When We Are Tempted To Save Ourselves

When you feel doubts about being God’s child because you have not shown God that obedience that you owe to him, know that the devil is very near you. He will attempt to falsify the gospel by convincing you that you must be saved by your works. Or he will attempt to seduce you to blaspheme the Lord Jesus by causing you to think that you can be or deserve to be your own savior, at least in part. Respond to this temptation by saying that you are a poor sinner, that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, and that there is salvation only in him.

Jean Taffin The Marks of God’s Children, ed. James A De Jong, and Peter Y De Jong. Classics of Reformed Spirituality (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2003), 56


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  1. This is very helpful. The new resource page on assurance as well. Currently reading Hywel Jones’, Transfiguration and Transformation. Wonderful!
    After years of bad teaching, this is all most welcome.

  2. I am reminded of Luther’s seminal work, The Bondage of the Will. In it he takes Erasmus to task for foolishness and not having even the insight of a school boy because he confuses the imperative with the indicative. Erasmus argues that commands, which are imperative, tell us what we must do to please God, and that if we are commanded to do them, we therefore can do them. But commands only tell us what must be done. They are law. The are the bad news, that perfect obedience to the law of God is required of us. The gospel, which is indicative, tells us what God has done. It tells us the good news, that Christ has done what is required by God, for us.

    The most damning verse of the Bible is the imperative Romans 2:13. If the “doers of the law shall be justified,” and I am a sinner, there is no hope through the law. But thanks be to God, the indicative Romans 1:17 declares, “the just shall live by faith!” Faith in what Christ has done. It is such a simple law of Bible hermeneutics, to distinguish between the law and gospel. It is simple grammar. Whenever Satan preaches that in addition to believing in the Saviour, you must do your part for a right standing with God, it is a bold faced lie meant to deceive. When you see how the good news of what Christ has done sets you free, you can use the law as a guide, striving to obey the Lord you love.

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