Goodwin: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone But Good Works Are A Necessary Consequence

God requires humiliation indeed afore, because men will not believe else; and he requires obedience after, as that which necessarily follows upon faith, so as a man cannot truly believe but it will follow, as heat follows light. Yet, upon believing, the bargain is struck up; and though faith be the great instrument, yet we say withal, that works are necessary to be in the person justified, yet not to justify. Thus heat is as necessarily in the sun as light; yet it makes not day by its heat, but by its light. Works of new obedience are required as necessary to the possession of salvation, but faith is that alone which puts us into a condition of having the title and right to it, by the blood and righteousness of Christ. Obedience is necessarily required in all that are made sons, and so cry, ‘Abba, Father;’ for if he be a father, where is his honour? But it is faith alone that makes us sons, Gal. 3:26. And though we are as necessarily ordained to sanctification, as to faith and to salvation through both, 2 Thes. 2:13, by which, as the necessary way, we come and are brought to salvation as the goal, yet it is by faith alone that we are put into that estate: Eph. 2:8, 9, ‘By grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of works,’ etc. Then might some say, works are not required; yes, says the apostle, as a necessary means you are ordained to come to salvation by, which is the end of your faith, and which are a necessary condition of that estate, though faith alone puts us into it; for he adds, ver. 10, ‘We are his workmanship, created to good works, which God hath ordained we should walk in.’ They are the condition of the subject that shall be saved, who must be made meet, not the condition of the promise of salvation itself. They are the condition of faith, or of the person believing; but as sight is that which saves us in heaven, by which we have all our happiness communicated to us, so is it faith that saves us here.

—Thomas Goodwin, The Works of Thomas Goodwin, (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1864), 8.461–62. (HT: John Fonville)

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