Not by Works but By Faith as the Alone Instrument?
Romans 3:2 7 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law?By one of works? No, on the contrary, by a law of faith. 28 For we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law…..Romans 4: 4 Now to the one who works, pay is not considered as a gift, but as something owed. 5 But to the one who does NOT WORK, but BELIEVES ON HIM who declares the ungodly to be righteous, the object of his faith is credited for righteousness.
According to Romans 4:5, faith alone is “not works”. The point of faith alone is “grace alone”. “To the one who does NOT work but trusts Him who justifies the ungodly, it is counted as righteousness.”
And according to Romans 9:11, we cannot say grace alone without saying “for the elect alone”. “Though they were not yet born and had done nothing good or bad-in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of His call.”
I want you to see the connection between “not because of works” and election. When evangelicals attempt to leave out the “for the elect alone” and discuss the gospel without talking about election, then mostly all they can do is say “not because of works but because of faith alone”.
Even if you believe the false gospel that Christ died for every sinner, Reformed evangelicals will tell you that God effectually called you to believe that heresy.
Of course they won’t tell you it’s heresy, but in select groups (for examples, conferences that charge you big dollars) they will explain a more educated and precise view of things which you might want to add on to what you already believe without needing to repent of a false gospel.
Before you believed in a faith alone gospel, and now you still believe in a faith alone gospel but now you know that the faith came from God,
Galatians 3: 8, “ And the Scripture, forseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham….
Faith is hearing produced by God by means of the gospel. The power is in the true gospel, not a false gospel. I Corinthians 1: 18, “for the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, IT is the power of God.”
The true gospel needs to be proclaimed to all sinners (and not just those who have the bucks to get into Reformed conferences). The gospel is only good news for the elect, but we don’t know who the elect are until they have believed the gospel.
It is not enough to talk about calling and election, if election is simply to make sure that some sinners have faith alone. If the object of the faith alone is a false gospel which says that Christ loves everybody and desires to save everybody but that faith is some kind of condition of this salvation, then this faith alone is not in the true Christ but is instead in faith alone.
We don’t bring faith to the true gospel, because the true gospel brings faith (hearing) to the elect.
Faith alone is not the condition, but to see that, we need a message which tells us about God’s election.
Romans 1:16, “the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” Evangelicals understand this as teaching that salvation is conditioned on faith alone. Evangelicals don’t understand the gospel.
Election is God’s idea. This idea goes along with the idea of not works. Romans 9:11, “In order that God’s election might continue, not because of works.” Romans 11: 5, “So too at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. But if it by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would be no more grace.”
Doesn’t the apostle Paul understand that you can say “not by works “ without talking about election? Why doesn’t he just say: “by faith and not by works”? Why does he bring in this idea of a remnant? Paul writes about election in order to explain what he means by faith. Paul does not regard faith as a substitute for works.
Luther did not and cannot explain how faith (produced by God in the water of regeneration) satisfies the law of God . And since Luther taught that, if you were a sinner, Christ had died for you, then Luther’s message cannot be that the elect were saved by Christ’s death alone.
So let’s go to Romans 4:5. No matter if we have gone to great lengths to say that “it” is not credited as righteousness but only unto righteousness, what is “it” and why is God imputing “it”?
“It” has an antecedent, but the antecedent is not faith alone. God imputes the righteousness revealed in the gospel to a person justified by the gospel.
The “it” which is imputed by God to Abraham is the obedient bloody death of Christ Jesus for the elect alone. The righteousness of God obtained by Christ is imputed unto the elect alone.