Of Saving Faith

Chapter XIV of the Second London Confession

They’ve sat across from me repeatedly over the last 20 years in my study, a counseling room, or the coffee shop. Though the locations and names change, the conversation doesn’t. Tears rolling, bodies taut, they’re troubled over their soul’s state: “Pastor, I’ve prayed the prayer, walked the aisle, tried to change, but I’m not sure I’m really saved. Other preachers said I have to ‘know that I know that I know.’ But what am I supposed to know? How do I know when I know, or if I know? What does it mean to believe in Jesus?” 

Saving faith is a perennial question in a biblical ministry, and Scripture answers the question masterfully by revealing four kinds of faith—three of which send their adherents to hell. Historical faith (James 2:19) means believing the Bible like a demon does. Since an archaeological record can’t be denied, or historical fact can’t be disputed, a begrudging credence is given on that specific basis, though often limited to those particular points. It’s a form of faith, to a degree; but its believer isn’t exactly thrilled about it. Temporary faith (Matthew 13:20–22) assents to the Bible’s propositions and demands, affirms God’s goodness, usefulness, and claims regarding himself and humanity, and in general looks fairly authentic; but it doesn’t last. Assent and affirmation have a pregnancy scare, but don’t conceive—proving it wasn’t the genuine article after all (Hebrews 6:4–8; 1 John 2:19). Miraculous faith (Matthew 7:22; John 6:25–29; Acts 8:18–23; 1 Corinthians 13:2) embraces a particular promise or possibility, often in times of need or concern. It’s excited about God’s track record in the category, impressed with God’s power, interested in God’s people (mostly because they’ve tapped into it), and hopeful for God’s help. But it pursues other interests when that one fades.1 

Where false faith fails, saving faith is altogether different. It’s refreshingly, joyfully Scripture-driven: enabled by hearing God’s Word (Acts 16:14), effecting biblical repentance and growth (Nehemiah 8:1–12; 2 Corinthians 7:8ff), and possessing a distinctive experience which is governed by and aligned with God’s Word (Isaiah 55:10f; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). The 2LC, drawing heavily from the viewpoint and verbiage of 1LC (1644),2 summarizes the Bible’s reply with faithfulness and clarity.

The Essence of Saving Faith (2LC 14.1)

What does saving faith entail?3

Saving faith is a grace-gift of God to His people.4 At the heart of Scripture’s description, Ephesians 2:8f delineates the total sum of our salvation, both grace and faith, as “the gift of God.”5 Philippians 1:29 makes this gift even more explicit: “it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should… believe in him.” “All the Powers of Man’s Soul move as they are first moved by God,”6 Ussher remarked. Matthew Henry added that “Both that faith and that salvation are the gift of God… [who] has ordered all so that the whole shall appear to be by grace.”7 In kingly mercy, Christ gifts the grace of faith to His beloved elect (Romans 12:3; Ephesians 4:7). Saving faith is non-native, neither merited nor earned (1 Corinthians 4:6–7): imported like kudzu, imparted like a Christmas present, it distinguishes God’s people from the world, because “not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:2). As a friend once quipped, “Following Jesus was the best decision God ever made for me.” 

Turretin emphasized that “As Christ alone is the cause of salvation, so faith alone is the means and way to Christ.” Any sinner who is saved finds himself enjoying a state of grace by faith alone. Scripture describes saving faith in various ways: it’s the bond of our union with Christ (Ephesians 3:17), the fruit of election (Titus 1:1), the instrument of justification (Romans 5:1), the principle of sanctification (Acts 15:9), and the infallible means of salvation (John 3:16).8 Sinful men aren’t saved by works (Isaiah 64:6; Ephesians 2:9), never have been (John 14:6; Hebrews 10:4), and never could be (John 6:29; Hebrews 11:6).9 

As a grace-gift, such faith endures by “clinging to the faithfulness of God… lean[ing] upon him, so that we may obtain what he gives to us, Jn 3:33, Jn 1:12.”10 The parable of the Sower demonstrates plainly that only one soil “produced” and “yields” (Mark 4:8)—a heart changed by grace. “Faith is a fruit of Christ’s purchase,” observed Keach.11 Sometimes that fruit will be greater, sometimes lesser, but there will be yield. Those who don’t persevere, whether by withering (Mark 4:6, 16f) or walking away (Mark 4:7, 18f), never had this grace to begin with (1 John 2:19); but those who produce fruit do (Mark 4:20). 

