The reason why any are justified IS NOT because they have faith....

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Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I am in a dispute with a "Reformed Baptist" who claims that faith is not the instrumental means by which we lay hold on Christ.





He says this:

The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first particular baptist association in USA, gave out a circular letter stating this:

"The reason why any are justified IS NOT because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith IS because they are justified."

(In the circular letter issued by PBA on October 4th, 1785.)



Then he claism this:
"The modern adherents to the same 1689 adamantly insist:"The reason why any are justified IS because they have faith; if they do not have faith, they will never be justified by God." So, who are those who adhere to the 1689???"






What would you say to this man?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Confession of Faith

Chapter XI
Of Justification

I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies;[1] not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,[2] they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.[3]

II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:[4] yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.[5]

III. Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father's justice in their behalf.[6] Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them;[7] and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead;[8] and both, freely, not for any thing in them; their justification is only of free grace;[9] that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.[10]

IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.[13]

V. God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;[14] and although they can never fall from the state of justification,[15] yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.[16]

VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.[17]

.

Scripture proofs

[1] ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. ROM 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

[2] ROM 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 2CO 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. ROM 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference. 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. TIT 3:5 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. 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. EPH 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. JER 23:6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. 1CO 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. ROM 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

[3] ACT 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. GAL 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. PHI 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: ACT 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. EPH 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

[4] JOH 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: ROM 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. ROM 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[5] JAM 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. GAL 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

[6] ROM 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 1TI 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. HEB 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. DAN 9:24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. ISA 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

[7] ROM 8:32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

[8] 2CO 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. MAT 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. EPH 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

[9] ROM 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: EPH 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.

[10] ROM 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. EPH 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

[11] GAL 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. 1PE 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, ROM 8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

[12] GAL 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law. 1TI 2:6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. ROM 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

[13] COL 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. GAL 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. TIT 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 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; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

[14] MAT 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 1JO 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1JO 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

[15] LUK 22:32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. JOH 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. HEB 10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

[16] PSA 89:31 If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; 32 Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. 33 Nevertheless my lovingkindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. PSA 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. PSA 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. MAT 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the **** crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. 1CO 11:30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. LUK 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

[17] GAL 3:9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ROM 4:22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. HEB 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689)
with prooftexts



Chapter 11: Of Justification
1._____ Those whom God effectually calleth, he also freely justifieth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing Christ's active obedience unto the whole law, and passive obedience in his death for their whole and sole righteousness by faith, which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.
( Romans 3:24; Romans 8:30; Romans 4:5-8; Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; Romans 5:17-19; Philippians 3:8, 9; Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; Romans 5:17 )

2._____ Faith thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification; yet it is not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.
( Romans 3:28; Galatians 5:6; James 2:17, 22, 26 )

3._____ Christ, by his obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are justified; and did, by the sacrifice of himself in the blood of his cross, undergoing in their stead the penalty due unto them, make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God's justice in their behalf; yet, inasmuch as he was given by the Father for them, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
( Hebrews 10:14; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Isaiah 53:5, 6; Romans 8:32; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 3:26; Ephesians 1:6,7; Ephesians 2:7 )

4._____ God did from all eternity decree to justify all the elect, and Christ did in the fullness of time die for their sins, and rise again for their justification; nevertheless, they are not justified personally, until the Holy Spirit doth in time due actually apply Christ unto them.
( Galatians 3:8; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Timothy 2:6; Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:21,22; Titus 3:4-7 )

5._____ God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified, and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure; and in that condition they have not usually the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.
( Matthew 6:12; 1 John 1:7, 9; John 10:28; Psalms 89:31-33; Psalms 32:5; Psalms 51; Matthew 26:75 )

6._____ The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.
( Galatians 3:9; Romans 4:22-24 )


The Confessions are in agreement, and are consonant with Scripture- faith is the instrument of, not the substance of justification. (Saving) faith is a gift of God, something that inevitably flows from a person whom God has regenerated.

Once again, the "early" Baptists were right.:)
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Scott, so what about this circular letter from the PBA?

As you can see, the Confession does not support what the circular proports "modern adherents" believe, so am not sure where they are getting that.

The understanding of justification was carefully developed and re-visited during the Reformation.
 

ClayPot

Puritan Board Sophomore
Eph 2:8-9: 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Can he tell you the source of this circular letter? Because unless you can check it out in context there is no reason to believe that he's representing it accurately.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
October 4th, 1785
By Elder William Rogers



The ministers and messengers of the several Baptist churches, convened in Association, at Philadelphia, October 4, 1785.

