Is Obeying the Law the Same Thing as Trusting God?

Matt Perman—Since works of the law are not faith (Romans 3:28) and whatever is not faith is sin, many  theologians (like Dan Fuller) generally conclude that works of the law are therefore sin. They argue that “works of the law” refers not just to sin in general, but rather to a specific kind of sin–the sin of trying to earn from God. They often point to Romans 4:6: “to the one who works his wage is not reckoned as a favor but as what is due.” From this passage  they infer that “works of the law”–are things that are done in our own strength with a view to earning merit from God in the sense of doing God a favor such that God is obligated to return the favor.

Faith can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God tells us to. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But “doing what God tells us to do” is not the definition of obedience to the law.  Moral obedience does not simply mean “doing what God says” but doing what is virtuous. Faith in the gospel is not love for our neighbor.

Romans 9:11-12 …for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything GOOD OR BAD, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger.’”

“Anything good or bad” explains the term “works.” Consequently, “works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, “works” is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. This behavior can then be classified as either obedience or disobedience.

Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not commanded in that moral standard. Faith is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel. This means that faith in Christ is not a morally virtuous thing (like telling the truth, etc), for virtue is that which accords with God’s moral law. Gospel faith is not commanded by the law, and so faith is not a virtue.”

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12 Comments on “Is Obeying the Law the Same Thing as Trusting God?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    “The error in “continue to be justified” theology is in seeing only two kinds of disposition towards God: faith and sin. Contrary to such thinking, it is clear from the apostle Paul that there are actually, at the very least, three categories of human activity towards God. First, there is sin–that which breaks God’s law and thus displeases God and deserves His wrath. Second, there is gospel faith–the act of relying on Christ as He is offered to us in the gospel to save us from our sins. But, third, there is obedience–which is neither sin nor faith but is instead that which complies with God’s law of morality and thus pleases Him.”

    “Faith can be referred to as obedience in the sense that when we believe in Christ we are doing what God tells us to. Thus is why the Scriptures sometimes speak of “obeying the gospel.” But “doing what God tells us to do” is not the definition of this third category that we are calling “obedience.” Obedience does not simply mean “doing what God says” but doing what is virtuous. Faith in the gospel is not love for our neighbor.”

    Romans 9:11-12 …for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God’s purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘the older will serve the younger.’”

    Matt Perman– “Not because of works” is parallel with “had not done anything good or bad”–just as “in order that God’s purpose according to election might stand” corresponds to “because of Him who calls.” “Anything good or bad” explains the term “works.” Consequently, “works” are “anything we do, whether good or bad.” Works are not simply acts one does without faith or to put God in one’s debt. Rather, “works” is a term used to refer to human behavior in general. This behavior can then be classified as either obedience or disobedience. “

    Douglas J. Moo, “Law, Works of the Law, and Legalism in Paul,” Westminster Theological Journal, Vol 45, 1983, p. 95)—The use of erga in Romans 4 instead of ta erga tou nomou is undoubtedly to be explained by recalling that Paul generally confines nomos to the Mosaic law; a law which could not therefore have had relevance to Abraham. But what is especially relevant to the present argument is that erga in the two chapters must, if Paul’s argument is to possess any logical force, mean the same thing. Thus, the general usage of the two expressions, when considered in light of Romans 3-4, suggests that ta erga tou nomou should be viewed as a particular subset of erga, the difference being, of course, that the former spells out the source of the demand for the works in question

    Matt Perman: “God’s law defines what is righteous and what is sinful. That which conforms to the law is righteous, that which violates the law is sinful. Since faith in Christ is not a “work of the law,” it must follow that faith in Christ as Savior is not commanded in that moral standard. Faith is not a requirement of the law but of the gospel. This means that faith in Christ is not a morally virtuous thing (as loving our neighbor, telling the truth, etc. are), for virtue is that which accords with God’s moral law. But gospel faith is not commanded by the law, and so is not a virtuous entity.”

