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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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William

By Grace Alone Through Faith Alone

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William
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“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

- Ephesians 2:8

 

 

Understanding that sin makes us thick-headed, unwilling to accept certain truths when they receive minimal emphasis, the biblical authors repeat foundational doctrines so that they might penetrate our hearts and minds. The man-made religions of this world prove that without the work of the Holy Spirit, people think that they are basically good and can contribute something to their salvation. This strips glory from God and gives it to us, for if we can do even one thing to merit salvation, then we deserve some credit. All belief systems except biblical Christianity encourage us to believe that we contribute to our salvation, even if they deceitfully assert otherwise.

 

It should have been clear from reading Ephesians 2:1–7 that the Lord owes us nothing but justice and wrath. (Moreover, this is taught throughout the Bible: Gen. 6:5–7; Deut. 7:6–11; Ps. 51:4; Rom. 1:18–3:20; James 2:10–11). But in case we missed it, Paul in Ephesians 2:8–10 tells us one more time that we bring nothing with us to our redemption, and that any good works we perform are not the ground of our status before God but result from us having been chosen and gifted with salvation: “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Grace, by definition, excludes the slightest hint that human merit contributes to our righteous standing before the most holy and perfect Creator, and faith, which admits our inability to help ourselves and rests wholly on another for salvation, confirms that our works have no power to atone for our wickedness. John Calvin writes, “If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendations, it follows that salvation does not come from us.”

 

Of course, faith is something that we exercise, and so some Christians think we bring this to the table when we are saved. They think we work faith up in ourselves and that all people are born with the ability to do so. Ephesians 2:8 makes this view impossible. The grammatical gender of the demonstrative this in “this is not your own doing” must refer back to the entire complex of things Paul mentions in the verse — salvation, grace, and faith. It is true that we are the ones who put our faith in Christ, but God gives us this faith and guarantees that we will exercise it unto salvation. If the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, we will not refuse the call to trust in Christ.

[h=2]Coram Deo[/h] The doctrine of irresistible grace is quite simple — if God wants us, then He will get us. Though He may allow us to resist His call for a time, if He has chosen to set His grace on us, then we will certainly believe and persevere, for all whom the Father has given to Jesus must come to the Savior (John 6:37). We cannot even give ourselves credit for our faith, so let us be thankful for His grace and live in the way that He commands.

 

Source: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/grace-alone-through-faith-alone/

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Daniel1212
“By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

- Ephesians 2:8

 

 

Understanding that sin makes us thick-headed, unwilling to accept certain truths when they receive minimal emphasis, the biblical authors repeat foundational doctrines so that they might penetrate our hearts and minds. The man-made religions of this world prove that without the work of the Holy Spirit, people think that they are basically good and can contribute something to their salvation. This strips glory from God and gives it to us, for if we can do even one thing to merit salvation, then we deserve some credit. All belief systems except biblical Christianity encourage us to believe that we contribute to our salvation, even if they deceitfully assert otherwise.

 

It should have been clear from reading Ephesians 2:1–7 that the Lord owes us nothing but justice and wrath. (Moreover, this is taught throughout the Bible: Gen. 6:5–7; Deut. 7:6–11; Ps. 51:4; Rom. 1:18–3:20; James 2:10–11). But in case we missed it, Paul in Ephesians 2:8–10 tells us one more time that we bring nothing with us to our redemption, and that any good works we perform are not the ground of our status before God but result from us having been chosen and gifted with salvation: “By grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Grace, by definition, excludes the slightest hint that human merit contributes to our righteous standing before the most holy and perfect Creator, and faith, which admits our inability to help ourselves and rests wholly on another for salvation, confirms that our works have no power to atone for our wickedness. John Calvin writes, “If, on the part of God, it is grace alone, and if we bring nothing but faith, which strips us of all commendations, it follows that salvation does not come from us.”

 

Of course, faith is something that we exercise, and so some Christians think we bring this to the table when we are saved. They think we work faith up in ourselves and that all people are born with the ability to do so. Ephesians 2:8 makes this view impossible. The grammatical gender of the demonstrative this in “this is not your own doing” must refer back to the entire complex of things Paul mentions in the verse — salvation, grace, and faith. It is true that we are the ones who put our faith in Christ, but God gives us this faith and guarantees that we will exercise it unto salvation. If the Holy Spirit changes our hearts, we will not refuse the call to trust in Christ.

Coram Deo

 

The doctrine of irresistible grace is quite simple — if God wants us, then He will get us. Though He may allow us to resist His call for a time, if He has chosen to set His grace on us, then we will certainly believe and persevere, for all whom the Father has given to Jesus must come to the Savior (John 6:37). We cannot even give ourselves credit for our faith, so let us be thankful for His grace and live in the way that He commands.

 

Source: http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devoti...h-faith-alone/

 

Man could not and would not believe on the Lord Jesus or follow Him unless God not only gave him life, and breath, and all good natural things he has, (Acts 17:25) but also convicted him, (Jn. 16:8) drew him, (Jn. 6:44; 12:32) opened his heart, (Acts 16:14) and granted repentance (Acts 11:18) and gave faith, (Eph. 2:8,9) and then worked in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure the works He commands them to do. (Phil. 2:13; Eph. 2:10)

 

Thus man owes to God all things, and while the lost is guilty and rightly damned for resisting God contrary to the level of grace given him, (Prov. 1:20-31; Lk. 10:13; 12:48; Rv. 20:11-15) believers can not claim he actually deserves anything positive, and indeed God does not owe him anything but damnation, yet under grace, which denotes unmerited favor, God has chosen to reward faith, (Heb. 10:35) in recognition of its effects.

 

Which means that God justifies man on Christ's account, by His sinless shed blood, (Rm. 3;25; Col. 1:14) without the merit of any works obtaining this, which is what Romans 4:1-7ff teaches, with works of the law including all systems of justification by merit of works, for, "if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." (Galatians 3:21)

 

Thus the penitent publican and the contrite criminal, both of whom abased themselves as damned and destitute sinners and cast all their faith upon the mercy of God (which ultimately is Christ), were justified, and as such could go directly to be with the Lord at death, even before they did any manifest works of faith. But works justify one as being a believer, and fit to be rewarded under grace for such, (Mt. 25:30-40; Rv. 3:4) though only because God has decided to reward man for what God Himself is actually to be credited for.

 

Because justification is appropriated by faith, (Rm. 4:5) then we have statements that one will be saved if he believes (Jn. 3:16; 3:36) thereby being forgiven/washed, sanctified and justified, (Acts 10:43; 15:7-9; 2Co. 6:11) yet because salvific faith is not inert but is "living" faith which effects evidential "things that accompany salvation," (Heb. 6:9) then we have statements that if persons do something which expresses faith then he will be saved, from confessing Christ with mouth and or in baptism to being holy loving mother to overcoming, (Rm. 10:13; Acts 2:38; 1 Tim. 2:15; Rv. 2:7) since this evidences such is a true believer, versus one that is dead. (Ja. 2:20) And thus we have the exhortations to continues in the faith and warnings against departing from it, faith being the issue. (Heb. 3:6,12,14; 10:38,39)

 

But contrary to Catholicism, in which one actually becomes good enough to be with God (first by what the act of baptism does, and then, usually, thru Purgatory), the effects of justifying faith are not the cause of justification, except in the sense of justifying one as being a believer, being saved. The meek shall inherit the earth not because meekness earned this foir him, but because that is a characteristic of God-given saving faith, yet as said, God rewards believers under grace. (Heb. 10:17,35) though salvation is a gift. (Rm. 6:23)

 

Edited by Daniel1212
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