In producing saving faith, God’s method of grace is the ordinary means of grace; He does not typically work apart from them. Someone once described his conversion experience to me. It totted up to him witnessing an inspiring cloud and feeling inwardly warmed. While general revelation is indeed a gift of God’s common grace (Psalm 19:1–6; Romans 1:18ff), it is the law of the Lord which converts the soul (Psalm 19:7–10). Even in the extraordinary case of Saul’s conversion, he was overwhelmed with a blinding “light from heaven” (Acts 9:3) on the Damascus road; but it required special revelation for his salvation (Acts 9:4). He later wrote, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17; cf. 2 Timothy 3:15; James 1:18). It pleases the Spirit to use preaching the gospel to create true faith, “enabl[ing them] to believe to the saving of their souls.” Thus the Catechism succinctly states, “The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us.”12 

The Spirit also uses the ordinary means of grace to confirm, strengthen, and grow this faith in God’s people. Christians realize the need to grow in faith when Scripture confronts them with the righteousness God requires (Luke 17:3–10), and God delights to use that experience to drive them right back to Scripture to build them up in Christ (1 Peter 2:2). The NT shows the proper focus of saving faith is God Himself, in and by “the word of his grace” (Acts 20:32)—the Scriptures, particularly as they bear witness to His redeeming purposes in Jesus. Acts 20:32 further records God’s power to save (“give you an inheritance”), strengthen (“build you up”), and sanctify His flock, and Hebrew 12:2 exhorts Christians to respond in “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” God accomplishes this sanctifying work through prayer, preaching, and the ordinances—the “Means appointed of God,” which accompany and assist believers in the walk of faith.13 Saving faith, then, appropriates the promises of God in Jesus Christ through regenerating grace applied to the soul: “… it is as a hand to take hold of, or receive, or apply Christ and his Righteousness…the hand of the Receiver is the Grace of justifying Faith.”14 

The Effects of Saving Faith (2LC 14.2)

What does this faith look like practically? 

Saving faith is directly, distinctively grounded upon Scripture; in His grace, the Holy Spirit enables believers to see God’s truth and savor God’s glory in the Bible (Psalm 119:72). Because God doesn’t change, saving faith affirms sacred Writ wholly and wholeheartedly,15 throughout the world (Psalm 119:18,33,86). The NT’s apostolic pattern mirrors the OT prophetic pattern (Ephesians 2:20) and reflects God’s modus operandi: “… believing everything laid down by the Law and written in the Prophets, having a hope in God” (Acts 24:14f). Thus for the Christian, what the Bible says, God says; there is a vast distinction between having questions and questioning what we have. 

Saving faith recognizes that Scripture is altogether unique. It’s in the Bible alone that Christians learn who God is: His nature and character, ways and will—in short, what God wants man to know concerning Himself is contained and preserved upon its pages. It displays God’s Trinitarian being in all its economic mystery and majesty; unfolds the varied perfections of His attributes; details the past, present, and future supremacy of Jesus in his Person and work as Lord and Christ; and showcases the sovereign beauty of the Spirit “in his Workings, and Operations.” In short, it possesses “an excellency therein, above all other Writings.”

It’s one thing to affirm something as true in itself, but another to believe such truth applies in your own case—truly intended for me. There is an objective content to Christian faith: one believes God’s promises made to sinners in Jesus, as Scripture bears them witness in the gospel (Galatians 1:23; 1 Timothy 1:14). At the same time, true faith subjectively experiences the Spirit applying Christ’s work to the soul: humbling, drawing, regenerating, justifying, sealing, indwelling, sanctifying, and preserving the believer until the Day of Christ and final glorification. Saving faith therefore continually applies to itself the promises16 that this God makes in the Bible (Psalm 119:30f). “[T]o believe God is to believe that God is; to believe in God is to have faith in God speaking; and to believe in God is to place confidence in him.”17 Bare intellectual apprehension or mere cognitive agreement about the propositions concerning God in Scripture, while important, falls short of true faith: as Watson acknowledged, “There may be an assent to divine truth, and yet no work of grace on the heart.”18 

