagree, do so with grace. Keep your words positive, focused, and on-topic. We don't expect everyone to agree, but we do expect everyone to treat everyone else with respect and grace, speaking the truth in love.