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Archive for August, 2017

He even repeatedly presents the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as a reward (Matt. 19:29; 25:34, 46) that is already stored up in heaven now (5: 12; 6:20; 19:21; Luke 6:23) and will be distributed at the resurrection (14:14). And that reward will be paid for all sorts of works: for enduring persecution and disgrace (Matt. 5: 10-12), loving one’s enemies (5:46), giving alms (6:4), perseverance (10:22), confessing Jesus’s name (10:32), service to his disciples (10:41-42), giving up everything and leaving it behind (19:21, 29), working in the vineyard (20:1-16), faithfulness in one’s vocation careful management of the goods entrusted to us (25:14-30), mercy toward the disciples of Jesus and so forth. There is therefore no doubt whatever that Jesus uses the idea of reward as an incentive to spur his disciples toward faithfulness and perseverance in the pursuit of their calling. … works. Although salvation is granted to all believers, there will be differences in glory among them, depending on their works (Matt. 10:41; 18:4; 20:16; 25:14ff.).  In Scripture, therefore, both in the New and in the Old Testament, there is a close connection between sanctification and glorification. What is sown here is harvested in eternity (Matt. 25:24, 26; I Cor. 15:42ff.; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:7-8).

Source: Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume Four: Holy Spirit, Church and New Creation, Sanctification and Perseverance, Holiness as Gift and Reward, pp. 234-236

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To correctly assess the benefit of justification, people must lift up their minds to the judgment seat of God and put themselves in his presence. When they compare themselves with others or measure themselves by the standard that they apply to themselves or among each other, they have some reason perhaps to pride themselves in something and to put their trust in it. But when they put themselves before the face of God and examine themselves in the mirror of his holy law, all their conceit collapses, all self-confidence melts, and there is room left only for the prayer: "Enter not into judgment with your servant, for no one living is righteous before you" (Job 4:17-19; 9:2; 15: 14-16; Ps. 143:2; cf. 130:3), and their only comfort is that "there is forgiveness before you, so that you may be revered" (Ps. 130:4). If for insignificant, guilty, and impure persons there is to be a possibility of true religion, that is, of genuine fellowship with God, of salvation and eternal life, then God on his part must reestablish the broken bond, again take them into fellowship with him and share his grace with them, regardless of their guilt and corruption. He, then, must descend from the height of his majesty, seek us out and come to us, take away our guilt and again open the way to his fatherly heart. If God were to wait until we—by our faith, our virtues, and good works of congruity or condignity—had made ourselves worthy, in part or in whole, to receive his favor, the restoration of communion between him and ourselves would never happen, and salvation would forever be out of reach for us.

… In the past, Reformed theologians put it as follows: The Father justifies effectively; the Son, meritoriously; the Holy Spirit, applicationally. And to complete the picture at once, let us add: faith apprehends, the sacraments seal, and works declare. (B. de Moor, Comm. theol., IV, 562.)

Source: Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume Four: Holy Spirit, Church and New Creation, Justification, Justification is Forensic, Not Ethical, pp. 204-205

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Union with Christ

The purpose of election is very comprehensive. It is the purpose of God to bring his people to holiness, sonship, and eternal glory. He never intended to do this irrespective of Christ. On the contrary it was his purpose, as revealed in Scripture, to bring his people to these exalted privileges through a Redeemer. It was in Christ as their head and representative they were chosen to holiness and eternal life, and therefore in virtue of what he was to do in their behalf. There is a federal union with Christ which is antecedent to all actual union, and is the source of it. God gave a people to his Son in the covenant of redemption. Those included in that covenant, and because they are included in it—in other words, because they are in Christ as their head and representative—receive in time the gift of the Holy Spirit and all other benefits of redemption. Their voluntary union with Christ by faith, is not the ground of their federal union, but, on the contrary, their federal union is the ground of their voluntary union. It is, therefore, in Christ, i.e. as united to him in the covenant of redemption, that the people of God are elected to eternal life and to all the blessings therewith connected.

In whom we have redemption … We are not self-redeemed. Christ is our Redeemer.

Source: Charles Hodge, Ephesians

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