To the respective churches, with whom we are connected, send Christian salutation.

Dearly beloved in our Lord Jesus Christ,˜The subject, which we are to address you upon, is contained in Chapter IX, of our Confession of faith, which treats of Justification. A subject truly important! One of the fundamental articles of our holy religion! As such, demands our very particular attention. Therefore, wherein we are obliged, owing to the confined limits of our annual epistle, to study brevity, our hope and expectation is, that you will individually make up such deficiency by serious meditation.
Perspicuity being our aim, we shall, I. Explain the term. II. Consider the Author. III. The objects interested. IV. The blessings resulting.

We are, I. To explain the terms. Justification, spiritually or evangelically considered, is a complete acquittal from imputed and contracted guilt; a deliverance from the condemning power of sin; an act of free grace flowing from Jehovah's sovereign good will and pleasure. By many eminent divines this leading doctrine of our creed is viewed as two-fold - eternal and declarative. By the former, we understand that which existed in the divine mind from everlasting, respecting the chosen seed, united with Christ their head, "who hath saved us, according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began," 2 Tim. i. 9. By the latter, viz., declarative justification, is designed that which, in time, takes place in or on the conscience of a believer, commonly styled justification by or through faith. It is upon this, dear brethren, we now address you, this is the light wherein our Confession treats upon it, agreeing herewith, our catechism tells us that "justification is an act of God's free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us a righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone." To be thus fully absolved from all sin and guilt, by virtue of Christ's plenary satisfaction, and pronounced "heirs of eternal life." Oh how enlivening the thought! How animating the reflection! "Bless the Lord, O our souls, and all that is within us, bless his holy name!"

We come, II. To consider the Author of our justification. In other words from whom it proceeds. Blended with which we must just hint at some of the causes hereof.

Educated in the school of Jesus, and instructed by the unerring Spirit of the Most High, you are ready, dearly beloved, to anticipate us under this head, by exclaiming with an inspired apostle, "It is God who justifieth," Rom. viii. 33. A triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. A truth this, when viewed in all its parts, calculated to excite not only within us, but amid the angelic choir the highest wonder. "Which things the angels desire to look into," 1 Pet. i. 12. "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him who believeth in Jesus," Rom. iii. 25, 26. "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 xiii. 38, 39. "And such were some of you; 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," 1 Cor. vi. 11. Many other texts might be quoted, did we not believe you to be already will established in this peculiar excellency of gospel revelation! Nevertheless for our mutual edification permit us, previous to our dismission of this head, to mention, with all due conciseness, a few of the causes of our being thus justified or pronounced righteous. "The works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them who have pleasure therein," is of equal force now as when penned by Israel's king. Thus supported, we will not be backward in asserting.”

1. That from this main pillar, this sublime characteristic of gospel truth, man's obedience to a law of works is to be utterly excluded. Paul peremptorily says, "By the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in his sight," Rom. iii. 20. This single declaration, confirmed by repeated equal testimony, condemns at once every idea of justification by virtue of our own doings. Those who harbor a sentiment so opposed to Jehovah's revealed will, vainly imagine, consistent with themselves, to bring the Supreme Governor of universal nature under obligation to do them good. But, beloved, we have not so learned Christ; we do not wish to rob the blessed Redeemer of the highest diadem in his mediatorial crown; we do not intend thus basely to detract from that glory which peculiarly belongs to the sacred Three-One. "For there is not a just man upon earth, who doeth good and sinneth not," Ecc. vii. 20. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa. lxiv. 6.

2. What is by too many denominated, compliance with gospel terms, we do not admit as having any claim hereunto. Those who cherish this opinion are grossly mistaken. The gospel of our salvation is unconditional; it knows no terms on our part as leading to a justifying righteousness. Faith and repentance are graces bestowed by the Spirit of God, they are blessings flowing from the covenant which is ordered in all things and sure. In fine, regeneration of soul, sanctification of heart, sincerity of disposition, holiness of life, persevering fidelity, undeviating acquiescence in Jehovah's government, steady zeal of Immanuel's interest, all our own pious frames of mind, comfortable feelings, and approving testimonies of conscience, are, with respect to this all-essential doctrine, to be kept totally out of view. To what then is our justification to be ascribed?

We reply, first. To the mere grace or favor of God as the moving cause, "being justified freely by his grace," Rom. iii. 24. "But after that kindness and love of God our Saviour toward men appeared; not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us," Tit. iii. 4, 5. That, which never could have been found out by men or angels, the wisdom of Jehovah contrived and his love hath made known. This is the original source. Here is the fountain from whence all doth spring.