    MP–“What do we make of Romans 14:23 that “whatever is not of faith is sin”? …It seems best to understand Paul as using faith in a broader sense than he does in Romans 3 and 4. By faith in 14:23 Paul means the belief that a certain behavior is right. Paul is not using faith in the sense of believing in Christ for salvation. But even if Paul were speaking of saving faith in Romans 14, it would not follow that faith and obedience are the same thing. Paul is simply saying that what is not from faith is sin; Paul is not saying that anything which is not faith is sin.”

    MP—Some “continue to be justified” theologians would not want to say that faith and obedience are the same thing. they argue that faith and obedience are so closely tied together that you cannot have one without the other….But many of them do not mean simply that obedience always results from faith. What they mean, rather, is that while obedience involves things other than faith, faith is still part of the very nature of obedience. Faith is an ingredient in obedience on their view–and, in fact, for them faith is the ingredient that makes obedience virtuous.”

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Daniel Fuller—Obedience to God’s commands, not simply faith in Christ for salvation, is the condition of justification.

    “…none of the commandments of God is ever to be understood as a ‘law of works,’ a job description, but as a ‘law of faith’ (cf. Rom. 3:27; 9:32), a doctor’s prescription. In declaring that God shows ‘love [“mercy” in the original] to a thousand generations of those who love [him] and keep [his] commandments,’ Exodus 20:6 clearly proves that all of God’s commands are a law of faith, calling for an obedience of faith (Rom 1:5) and subsequent works of faith (1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:11). Mercy, or grace, is therefore conditional, though never meritorious” (pp. 52.10-53.3,

    “The conclusion, then, is that instead of two sets of promises in the Bible—conditional and unconditional—there is only one kind of promise throughout Scripture, and the realization of its promises is dependent upon compliance with conditions which are well characterized as ‘the obedience of faith’” (105.2-3).

    “…God’s blessings come only through the obedience of faith (105.3).

    Matt Perman—Dr. Fuller teaches that obedience is a means of justification by distinguishing works into two kinds and excluding one kind (which is sinful) but not the other (which is righteous) from the means of justification.
    “In what sense, then, are works to be excluded from that attitude which is indispensable for receiving God’s grace? Depending on the context, the word ‘works’ in Paul’s vocabulary means either (1) those actions such as a workman like the supermarket checker would perform, or (2) the things done by a client, customer, patient, or employer in order to benefit fully from the expertise of the workman” (109.9-110.1)

    Mark McCulley–this is somewhat like Machen’s distinction between faith before justification and faith after justification….

    “[By citing Deut. 30:11-14 in Rom. 10] Paul was showing that the righteousness set forth by the law was the righteousness of faith. Since the wording of the law can be replaced by the word ‘Christ’ with no loss of meaning, Paul has demonstrated that Moses himself taught that Christ and the law are of one piece. Either one or both will impart righteousness to all who believe, and thus the affirmation of Romans 10:4 is supported by Paul’s reference to Moses in verses 5-8” (p. 86.4)

    http://davekoo.blogspot.com/2005/09/concern-over-daniel-fullers-view.html

    http://www.geocities.ws/mattperman/romans45.html

    http://whatsbestnext.com/1999/03/why-justification-by-faith-alone-is-necessary-for-good-works/

    http://www.cpr-foundation.org/resources/essays/209

  3. markmcculley Says:

    a “proleptic-analytic” view of justification
    Dan Fuller (the Unity of the Bible) quotes Jonathan Edwards: “We are really saved by perseverance…the perseverance which belongs to faith is one thing that is really a fundamental ground of the congruity that faith gives to salvation…For, though a sinner is justified in his first act of faith, yet even then, in that act of justification, God has respect to perseverance as being implied in the first act.”
    This same Jonathan Edwards quotation shows up in Schreiner’s little book Run to Win the Prize (p 20, 70, 92)——- Richard Gaffin, p102, By Faith Not by Sight,–“This expression obedience of faith is best taken as intentionally multivalent…In other words, faith itself is an obedience, as well as other acts of obedience that stem from faith.”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Machen, Notes on Galatians, p178–”You might conceivably be saved by works or you might be saved by faith, but you cannot be saved by both. It is ‘either or’ here not ‘both and’. The Scripture says it is by faith. Therefore it is NOT works.”

    but then Machen writes about James-: “The works which Paul condemns are not the works which James condones,” and vice versa

    Gaffin now often quotes Machen in favor of his own position.

