Read: Romans 3:19-31
The teacher who has assumed responsibility to instruct us in the absolute sovereignty of God in the work of salvation is intent on getting this point, that we are justified by faith alone, across to us.
This teacher of ours recognizes that there are also plenty of people around who would quickly say, “Yes, we are justified by faith,” but who also make faith a work. They make faith a work when they use expressions like, “You must accept Christ as your personal Savior”; “You must let Jesus into your heart”; “Jesus wants to save you and loves you, but you must accept him”.
Here our teacher speaks up: “Why sayest thou that thou art righteous by faith only? Answer: Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith.” So, after all, they make faith a work and teach, in a sneaky way, that we are saved by faith and works.
The point our teacher is making is not a mere doctrinal point; it is our salvation. I, we are reminded, need a comfort in the life I am called to live, but also at the moment of death. If that comfort comes from my works, there is no comfort. The Roman Catholic Church could just as well have hung a sign about its doors, “Abandon all comfort, ye who enter here.” The Catechism says, your only comfort is that you do not have to save yourself nor contribute one little deed to your salvation. Your salvation is in Christ. That is comfort!
Faith, as we learned earlier from our teacher, is the bond that unites us to Christ. Christ is like a giant reservoir in which all the blessings of salvation for time and eternity are. Faith is the “pipeline” that connects us to Christ and through which all Christ’s blessings flow into us.
Or to use another figure: Christ is the “dynamo” and source of all power. Faith is the electric wire that connects us to the dynamo. If the “wire” is not there, we give no light. If we are connected to him, we shine in holiness and glory.
God gives that faith, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” (Eph. 2:8).
It is true that God causes that faith that he gives to come to conscious activity in our lives. We believe. We run to the cross with the load of our sins. We take hold of the Saviour who hangs there. We make him our Saviour. And all these things are activities of faith.
But let us remember that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil 2:13). God works the “will” that makes us want to go to Christ. God himself actually works in us “to do of His good pleasure”. He makes us do it.
But do not be alarmed by this; that God does it all is “our only comfort.”
Prof. Herman Hanko (Wife: Wilma)
Ordained: October 1955
Pastorates: Hope, Walker, MI - 1955; Doon, IA - 1963; Professor to the Protestant Reformed Seminary - 1965
Emeritus: 2001Website: www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Prof._Herman_Hanko
Address725 Baldwin Dr. B-25
State or ProvinceMI