Home > Calvinism, Election > The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIII- Salvation by Grace

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIII- Salvation by Grace

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXIII

SALVATION BY GRACE

3. SALVATION NOT TO BE EARNED BY MAN

All men naturally feel that they should earn their salvation, and a system which makes some provision in that regard readily appeals to them. But Paul lays the axe to such reasoning when he says, “If there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law,” Galatians 3:21; and Jesus said to His disciples, “when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded of you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do,” Luke 17:10.

Our own righteousness, says Isaiah, is but as a polluted garment — or, as the King James Version puts it, as filthy rags — in the sight of God (64:6). And when Isaiah wrote, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price,” 55:1, he invited the penniless, the hungry, the thirsty, to come and take possession of, and enjoy the provision, free of all cost, as if by right of payment. And to buy without money must mean that it has already been produced and provided at the cost of another. The further we advance in the Christian life, the less we are inclined to attribute any merit to ourselves, and the more to thank God for all. The believer not only looks forward to everlasting life, but also looks backward into the antemundane eternity and finds in the eternal purpose of divine love the beginning and the firm anchorage of his salvation.

If salvation is of grace, as the Scriptures so clearly teach, it cannot he of works, whether actual or foreseen. There is no merit in believing, for faith itself is a gift of God. God gives His people an inward working of the Spirit in order that they may believe, and faith is only the act of receiving the proffered gift. It is, then, only the instrumental cause, and not the meritorious cause, of salvation. What God loves in us is not our own merits, but His own gift; for His unmerited grace precedes our meritorious works. Grace is not merely bestowed when we pray for it, but grace itself causes us to pray for its continuance and increase.

In the book of The Acts we find that the very inception of faith itself is assigned to grace (18:27); only those who were ordained to eternal life believed (13:48); and it is God’s prerogative to open the heart so that it gives heed to the gospel (16:14). Faith is thus referred to the counsels of eternity, the events in time being only the outworking. Paul attributes it to the grace of God that we are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them,” Ephesians 2:10. Good works, then, are in no sense the meritorious ground but rather the fruits and proof of salvation.

Luther taught this same doctrine when he said of some that “They attribute to Free-will a very little indeed, yet they teach us that by that very little we can attain unto righteousness and grace. Nor do they solve that question, Why does God justify one and leave another? in any other way than by asserting the freedom of the will, and saying, Because the one endeavors and the other does not; and God regards the one for endeavoring, and despises the other for his not endeavoring; lest, if he did otherwise, he should appear to be unjust.” 2

It is said that Jeremy Taylor and a companion were once walking down a street in London when they came to a drunk man lying in the gutter. The other man made some disparaging remark about the drunk man. But Jeremy Taylor, pausing and looking at him, said, “But for the grace of God, there lies Jeremy Taylor!” The spirit which was in Jeremy Taylor is the spirit which should be in every sin-rescued Christian. It was repeatedly taught that Israel owed her separation from the other peoples of the world not to anything good or desirable in herself, but only to God’s gracious love faithfully persisted in despite apostasy, sin, and rebellion.

Paul says concerning some who would base salvation on their own merits, that, “going about to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God,” and were, therefore, not in the Church of Christ. He makes it plain that “the righteousness of God” is given to us through faith, and that we enter heaven pleading only the merits of Christ.

The reason for this system of grace is that those who glory should glory in the Lord, and that no person should ever have occasion to boast over another. The redemption was purchased at an infinite cost to God Himself, and therefore it may be dispensed as He pleases in a purely gracious manner. As the poet has said:

“None of the ransomed ever knew,

How deep were the waters crossed,

Nor how dark was the night that the

Lord passed through,

E’er He found His sheep that was lost.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

  1. March 18, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    How you guys are holding up with the virus thing?

    • March 19, 2020 at 4:09 pm

      Brother, we are doing fine. As you know I work for the city now. I gave up long haul trucking. They shut our department down today until Monday. Several folks were required to go get tested because they are showing symptoms. I leave it all in God’s sovereign will brother.

      • March 19, 2020 at 4:12 pm

        So grateful for God’s sovereignty right now. Are they still paying you guys at this time?

      • March 20, 2020 at 4:11 am

        Amen brother. Grateful for his sovereignty indeed. Yes, we are still being paid. It was a mandatory shutdown, so they are paying us for it.

      • March 20, 2020 at 10:54 am

        Glad to hear that

      • April 4, 2020 at 2:49 pm

        🙂

      • April 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm

        🙂

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