    I agree with Cunha (The Emperor’s New Clothes) that the Machen quotation on James is dangerous

    justification is not by works
    not by works before justification, and not by works after justification

    and i reject “process justification”

    justified but continuing to be justified justification

    not yet justification

    Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of True Justification: The Biblical Doctrine of Justification Without Works, Solid Ground Books, Birmingham, Alabama USA, 2007, p 80—”None have an evangelical righteousness, but those who are justified before they have it. Christ is our legal righteousness by a proper imputation of His righteousness to us, and only then is our evangelical righteousness also.

    “Once we are justified, we need not inquire how a man is justified after he is justified. God has not appointed this personal evangelical righteousness, in order to our Justification before Him. By that righteousness of Christ which is out of us, though imputed to us, the Justice of God is satisfied; therefore all Works done by us, or inherent in us, are excluded in our Justification before God.

    Paul Helm–Justification is not a mere threshold blessing; something which applies to people at their conversion and not subsequently. It is operative at all times, an, objective, perfect, judicial death of Christ, which is complete that is the ground of Christian assurance. So there is a sense in which the JUSTIFIED SINNER never leaves the law-court in which the judge declares them righteous for Christ’s sake. We need that declaration of forgiveness always to stand, and never to be relegated into something over and done with, or requiring to be supplemented by some other righteousness God now works in us. The one declaration of justification, grounded in Christ’s righteousness, must be enough o carry the believer to the final judgment and to vindicate us there. Once justified, always justified. A justification that requires in addition a faithful life makes no sense and gives no joy.

    • markmcculley Says:

      http://www.trinityfoundation.org/update.php?id=3

      R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary California (WSC)– “I have the original Shepherd controversy documents and Dick (Gaffin) was defending a complex instrument of justification, i.e. faith and works on paper and in faculty discussions. Dick defended not only Shepherd’s right to hold his views but the substance of his views.”

      It is not clear why Irons thinks Gaffin’s retirement from full-time teaching at WTS means that he is “serving the church in quieter ways” and, therefore, should not be critiqued. Does Irons not understand that Gaffin’s written work and publicly expressed thought, not to mention personal influence at multiple seminaries, continue to influence the church? Is he unaware that Gaffin’s public teaching did not cease when he retired from full-time teaching at WTS? Since retirement from full-time teaching at WTS, Gaffin has traveled as far as Hong Kong to publicly promote his theology and his presence in social media has expanded

      • markmcculley Says:

        Cunha—Moisés Silva, a former colleague of Gaffin’s at WTS compromises the Law/Gospel antithesis in his book Interpreting Galatians: Explorations in Exegetical Method[14] when he suggests that the definition of the word typically translated “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4,includes “a whole life of persevering in obedience.” Silva writes on page 167 of the book:

        ” for Habakkuk there was no such dichotomy between faith and faithfulness as we often assume (similarly, the Epistle to the Hebrews emphasizes their connection, cf. Hebrews. 3-4). That the apostle Paul did not view justifying faith as excluding obedience to God’s commandments is suggested in Galatians itself (see especially. Gal. 5:13-26), but the organic link between these two concepts is extensively developed in Romans.”

        Cunha–Acceptance of Silva’s teaching that “faith” in Habakkuk 2:4 comprehends faithfulness or a life of persevering in obedience to God’s commandments would lead to an interpretation of Romans 1:16, 17 and Galatians 3:10-13 that makes works of evangelical obedience, or works produced through faith, in some way effectual in justification. Silva appears to have more in common with Cardinal Sadoleto than with John Calvin.

