The Principal Acts Of Saving Faith

…the principal acts of saving faith are accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone for justification, sanctification, and eternal life, by virtue of the covenant of grace.

Westminster Confession of Faith 14.2

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. Rick P—Unless we are to make this episode a pointless footnote to Abraham’s story, we must say that the patriarch did not attain to salvation apart from obediently fearing the Lord, a matter that was important enough to God that he tested Abraham in so onerous a manner….Here we see the necessity of works, NOT ONLY AS EVIDENCE of true faith but as CHARACTERISTIC OF of the justified believer,.. a person who is justified through faith alone attains to salvation by a life characterized by God-fearing obedience and good works. Rick P—“I am less eager to support the teaching of good works as efficacious in salvation, however, regardless of the Puritan gravitas attached to the idea. Now, if what we mean by the efficacy of works in attaining eternal life is James’ teaching that faith without works is dead, so that the EVIDENCE of work is needed to justify our faith, then I will of course agree. Moreover, if we mean that works are efficacious, as Owen says, “as the way wherein we ought to walk, for the coming to and obtaining of the inheritance so fully purchased and freely given,” then I will earnestly bow once again to Owen’s lucid biblical accuracy. But when we suggest that works enter into the instrumentality of salvation, so that in the consummation of our salvation eternal life is granted on the basis of good works, then I find myself expressing both objections and concerns. “-

  2. Four Views on The Role of Works at the Final Judgment, Zondervan, 2013, Tom Schreiner, p 89–“often scholars have argued that the word justify in James means “prove to be righteous” in contrast to Paul where the word justify means “declare to be righteous”. There is scant evidence supporting the meaning “prove to be righteous. The verb regularly has a forensic sense (declare to be righteous) and it should be understand to have this meaning in James 2:14 to 21 as well. …Most scholars also agree that James draws significantly on the words of Jesus. In Matthew 12:37, Jesus declares that human beings will be ‘justified’ or ‘condemned’ by the words they speak. As Jesus refers to a future judgment in accordance with words spoken, James refers to a future justification in accord with deeds performed.”

    Rick Phillips—-Do we forget how reprehensible we are before the Lord on the basis of the filthy rags of even our best works (Isa. 64:6)? With what disgust, contempt, and hatred Christ must look upon every second of our lives, the reviewing of which must be a long torture for us, were such a judgment in our future! I, for one, must consider the return of Christ and such a judgment a dread and horror to be feared and loathed, rather than “our blessed hope,” as Paul puts it in Titus 2:13. Yet how inconsistent this is with the imputed righteousness of Christ that was granted to us at the moment we believed. Can this be the teaching of God’s Word? The answer is No. When we consider the many biblical descriptions of the appearance of Christ’s people on the day of judgment, not one involves Christ embarrassing or chastising believers, much less condemning them, whose demerits are all cleansed by his blood…” See more at:

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