Machen: Salvation Through Faith vs. Salvation Through Love

To say that our faith saves us means that we do not save ourselves even in the slightest measure. Very different would be the case if our salvation was said to be through love….

J. Gresham Machen, What Is Faith? (1946), 173–4.

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One comment

  1. G K Beale—How can believers be said to “judged by works” and yet be justified by faith? There is much more to be said that can be elaborated on here about the believer’s righteous works in connection to this consummate, manifestive stage of justification, and the following is just the beginning of an answer to that question. An illustration must suffice for now to summarize my own view of this connection. In the United States there are large discount food stores that require people to pay an annual fee to have the privilege of buying food there. Once this fee is paid, the member must present a card as evidence of having paid the fee; only then is entrance to the store allowed. The card is necessary to get into the store, but it is not the ultimate reason that the person is granted access. The paid fee is the ultimate reason for the entrance, and the card is the evidence that the fee has been paid. We may refer to the fee paid as the necessary causal condition of entrance into the store and the evidence-testifying card as the necessary condition (but not the necessary causal condition). The card is the external manifestation or proof that the prior price was paid, so that both the money paid and the card are necessary for admittance, but they do not have the same conditional force for allowing entrance…

    Likewise, Christ’s justifying penal death is the price paid “once for all” (Heb. 9:12; cf. 26-28), and the good works done within the context of Christian faith become the inevitable evidence of such faith at the final judicial evaluation. –G.K. Beale, “Resurrection in the Already-And-Not-Yet Phases of Justification”, in For the Glory of God’s Name:Essays in Honor of John Piper, eds. Sam Storms and Justin Taylor, pp. 204

    John Piper—“There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but no others for entering a right relationship to God. In fact, one must already be in a right relationship with God by faith alone in order to meet the other conditions.”

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