Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Saved By Grace Alone...

Over at Green Baggins, one commenter responds to another, highlighting the errors of the Federal Vision teachings (Peter Leithart - see PCA report HERE)...  It's part of an on-going debate and process in the PCA as that denomination attempts to deal with FV's nine-lives.  A companion-distortion of the gospel is the New Perspectives on Paul (N.T. Wright) which the report also addresses.  Both have been around a while and will probably, in one form or another, never go away. The basic error they espouse has been with the church since the Galatian letter heresy, i.e. man adding his own works to the work of Christ - even those works that are so-called grace assisted - for his justification and acceptance before God.  This... in direct opposition to what the apostles taught, i.e. - it's the ungodly (that's you and me) who are justified by God's grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone - and indeed, that that good news is assigned as the sure announcement (take it to the bank) of man's salvation by God's grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ.  Any formula which weakens man's total dependence on the grace of God ends up making Christ to be less than a complete Savior and salvation an elusive hope.  J. Gresham Machen stated it clearly in Christianity and Liberalism:
If Christ provides only a part of our salvation, leaving us to provide the rest, then we are still hopeless under the load of sin. For no matter how small the gap which must be bridged before salvation can be attained, the awakened conscience sees clearly that our wretched attempt at goodness is insufficient even to bridge that gap. The guilty soul enters again into the hopeless reckoning with God, to determine whether we have really done our part. And thus we groan again under the old bondage of the law. Such an attempt to piece out the work of Christ by our own merit, Paul saw clearly, is the very essence of unbelief; Christ will do everything or nothing, and the only hope is to throw ourselves unreservedly on His mercy and trust Him for all.
"So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace" (Rom. 11:5-6).
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel... But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace" (Galatians 1:6,15).
"so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7).
"And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Rom. 4:5).
"yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16).
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us" (Eph. 1:3-8).
"But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11)
"And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus... I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me’" (Acts 26:15-18)
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not 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, that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:8-10).

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