Second. To the life and passion of Jesus as the procuring cause. "But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him," Rom. v. 8, 9. He fulfilled every precept, bore the whole penalty of the law in the room and stead of his people. Thus was the law magnified and rendered honorable, an end made of sin, and everlasting righteousness brought in. "And this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS," Jeremiah xxiii. 6. Oh glorious name! predicted long before his incarnation. Unto whom should we go, but unto our once bleeding but now risen Saviour, for acceptance? For us he drank the bitter cup. It will not do to substitute any thing in the place of this noble sacrifice; it is now a righteous thing with God, freely to justify and abundantly to pardon: "In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory," Isa. xlv. 25. The robe of Christ's righteousness is a garment down to the foot, wherewith every member of the mystical body is amply covered, "for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2 Cor. v. 21. "Such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners," Heb. vii. 26. Should any question how doth Christ's righteousness, thus consisting of the holiness of his nature, his active and passive obedience, become ours in such wise that we are necessarily deemed righteous too?

We readily Answer - By imputation; by making it over unto us; reckoning it ours, or placing it to our account, being wrought out by our elder brother on behalf of the whole ransomed flock. "David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works," Rom. iv. 6. Pursuant, therefore, to the unalterable purpose of heaven; agreeable to the economy of man's redemption; this righteousness of the precious Jesus, whereof so many glorious things are spoken, is as much ours as though wrought out by ourselves in our own proper persons; Rom. v. 18, 19; Phil iii. 8, 9. Thus clothed upon with the rainment of needlework˜thus united with the head, how can the members be viewed by God the judge of all but as perfectly and completely justified. "And ye are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power," Col. ii. 10.

Third. Our justification is by some ascribed to faith as an instrumental cause. Strictly speaking, we apprehend faith as no cause at all in this momentous procedure, but rather an effect. It is true, the scriptures frequently mention a justification by faith. By such expressions it is evident the object, and not the act, of faith is designed; the object of faith is Christ and his righteousness; this the believing soul lays fast hold on. Faith is the eye which discovers, the hand which receives; espying a Saviour's worth, charmed with his merit, the believer is so enraptured as to cast away all his heavy burden, falls at Messiah's feet, confides in the promise, and pleads atoning blood: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness," Rom. x. 10. It is beautifully noticed by one of our very first and most orthodox writers. "The reason why any are justified is not because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith is because they are justified." If justified faith as a work performed by us or a grace wrought within us; where would have been the necessity of the death and resurrection of Jesus? Faith is that precious grace, by which we do in a certain manner put on the righteousness of the Lord's anointed, and receive the greatest of all blessings from the God of our salvation. "It is grace (saith one) which quarrels much with human pride and make its only boast of Sharon's rose; and never was meant to be our justifying righteousness in the sight of God, else it would learn to boast." Faith says, "In the Lord have I righteousness;" and tells a sinner, "I cannot save thee; thou are saved by grace through faith." The grace of Jesus, and that alone brings salvation; and the sinner, through faith as an instrument, puts in his hand, is enabled to reach the rich donation; just as a beggar, by his empty cap stretched forth, receives an alms. We proceed,

III. To mention the objects interested. In the examination of this particular, what abundant reason have we to adopt the prophetic language, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them," Isa. viii. 20. The persons justified through rich and sovereign grace are, in the living oracles, declared to be "ungodly," Rom. iv. 5; also, "sinners," Gal. ii. 17. Was it not for declarations like these, where could be our comfort? We are all sinners; we are all ungodly; does it from hence follow, that all who are sinners, all who are ungodly, are without exception justified? By no means! The whole canon of scripture combine with the dictates of sound experience to render every such idea inadmissible! It is true, we read, "that by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life," Rom. v. 18. But a careful revision of what goes before, and follows after, we shall find the apostle did not mean all men absolutely, but all the chosen, all believers; his epistle was directed to "all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints." Moreover, the justified are represented as a peculiar people, and have such characters ascribed to them, as cannot, without the greatest inconsistency and abuse of language, be ascribed to all the progeny of fallen Adam. They are spoken of as those who are predestinated, redeemed, pardoned, effectually called, sanctified, regenerated, &c. That these things are not true, with respect to all the lapsed family, every unprejudiced mind must acknowledge. Upon the whole, those who are unworthy and guilty in themselves, but in the everlasting covenant elected and beloved, have the righteousness whereon their justification is founded, not only exhibited to them by the gospel, but brought nigh by the Holy Ghost; these are the "purchased possession," this is the "bride, the Lamb's wife;" between whom the Lord Jesus, an union not only now exists but hath existed, ancient as eternity itself. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn thee," Jer. xxxi. 3. A multitude which no man can number.

