To Ponder:


“The Heidelberg Catechism (1563, Question 61) states that there is ‘no other way’ (nicht anders) than by faith by which Christ’s righteousness becomes ours. God did not ordain faith to be the instrument of justification because of some peculiar virtue in faith, but because faith is self-emptying and has no merit in itself: ‘Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace’ (Romans 4:16) John Calvin compares faith to an empty vessel: ‘We compare faith to a kind of vessel; for unless we come empty and with the mouth of our souls open to seek Christ’s grace, we are not capable of receiving Christ.’ The vessel cannot be compared in value to the treasure it contains (2 Corinthians 4:7). The Puritan Thomas Goodwin uses strong and active language: ‘Faith is eyes, and hands, and feet, yea, and mouth, and stomach, and all.’ And nineteenth-century Bishop J.C. Ryle writes: ‘Saving faith is the hand…the eye…the mouth…and the foot of the soul.’ Yet faith lives by the Living Bread alone, not by the mouth that feeds on the bread (John 6:35-58). The sinner is justified by Christ’s sacrifice alone, not by his act of feasting upon or believing in that sacrifice by faith.” Justification by Faith Alone: The Relation of Faith to Justification by Joel Beeke

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