It is no new thing for people to try to bring a new insight or “fresh” perspective to faith – one can trace this sort of thing throughout church history. Today, many people like to talk about a “living faith” or a “faithful faith” or “obedient faith” which justifies. Here’s a great response to those who are not content with the “unfresh” or “stale” definition of justifying faith.
“Faith may seem a slight thing to some; and they may wonder how salvation can flow from [simply] believing. Hence they try to magnify it, to adore it, to add to it, in order that it may appear some great thing, something worthy of having salvation as its reward. In doing so, they are actually transforming faith into a work, and introducing salvation by works under the name of faith. They show that they understand neither the nature nor the office of faith.”
“Faith saves, simply by handing us over to the Savior. It saves, not on account of the good works which flow from it; not on account of the love which kindles it; not on account of the repentance which it produces; but solely because it connects us with the Saving One. Its saving efficacy does not lie in its connection with [our] righteousness and holiness, but entirely in its connection with the Righteous and Holy One.”
Quotes from Horatius Bonar, The Blood of the Cross (New Ipswich: Pietan Publications, 1997), 59. This short booklet makes me want to read a few Banner of Truth publications by Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness and Words Old and New. I’ve been on a Puritan “kick” again lately, along with the church fathers (still). Stay tuned for some stuff from Hippolytus (c. 200 AD).