IV. The last thing proposed for investigation, we now hasten to unfold; viz: the blessings resulting herefrom.

Where, dear brethren, shall we begin, and how shall we end; blessings great indeed crowd in upon us! blessings beyond compare are consequential on our being thus freely justified! a doctrine pregnant with comfort inexpressible: a foundation is hereby laid not simply for fluctuating hope, but for the full assurance of present and of future bliss. By virtue hereof, we experience:
1. A freedom or deliverance from sin and condemnation. From all sin, as to its guilt, from its reigning power and dominion, and by and by from its inbeing: "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin," 1 John i. 7; Heb. x. 12-14. Our sins are covered and hid from the all penetrating eye of divine justice, and when sought for hereafter shall not be found. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus," Rom. viii. 1; Gal. iii. 13. When seriously reflecting on our happy rescue from the hand of Satan, our accusing foe; also from death and the grave, as penal evils: but more especially from the pains of hell and the wrath to come, and all as the effect of love divine! what heart among us can remain cold and lifeless? what tongue among us can cease to praise?

2. As justified, we enjoy peace with God. "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," Rom. v. 1; connected herewith is a real peace of mind! Oh, happy souls! brought fully to behold a crucified Redeemer making pace by the blood of his cross: "The chastisement of our peace was upon him," Isa. lii. v. Knowing this to be the case, well may we, "on the dove-like wings of faith, fly far away from the storms and tempests of an opposing conscience, and find in the Rock of Ages a quiet sanctuary and safe retreat."

3. The acceptance of our persons and services is another blessing resulting herefrom. The Father is well pleased with both for the alone sake of Christ his Son, "to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved," Eph. i. 6. Christ's garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, wherewith his people being clad, the Lord smells a sweet smell in them also. A view of this emboldens us to draw near to the King of kings, Heb. x. 19-22. The person, the blood, the righteousness, the mediation of Jesus are the only foundation of all our pleas at the celestial throne.

4. As justified we are blessed through life, shall be so at death, yea, throughout eternity. While on earth, we are expressly assured that "all things work together for our good;" when summoned to die, we need not fear the grim messenger. The property of temporal death with respect to God's people is greatly changed; it puts an end to all their sorrows, hath its sting taken away, and will prove to be our very great gain. In honor and triumph are such conveyed to the mansions above, and oh! with what joy are the everlasting doors expanded wide for their reception. Our bodies, though mouldered to dust, will nevertheless enjoy a glorious resurrection˜our persons, at the last day, an honorable distinction and gracious approbation from the Judge supreme; never ceasing felicity, consummate happiness, and perpetual glory will be our portion. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," 1 Cor. ii. 9. We shall then, oh joyful period! live and reign with Christ for ever and ever, and our song will uninterruptedly be, "Unto him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and that made us priests and kings unto God and his father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever," Rev. i. 5, 6. Justification and glorification are closely connected; they go, as it were, hand in hand, Rom. v. 8, 10; viii. 30.

Having thus endeavored to explain this leading article of the Christian faith, we shall now close our address with such inferences as appear easily deducible therefrom.

1. Hereby we are taught the futility of opinions which, however remotely, lead to self dependence. Justification either by our own external performances or any inherent holiness whatever, are sentiments fully exploded by all who are acquainted with the truth as it is in Jesus: we are justified in such a way as excludes, in every sense, all boasting in ourselves. "Where is boasting, then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay; but by the law of faith," Rom. iii. 27.

2. The necessity of highly prizing that righteousness which is revealed in the gospel, as the only foundation of genuine hope and solid joy. This righteousness as hath been proved, is the alone matter of our justification in Jehovah's sight; a righteousness which was devised and provided for us by the Father; wrought out for us by the Son, and now made over unto us by the Holy Ghost; a righteousness perfect and divine, wherewith justice is satisfied, the law magnified, the Triune glorified, and grace, superabounding grace displayed. To exhibit this righteousness, to elucidate its worth, to inform us of the peculiar happiness of those to whom it is imputed, is the main design both of the Old and New Testaments. May we, therefore, "search the Scriptures, for they are they which testify of Immanuel, God with us." We also˜

3. From hence, learn that the standing of all who are justified is secure indeed. To fall therefrom is utterly impossible. How can such come into condemnation or be made partakers of the second death? They cannot; the righteousness of the Mediator is an everlasting righteousness. This being the sole ground of our confidence, it evidently follows that our abiding is safe: the believer can never lose his interest therein; the act which justifies is in itself unalterable; it is coeval with the eternal covenant; the benefit thereof is insured, and will for ever be enjoyed by us. "No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord," Isa. liv. 17. The love wherewith we are loved, the grace wherewith we are visited, will endure unto the end.
"For Christ in every age has prov'd, His purchase firm and true: If this foundation be removed, What shall the righteous do?"

