Name and Place for Tuesday, November 11 (’14)
Puritans are worth the time it takes to read. A bag of Lays potato chips may satisfy for the moment, but they don’t improve your health. This is what modern theological Christian-bookstore fluff is like, but the Puritans are like vitamin shots improving your health for the long-haul.
Here’s a great vitamin B12 shot from Samuel Bolton’s The True Bounds of Christian Freedom, part of the Puritan Paperback series from The Banner of Truth Trust.
But such opinions as these have no place in our inquiry. Certainly, though we may do good works, and walk in the ways of obedience and with an eye to the recompense of the reward, yet none of us holds that these things are to be done with reference to our meriting of it. The apostle tells us that it is not of debt but of grace (Rom 4:4); and again, ‘By grace ye are saved’ (Eph 2:5, 8-10). And yet again, ‘The gift of God is eternal life’ (Rom 6:23). ‘Glory is not the wages of a servant, but the inheritance of a son.’ Thus Calvin speaks, while Augustine says, ‘God crowns his gifts, not our merits.’
Indeed, what are all our works in comparison with that glory? If all our sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed, what then are our doings? It was a saying of Anselm, ‘If a man should serve God a thousand years, he could never by that service deserve half a day, in fact not one moment of time, in that eternal glory.’
We shall therefore cast man’s deservings out of our inquiry; it is too gross for Christian ears. The apostle tells us plainly: ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us’ (Titus 3:5). ‘Not by works of righteousness’, that is, not by our own works, even though we were to say, as some of the more moderate of our adversaries do, ‘our own works sprinkled with the blood of Christ’. All our injuries to grace. For by grace are we saved, and grace is in no way grace if not in every way grace…” (160).