Resolved, while remembering my original sinful nature (my radical human corruption) and the beautiful words, ‘by grace alone’, to also remember my redemption by the blood of Christ on the cross and my renewal by the imputation of his righteousness; that Christian holiness or ethics, if you prefer, must not be forgotten though depravity and grace alone are quite accepted to be true.
I’ve been troubled off-and-on with this. If I pursue Christian holiness for the glory of God alone, it is worship. But if I pursue ethics for any other reason, it is legalism. I think the first might begin with self-humility. And I suppose the other might begin with the common Pharisee. I confess I’m often more like the Pharisee. Before the people around me, I’m often more of a legalist than a child of God who wants to please his Father by giving him praise by willful obedience. Thankfully, he first loved me; by his grace and his rebuke and discipline, I pray he will quicken my growth.
“Good works, performed in obedience to God’s commandments, are these: the fruits and evidences of a true and living faith. By these believers express and show their thankfulness, strengthen their assurance, edify their brethren, adorn the profession of the Gospel, stop the mouths of the adversaries, and glorify God, Whose workmanship they are; created in Christ Jesus to perform good works, and to have fruits of holiness which lead to eternal life” (Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, 1689, 16.2).
“Man is never sufficiently touched and affected by the awareness of his lowly state until he has compared himself with God’s majesty” (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, vol. 1, 39).
What do you think?