Is it then, dearly beloved brethren, as hath been represented? Supported by the unerring volume, we think this question may be fully answered in the affirmative. What improvement, then ought we to make of so essential a part of divine truth? Examine yourselves. Have you any solid reason whereon to ground your belief that you are the objects interested? Admire then the grace of God, in imputing to you righteousness so complete; rejoice therein, and have no confidence in the flesh; ascribe the whole of your finished salvation to Jehovah's boundless love; sing, in humble notes, the church's song, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake," Ps. cxv. 1. Live near to God, to whose unmerited favor alone you are indebted for a translation from surrounding darkness into marvellous and stupendous light. The doctrine of justification, when rightly viewed, unavoidably leads to strict holiness both in life and conversation. Evidence, then, by your constant fruit, that you are the called of God in Christ Jesus; persevere in the discharge of every duty. "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid. Yea, we establish the law," Rom. iii. 31. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them," Eph. ii. 10. Be not discouraged, though you have foes without and within. Greater is he who is for us, than all those who are against us. Owing to indwelling corruption and pride of heart, we too often offend the best of Beings: for our consolation it is recorded, "If we forsake his law, and walk not in his judgments; if we break his statutes, and keep not his commandments, then will he visit our transgressions with a rod, and our iniquities with stripes. Nevertheless, his loving kindness will he not utterly take from us, nor suffer his faithfulness to fail," Ps. lxxxix. 30-33. See also Isa. liv. 7, 8. Chastised we may be with the rod of a father, but not with the wounds o f an enemy. "What though your afflictions are great? there is no wrath in the portion of your cup; though men should condemn you, God will not; though devils accuse you, they shall not prevail."

How honored are the subjects of Jehovah's grace! By far more dignified than the angels who never sinned! Frequently call to mind that celestial anthem, which, through eternity, will be chanted on the highest key by all the redeemed throng, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing," Rev. v. 12. You can never think enough of Christ and his righteousness; let this then be your constant theme.
"Some this, some that good virtue teach, To rectify the soul; But we first after Jesus reach, And richly grasp the whole."

To conclude. The doctrine of justification, the subject treated upon in this letter, being a doctrine so infinitely momentous, we do, with all Christian affection, as members of the same body with you, recommend it to the serious and candid perusal of all. A doctrine, we trust, wherein our associated churches are firmly established; for wherever the gospel is purely preached, this doctrine must necessarily not only make a part, but a distinguished part thereof. That the light of divine truth may emit its rays in such wise, as to dispel every gloom and all the mists of error; that soundness in every article of our orthodox faith may be restored among, and contended for, by all God's children, wherever dispersed; that the good word of the kingdom may run to and fro and be abundantly glorified, even from the rising to the setting sun; that whenever it is dispensed it may be accompanied with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power; finally, that the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, may visit all our borders, is, dear brethren, the unfeigned wish and cordial prayer of yours, in the best of bonds.

By order of the Association,

˜OLIVER HART, Moderator.
˜WILLIAM ROGERS, Clerk.


Here is the entirety of the letter.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
The "circular" seems to support the correct position- what is the basis for the purported "modern adherents?"

Arminian-influenced doctrine might say man produces faith on his own before, then God honors it by converting man, somehow, by (re-)defing "grace." But that's not the beyond reasonable doubt position of Scripture, or of the Confessions.
 
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moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
I am in a dispute with a "Reformed Baptist" who claims that faith is not the instrumental means by which we lay hold on Christ.


He says this: The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first particular baptist association in USA, gave out a circular letter stating this:

"The reason why any are justified IS NOT because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith IS because they are justified."

(In the circular letter issued by PBA on October 4th, 1785.)



Then he claism this:
"The modern adherents to the same 1689 adamantly insist:"The reason why any are justified IS because they have faith; if they do not have faith, they will never be justified by God." So, who are those who adhere to the 1689???"