Scripture instead describes the Christian as one possessing personal knowledge of Christ: “I know whom I have believed,” and trusting in His Person and promises: “and am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me” (2 Timothy 1:12; cf. Titus 1:2). God gives conception (Ruth 4:13f) to apprehension and agreement, producing the heir of joyful abiding in Christ. Ussher described this as “such a firm Assent of the mind to the Truth of the Word, as flows into the Heart, and causeth the Soul to embrace it as Good, and to build its Eternal Happiness upon it.”19 Here again is the gracious work of the Spirit (Zechariah 12:10) through the purchase of the Cross, to “inable [men] to cast the weight of their soules upon this truth thus beleeved.”20 

The hidden change of heart produces an open change of life. Where self-love, self-esteem, and self-interest previously ruled the unsaved heart, dominating its affections, now this new love to Christ does. Having affirmed Scripture’s testimony and apprehended Scripture’s Christ, regenerate souls now seek to act in ways that please (2 Corinthians 5:9) and honor (1 Corinthians 10:31) Scripture’s God. saving faith prizes Christ (1 Peter 2:7), refines saints (Acts 15:9), strengthens obedience (Hebrews 11:8), grows and increases (Romans 1:17), and changes its possessors to be more like Jesus.21 In other words, true Christians increasingly aim to live biblically. Saving faith walks with both eternity and every day in view (Isaiah 1:19; 1 Timothy 4:8); its estimation of God effects practical change toward godliness (Hebrews 12:14). 

Growth in personal holiness is the second-greatest evidence of the change of heart wrought by the Spirit of God; as Turretin explained, faith “either formally includes, or consequently and necessarily draws after it all the duties of the believer.” William Collins, Nehemiah Coxe, and Benjamin Keach—likely the framers and editors of 2LC23 —faced a difficult spiritual context remarkably similar to ours today. They battled strong antinomianism on one hand and legalism on the other, while shameless hypocrisy, burgeoning theological liberalism, rapidly multiplying numbers of sects, and outright apostasy all vied for their attention. Further complicating matters, they struggled against all these while undergoing selective religious persecution—sometimes for their Protestant/Reformed views, and other times for practicing credobaptism.24 

To respond to these theological assaults, they searched the Scriptures. Careful biblical exegesis birthed their doctrine of Christ’s Lordship in the souls of all his elect, and framed 2LC’s conscientious adoption of the Westminster (1646) and Savoy (1658) language. Neither our biblical fathers nor our Baptist forebears could conceive of a professing Christian who lived licentiously, yet considered himself reconciled to God. True grace is often its own best apologetic. Keach wrote, “If a man Hates not Sin, be not out of Love with Sin, How should he be in Love with God and Holiness?…Sanctification is not necessary, as antecedent to Justification, but it is the Fruit or Product of Union with Christ…the Habits (of Holiness) are infused at that same Instant that Faith is Wrought in the Soul.”25 Alongside their Presbyterian and Congregational brethren, they emphasized that saving faith is marked by carefully obeying Scripture’s commands (John 14:15; John 15:14), trembling at its warnings and threats (Isaiah 66:2), and embracing its promises (Hebrews 11:13). Their faithfulness exposes modern fruitlessness. 

Progressive sanctification proves itself. But it can also be counterfeited (Matthew 24:24f), or the heart may chill through sin or neglect. Thus Flavel noted, “Observed duties maintain our credit; but secret duties maintain our life.”26 No wonder that the Protestant consensus on saving faith ultimately and unswervingly affixes itself to Jesus Christ: “the principal acts of Saving Faith, have immediate relation to Christ, accepting, receiving, and resting upon him alone.”27 Through saving faith, sinners receive Christ (Jn 1:12), believe on Christ (Acts 16:31), Christ lives in them (Galatians 2:20), and they are justified (Romans 5:1f). 

Such justifying faith is effectual in nature: God will have a holy people for Himself (1 Peter 1:14–19), and Christ is made unto us sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30f) and eternal life (John 5:21,26).28 Christians therefore must always deal with Him as both Savior and Lord—indeed, as our very life (Colossians 3:4). Here 2LC’s language of “accepting, receiving, and resting upon Christ alone” comes into sharper focus:29 employing the classical categories of notitia (knowledge), assensus (assent), and fiducia (faith), saving faith means here that we know who He is, believe what He says, and embrace what He gives, by faith alone (John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Galatians 2:20; Romans 5:1f). Keach wrote, “‘Tis by Faith only, that we come to have actual Enjoyment and Possession of Christ himself, and of Remission of Sin; and not only so, but of Eternal Life, and so of Holiness also, and no other Ways.”30 The Christian’s standing before God, spiritual growth, and eternal security are all thus rooted in Christ, who alone is the Surety (Isaiah 49:8; Revelation 13:8) of the Covenant of Grace (John 6:37; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 13:20).31 

The Experience of Saving Faith (2LC 14.3)

What is the practice of this faith like?

