In his book "What Is Faith" J. Gresham Machen wrote:
- The man who has felt the burden of his sin roll away at the sight of the Cross, who has said of the Lord Jesus, "He loved me and gave Himself for me," who has sung with Toplady: "Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling"-- that man knows in his heart of hearts that the Apostle is right, that to trust Christ only for part is not to trust Him at all, that our own righteousness is insufficient even to bridge the smallest gap which might be left open between us and God, that there is no hope unless we can safely say to the Lord Jesus, without shadow of reservation, without shadow of self-trust: "Thou must save, and Thou alone." (p. 194)
- 4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 5 And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."
More from J. Gresham Machen in "What Is Faith" -
- "That is the centre of the Christian religion--the absolutely undeserved and sovereign grace of God, saving sinful men by the gift of Christ upon the cross. Condemnation is earned by men; salvation is given by God" ( p.194).
- "If our salvation depended upon what we have done, then, according to Paul, we should still be bondslaves; we should still be endeavouring feverishly to keep God's law so well that at the end we might possibly win His favour. It would be a hopeless endeavour because of the deadly guilt of sin; we should be like debtors endeavouring to pay, but in the very effort getting deeper and deeper into debt. But as it is, in accordance with the gospel, God has granted us His favour as an absolutely free gift; He has brought us into right relation to Himself not on the basis of any merit of ours, but altogether on the basis of the merit of Christ. Great is the guilt of our sins; but Christ took it all upon Himself when He died for us on Calvary. We do not need, then, to make ourselves good before we become God's children; but we can come to God just as we are, all laden with our sins, and be quite certain that the guilt of sin will be removed and the we shall be received. When God looks upon us, to receive us or to cast us off, it is not we that He regards but our great Advocate, Christ Jesus the Lord. // Such is the glorious certainty of the gospel. The salvation of the Christian is certain because it depends altogether upon God; if it depended in lightest measure upon us, the certainty of it would be gone. Hence appears the vital importance of the great Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone; that doctrine is at the very centre of Christianity" (p. 200).