Maybe it's a misunderstanding on his part about what the quote is talking about. His quote is not talking about the "means", but rather the "cause" of our justification. The "means by which we lay hold of Christ" is faith, but "the reason why any are justified" is Christ.

It is common today to hear error about this, for some say that we are justified because we have faith, as if God rewards our faith now instead of our works. Rather, God rewards Christ, and faith trusts his promise to include us in it via adoption. I would tell him, "Yes, our justification is not due to our faith, but due to Christ, as your quote says. And yet, faith is the means by which we participate, which is what the confession is saying (Ch. XI:I)."
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
The argument seems to take a wrong term within an essentially correct framework. Section II.2 sets the tone by declaring, "The gospel of our salvation is unconditional; it knows no terms on our part as leading to a justifying righteousness. Faith and repentance are graces bestowed by the Spirit of God, they are blessings flowing from the covenant which is ordered in all things and sure." This is essentially correct, insofar as there are no "terms on our part," that is, quid pro quo arrangements, involved in our salvation. To think of faith and repentance this way is to move in an Arminian (or worse) framework.

However, the paragraph II.2.Third reeks of overextended logic and false dichotomy. It is true that faith is an effect, not of justification, but of election, atonement, and regeneration. Here the argument falls apart by lack of attention to the ordo salutis. As in an argument, in which a particular proposition may be both the conclusion of preceding material and a supporting point for future material, each link in the ordo can be viewed either as the effect of the previous or as the cause of the following. So, whereas faith is the effect of regeneration, it may also legitimately by the instrumental cause of justification.

A puzzling point is the end of that paragraph, which reads, "The grace of Jesus, and that alone brings salvation; and the sinner, through faith as an instrument, puts in his hand, is enabled to reach the rich donation; just as a beggar, by his empty cap stretched forth, receives an alms." The only explanation I can think of is that these Baptists did not mind the term "instrument" but rejected the term "cause" when speaking about faith. I cannot tell any reason for this logical scruple, though. The meaning of "cause" varies depending on which type of Aristotelian causation is in view. Without knowing the historical background a bit more, it's hard to nail down whence this objection arose.

By the way, enjoy this breakdown of justification from Dr. Joseph Pipa:

Causes of justification:

a. Efficient - God's grace

b. Final - God's glory

c. Formal - imputation

d. Material - Christ's active and passive obedience

e. Exemplar - God's decree

f. Instrumental - faith
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
This acquaintance says this:


The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first particular baptist association in USA, gave out a circular letter stating:

"The reason why any are justified IS NOT because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith IS because they are justified."

(In the circular letter issued by PBA on October 4th, 1785.)






The letter does seem to say this. Then he posits that justification happens chronologically before faith.
 

Curt

Puritan Board Graduate
I have often described faith as the coaxial cable through which salvation is transmitted.
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I have often described faith as the coaxial cable through which salvation is transmitted.

:lol: That just shows how many light years you are ahead of me, Curt. I spoke of faith being the "instrument" of justification last week, but chose a much older illustration of coming to a well in the middle of a desert and needing a bucket as the "instrument" (and not the cause) of obtaining that life-giving water.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Our justification is by some ascribed to faith as an instrumental cause. Strictly speaking, we apprehend faith as no cause at all in this momentous procedure, but rather an effect. It is true, the scriptures frequently mention a justification by faith. By such expressions it is evident the object, and not the act, of faith is designed; the object of faith is Christ and his righteousness; this the believing soul lays fast hold on. Faith is the eye which discovers, the hand which receives; espying a Saviour's worth, charmed with his merit, the believer is so enraptured as to cast away all his heavy burden, falls at Messiah's feet, confides in the promise, and pleads atoning blood: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness," Rom. x. 10. It is beautifully noticed by one of our very first and most orthodox writers. "The reason why any are justified is not because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith is because they are justified." If justified faith as a work performed by us or a grace wrought within us; where would have been the necessity of the death and resurrection of Jesus?

I think there may be a typographical error here in the underlined section: the two words should be transposed for the sentence to make sense.

The acquaintance needs to look again at this. The italicized portion above shows that they are speaking of "cause" in the sense of "ground". The bolded portion shows that they do, in fact, accord a instrumental role to faith in justification. The portion in red is not a beautiful statement, it is in fact obscure and misleading; but given the rest of the paragraph, it seems obvious that a good sense must be put upon it by taking it to mean that a person is not justified on account of his faith, but believes unto righteousness in the objective basis for his justification.
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Pergamum,

Are you understanding this fellow to say that faith is, in any sense, a cause of salvation?
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
If justified faith as a work performed by us or a grace wrought within us; where would have been the necessity of the death and resurrection of Jesus?

