Olevianus: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone Because Christ Is A Complete Savior

157 Q. Now that we have discussed the various articles and parts of articles of the confession of our Christian faith, I would like to hear from you whether we shall be fully saved through such true faith in Christ?

A. There is only one way to eternal life (as I also said at the beginning of these articles), namely, the crucified Christ accepted through a true faith (1 Cor. 2:2). Since, then, faith (which is a gift of the Holy Spirit) possesses Christ and all His benefits as its own, and Christ is the one freely given us by God to be ours through faith, one of two things must follow: either Christ does not have all that is necessary for our salvation, or, if He does, one who possesses the crucified Christ through a true faith also has everything in Christ that is necessary for salvation.

Through all the Articles of Faith it has been demonstrated that everything necessary for our eternal salvation is in Jesus Christ and that He was not a partial but a complete Jesus, or Savior, who fully accomplished everything necessary for our salvation. Therefore, whoever is grafted into Christ through a true faith has and possesses everything within that is necessary for salvation.

Caspar Olevianus, Firm Foundation (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 108.

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  1. The language could be a little more precise in this case I would think, Professor Clark. If good works done by us are among the things we “have,” or are dubbed one of “His benefits,” then the language needs to be guarded from allowing good works done by us to be required for, in order to receive our salvation after all, just by calling them one of His benefits. I would think that Olevianus would not allow something not accomplished by the Lord to be required for our salvation.

    • Larry,

      When Olevianus says “benefits” he means chiefly definitive justification and progressive sanctification (which, together, he called the “twofold benefit of Christ; duplex beneficium Christi). When he says “Therefore, whoever is grafted into Christ through a true faith has and possesses everything within that is necessary for salvation” he means that whoever is united to Christ by the Spirit, through faith, has Christ, and having Christ, has all he needs for salvation.

      Why is this imprecise or unclear?

  2. Is all the work required to save the soul, God’s? Or, do imperfect deeds, done by us as Christians together with Christ (Jn 15:5), and admitted by all to be imperfect though done with Christ’s partnership with us, become, under the name “benefit of Christ,” an (imperfect yet) necessary contribution to a perfect salvation? This is the imprecision or unclearness, for such a thing: by tagging it — some amount of good works — a benefit of Christ and necessary to save their own soul. Thanks. Hope that helps display the ambiguity. All manner of religions, even pagan ones, say that God helps us do good. Paul says boasting is not excluded by a law of works (Rm 3:27-28). That would include works by any other name. Thanks.

    • Larry,
      GO with this: GRACE-(ALONE) thru FAITH-(ALONE) on (ACCOUNT OF) the FINISHED WORK of (CHRISTs WORK) on the (CROSS-ALONE). Period. END of story.
      Nothing more – what is after all THAT? – It IS GRATITUDE by where we live for the LORD now. RMs 4: 4-8 – HOW can it be any clearer? It cannot be.

      GOD declares we (have been) SET RIGHT with HIS LAW, HIMSELF. Period!
      NO longer Liable for our Sins. But ACCEPTED in CHRIST. Period. Now Live.
      We NOW live (imperfectly-always will) in GRATITUDE Shown by our deeds, which are ACCEPTED by GOD Because of CHRIST having DONE it ALL for us.
      So now we live solely by resting in HIM alone and Living as He did.
      Tho our DOING is never perfect, but- Our Doing – IS accepted by GOD because of
      Hope this helps. ?

  3. OH !
    BUY (A FIRM FOUNDATION) by Olevianus – I did get the book, I have the LOGOS digital Version as well now. Those who have LOGOS software.
    IT is a wonderful book. Cannot get much better – I think. AS a PLUS.
    Get Z. Ursinus’ book (Commentary on the HEIDELBERG CATECHISM)
    should be Must reading. I am working thru my copy now. Its a lot but Clear, Precise.
    Wished that I wud of discovered these 2 books many a year/s ago.
    I have learned to get TRULY Reformed books that teach the SOLA’s, Hold to Creeds.
    And STAY away from books that teach the wrong ways. Books that push works plus Christ.
    SO Sticking with HEIDELBLOG and ALL the Resources PROVIDED – HOW can one go wrong!!
    YET – we do. So its Press on toward the Goal of being Secure in CHRIST and Not (self)

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