Grace and Works are frequently put in a direct and formal Opposition to each other:—That Purity of Heart—that Sanctity of Life—that Victory of Corruption—that unreserved De votedness to God—which are the grand Essen tials of the Christian Life, are not Virtues we bring with us in our first Approaches to the Savior; but Blessings He bestows on them that come to Him by an humble Faith. THIS will be uncontroulably evident, if we consider—That our most specious Perfor mances, before we are brought into this sa cred Union, are corrupt and vicious—With out Faith, says the Author to the Hebrews, it is impossible to please God.
We receive Jesus the Savior— We become Members of his mystical Body— By virtue of this—His Righteousness is imputed to us—His Spirit resides in us—This leads us into all Truth—inclines us to all Good— enables us to walk in the Way that will finally conduct us to consummate Purity and Blessedness.
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THE Law demands perfect and perpetual Obedience, as the Condition of Life; the Gos pel requires humble Faith, as the appointed Means of Safety and Happiness: According to the Tenor of the Law, we must have a com plete and personal Righteousness, to escape its damnatory Sentence; according to the conde scending Terms of the Gospel, the Righteous ness of our Surety delivers us from Death, and gives us a Title to Life Eternal. The Law was delivered to Man when in a State of unblemished Innocence, in all the Perfection of his Nature, when he had Strength to perform his entire Duty, without Defect or Deviation: But the Gospel considers Man as fallen from his primitive Integrity, destitute of Ability or Inclination to do that which is Good.
It is appointed for his Rescue from the Con demnation of the Law and the tyrannical Do minion of Sin—Therefore it does not call him to purchase Life by his Obedience; but to receive that Grace which alone can enable him to will and to do: —Not to expect Happiness from his own Virtue and Goodness, but by an humble Affiance in the Grace and Righteous ness of an all sufficient Savior.
All have vio lated it's righteous Precepts and incurred it's dreadful Penalty. IN this Dispensation, the Grace of God appears in it's brightest Splendor, it's unlimited Freeness; to attract the Attention of perishing Sinners,—The Divine Majesty is seated on a Throne of Grace, and we are invited to touch the Sceptre of Mercy and live: Angels are commissioned to publish the Goodwill of God to Men: Ministers are appointed to preach Peace by Jesus Christ, to them that are afar off and to them that are near.
The Condition of our Reconciliation with an offended Deity, is not indefective Holiness, which must sink us into the deepest Despair, but an humble Faith, which receives All, from the over-flowing Fountain of all Good.
To whom shall he apply in this melancholy Situation? Those who hearken to it's indulgent Voice, and trust in it's faithful Promises, may be freed from all disquieting Doubts, and enjoy that Peace of God, which passeth all Understanding. It is God that justifieth; who shall condemn?
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It is Christ that died; yea rather that is risen again, who is even at the Right Hand of God, who also maketh Intercession for us. O GOD! How kind are thy Dealings unto the Children of Men!
How boundless thy Compassions to ungrateful Rebels! How adapted are the Methods of thy Grace to thy destitute Creatures! Do not misunderstand this emphasis upon obedience. We do not earn salvation, but we must comply with the conditions laid down by the Lord in order to receive the free gift of eternal salvation. Man cannot earn salvation through works of merit, but he must comply with the conditions that the Lord laid down in order to receive the gift of salvation.
In the book of Acts there are eight major conversions, given as models for all people of all time. In every case the gospel of Christ was preached, the people believed in their hearts, but they did not stop there.
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Their faith led them to make known their faith in some manner confessing Christ as their Savior and then they were baptized for the forgiveness of sins. It all began with the preaching of a great sermon concerning Christ by the apostle Peter. And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … And with many other words he testified, and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation.
Obedient faith is demonstrated very clearly in this example: They heard the gospel of Christ, they believed it, at which point they asked what they must then do. Peter told them to repent of their sins and to be baptized. When they had made their faith in Christ actual by obeying the conditions upon which salvation is given, the Scripture then tells us that they were added to the church or family of God.
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The same pattern is found in each of the other stories of conversion. But Biblical faith is more than mere belief. It is more than an intellectual commitment. It involves obedience: confession of Christ before men Matthew , repentance for our sins Luke , and baptism for the forgiveness of our sins Acts Because of this, Habakkuk tells us God cannot have fellowship with anyone who does not have perfect righteousness.
In order to be accepted by God, we must be as good as God is. Before God, we all stand naked, helpless, and hopeless in ourselves. No amount of good living will get us to heaven or give us eternal life.
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What then is the solution? God is not only perfect holiness whose holy character we can never attain to on our own or by our works of righteousness but He is also perfect love and full of grace and mercy. Because of His love and grace, He has not left us without hope and a solution. This is the good news of the Bible, the message of the gospel. Romans who was appointed the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.
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John But to all who have received him--those who believe in his name--he has given the right to become God's children. John For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.
This means we must each come to God the same way: 1 as a sinner who recognizes his sinfulness, 2 realizes no human works can result in salvation, and 3 relies totally on Christ alone by faith alone for our salvation.