Ten Propositions on Faith (Part 1)

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Mike works through Michael Horton’s “Ten Propositions on Faith,” taken from his “Christ the Lord” book.  

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Ten Propositions on Faith (Part 2)

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Welcome to No Compromise Radio Ministry. Michael Lee Ebendroth here. Duplex Gratia Radio returns.
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I have not been in the studio here for, I think, two weeks. And so just to give you a quick health update,
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I took a week off. Reruns were played while I was taking the week off.
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Thanks to Spencer for doing that. I had my first all -day at the hospital
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Tuesday, Wednesday. So, Tuesday, Wednesday for five consecutive weeks as they ramp up the second leukemia -killing drug.
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And they ramp it up slowly so your kidneys can handle it and you don't get this tumor lysis deal syndrome,
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TLS. And so far so good. I actually feel pretty strong today. I've had four of those nine to ten hospital days.
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Then after that, it'll just be two oral medicines, two tablets for the next 12 to 24 months.
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So, 14 months to 24 months is when I take this. It's all based on blood tests. I've had so many needles go into my arms for IVs and blood tests and all that stuff because they start off the day with blood tests.
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Then you have these different chemicals and then they do more blood tests so they can let you go. And then you get to sit in Boston traffic.
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But I'm thankful that the hospital is so close. So, thank you for praying. My white cells are supposed to be 10 or under and they were up at like 49.
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As of yesterday, they were 10 .19. And they'll probably go too low because my immune system will be not as good as several things are happening with these drugs.
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But all that to say, God is faithful, I think, about the prostate cancer that's in the rearview mirror.
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And now, hopefully, the leukemia stuff will be in the rearview mirror. I don't think prostate cancer nor leukemia will kill me.
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I don't know what will, but something will unless the Lord comes back pretty fast. I'd like to still be a pastor for another,
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I don't know. So, I picked a number. I don't know. What's the number? Five years? I'm 63 now.
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Five years and then go hang out by the grandkids or something? 10 years?
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I don't know what the number is. I always thought I'd probably live to be around 75 or something.
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80? Maybe I still will make it. Let's hope so. Anyway, Mike Ebendroth, No Compromise Radio.
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Back here in the studio. You can write me, Mike, at NoCompromiseRadio .com.
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Lungs are good, by the way. Oxygenation's good. So far, so good.
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Today, I'd like to talk a little bit about Jesus. Of course, that's what we do now, is to talk about the
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Lord Jesus. I have a book in front of me called Justified, Modern Reformation Essays on the
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Doctrine of Justification, edited by Ryan Glomsrud and Michael Horton.
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And so, there was a magazine, Whitehorse Inwood put a magazine out called Modern Reformation, and these are some articles that were found in that regarding justification.
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Now, some of the articles. Engaging N .T.
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Wright and John Piper, by Michael Horton. Does Faith Mean Faithfulness? Simon Gathercall.
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The Nature of Justifying Faith, David Van Droonen. Doctrine of Justification, by J .A
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.O. Press III. Fesco writes an article.
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Jerry Bridges writes an article. By the way, Van Droonen and Fesco, and Abendroth and Abendroth, will be
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Lord of the Willing at the Pactum Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, October, first or second weekend of October, 2024.
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I have to figure out all my schedule for next year because I have to be in the hospital once these doubles are done, just once a month.
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Every 28 days, I have to go back for blood tests and more medicine. And I was looking at it, and I thought,
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I think I'll probably fly out to California during the Shepherds Conference. I won't pay for the conference.
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I'll just show up and say hi to friends. I think that's probably legal to do. I paid for about 30 of them.
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And I don't go to the sessions anyway, so I'll just sit around and talk. But I have to make sure
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I go on the right day, because otherwise, what am I going to do with the whole hospital thing? Anyway, 10
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Propositions on Faith and Salvation, edited by Michael Horton.
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10 Propositions on Faith and Salvation. So that will be our theme today to go over this article.
