Posted by: Standing Solus Christus | February 10, 2008

Lord’s Day Quote: David VanDrunen

Biblical, justifying faith is not some general virtue by which someone retains a positive attitude in the face of uncertain circumstances but a very specific trust in something.  Or, much better, trust in someone.  Justifying faith does not indeed believe all things written in the Law and the Prophets, as Paul states of himself in Acts 24, but even more importantly it rests in Christ himself and the promises offered in his gospel.  Whosoever “believes in him” will not perish but receive eternal life (John 3:16); everyone “who believes in him” receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 10:43); the righteousness of God comes “through faith in Jesus Christ” (Rom 3:22)….

…One matter that is important to note here is that faith as extraspective trust, is different from every other righteous action that we perform.  Unlike love, joy, patience, goodness, and all the other biblical virtues, faith looks outside of itself in order to rest upon and receive the work of another.  Nothing else does this.  That is why Scripture, and Paul especially, so emphatically and persistently draw such a sharp contrast between faith and works.  Working – that is, fulfilling God’s law and earning everlasting life by one’s own righteousness – and believing that is, trusting in another to fulfill God’s law and earn everlasting life on our behalf – are two distinctive ways that one might be justified by God.  Earlier in Romans 4 Paul crisply spells out this contrast.  “Now to the one who works,” he writes in verse 4, “his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.”  But he continues in verse 5, “to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness apart from works, and Romans 5:16-19 explains that the righteousness that one receives by faith is a free gift consisting of Christ’s righteousness and obedience.  Thus, here again is faith: not working or obeying the law so as to earn a reward, but believing in another and receiving from him that obedience that could never be self-attained.

David VanDrunen,  “The Nature of Justifying Faith”(Modern Reformation Volume 16 Number 5 September/October 2007) p 28-29 


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