I think there may be a typographical error here in the underlined section: the two words should be transposed for the sentence to make sense.

Or, perhaps "as" should be replaced by "is". I noticed few other other mistypes like this in the document.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
Faith is the means by which justification is received. However, faith is not the basis upon which we are justified. Faith doesn't merit justification.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
What would you say to this man?

The Baptist tradition has come under the influence of hyper Calvinism.

Yes. Concerning soteriology, the Reformed Baptists seem to have varied a great deal, such that I often think that I would wish myself to be convinced of Presbyterianism, since their tradition varies less on these issues and has guarded their soteriology more tightly.

---------- Post added at 06:12 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:09 AM ----------

Pergamum,

Are you understanding this fellow to say that faith is, in any sense, a cause of salvation?

Yes, it appears that this man thinks that he is guarding against the error that faith is the agent or effectual cause of salvation, instead of merely "the coaxial cable" and instrumental means only.

So, because of this falsely perceived danger he believes that one is justified chronologically prior to possessing faith, and that Gospel preaching awakens the already-regenerate unbeliever to realize their own election and to believe.

Weird.
 

moral necessity

Puritan Board Junior
Pergamum;806777Yes said:
In a way, I could see how it would be somewhat appealing to think like this, for it does give a desireable consistency regarding elect infants/children before they are able to express faith, and for infants/children who die "in the Lord". I don't think the Confessions address this, (for they can't address everything), other then perhaps presenting them as exceptions to confessional soteriology. Those who advocate this other view tend to not say that the elect are justified before they "possessed" faith, but rather before they "expressed" faith. Faith and all other graces would be possessed as "seeds" that are yet to grow. I'd be curious to know what books influenced this man's thinking, or if he just pieced this together more on his own.

Blessings!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
What would you say to this man?

The Baptist tradition has come under the influence of hyper Calvinism.

Great summary. I don't know if there is much more to say than this. Men who de-historicize the Christian faith are trying to apprehend God through the hidden decree apart from the application of Christ's work in time and space. I would have very little patience with this kind of aberration. It is sub-Christian.
 

dudley

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I agrre like Scott that the early Baptists were Right

I am in a dispute with a "Reformed Baptist" who claims that faith is not the instrumental means by which we lay hold on Christ.





He says this:

The Philadelphia Baptist Association, the first particular baptist association in USA, gave out a circular letter stating this:

"The reason why any are justified IS NOT because they have faith; but the reason why they have faith IS because they are justified."

(In the circular letter issued by PBA on October 4th, 1785.)



Then he claism this:
"The modern adherents to the same 1689 adamantly insist:"The reason why any are justified IS because they have faith; if they do not have faith, they will never be justified by God." So, who are those who adhere to the 1689???"






What would you say to this man?

My comment relating to Pergamums question above was included in an article written by Jim Tuckett on another Reformed Protestant site. I am pasting here the piece of the article that I think can help answer the question to the other person .

I said and Jim included in his article below my comment :

Justification and Faith by Dudley Davis

"There is one more thing we need to keep very clear about faith: it is not something worthy of merit that earns us justification. It is connects us with Christ's righteousness, but does not earn us Christ's righteousness. Faith is an act, but it is not a work. In other words, God doesn't give justification because of any value in your faith--because your faith is a such a great thing that it deserves reward--but because it is how you are united to Christ."
Dudley Davis

Justification
by Jim Tuckett
Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
Rom. 8: 30

. . . He also justified. . .
Justification is a judicial act of God, in which He declares, on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that all the claims of the law are satisfied with respect to the sinner. It is unique in the application of the work of redemption in that it is a judicial act of God, a declaration respecting the sinner, and not an act or process of renewal, such as regeneration, conversion, and sanctification. While it has respect to the sinner, it does not change his inner life. It does not affect his condition, but his state, and in that respect differs from all the other principal parts of the order of salvation. It involves the forgiveness of sins, and restoration to divine favor.
Louis Berkhof

Justification is by faith alone.
"The Roman Catholic view of justification [is that] God declares a person to be just when justice (or righteousness) inheres in the person. The person, under divine analysis or scrutiny, is found to be just. God justifies the just. ...By stark and radical contrast the Reformation view of justification is that God declares a person just based upon something [external to them], something not inherent in the person: the imputed righteousness of Christ."
R. C. Sproul

Justification is the process of transforming us from what we were: dead in sin, to what we will be: Like Christ. Justification does not make us good; it imparts Christ’s goodness to us.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
II Cor. 5: 21