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And I think it'll be encouraging and edifying, because there's lots of blending of sanctification and justification these days.
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There's a lot of blending between faith and faithfulness. There's a lot of commingling of these categories that need to be separate.
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But before I say any more, I should probably just read this. Otherwise, I'll just talk the whole time without reading 10
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Propositions on Faith and Salvation. I think this was from Christ the Lord, the
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Reformation and Lordship Salvation book, edited by Horton, pages 209 to 210.
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There's a short paragraph before we get into the 10 Propositions. In an era when faith is redefined as a sort of religious power and salvation is merely self -help, it is more important than ever to be clear about what we believe about the cardinal doctrines of our faith.
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These 10 Propositions address some of the most contentious debates that are raging within American Christianity and that also form the core of the
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Reformation's complaint against Roman Catholicism. And I think this was written, what, almost 30 years ago?
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And we still have the same issues these days and the debates that are contentious are still raging within Christianity, not just American Christianity, but Christianity in general.
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Number one, the first proposition on faith and salvation. It is impossible that saving faith can exist without a new nature and thereby new affections, love, a desire for holiness, and so on.
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It is impossible that saving faith can exist without a new nature and thereby new affections.
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I want to say something about that, but I think if I read number two, it will make it easier. Saving faith is nevertheless not the same thing as such affections or desires and does not include in its definition the effects of which the new birth is the cause.
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Now, see, that makes it easier on me as I try to explain these. The first one, saving faith's got to come with a new nature, and you could probably talk a little bit about regeneration logically preceding faith, and I think we did that with the
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Dangerous of Calvinism show. We could talk about that. That's true. But I want you to think in categories.
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Theological categories are important. Categories matter. And if you think of categories of justification, that is, declaration of a forensic alien righteousness imputed.
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When you think about our sins imputed to Christ, the sinless one, his righteousness imputed to us, the sinful ones, confirmed by the resurrection.
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Justification, courtroom language, Christ for us. That's justification.
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The other category is sanctification, and that has more to do with you could probably talk about a righteousness that's not imputed, which would be justification category, but a righteousness imparted.
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And it's even fair to say the Reformation scholars would say, the Reformers would say, an infused righteousness.
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Let's not talk about infused righteousness and justification. That would be Rome. But a righteousness that's in us,
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Christ in us. So, Christ for us, justification, Christ in us, sanctification.
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And Christ in us in that sanctification category, and of course it's Christ sending his
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Holy Spirit, so we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. We then talk about love.
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That's in the sanctification category. It's not in the justification category, because the way we receive these things is through faith and faith alone.
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Knowledge, assent, and trust. Right? Knowledge, assent, and trust is faith. And of course, we're saved by faith alone, category of justification, and that faith won't be alone, category of sanctification.
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They are separate, but they're joined. And I don't mean joined by commingling or blending.
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I'm just talking about you don't have one without the other. You don't have Christ for you without Christ in you.
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You don't have justification without sanctification. And part of the ministry here at Bethlehem Bible Church and at No Compromise Radio, maybe this is one of the reasons why that someone might say, oh, that has an antinomian sentiment.
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Maybe not antinomian theologically, but maybe it's pushing antinomianism in the congregation or the listening audience because the focus isn't so much on holy living.
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The focus is on guarding, saving faith, sola fide, from love, affections, et cetera.
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And maybe that's true, but when I hear people add love and affections and a desire for holiness and obedience and faithfulness and put that in the category of justification, that's a problem.
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It's in the wrong category. The category for justification is sola fide, faith alone. Didn't we already solve that problem?
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And of course, the backdrop of the problem of sola fide was that Rome had justification and sanctification blended.
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And for them, there was not an imputation of Christ's righteousness. It was an infusion of Christ's righteousness because when you blend the two, imputation goes out the door and infusion comes in the door.
