Today, many people like to talk about a “living faith” or a “faithful faith” or “obedient faith” which justifies. Though some of these terms may be new, this discussion is not. The Reformers rejected this type of language when they clearly taught (echoing Scripture) that a sinner is justified by faith alone, or apart from works (Rom. 3:28). Horatius Bonar said it well:
“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. NOTE: the Kindle version of this book is only $.99.
covenant presbyterian church (OPC)