On Whose Righteousness Do You Rely?

“Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many have so light an apprehension of God’s holiness and of the extent and guilt of their sin that consciously they see little need for justification, although below the surface of their lives they are deeply guilt-ridden and insecure. Many others have a theoretical commitment to this doctrine, but in their day-to-day existence they rely on their sanctification for justification, drawing their assurance of acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience . . .

Few [Christians] know enough to start each day with a thoroughgoing stand upon Luther’s platform: you are accepted, looking outward in faith and claiming the wholly [external] righteousness of Christ, as the only ground of acceptance, relaxing in that quality of trust which will produce increasing sanctification [or transformation] as faith is active in love and gratitude.”

Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1979, pg. 101) as quoted by Jerry Bridges in The Transforming Power of the Gospel (Navpress, 2012, Kindle Location 2752).

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