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Vacuums have to be filled. And so we have new affections, of course, but that's in the category of sanctification because otherwise, if you say affections and love and a desire for holiness, that is the way you receive
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Christ's benefits and have your sins forgiven and get Christ's righteousness. Then how much love must
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I have? How much desire for holiness is needed? How much affections do
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I have to have? That's why that's language of Rome or even some
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Arminian language, a Wesleyan language. If it's faith and faith alone in the category of justification, faith has an object and faith receives.
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And so the focus, while humans have to believe that's true, the focus of faith is on who the
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Lord is and what he's done. And therefore, a little faith that has knowledge of sin and trust, a weak faith that has knowledge of sin and trust, a little faith that has knowledge of sin and trust, receives the whole
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Christ, receives all of Christ. But if you're going to be saved, not by faith alone, sola fide, but by affections and a desire and obedience and faithfulness, how much do you have to have?
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And the answer would be, since God is holy and God is perfect, you'd have to have perfect faithfulness, perfect love, perfect desire for holiness and perfect obedience.
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And we can't do that. Therefore, categories matter. To repeat number two,
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Michael Horton, saving faith is nevertheless not the same thing as such affections or desires and does not include in its definition the effects of which the new birth is the cause.
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So, it's fine to talk about new affections, new desires, new longings, treasuring, submitting, yielding, surrendering, in the category not of justification, but in sanctification.
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Did you hear that? I think you heard that. That's why when I wrote the article on the Heidel blog, my pilgrimage from lordship to law gospel, it was centered around this.
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Of course, the lordship adherents rightly see there's a faith that doesn't save and that there's a lot of carnal
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Christians and that they're, you know, put quotation marks around that. There's a lot of people that have a demon faith and a non -saving faith, intellectual only or intellectual and ascent only.
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They rightly see that. And on some passages, many passages, they teach the right thing.
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But here, I just want them to think through these categories and make sure we don't make a category error.
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I made that category error for, I don't know, 20 years, maybe longer. This is not a matter of condemning people.
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This is let's make sure we keep our theological pencils sharpened, right? Number three,
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No Compromise Radio. 10 Propositions on Faith and Salvation edited by Michael S.
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Horton. It is not enough to say that we are justified and accepted by grace alone.
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For even Rome has agreed that it is only by God's grace we can become transformed in holiness.
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We must add that we are justified by grace through faith alone. And it is a great error to change the meaning of faith to include acts of obedience and repentance in an effort to make a disposition other than knowledge, ascent, and trust a condition of justification.
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Okay, there's a lot to unpack there. But essentially, that paragraph, the third proposition on faith and salvation, is echoing what
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I just said earlier. I mean, when I hear people, Roman Catholics, say you're saved by grace through faith, of course, that's why we're adding the alones, and obviously
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Rome would say the only time faith is followed by alone in the epistles, maybe even in all the
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New Testament, is, you know, in James, where it's not by faith alone that people are vindicated.
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They wouldn't say vindicated, I would. They'd say justified. And they would say how Luther wrote in alone, etc.
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Et cetera. It's not enough to say we're justified and accepted by grace alone, for even
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Rome has agreed that it's only by God's grace we can become transformed in holiness. We must add that we are justified by grace through faith alone.
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So it's faith alone, grace alone, and it's a great error to change the meaning of faith and add something in there besides knowledge, ascent, and trust.
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So what do you add in there? Well, obedience, submission, faithfulness, things that I talked about earlier.
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And here, Horton rightly adds, an error that if you jam it into faith, makes it problematic.
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Repentance. Trying to add in repentance into the definition of faith.
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Now, you could ask yourself this, Why did the Reformation not stress, as one of the five solas, sola repentance?
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Oh, that's a very good question. That's why I'm your host. You want answers?
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I think I'm entitled. You want answers! I want the truth! You can't handle the truth!
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I was just thinking the other day, what are my favorite movies of all time? I don't think that's number one.
