Grace and Spirit

“The gospel does not command us to do anything in order to obtain life, but bids us live by that which another has done; and the knowledge of its life-giving truth is not labour but rest–rest of soul–rest which is the root of all true labour; for in receiving Christ we do not work in order to rest, but we rest in order to work.”
“That we believe through grace that faith is the gift of God does not prove faith to be a work of ours, any more than Christ’s raising of Lazarus proved resurrection to be a work of the dead man. The divine infusion of life in the one case, and the divine impartation of faith in the other, so far from showing that there must be a work in either, indicates very plainly that there could not be any such thing. The work comes after the believing, and as the fruit of it. “Faith worketh by love,” that is, the believing soul shows its faith by works of love.”
{Horatius Bonar, “God’s Way of Holiness,” chapter two}

“God’s salvation doesn’t come as a response to a changed life, a changed life comes in response to the salvation, offered as a free gift.”
{Timothy Keller, “Counterfeit Gods”}

Not what my hands have done can save my guilty soul;
not what my toiling flesh has borne can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do can give me peace with God;
not all my prayers and sighs and tears can bear my awful load.

These guilty hands are raised, filthy rags are all I bring
And I have come to hide beneath your wings
These holy hands are raised, Washed in the fountain of your grace
And now I wear your righteousness

Thy work alone oh Christ can ease this weight of sin
Thy blood alone, oh Lamb of God, can give me peace within
Thy Love to me, oh God, not mine oh Lord to Thee
Can rid me of this dark unrest and set my Spirit free

Thy grace alone oh God to me can pardon speak
Thy power alone oh Lamb of God can this sore bondage break
No other work save thine, no other blood will do
No strength but that which is divine can bear me safely through

I praise the God of grace; I trust his truth and might
He calls me his, I call him mine, My God, my Joy, my Light
My Lord has saved my life and freely pardon gives;
I love because he first loved me, I live because he lives.
{Not What My Hands Have Done, Horatius Bonar}

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim;
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

And now complete in Him,
My robe, His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow’r, and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.
{Jesus Paid it All}

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
{John 15:1-5 ESV}

” yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”
{Galatians 2:16-21 ESV}

“Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
{2 Corinthians 3:5-6}

“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
{Romans 8:13}

“Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”
{Galatians 3:2-3 ESV}

Our salvation is not of us, but the Spirit regenerating us and causing us to believe, and the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.
Our fruit and obedience is not of us, but the Spirit at work in us. If there is no fruit – is there the Spirit? To quote the Scottish Confession of Faith, “And therefore we fear not to affirm that murderers, oppressors, cruel persecutors, adulterers, whoremongers, filthy persons, idolaters, drunkards, thieves, and all workers of iniquity, have neither true faith, neither any portion of the spirit of sanctification, which proceeds from the Lord Jesus, so long as obstinately they continue in their wickedness.”  (chapter 13)
It’s the fruit of the Spirit – not the fruit of Kyleigh.

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”
{Ezekiel 36:26-27}

Zechariah 3 – GOD is the One who takes off our filth and clothes us in righteousness. He plucks us from the fire. We do nothing.

“Such is God’s description of one who has found his way to the cross, and is warranted in taking to
himself the Antiochian name of “Christian,” or the apostolic name of “saint.” Of good about himself,
previous to his receiving the record of the free forgiveness, he cannot speak. He remembers nothing
lovable that could have recommended him to God; nothing fit that could have qualified him for the
divine favor, save that he needed life. All that he can say for himself is that he “has known and believed
the love that God hath to us” (1 John 4:16); and, in believing, has found that which makes him not
merely a happy, but a holy man. He has discovered the fountainhead of a holy life.”

{one of the best books I’ve read lately is Bonar’s “God’s Way of Holiness.” You can read it online, and it’s only 50 pages long and full of gems. So no excuses. Go read it!}

{and for even more thoughts along these lines, here’s part of a series on Law and Gospel. Parts 3 and 4 have been the best so far, in my opinion}

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