Saving faith differs in its strength and sense within each Christian’s soul, according to what Romans 12:3 terms “the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Gk. metron pisteos) to each saint. Contextually, Paul is addressing personal humility while serving in various roles within the church, but he also calls believers to a holy self-awareness—to realize how God has “put them together.” Discussing interpersonal dealings within the church (Romans 14:1), he introduces the category of the Christian “who is weak in faith” (Gk. de asthenounta te pistei), building on Jesus’ designation in Matthew 6:30 of some of the disciples as “little-faiths” (Gk. oligopistoi). Scripture presents something of a dual sense, then, with saving faith: it can describe the spiritual constitution of believers—some to whom God has given a greater or lesser measure of faith, i.e., Romans 12:3—or speak of their experience of struggles with belief (i.e., Romans 14:1; Matthew 6:30; Romans 4:19f). 

The truth of Scripture’s categories has been demonstrated throughout church history in the saint’s experience. From Abraham’s doubt (Genesis 16:2) to Moses’ fearful reluctance (Exodus 3–4), from Job’s anger (Job 3) to David’s depression (Psalm 35), from Naomi’s hopelessness (Ruth 1) to Esther’s casting herself upon divine providence (Ester 4:16), from Augustine’s sexual struggles to John Owen burying 10 of his 11 children, from Calvin’s exile to Adoniram Judson’s baptismal crisis en route to Burma, God has always tested the faith of His people. Some believers are deeply conscious of the saving power of Christ, rarely face doubts concerning God or their own eternal state, and are even marked by almost effervescent joy. Meanwhile others are often tormented or embattled, undergo many dark nights of the soul, and struggle (whether by doubt, depression, difficulty, or disobedience) to believe that God’s love for sinners actually applies to them.32 

But both are regenerate. Beddome explains that justification is an act by which the Father forgives His people’s sins, accepts our persons, receives our worship, looks upon us with complacency, speaks of us with approbation, and treats us with intimacy and endearment.33 Christ “is offered to Sinners as Sinners, not as righteous persons, but as ungodly ones, without any previous Qualifications required of them…they are all as poor, lost, undone, weary, and heavy laden Sinners…These are they, Christ came to call.”34 That one lacks the sense or consciousness of God’s sovereign grace and tender disposition toward Him doesn’t nullify its reality; as Ussher wrote, “he was safe before he was sure.”35 

This is a categorically different matter from what 2LC calls “the common grace of temporary believers,” or “almost-Christians,” as Matthew Meade termed them.36 Spiritual infidelity, doubt, error, heresy, and apostasy ultimately characterize them;37 they have no lasting concern for their souls, no consequential regard for God, and ultimately no saving interest in Christ. But the saints do, because they’ve passed from death to life. This is where the beauty of regeneration preceding faith serves struggling saints so well: Christians are born of God (John 1:13) by His will (James 1:18), and made willing in the day of God’s power (Psalm 110:3). God has begun this good work in them, and will be faithful to complete it (Philippians 1:6). Thus they’re marked by newness of life (Romans 6:4), a new spiritual disposition and desire (Jeremiah 31:33f; Jeremiah 32:40; Ezekiel 36:24–27) and a life redirected by the purposes for which God saved them (Ephesians 2:10). They think of God’s glory (2 Corinthians 5:9), wish to be more holy (Romans 7:24), imitate those who are faithful (Hebrews 6:11f), grieve over sin—theirs and others (Matthew 5:4), and long to be with Christ. These are precious evidences of God’s grace toward them. Assurance may be—and often is—the blessing of God in the Christian’s life (Colossians 2:2), but the very fact that there’s a struggle shows that there’s life! God does that in them. 

Over time, the patterns and practices of the new life will grow stronger, and one’s grasp of God’s promises and the depths of His grace will grow more full and deep. Watson summarized it well: real faith grows, “bearing cross[es] with more patience” and “doing duties in a more spiritual manner, with more fervency.”38 Such evidences are encouragements from God; and the very presence of new habits, struggles, or dispositions are often powerful proofs of true grace. But the most certain evidence of possessing saving faith is that one looks to Christ, prizes Christ, and leans on Christ, “who is both the Author and finisher of our Faith.” As Calvin wrote, Christians “embrace Christ clad in his own promises.”39 Christians look to Christ, again and again—it is the pattern of their lives. To look to Christ is to believe on Him alone for salvation, as your only hope in life and in death (John 3:14f). 

