Monday, August 17, 2009

The unbreakable link between thinking and doing

Speaking about judgment from Jesus' three parables about the Foolish Virgins, the Talents, and the Sheep and Goats, Boice remarks:
... Does that mean we are saved by works after all? Were the Reformers wrong? No, it is a statement of the necessity of works following faith - if we are truly regenerate. It means that there is an unbreakable link between what we think and what we do. Those who are born again think differently than those who are not, precisely because they have been regenerated; regenerated people will begin to live out the superior moral life of Christ. No one believes on Christ who has not been given a new nature, and although that new nature does not show itself completely all at once, if we are justified, we have it and it will increasingly express itself in forgiveness and of and service to others, just as God has forgiven and done good to us. We are not justified by works. But if we do not do good works, we are not justified. We are not Christians.

I repeat... "It means that there is an unbreakable link between what we think and what we do."

2006 with Daughters and Nieces

Or to quote my niece, "Sanctification may begin with an intellectual acknowledgement but it must end in practical obedience ... or our faith never was true faith."

2 comments:

Ken Lasky said...

The more quotes you place here, the more I like this book. I will have to go find it and read it (or at least place it on my reading list).

Celestial Fundy said...

I hate to disagree with your niece, but attempting to distinguish true faith from a mere intellectual acknowledgement is problematic.

Faith has generally understood to be trust or belief in.

Let us say I trust that the mailman will deliver my mail to me tomorrow.

What have I done? I have mentally acknowledged that the postman is:

1. Able to deliver my mail.
2. Willing to deliver my mail.

Of course I might be mistaken in this trust. He might go on strike tomorrow or have an accident and thus fail to deliver my mail. Nevertheless this does not affect the essence of my trust in his reliability. If an angel was going to deliver my mail tomorrow I could have that confidence, if I mentally assensted to the proposition that:

1. The angel was willing to deliver my mail.
2. The angel was able to deliver it (of which I would be confident).

I might well be indifferent as to whether I want my mail or not, but if I am aware of the mailman's ability and willingness to deliver it, regardless of my feelings towards getting those letters, I have trust in the mailman.

When we come to saving faith, contrary to popular assertions, we are dealing with the same issue of mental assent.

The one who has faith affirms to propositions:

1. That Christ is willing to save.
2. That Christ is able to save.

If a person assents to these two propositions, she has confidence in the salvation that God has provided. Their is no extra step beyond mere mental assent.

Now your niece may hold that this in itself is not sufficent to save and their must be pursuit of good works in the Christian life as well as perserverance in them. Many hold such a position.

However, I would maintain that it is illogical to view the lack of this continuance in good works as demonstrating a lack of original faith. Faith is simply a reliance or trust in Christ and this cannot logically be demonstrated to be more than intellectual acknowledgement or mental assent.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew