Faith Is The Open Hand Of A Beggar

Question 36. But how are we justified by faith?

Answer: Not because of the worthiness of our faith, as if God justifies us because of it, as the Remonstrants would have it, and [as if] faith is here reckoned as a virtue and a remarkable good work, and therefore as the meritorious cause of the same [i.e. of justification].

…Question 38. How should faith here then be understood?

Answer: As a hand or instrument, whereby we grab and take hold of the righteousness of the Redeemer, hence the sayings ‘take hold of God’s strength’ Is. 27:5; ‘receiving Jesus’ Jn. 1:12; ‘receiving the gift of righteousness’ Rom 5:17 and Acts 26:18.

Question 39. By which analogy do you clear this up?

Answer: Of the beggar who would receive alms of the generosity of a rich man, to which he must stretch out the hand, in which case it [i.e. the hand] deserves nothing, but is only the means by which he receives the gift; or alternatively, of one who in the navigation of the sea capsizes and sees a plank, grabs hold of it, and hauls himself onto it, thereby to be spared.”

—Henricus Siccama (1692–1746), Kort Begrip der Waare Godtgeleertheit, Chapter XVI (On Justification) (Trans. Jake Griesel)

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!