This runs utterly against the grain of most of today’s views. The Christian does not trust in cobbling together a spirituality of his own construction; he entrusts himself to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The Christian doesn’t worship a god of his understanding, but the One who says in His Word, “I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:5; Isaiah 46:9). The Christian does not believe in himself (Proverbs 28:26; Isaiah 5:21), trust his own heart (Jeremiah 17:9), or have faith in faith—but only in Christ alone. “‘Tis not faith, but the Object and Righteousness Faith apprehends or takes hold of, that justifies the ungodly.”40 Anything beyond this is a false belief. 

So how do I answer that person sitting across from me, asking me what it is to believe in Jesus? I tell them who Jesus is, and what He’s done for sinners like them.41 I tell them that Jesus will receive them, and forgive them, and welcome them into His Father’s presence with great joy (Jude 1:24), because He has died and risen again for sinners. I tell them that Jesus will keep those whom He saves (John 10:29), because salvation belongs to Him (Psalm 3:8). I tell them that if they see their need of a Redeemer, to call to Him; and on the days they struggle, to say with that nameless father, “I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)—because that’s the kind of prayer Jesus loves to answer. I teach them, when appropriate, what Scripture says about killing sin, walking in righteousness, looking for the way of escape God promises, and self-examination.42 But mostly, I point them to Jesus. 

Weak faith is yet true faith, for it takes hold of a strong Savior.43 As Keach concluded, may the Lord “help you to a right Understanding of these things, and make you all a holy People, to the Praise of his Glory, and Honour of your Sacred Profession.”44 


1 Turretin (1623–1687), Institutes of Elenctic Theology, II.559f; Watson (c.1620–1686), A Body of Divinity, 215; and Ussher (1581–1656), A Body of Divinity, 175f, all outlined these 4 types of faith. Turretin added, “In innumerable believers, there is justifying faith without the faith of miracles” (II.560.V). Flavel (1627–1691) agreed and elaborated: “There are several sorts of faith besides saving faith, and in saving faith there are several acts besides the justifying or saving act.” (Works, II.104).

2 The relevant portions of 1LC are found primarily in paragraphs XXII–XXIX. 

3 As contained in Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith, 259f. Original emphasis/spelling is retained throughout this essay with some modernization of orthography. 

4 Keach’s Catechism, Q. 93 (identical in Collins, Q. 91): “What is faith in Jesus Christ? Faith in Jesus Christ is a saving grace, whereby we receive and rest upon him alone for salvation, as he is offered to us in the gospel.” So also 1LC: “continually whatever a Christian is, he is by grace” (XXVI) and “whatsoever the Saints, any of them doe possesse or enjoy of God in this life, is onely by faith” (XXXI). Matthew Poole (1624–1679) commented that faith is not a work, but “an instrument or means of applying the grace and salvation tendered to us.” Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. 3, 667.

5 All Scripture ESV unless otherwise noted.

6 James Ussher, A Body of Divinity, 177.

7 Matthew Henry (1662–1714), Zondervan NIV Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume, 663. Cp. Hendriksen, Baker NT Commentary: Galatians and Ephesians, 120–125; Wood, Ephesians, vol. 11 in Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 36.

8 Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, II.559.II. 

9 Nehemiah Coxe (d. 1689) noted, “… in the business of Justification, Faith is opposed to all good works, as exclusive of them from any influence into the obtaining of our pardon and acceptance with God, Romans 3:20–22,28; Romans 4:4f; Galatians 2:1–6; Galatians 3:11f.” Vindiciae Veritatis (1677), 105.

10 William Ames(1576–1633), The Marrow of Theology, 241. 

11 Benjamin Keach (1640–1704), The Marrow of True Justification, 94.

12 Keach’s Catechism, Q. 34; cf. 1LC XXIV, and Ames, Marrow of Theology, 244.29.

13 Cf. Collins’ Baptist Catechism, Q. 93–96; Keach’s Catechism, Q. 96. 

14 Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of True Justification, 27; he again personifies faith as “only a hand to apply the Remedy,” 94. Archbishop Ussher, heavily influential for both Westminsterian and 2LC Puritanism, employed the same metaphor: “Faith [is]…not considered as a Virtue inherent in us…but only as an Instrument or Hand of the Soul stretched forth, to lay hold on the Lord our Righteousness…Faith being only the Instrument to convey so great a Benefit unto the Soul, as the hand of the Beggar receives the Alms.” A Body of Divinity, 175. Cf. Coxe: “True and lively Faith whereby we receive Christ and his benefits freely given of God to us, and rest on him and his Righteousness, is the instrument of our Justification, John 1:12, Romans 5:17.” Vindiciae Veritatis, 105.

