Faith is Not a Work

“In view of Paul’s emphasis on the inability of works if any sort to bring about salvation, it is perhaps unnecessary to labour the point that faith is not being depicted as a different kind of work. Paul is not saying, ‘To be saved by works is too hard, So God allows you to produce something easier – faith.’ He does not see faith as a merit at all. Rather it is the abandonment of all reliance on merit. Faith is the recognition that there is nothing in the sinner that can avail to bring him salvation. Faith is the casting of oneself wholly on God. Faith is the hand that reaches out to God for salvation. Faith is no more than the mean through which salvation is received.”

– Leon Morris, The Atonement, p.197

Consider Sin in Relation to the Gospel

“Bring your lust to the gospel. Not for relief, but for further conviction of your guilt. Look on Him whom you have pierced, and let it trouble you. Say to your soul, ‘What have I done? What love, what mercy, what blood, what grace have I despised and trampled on! Is this how I pay back the Father for His love? Is this how I thank the Son for His blood? Is this how I respond to the Holy Spirit for His grace? Have I defiled the heart that Christ died to wash, and the Holy Spirit has chosen to dwell in? How can I keep myself out of the dust? What can I say to the dear Lord Jesus? How shall I hold up my head with any boldness before Him? Do I count fellowship with Him of so little value that, for this vile lust’s sake, I have hard;y left Him any room in my heart? How shall I escape if I neglect so great a salvation?

‘What shall I say to the Lord? His love, mercy, grace, goodness, peace, joy, consolation – I have despised all of them! I have considered them as nothing, that I might habour lust in my heart. Have I seen God as my Father, that I might provoke Him to His face? Was my soul washed that there might be room for new defilements? Shall I seek to disappoint the purpose of the death of Christ? Shall I grieve the Holy Spirit, Who has sealed me unto the day of redemption?’ Allow your conscience to consider these things every day. See if you conscience can resist the way in which these considerations aggravate guilt. If this does not cause your conscience to sink and melt, I fear that your case is very dangerous.”

– John Owen, The Mortification of Sin, p.78-79

What If There Were No Holy Spirit?

“It is an extraordinary thing that those who profess to care so much about Christ should know and care so little about the Holy Spirit. Christians are aware of the difference it would make if, after all, it transpired that there had never been an incarnation or an atonement. They know that then they would be lost, for they would have no Saviour. But many Christians have really no idea what difference it would make if there were no Holy Spirit in the world. Whether in that case they, or the Church, would suffer in any way they just do not know. Surely something is amiss here. How can we justify neglecting the ministry of Christ’s appointed agent in this way? Is it not a hollow fraud to say that we honour Christ when we ignore, and by ignoring dishonour, the one whom Christ has sent to us as His deputy, to take His place, and care for us on His behalf? Ought we not to concern ourselves more about the Holy Spirit than we do?

“But is the work of the Holy Spirit really important?

“Important! Why, were not for the work of the Holy Spirit there would be no gospel, no faith, no Church, no Christianity in the world at all.”

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.60-61

God’s Answer to Human Sin

“Because Jesus was righteous and good, He was the only one who could bear our sin. That’s why God sent Him into the world. If God was going to save sinners, there could be no alternative. On the cross, the judgment of God falls upon the beloved Son of God. Jesus dies forsaken by the Father; bearing our sin; in our place. He pays the debt we owed for all the laws of God we had broken–and all the sin we will ever be guilty of. Thus, the holy demands of God are fully met. Our sin is punished. Wrath is turned away from us; and the love, grace and mercy of God come to us instead. This is God’s answer to human sin. This is the gospel.

“It’s the gospel that saved us, made us Christians, and, as these truths are continually turned over in our hearts and minds, refreshes us and keeps us close to the Lord.”

– Peter Jeffery, Believers Need the Gospel, p.28

The Incarnation: A Wonder of Grace

“The crucial significance of the cradle at Bethlehem lies in its place in the sequence of steps down that led the Son of God to the cross of Calvary, and we do not understand till we see it in this context. The key text in the New Testament for interpreting the incarnation is not, therefore, the bare statement in John 1:14, ‘the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us’, but rather the more comprehensive statement of 2 Corinthians 8:9, ‘ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich’. Here is stated, the fact of the incarnation only, but also its meaning; the taking of manhood by the Son is set before us in a way which shows us how we should set it before ourselves and ever view it–not simply as a marvel of nature, but rather as a wonder of grace.”

– J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p.51