By Amos Binney and Daniel Steele
The faith by which we are justified is present faith; faith actually existing and exercised. John 1:12; 3:18, 36. (105. What is the method of justification? What three things are to be considered? What is the origination cause? Meritorious? Instrumental? What is the faith by which we are justified?)
We are not justified by to-morrow's faith foreseen, for that would imply justification from eternity. Neither are we justified by yesterday's faith recorded and remembered, for that would imply justification that is irreversible. Ezek. 18:24; 33:12-13
The acts of this faith are three. They are distinct, yet concurrent exercises of the mind.
1. The assent of the understanding to the truth of God in the Gospel, especially that part of it which relates to the death of Christ as a sacrifice for sin.
2. The consent of the will and of the affections to this plan of salvation; such an approbation and choice of it as implies a renunciation of every other refuge.
3. From this assent of the enlightened understanding, and consent of the rectified will, result actual trust in the Savior, and personal appropriation of his merits. This must necessarily be preceded by true repentance. Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 20:20-21.
Errors respecting saving faith:
1. That it is not the act of a graciously aided (106. Is it the faith of to-morrow? Of yesterday? What is the first act of this faith? Second? Third? What errors respecting saving faith?) penitent, but the gift of God, sovereignly bestowed, when and to whom he wills. Refuted in Mark 16:16; II Thess, 2:12; Heb. 3:18. In I Cor. 12:9 faith is not a grace, but a miraculous endowment. In Eph. 2:8, the gift is not faith but salvation by grace.
2. That the unregenerate are incapable of the act of saving faith, and that it does not precede regeneration as a condition, but follows it as a result. Refuted in John 3:18, 36; Acts 10: 43; Rom. 1:16; 3:26; Eph. 1:13.
This, according to the original word in Scripture, means change of mind; an earnest wishing that something were undone that we have done. When repentance has respect only to the consequences of sin, as when a malefactor, who still loves his sin, repents, because it exposes him to punishment, it is sometimes called worldly or legal repentance, as distinguished from godly or evangelical repentance. II Cor. 7:9-1l.
Evangelical repentance is called a "repentance toward God," because it consists in turning from sin to holiness; implying a sense and hatred of sin, and a love of holiness. (107. What is repentance? Worldly, or legal repentance? What is said of evangelical repentance?)
The evidences of true saving repentance include a consciousness and confession of sin; as well as deep sorrow for and hearty renunciation of sin. Lev. 26:40; Num. 5:7; II Chron. 7:14; II Kings 22:19; Ezra 9:5-7; Ps. 32:5; 34:18; 38:4,18; 51:3-4, 17; Prov. 28:13; Isa. 55:7; 57:15; 66: 2; Jer. 3:12-13, 22; 7:3; Ezek. 20:43; 36:31; Dan. 9:5-8; Joel 2:12-13; Zech. 1:3; Matt. 3:2, 8; 4: 17; 26:75; Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; 15:18, 21; 18:13; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 8:22; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; II Cor. 7:9-11; I John 1:9; Rev. 2:5.