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I really liked Hunt for Red October. But I also like The Planet of the
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Apes, too. Not that I even like The Planet of the Apes now. I would like Hunt for Red October now, but just watching it the first time, in Nebraska, especially in the winter, what do you do?
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It's pretty windy in Nebraska. We would have these marathons, movie marathons.
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And I think people do that now with Lord of the Rings, maybe. You just sit at the movie theater all day long and watch.
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And we used to have the Planet of the Apes marathons at Westroads, is what it was called.
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It was a mall. And Westroads Mall had, you know, just all day for whatever it was, ten bucks.
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And you could watch all, I don't know, four or five of the Planet of the Apes shows beneath The Planet of the
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Apes and all that. I kind of re -watched some of those a while ago. It was a drop -off after the first Planet of the
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Apes. But the first one, pretty good. I think my brother, Pat, when he was younger, he had a horse, and of course,
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Urko, I think, was one of the guys on The Planet of the Apes TV show. He rode one of those horses.
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I think Urko was one of the gorilla guys. You know, they have orangutan dudes and chimpanzees and gorillas et cetera.
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As we talked about on the show a few weeks ago, I'm not trying to split up faith and repentance in terms of a repentant faith, an unrepentant faith, an unbelieving repentance, a believing repentance.
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Synecdoche, you say one, you mean both. Paul preached, you know,
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Paul said repent, and the text says they believed, believed on the Lord, and they repented.
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To think rightly about sin, repentance, bear the fruits of repentance, obedience, faith.
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As I said before, I think repentance is the fruit of faith, and you just have to be careful.
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I don't care if you tell people to repent. If you mean by repent, or you're implying that you're saying repent, and you're telling them to change their lives, first, in order to come to faith, remember there's nothing antecedent, there's nothing before faith.
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That's why people can come to the Lord Jesus as ungodly people, trusting in the promises of God.
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And when you do come to the Lord Jesus by faith alone, through grace alone, you will begin to say no to sin and yes to righteousness.
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You'll begin to mortify sin and live under righteousness. Mortification? Vivification.
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Because that's part of God's divine sanctification, where the Spirit of God is dwelling in you. And your response is, kill sin, say yes to righteousness.
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That's the grace of God, that has appeared to all men, bringing salvation. Second chapter of Titus.
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See how I rescued that? I was going to say second Timothy, but then I realized it was Titus, but I said second ahead of time, so then
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I said second Titus. No, you say second chapter of Titus, and then we just edit on the fly.
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Number four. The definition of saving faith is knowledge, which we take to mean the intellectual grasp of the relevant historical and doctrinal facts concerning Christ's person and work in our misery.
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So, knowledge of sin and trust. That's the only cat I like. K -A -T. Maybe I'd like another cat, if it acted like a dog.
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Or it acted like a shark. So, knowledge of sin and trust.
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Knowledge, intellectual grasp of the relevant historical and doctrinal facts concerning Christ's person, work in our misery.
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So, here, we would talk about historical things, right? That's why even the
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Apostles' Creed, Nicene Creed, suffered under Pontius Pilate. Why? Because Jesus was real.
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He really was on earth, really breathed oxygen, exhaled carbon dioxide, had real blood.
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He truly was a human. He's a perfect human. Truly human. He was human -human.
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Really human. Of course, he was the God -man, but he was truly human.
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And real humans, when they walk, they leave footprints on the ocean, right?
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Not on the ocean, but on the sand, near the ocean. On the beach. That's what I was after. The beach, of course.
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If I ever make a mistake now, I'll just blame it on the medicine. The medzin. Okay, what else is happening here?
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I would assume assent's going to be next. Assent are the volitional agreement in our hearts and minds that these facts are true.
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That's what assent is. Volitional agreement of our hearts. Now, I would probably disagree with Horton there a little bit because I leave volition following J .I.
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Packer in his chapter on justification in The Quest for Godliness, a Puritan book. I leave volitional language, will, language of the will,
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I leave that out of the saving faith category.
