A. A. Hodge: Contra Rome: The Protestants Say That Love Is The Fruit Of Faith

What are the different opinions as to the relation between faith and love?
1st. The Romanists, in order to maintain their doctrine that faith alone is not saving, distinguish between a formed, or perfect, and an unformed faith. They acknowledge that faith is distinct from love, but maintain that love is essential to render faith meritorious and effectual as the instrument of our salvation.

2d. Some have regarded love as the root out of which faith springs.

3d. The true view is that love is the immediate and necessary effect of faith. Faith includes the spiritual apprehension of the beauty and excellence of the truth, and an act of the will embracing it and relying upon it. Yet these graces can not be analytically separated, since they mutually involve one another. There can be no love without faith, nor any faith without love. Faith apprehends the loveliness of the object, the heart spontaneously loves it. Thus “faith works by love,” since these affections are the source of those motives that control the will.

The Romish doctrine is inconsistent with the essential principles of the gospel. Faith is not a work, nor can it have, when formed or unformed, any merit, it is essentially a self-emptying act, which saves by laying hold of the merits of Christ. It leads to works, and proves itself by its fruits, but in its relation to justification it is in its very nature a strong protest against the merits of all human works, Gal. 3:10, 11; Eph. 2:8, 9.

The Protestant doctrine that love is the fruit of faith is established by what the Scriptures declare concerning faith, that it “sanctifies,” “works by love,” “overcomes the world,” Gal. 5:6; Acts 26:18; 1 John 5:4. This is accomplished thus—by faith we are united to Christ, Eph. 3:17, and so become partakers of his Spirit, 1 John 3:24, one of the fruits of the Spirit is love, Gal. 5:22, and love is the principle of all obedience, Rom. 13:10.

Archibald Alexander Hodge | Outlines of Theology (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1863), 362–63 (emphasis added)


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  1. Only one of these two options is gospel. One is of God and one is of man. Only one reflects scriptures insistence we are saved by grace alone, thru faith alone, in Christ alone, according to the word of God alone, to the glory of God alone. Without the solas every other view is bad news.

    • Is this what is now required as part of a credible profession of faith in a 5 point Baptist church? This can just be added to Piper’s list of heresies/heterodoxies.

    • Jason,

      See Harrison Perkins’ excellent review. Contrast Piper’s addition of affections to the definition of faith to Heidelberg 21, WCF ch. 11, to Calvin see Bob Godfrey’s important essay on “faith formed by love” v. sola fide. See also the quotations from Ursinus et al. recently posted on the HB.

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