        Contrary to Silva, “faith” in Romans 1:16, 17 and Galatians 3:10-12 is exclusively belief in Jesus Christ alone and what he accomplished in his ….propitiating death on the cross for sin, for justification before the Supreme Governor and Judge of the Universe.

      • markmcculley Says:

        Cunha—The foreword to the recently published second edition of Gaffin’s By Faith, Not By Sight[15] is written by Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) pastor Mark Jones and is, unfortunately, fully consistent with the understanding that there has been no positive change in Gaffin’s teaching on justification.

        The selection of Jones to write the foreword, a man who has on more than one occasion publicly suggested that works of evangelical obedience have some efficacy in justification, is itself noteworthy. Jones gushes at the beginning of the foreword that “It is a unique privilege and a remarkable providence to write a foreword for a book that has been so deeply influential in my own theological thinking.” He then attempts to defend Gaffin’s views on soteriology, and especially justification, largely on the basis of historical theology….

        Jones says that Reformed theologian Peter Van Mastricht (1630-1706) taught that there are three stages of justification and that in the third and final stage “in which believers gain possession of eternal life, good works have a certain ‘efficacy,’ insofar as God will not grant possession of eternal life unless they are present.”

        Jones goes on to say that, based on what he discerns to be a shared view on Paul’s teaching in the first half of the second chapter of Romans, both Gaffin and Van Mastricht “hold firmly to the Reformed view that good works are a necessary condition (consequent, not antecedent, to faith) for salvation.”

        Cunha— When I first read this last statement, I was struck by Jones’s sudden shift from the word “justification” to the word “salvation” at this place. The word “salvation” can be used to denote something broader than the word “justification” (e.g. encompassing sanctification and glorification), but, based on the context, is clearly being used here as an equivalent term for justification….

        Jones suggests, approvingly that both Van Mastricht and Gaffin stretch justification out into multiple stages and that good works are in some way efficacious in the final stage. Such a scheme violates the antithesis between works (Law) and faith (Gospel) with respect to justification. This is entirely consistent with the explicit denial of the Law/Gospel contrast expressed by Gaffin in By Faith, Not By Sight.

        http://www.trinityfoundation.org/update.php?id=3

  5. markmcculley Says:

    John Piper—I see God’s grace as the basis of his relationship with Adam and Eve before the fall. I see this Christ, the Second Adam, fulfilling this covenant of grace (not works) perfectly by trusting his Father’s provision at every moment and obeying all his commandments by faith. His relationship to the Father was one of constant trust. His obedience was the effect of this trust. “Grace” toward Jesus was not exactly the same as grace toward fallen sinners. He never sinned (Heb. 4:15). Yet, in his human life Jesus was dependent upon God similar to the way we are.

    Doug Wilson—Had Adam stood, he would have done so by believing the Word of God. In other words, it would all have been by grace through faith. Since Adam was not fallen, the nature of the grace would have been different than it is when dealing with mankind in sin. But it would have been gracious nonetheless.

    Doug Wilson—Good works, even in this covenant with Adam were a result of faith, as illustrated by the Sabbath rest which was Adam’s first full day in the presence of God.

    Doug Wilson–While all gifts are gifts, not all gifts are the same. The gift of preservation to an unfallen Adam is quite different than the gift of forgiveness to a rebellious and iniquitous race. The fact of giving is the same. The content of the gifts is different.

    John Piper, A Godward Life, p. 177—Has God ever commanded anyone to obey with a view to earning or meriting life? In Romans 11:35-36, Paul describes why earning from God is arrogant and impossible. He says, ‘Who has first given to [God] that it might be paid back to him? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” The thought that anyone could give anything to God with a view to being paid back with wages is presumptuous and impossible, because all things (including obedience) are from God in the first place. You can’t earn from God by giving him what is already his…

    It is true that God commanded Adam to obey him, and it is also true that failure to obey would result in death (Genesis 2:16-17): “In the day that you eat from it you will surely die” (verse 17). But the question is this: What kind of obedience is required for the inheritance of life – the obedience of earning or the obedience of trusting?