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Knowledge, assent, and trust. Those are all under the umbrella of a fiduciary.
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Especially the trust is a fiduciary issue, not a volitional or will. That's okay.
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Mike knows more than I've... We'll see. I've...
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Michael's forgotten more than I know? Something like that. Okay. Assent.
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Agreement in our hearts and minds that these facts are true. So, knowledge is, this is what
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Jesus did in history and doctrinally, right? Death, burial, resurrection, etc. I'm a sinner.
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I need to be saved. And then, assent is agreement. That's true.
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Yeah, I agree. I agree. And then lastly, what do you think? And trust, which is the assurance that these facts that are true are not only true generally, but true in my own case.
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See, that's really good. It's not just that they're true, but they're true for me.
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Right? It's not just Jesus is the Savior. He's my Savior. Right?
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He loved me and gave himself for me. He didn't just die for the thief on the cross.
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He died for me, too. In this way, I abandon all hope for acceptance with God besides the holiness and righteousness of Christ.
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I would have just left that one out. But that's okay. I'll tell you why I think it should be left out maybe on the next show.
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So far, four propositions on faith and salvation edited by Michael Horton.
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Big picture? You're saying to yourself, what does this matter? Well, it matters if you're going to evangelize.
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You tell people to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You don't tell them to love
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God. You don't tell them to follow Jesus. You don't tell them to desire holiness.
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No. You call them to faith. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
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Whoever believes in the Lord will not be disappointed. As Moses lifted up the serpent, so must the
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Son of Man be lifted up. And you just look and live. That's what you do. And when you look and live, you can be sure that's the
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Spirit of God working in you. And, of course, a regenerated heart has new affections and new emotions and new desires for faithfulness and everything else that goes along with it in the category of sanctification.
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Of course, what are we going to do? There are different categories.
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It happens at the same time in terms of chronologically, right? If you're thinking about time, can you have a sanctification not happen right when justification happens?
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So we're not really thinking about time. I'm thinking about theological categories. Justification, the condition of your acceptance before God is
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Christ's work, not your holy living. What happens if you're the condition of your life?
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Your life is the condition for your acceptance before God, like final justification advocates and other things.
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You don't want that. You don't want that. You're accepted by God and you have comfort for the final judgment and the soon return of Christ because of Jesus' work alone.
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And that's why a little bit of faith, a weak faith, and tainted faith is enough if the condition or ground of your salvation is
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Christ. But if the condition or ground of your salvation is something you've done, your weakness, your tiny faithfulness or whatever, you're in big trouble.
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Number five. Not only is the ground of our justification the person and work of Christ, the assurance, hope, and comfort that this salvation belongs to us must have
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Christ as its sufficient object and faith as its sufficient instrument. All right.
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The ground of our justification is the person and work of Christ. How we realize that and sense that, if you will, the assurance, hope, and comfort that this salvation belongs to us must have
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Christ as its sufficient object, meaning if you're going to have any comfort in life, any assurance that you're a
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Christian, you better be looking to Jesus and not to yourself primarily. And this goes back to the assurance stuff that's talked about on No Compromise Radio all the time, and that is when
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I look to myself, I don't know if I can be saved. How could I be saved? Luther said, When I look to the Lord, I don't know how
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I can be lost. Trust in the promises of God. And therefore, if you want assurance, hope, and comfort that you are
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Christians, that you are a Christian, you need to make sure you keep Christ as the object and faith as its sufficient instrument, not ground, but an instrument, the way you receive, a non -meritorious instrument.
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Okay, we're going to talk about that a little bit more next time. My name is Mike Abendroth. This is No Compromise Radio Ministry. Today, the first five propositions on faith and salvation edited by Michael Horton.
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If you'd like to have some books discounted, you want a bunch of gospel assurance books for your friends, you can write me, mike at nocompromiseradio .com.