For the past several years my husband has repeatedly been asked if he believes in justification by faith alone. He has answered this question innumerable times both in person and in print. His answer is always the same. Yes! Jesus did it all, and He continues to do it all. Always and forever, Christ justifies His people, and His people can add nothing to His perfect work. But some people refuse to accept his answer. “NO, you don’t.” “But I do.” And so on.
I was explaining this to a friend recently, and I told her that it reminds me of something like this scenario: Suppose that a group of people started spreading the word that Doug and I were not really married, but we were just living together. And suppose that we were horrified at such a charge, and so we took pains to show them the marriage certificate, the pictures of the wedding, the rings, and even the old 70’s wedding gown to prove that they were mistaken. But suppose that they said, “We still don’t believe you. We know you SAY you are married, but you really are not married.” At some point in this little scenario we would have to come to the conclusion that these people were really not interested in finding out the truth.
We are committed evangelicals. We believe that Jesus saves us entirely and without any help from us. He hauls us into the boat without our permission. He gets all the glory and the praise and He always will. We glorify and magnify His name for His unspeakable gift to us. Jesus rose from the dead without any help from the guards. He saves us from our sins with absolutely no help from us. Even our faith is a gift from Him. Amen and amen!
15 thoughts on “Just So You Know”
Amen and amen!!! This was so encouraging to me. We have family that belongs to this group that isn’t “interested in finding out the truth.” They believe they are the only ones who believe in grace, and yet, while they scream grace, they live lives void of it! It is difficult to be told that you and your other side of the family don’t believe something that you know you do! It’s all a bit ridiculous!
Of course, you Wilsons don’t believe in justification by faith, you are reformed!! 😉
I sure appreciate all your postings.
Appreciated this post. I guess a lot of us can relate to this.
I’m so happy that I usually remain blissfully unaware of these internet squabbles/vendettas/grudges. I used tohave a mug with a dapper looking 60’s guy on it and the thought bubble, “I’m out of the loop, and I like it that way!” Honestly, it’s hard for me to believe that some folks really have the time and energy to expend on such foolishness. What can you do? Pray for them I guess. And extend grace… even when they are so unwilling to extend it themselves (which is particularly ironic given the topic at hand;-) )
Anyhoo, you wrote: “Even our faith is a gift from Him. Amen and amen!”
You know, I have just within the last few years, fully grasped this truth. I used to think, “Well, in spite of all my mistakes, at least I got this one thing (faith in Jesus) right.” Of course, I didn’t get anything right. I only have faith because He has drawn and equipped me. He was there before my faith was, and He was the one who set that germ within me and enabled it to grow. And what an absolute security that gives me! Nothing of value within me is originated in me and so I can never lose it! Praise His name! I am so grateful for His love…
I have listened to several of the sermons that Mr. Wilson did on Romans. I wish I could recall the date and title, but there was one in particular where he addressed faith and grace–my husband and I thought it was so refreshing, so well-put! Yesterday I listened to the sermon from Feb. 20th about being Members of the Body of Christ, again, totally blessed my socks off! 😉
I confess I used to think Calvinists and Reformed were blanket legalists. The more I study the more I see that not only do I have a *lot* more to learn (the more I know the less I know), but I have found more clarity on grace and faith since discovering the Reformed.
So rah, rah, rah! God bless the Wilson family! (I think the majority of my comments on Wilson blogs are: That’s awesome! You rock! Keep preaching! :o) I keep trying to limit how often I comment, but y’all keep posting brilliant stuff!)
We have had similar charges made against us over our baptism as we are paedobaptists in a Baptist church.
But in the face of the misunderstandings of others, we have learned a great deal about our own need to be always gracious and to respond with humility and kindness. God can teach us about his character in the most surprising ways.
And I must add that your husband’s teaching has been such a benefit to us in this area.
Yay for sola fide! And the Wilson’s marriage!
As an outsider reading (some of) the endless writing about all of this, it has seemed so strange to me that there has been confusion about your hubby’s stand. It seems to be the same “problem” that my baptist circle has had in the past, deemed Lordship salvation in our case. Just with fancier terms…you know how you Presbyterians are all smarty pants. 🙂
I so appreciated this post. Since I went to NSA, I’m asked quite frequently about this. I hear such wild accusations. It’s usually not worth debating at all, so I just say, they never taught me…(fill in the blank with wild accusation of heresy.) It was nice to have something short and sweet I could show my husband to assure him I haven’t been trained to think by heretics. 🙂
Q. How…is the sinner justified?
A. He is justified gratuitously by the pure mercy of God, not on account of his own or any human merit, but purely through the merits of Jesus Christ; for Jesus Christ is our only mediator of redemption, who alone, by his passion and death, has reconciled us to his Father.
Q. Why then do Protestants charge us with believing, that the sinner can merit the redemption of his sins?
A. Their ignorance of the Catholic doctrine is the cause of this, as well as many other false charges (Rev. Stephen Keenan, Doctrinal Catechism, pp.138, 139)
My wife just passed your blog entry along to me. I quote a Roman Catholic catechism to hopefully illustrate that sorting through the differences between the RC and Protestant positions on this doctrine can be difficult and confusing unless these differences are specifically pointed out. In this instance, the Roman Catholics know where it is that they differ but the statement from the catechism sure doesn’t make that clear. It would be helpful if they would point out their specific differences and then explain why they hold them.
I think Doug and Peter and Steve have a good idea by now where it is that they may be saying something different or other than (and I’m not at all suggesting here “contrary to”) the accepted theological formulas of JFB as well as other doctrines. Rather than leaving it to others (not only those who are actively engaged but also those, like myself, who usually only manage to catch a snippet here and a snippet there) to sort through their statements/writings, why not simply zoom in on these potential sticking points and elaborate/explain the differences (or what can be construed to be differences) and the reason(s) behind them to the edification of all?…
I agree with JAT. Very well said!
I am Presbyterian and my family ancestry is Presbyterian for hundreds of years. I have read Pastor Wilson’s books and articles and listened to his sermons for about 10 years. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he confronts the stronghold that Satan has in the reformed tradition and that is why he is attacked and falsely accused. There is a core group that willfully misrepresents what is taught by FV proponents and the rest of the accusers just listen to the core group without trying to read or find out for themselves. At least that is the way it looks to me, and I have done a lot of reading on both sides. Due to my family history and religious tradition, I am painfully aware of where holding the truths of these great doctrines of grace in unrighteousness leads in the reformed church. This confrontation is a work of the Holy Spirit and will not go away quietly. You and your family are always in my prayers.
Again, I have been blessed by this post!
Anna — Sometimes it seems as if even the core group hasn’t tried very hard to read or find things out for themselves. But I wouldn’t categorize everyone in the anti-FV crowd as intellectually lazy or dishonest. There are some opponents who have been gracious and honorable. Unfortunately, they are often drowned out by the louder, uglier ones.