    John Piper: The Bible presents two very different kinds of effort to keep God’s commandments. One way aims to earn life. The other way depends on God’s enabling power and aims to obtain life by faith in his promises.

    Adam had to walk in obedience to his Creator in order to inherit life, but the obedience required of him was the obedience that comes from faith. …The atmosphere was one of testing faith in unmerited favor, not testing willingness to merit. The command of God was for the obedience that comes from faith…

    What then of the ‘second Adam,’ Jesus Christ, who fulfilled the obedience that Adam forsook (1 Cor 15:45; Rom 5:14-20)?… He fulfilled the Law perfectly iIN THE WAY THAT THE LAW WAS MEANT TO BE FULFILLED., not by works, but by faith (Rom 9:32)…
    We are called to walk the way Jesus walked and the way Adam was commanded to walk. Adam failed because he did not trust the grace of God to pursue him with goodness and mercy all his days (Psalm 23:6).

    https://markmcculley.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/because-you-went-after-it-the-right-way-romans-932/

    David Gordon: “When Paul asks why the Jews did not attain unto the Torah, his answer addressed the NATURE of the covenant (Torah demands perfect obedience), not the nature of the PURSUIT of the Torah.”

    The Arminians who say “we do it the right way, with the faith and not works” do not understand the gospel. We don’t do it ANY way. God did it. God did it at the cross, for the elect.

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Piper’s appendix from The Future of Justification disregarded by Piper ,http://www.epubbud.com/read.php?g=ST9AALT4&p=10&two=1
    John Piper— Romans 9:32 views the law as it points to and aims at “Christ for righteousness,” not in all the law’s designs and relations to faith. Therefore, it would be a mistake to use Romans 9:32 to deny, for example, that there is a short-term aim of the law that may suitably be described as “not of faith” as in Galatians 3:12 (“But the law is not of faith, rather `The one who does them shall live by them’”).
    John Piper—I myself have argued in the past, for example, without careful distinction, that “the law teaches faith” because Romans 9:32 says that you don’t “attain the law” if you fail to pursue it “by faith,” but pursue “as from works.” But the distinction that must be made is whether we are talking about the overall, long-term aim of the law, which is in view in Romans 9:32, or whether we are making a sweeping judgment about all the designs of the law.
    John Piper—We would go beyond what Romans 9:32 teaches if we made such a sweeping judgment, so as to deny that there is a short-term design of the law not easily summed up in the phrase “the law teaches faith” but fairly described in the words “the law is not of faith” (Gal. 3:12).
    John Piper—For example, one short-term aim of the law was to “imprison everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe” (Gal. 3:22). That is, the law functions, in a subordinate, short-term way, to keep people in custody, awaiting the fullness of time, which is a time of faith, as Galatians 3:23 says, “Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.”
    John Piper— If, in some sense, “faith” had not yet come, but was “to be later revealed,” then it would not be strange to say “the law is not of faith” if the faith being referred to is the faith of Galatians 3:23, that is, faith in the Son of God who has come in the fullness of time (Gal. 4:4). This is probably what Paul means when he says in Galatians 3:12, “The law is not of faith.” The faith that was to come–to which the law was leading Israel, as it held them in custody–is faith that is consciously in Christ, “the end of the law for righteousness for all who believe.

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Romans 1: 5 We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations, on behalf of His name

    Romans 16:26 now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the lasting God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations

    I John 3:23 Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us.

