All natural and unregenerate men function entirely within the context of the covenant of works, and regardless of what their religious mindset may be, their singular objective is to be justified before God by their own merits and by the works of the law. Therefore, if they hear any mention made of a covenant that is purely and freely gracious in and through the crucified surety and mediator Christ Jesus, or if they are directed to anything other than this covenant of grace and to this mediator, being called upon to lay aside and fully to forsake all their own strength and righteousness, and admonished from the Holy Scriptures that they are to believe alone in Him who justifies the ungodly because they are unable to accomplish anything themselves—I say, the moment this occurs, these people are of the opinion that such a faith will render them careless, whereby sin will then necessarily have dominion over them. Natural men have always thus judged the doctrine of salvation by grace alone.
Theodorus VanderGroe (1705–84) | The Christian’s Only Comfort in Life and Death: An Exposition of the Heidelberg Catechism, trans. Bartel Elshout, ed. Joel R. Beeke (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books and Dutch Reformed Translation Society, 2016), Lord’s Day 32.
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