The Kind of Eyeball That Sees

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Scott Clark is at it again. He misrepresents my views (again) by saying this:

“Mr Wilson’s doctrine of justification through ‘living’ or ‘obedient’ faith is the very doctrine that we rejected in the Reformation. He makes faith efficacious, not because it looks to Christ alone, but because it looks to Christ and is obedient.”

The only problem with this is that he doesn’t cite any place where I say that faith is efficacious on account of its sanctity. I didn’t say that because I don’t believe it, and not only do I not believe it, I stoutly deny it. I teach the opposite. To say that God looks at the holy quality of my faith and pronounces me justified on account of it would be a distortion of and denial of the Protestant doctrine of sola fide. The problem for Dr. Clark’s fixed notion is that I reject it, and I do so clearly.

The thing that makes this misrepresentation mind-boggling is that Dr. Clark began this post by quoting this from me:

“By “obedient faith” I mean nothing more or less than “living faith.” I do not mean in any way, shape or form, some kind of merit found in the creature that would ingratiate him with the Almighty.”

I deny that God looks at my faith and says, “Whoa, look at that holiness! Better justify him.” The faith that is the instrument of justification is holy, and is alive, and it is necessary for it to be holy and alive. But those qualities are not the reason or the ground that God has for justifying me. The ground is the obedience of Jesus Christ. I have not taught or said anything contrary to this, and since Dr. Clark is confident that I do in fact deny it, I would appreciate it if he would produce some evidence to this effect. If he cannot produce an example of me saying that God reckons the good qualities of my faith to me as righteousness, then I believe he owes me an apology.

The fact that my faith is alive makes it possible to see Christ, the sole basis or reason for anyone’s justification. If my faith were dead, it would be blind also, and incapable of looking to Christ as the sole ground of justification.

So, Dr. Clark, let me spell it out for you. Do I believe that God justifies me through the instrumentality of a living and holy faith? Yes. Do I believe that God in any manner whatever reckons that sanctity as part of His reason or ground for justifying me. As God is my witness, no. What is the ground for my justification? The living obedience of the Lord Jesus, plus nothing.

True faith is an eyeball and cannot look to itself. True faith sees Christ alone. But unless it is is a living eyeball, it cannot see. Dead eyeballs have no vision. So this life is necessary but is in no fashion meritorious. God does not give living faith so that it might admire itself in the mirror. If Dr. Clark would like me to say this any more clearly — I don’t know, throw in some more adjectives or something — I will be happy to do it. As I as said in my post, we do have disagreements, but whether God reckons any of my virtues into His calculations as He justifies me is not one of them.

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