    It comes down to the idea that, since God commands you to believe the gospel, then that must mean that God wishes (unsuccessfully in many cases) that you would believe the gospel, and that those who deny this are being “insincere” when they call people to believe the gospel. In what way do we make a distinction between the command to believe the gospel and the gospel itself? is the command itself part of the gospel? Is the gospel in the end no different from law, with commands and “conditions”? In what way do we make a distinction between the promise of the gospel and the gospel itself? What is the promise of the gospel (or of “the covenant”)? Is the promise of the covenant that God loves everybody, or is it a promise that God only loves those in the covenant? Or only the elect in the covenant? I will ask two questions. 1. Does God desire the salvation of the sinners who never hear the gospel? Barrett keeps saying that God desires the salvation of all who hear the gospel. What about those who never hear the gospel? Does God want them to be saved as well? If the gospel in the end is also the law, so that only those who hear the gospel can justly be condemned, how can those who never hear “the gospel” be justly destroyed by God? And why, if God really loved them, did God not send somebody with the gospel to these people? If Jesus died in order to condemn those who resist them, how can God condemn those who never heard of Jesus?I f there can be no sin unless God has first somehow loved you and desired your salvation, then this changes everything about how we approach the Bible. Instead of beginning with our problem before the law, the sufficient for everybody preacher begins with a well-intentioned solution, God’s love which is in the end not quite enough. 2. “When the gospel is preached it is not a free offer to whomever will believe, but rather it is simply a promise meant only for the elect”. What if I flip the phrases around here in the structure of this sentence? What if I “deconstruct” the implied (but un-argued) difference? Are there any elect who will never believe the gospel? Are there any non-elect who will believe the gospel? When the gospel is preached it is meant only for those who believe, to as many as who believe, for all who believe it. The gospel is not good news for those who will not believe it. How can it be gospel for who will perish to be told that those who won’t believe will perish? This is good news for those who believe. This is good news for the elect. There’s no ultimate difference, unless you are somehow ashamed of the word “election” …

  8. markmcculley Says:

    I Peter 4:17 “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not OBEY THE GOSPEL of God?”
    Romans 1:5 We have received grace and apostleship through Him to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations
    Romans 2: Their consciences confirm this. Their competing thoughts will either accuse or excuse them 16 on the day when God JUDGES what people have kept secret, ACCORDING TO MY GOSPEL through Christ Jesus.
    Romans 10:16 But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?
    Romans 16:26 Revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all nations—

  9. markmcculley Says:

    https://www.whatsbestnext.com/2010/08/the-difference-between-historical-faith-and-saving-faith/

    How does Sandeman get from truth the same for everybody to good news for the elect who believe?

    Phillip Cary complaining about individual Christians not trusting the church for their salvation.

    Cary—What the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    Cary—It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Reformed sacrament

    Cary—-Mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need. The Reformed tradition generates pastoral problems that cannot be helped by the sacrament, because neither word nor sacrament can assure me that I have true saving faith.

    Cary—-Some time in the middle ages the term “justification” came to be used to describe the outcome of sacramental penance . This means justification is an event that recurs many times in life, beginning with baptism and repeated every time we truly repent of our sins and are forgiven—in contrast to the classic Protestant doctrine of a single event of justification that is closely connected with, if not identical to, a once-in-a-lifetime conversion.

    Philip Cary—-“For Augustine and the whole Christian tradition prior to Calvin, it is perfectly possible to have a genuine faith and then lose it. Apostasy from the true faith. For Calvin, on the contrary, there is a kind of faith I can have now which I am sure not to lose, because it comes with the gift of perseverance. What is more, I can know that I have such faith rather than the temporary kind.”

    Cary–“if Augustine is right about predestination, it is logically impossible to know you are saved for eternity without knowing that you are predestined for such salvation. That is precisely why Augustine denies you can know you are predestined for salvation….To require faith that you are predestined for salvation before admission to the sacrament is… to make faith into a work

    Mark Mcculley– it looks like Cary is saying that faith must have as its object present faith but not future faith AND not penal satisfaction .

    Philip Cary—”Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith. Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me.”


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