15 Ames notes that “the material object…is whatever is revealed and set forth by God to be believed” (Marrow of Theology, 242.21), while “the formal object…is the truthfulness or faithfulness of God…[which] depends on the authority of the one who gives the testimony” (243.25) Thus, “He who believes that he Scripture is true in every way believes implicitly all things which are contained in the Scripture” (244.34).

16 Ames, ibid., 242.19: “But faith is rooted in the promises, because in them is set forth a good to be embraced.”

17 Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, II.559.III.

18 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 215. 

19 James Ussher, A Body of Divinity, 176.

20 1LC (1644), XXII, in Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions, 151. Cf. Keach’s Catechism, Q. 34, above.

21 Watson, A Body of Divinity, 218f. 

22 Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, II.559.

23 Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions of Faith, 217–222. Cf. Coxe and Owen, Covenant Theology: From Adam to Christ (RBAP, 2005), 20. 

24 Cf. Daniel Neal (1678–1743), The History of the Puritans, III.329–416 (Tentmaker, 2009); J. Newton Brown, Memorials of Baptist Martyrs. Gospel truth has always carried the price of blood. Thus 1LC XXXII: “That the onely strength by which the Saints are inabled to incounter with all opposition, and to overcome all afflictions, temptations, persecutions, and tryalls, is onely by Jesus Christ, who is the Captain of their salvation, being made perfect through sufferings, who hath ingaged his strength to assist them in all their afflictions, and to uphold them under all their temptations, and to preserve them by his power to his everlasting Kingdome” (Lumpkin, Baptist Confessions, 153).

25 Keach, Benjamin. The Marrow of True Justification, 9 (cf. p. 82). 

26 John Flavel, Works, V.520.

27 Major Reformation and Post-Reformation symbolics were also overwhelmingly Christocentric on this subject. See 1LC (1644/46) #22; Belgic Confession (1561) #22; Heidelberg Catechism (1563) Q. 20–23, 53; Second Helvetic Confession (1566) XVI; Canons of Dort (1619) #1.2–6. 

28 99 years later, David Jones’ 1788 Circular Letter gave lockstep exposition of Philadelphia Baptist Confession’s Chapter 14: “This faith is not dead and fruitless, it will not allow men to live in sinful ways… the work of God in the soul, cannot produce such effects.” Gillete, A.D. Minutes of the Philadelphia Baptist Association 1707–1807, 241.

29 See R. Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology; and especially Flavel’s deeply insightful sermons on this theme from John 1:12 in The Method of Grace (Works, II.102–140).

30 Keach, Benjamin. The Marrow of True Justification, 9.

31 Thus Watson summarized, “Faith is the condition of the covenant of grace; without faith, without covenant; without covenant, without hope.” A Body of Divinity, 218. 

32 Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of True Justification, 20: “… divers weak Saints are ready to judge of their justification according to the degree and measure of their Sanctification.”

33 Benjamin Beddome (1717–1795), A Scriptural Exposition of the Baptist Catechism, 69f.

34 Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of True Justification, 82. 

35 James Ussher, A Body of Divinity, 178. 

36 Cf. Matthew Meade (1630–1699), The Almost Christian Discovered. 

37 William Ames, The Marrow of Theology, 245. 

38 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 220.

39 John Calvin (1509–1564), Institutes of the Christian Religion, I.426 [II.ix.3].

40 Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of Justification, 27.

41 Luther said once, “When Satan tells me I am a sinner he comforts me immeasurably, for Christ died for sinners.”

42 See, for example, Ryle’s tract on 1 John’s tests of life: http://www.chapellibrary.org/files/2413/7643/2882/ayba.pdf

43 Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, 220. 

44 Benjamin Keach, The Marrow of Justification, 9.

Reagan Marsh serves as Founding Pastor-Teacher to Reformation Baptist Church in Dalton,GA. He is a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY and has served in gospel ministry since 1998.
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