A mechanic was removing a cylinder-head from the motor of a
Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known cardiologist
in his shop. The cardiologist was there waiting for the
service manager to come and take a look at his bike when the
mechanic shouted across the Garage, 'Hey Doc, want to
take a look at this?' The cardiologist, a bit surprised,
walked over to where the mechanic was working on the
motorcycle. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on
a rag and asked, 'So Doc, look at this engine. I open its heart,
take the valves out, repair any damage, and then put them back in,
and when I finish, it works just like new.
So how come I make $39,675 a year and you get the really big
bucks ($1,695,759) when you and I are doing basically the
same work?' The cardiologist paused, smiled and leaned
over, then whispered to the mechanic...

'Try doing it with the engine running.'

God counts the people He has called as righteous by means of their faith and not their works. This does not mean the elect are counted righteous on the basis of their faith. Since faith is itself a gift from God, no one can boast of this as if he has done anything to merit it.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Eph. 2: 8-9

Christians are counted righteous on the basis of Christ’s righteousness which has been applied to us through the vehicle of faith.
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all] who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Rom. 3: 21-24

Paul uses a legal term to explain how and why the elect are justified. The Greek word to justify is diakioun. Whenever a Greek verb ends in –oun, it means to treat someone as something. It never means to make someone something. When we stand before God, as we all will some day, we need to recognize that in us, there is nothing which makes us worthy of God’s grace; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
We are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God treats us as righteous because of what Jesus did on the Cross.
Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
Heb. 9: 12

We are eternally secure in Christ because we have contributed nothing towards our redemption.
The Bible teaches that Christians are saved from the consequences of our sin on the basis of Christ’s work on our behalf. Jesus did not endure the Cross to make salvation possible for everyone, should we choose to accept His sacrifice; no, He actually paid the full price for the sins of all God’s chosen people, thus securing for us an eternal redemption.
For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Rom. 5: 10-11

Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, not our free will, reconciled us to God.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Rom. 8: 1-4

Some day we will stand before the Judgment Seat, guilty of breaking God’s laws, but there will be no condemnation. God does not make us righteous; but He treats us as righteous for Christ’s sake.
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption
I Cor. 1: 30

God unconditionally chose a people before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1: 4); He irresistibly called us to Christ (John 6: 44); Christ redeemed these people on the Cross; and now in Him, we are treated as righteous. We can claim no credit. Through the gift of faith, we are justified.
Some have taught this doctrine to mean that it is just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned. But that misses the point. Christ’s death on the Cross did not make us righteous. Christ’s death on the Cross allows us to be treated as righteous. His righteousness has been imparted to us.
. . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Rom. 3: 24-26

Christians are not basically good; we are totally depraved, just like all humanity. God could not ignore our sin, so He sent His Son as a propitiation. It is by God’s grace, not our works, that we are saved.
GRACE:
God’s
Riches
At
Christ's
Expense.
We believe that Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharged the debt of all those who are justified. By his sacrifice, he bore in our stead the penalty due us for our sins, making a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice on our behalf. Inasmuch as he was given by the Father for us, and his obedience and satisfaction accepted in our stead, and both freely and not for anything in us, this justification is solely of free grace, in order that both the exact justice and the rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.
Confessional Statement,
Camelback Bible Church,
Paradise Valley, AZ

What Does It Mean To Be “Justified by Faith?”
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
II Cor. 3: 18

"There is one more thing we need to keep very clear about faith: it is not something worthy of merit that earns us justification. It is connects us with Christ's righteousness, but does not earn us Christ's righteousness. Faith is an act, but it is not a work. In other words, God doesn't give justification because of any value in your faith--because your faith is a such a great thing that it deserves reward--but because it is how you are united to Christ."
Dudley Davis

Some would have us believe that there is no such thing.
"... the great Western heresy -- that we can be saved as individuals, that any of us alone can be in right relationship with God. It's caricatured in some quarters by insisting that salvation depends on reciting a specific verbal formula about Jesus. That individualist focus is a form of idolatry, for it puts me and my words in the place that only God can occupy, at the center of existence, as the ground of being. That heresy is one reason for the theme of this Convention."
The Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori.
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Dudley,

No one is contesting your point that faith is an act, not a work. There are two problems in the Baptists' statement:

1) They confuse "instrumental cause" with "ground". Perhaps they were just ignorant of the meaning of the term.

2) They wrongly conclude that if faith is not the cause of justification, justification must be the cause of faith.
 
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