In response to my Thanks for Nothing post (5/18/04), one correspondent argued that this was essentially the same position that Trent affirmed. It was a bit hard to follow, but I will do my best to replicate it here. If the creature’s works are the ground of his justification (which I was denying, actually), but the creature can only do such works by grace through faith, then it follows that the creature is saved by grace through faith, but the grace and faith are no longer alone. Somehow.
But the problem is that I was asserting the sovereign, inexhaustible, exhaustive, glorious, high-octane grace, jet fuel grace, grace all-the-way-down kind of grace prior to the Fall. The creature always and for everything must give thanks to God, for every blessed thing comes from His hand, and to Him goes all the glory. As in, soli Deo gloria! To be contrasted with this new version of reformational thunder, which appears to be soli Deo gloria nisi ante lapsum. All glory to God, except before the Fall, when Adam gets a cut.
Had Adam withstood temptation in the Garden, the Lord would have said, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” and Adam in return would have (rightly) given all the glory to God. “I was a good and faithful servant because it was a gift from Your hand, and Your hand alone.” All grace, all the time, in every direction, run it out over the horizon and don’t stop then.
All grace as the ground of any possible justification. No works as the ground of any possible justification. Works are bad as ground of any possible justification.
(Background muttering, building to a crescendo) “Word games! More word games! What is he trying to say? Wilson insists that sovereign and exhaustive grace is the sole ground of any creature’s obedience, anywhere, any time (and he think no works can be the ground of justification anywhere, works, bah!). Since when Wilson defends tota gratia he must be sneaking in works, we will fool them all. We will deny works by affirming them.”
If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry about it. Not your problem.