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In this sense it is that faith is counted to us for, or in order to, righteousness, — and that we are “justified by faith.” Faith does not justify as a work, or as a moral act, or a piece of goodness, nor as a gift of the Spirit, but simply because it is the bond between us and the Substitute; a very slender bond in one sense, but strong as iron in another.is that which produces this faith: it is out of the former, not of the latter, that our peace and justification come.Our act of faith must ever be a separate thing from that which we believe., though he has not done any, and though his faith is not righteousness.It realizes our present standing before God in the excellency of His own Son; and it tells us that our eternal standing, in the ages to come, is in the same excellency, and depends on the perpetuity of that righteousness which can never change.
It was not his act of looking that healed him, but the object to which he locked.There is first, then, a believed righteousness; for in that case it would be a work like any other doing of man, and as such would be incompatible with the righteousness of the Son of God; the “righteousness which is by faith.” Faith connects us with the righteousness, and is therefore totally distinct from it.To confound the one with the other is to subvert the whole gospel of the grace of God.Some in our day speak as if we soon got beyond the cross, and might leave it behind; that the cross having done all it could do for us when first we came under its shadow, we may quit it and go forward; that to remain always at the cross is to be babes, not men. But the great truth which the cross embodies we can no more part with than we can past with life eternal.
In this sense, to turn our back upon the cross is to turn our back upon Christ crucified, — to give up our connection with the Lamb that was slain.
The slightest imperfection in our faith, if faith were our righteousness, would be fatal to every hope.