(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 25) The Relationship of God Works to the Justification of the Sinner Before God Lord's Day 24 Psalter No. 12 st. 1, 2, 3 Read Romans 6 Psalter No. 236 st. 1, 2 Psalter No. 428 st. 2 Psalter No. 1 st. 3, 5 Beloved, "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord", so Paul testifies in Romans 6:23. In the state of rectitude God established the Covenant of Works with Adam, and in him as their representative covenant head with all his posterity. In this covenant, eternal life, which can never be lost, was promised upon the keeping of the probationary commandment, but also death was threatened upon the transgression thereof. God created man perfect, and therefore he was able to keep the demands of the covenant without any added special grace. However, as we have seen already in the Third Lord's Day, Adam broke the Covenant by his wilful disobedience, and subjected himself and all those comprehended in him to death. No other punishment could follow sin but death, which according to God's righteous judgment had to be executed upon all men, for God cannot renounce His justice or He would deny Himself and cease to be God. Yet deliverance from this judgment is made possible by Him, who as the last Adam, merited eternal life for His elect and applies it to them. To that end He had to subject Himself to death and render perfect satisfaction to the violated justice of God. He bore the full burden of the wrath of God and descended into hell; that is, He suffered the pains and agonies of hell before His death. He bore spiritual and eternal death in the complete withdrawal of God's favour and communion when in the garden of Gethsemane He complained, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death", and on the cross He cried, "My God, my God, why has Thou forsaken Me?" He died the temporal death when His soul was separated from His body, and thus He took upon himself the curse that lay upon His people. Thereby the judgment of death was taken away for his people. The mediatorial death of Christ is not meant for all people but only for those who are comprehended in Him. As Adam in the Covenant of Works represented all his posterity, so also is Christ the representative covenant Head of His elect in the Covenant of Grace, and his death is their satisfaction, and his righteousness is their righteousness before God. He has brought immortality to light, for he could not be held by death, and God's justice demanded His resurrection from the dead when the law was disarmed of its curse and an everlasting redemption was brought in. Without any merits of their own, God's children receive eternal life from their blessed Head, their Surety and Mediator. Comprehended as they are in Adam with all mankind, they are rewarded according to their works; but they obtain eternal life from Christ by grace alone without any of their own works. Grace is given to the guilty, to those worthy of punishment, and it is to those who, in Adam are condemned to death, that God gives grace in the glorification of his justice. This justice was satisfied by the death of Jesus Christ, His only-begotten Son, Who in our human nature as Surety for the elect, suffered all that the justice of God demanded of Him. Therefore, they who are saved can glory only in grace, as Paul writes, "By grace are ye saved." Even though salvation is by faith, this faith is no ground for salvation. The sinner is justified freely and is reconciled to God by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. However, this doctrine does not make men careless and profane. This life received by grace bears fruits of thankfulness. The Catechism teaches that good works do not count as a ground for the justification of the sinner before God and at the same time the performance of good works is indispensable as a fruit of faith by which God's children are grafted into Christ. Let us consider this important doctrine as we ponder the twenty-fourth Lord's Day of our Heidelberg Catechism. Q. 62: But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God? A. Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin. Q. 63: What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life? A. This reward is not of merit, but of grace. Q. 64: But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane? A. By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness. This Lord's Day speaks of the justification of the sinner before God in connection with good works, so that: I good works as a ground for justification are excluded; II the reward of good works is acknowledged; and III the necessity of good works is shown. I The previous Lord's Day spoke of justification as the benefit of faith, and taught us upon Biblical grounds, that only in Christ the elect are righteous before God and heirs of eternal life. Because of the righteousness He brought in they are acquitted of guilt and punishment, but the application of that righteousness can only be accepted by the faith that God grants His people. Now the instructor goes on to delve deeper into justification, only because of the perfect satisfaction of Christ, so that a leaning upon our good works is completely excluded. Lord's Day 24 defends the doctrine of justification against those who would base it upon their good works. Even in the previous Lord's Day, those works were entirely excluded as a ground for justification. Even faith, however necessary it may be as a hand to receive Christ, falls away as ground for the justification of a sinner before God. We are justified, not because of faith, but by faith. The only ground is the perfect satisfaction of Christ. Everything outside of that is a sandy foundation that shall sink away under our feet. Christ alone remains. But this doctrine that excludes all creature merit has always had bitter enemies. And no wonder! Our heart by nature cannot and will not acknowledge that good works have no value. It seeks a lost Paradise without Jesus, and rages against the doctrine of free grace. Many therefore bent an ear to Pelagius the British monk, who lived about the year 400 AD and denied the fall of man as well as original sin. For Pelagius, Christ was only an example to incite us to improve ourselves. How could such a false teacher who had been repeatedly condemned by the old Christian Church understand anything of the justification of the sinner before God by grace without any works of man? He who denies the fall in Adam can understand nothing of justification based on the meritorious suffering and death of Christ. Still the error of Pelagius lived on; and as we have seen in the explanation of the previous Lord's Day, in the seventeenth century the Armenians embraced it and stirred up much trouble in the church. They spoke of God's gracious acceptance of our works, and a justification because of faith instead of by and through faith, as the Scripture says. How many to this day, feel that God will forgive their sins if only they will live moral and virtuous lives. Christ died for all men, say the Arminians. To believe in Christ is an act of man's free will and God, appraising our works favorably, accepts what is defective as a perfect obedience to the law. The Socinians made matters still worse, since they denied that Christ rendered a perfect satisfaction, and spoke of a new law, better and more extensive than that of Moses, and promising eternal life to all that do good. Our conflict is mainly against the Roman Catholics. Rome teaches that Christ merited salvation but we must make ourselves worthy of it, that Christ bore the eternal punishment, but we must render satisfaction for the temporal punishment of sin, and that the righteousness of Christ is not perfect but must be completed by the addition of our good works. Thus the Catholic enemies of the doctrine of free grace already expressed themselves in 1546 at the Council of Trent. Rome understands nothing of justification as the Scriptures teach it. They do not know justification to be a judicial act of God, but consider it a fruit of sanctification. By the renewing of the heart, which is a grace that the church confers through its priest, man is given the strength to keep God's commandments, and thus by his good works he can obtain a righteousness which has merit in the sight of God. Yea, he can merit more than he needs, and thus acquire a high degree of heavenly glory. With them justification is righteousness conferred. What a misconception about justification! Brakel aptly writes that if this were so, then declaring a man guilty would mean conferring guilt upon him. Greater inconsistency would be inconceivable. No, justification does not come forth out of sanctification, but it is an acquittal of guilt and punishment as judges give in court. Our good works cannot stand before the bar of God, for even the very best of them, even those which God's children do by faith, are defiled by sin. God's justice must be maintained, and in the scales of that justice, all our works are found wanting. If God would judge us according to our works, the sentence of death would necessarily be pronounced. Regarding justification by faith we cannot emphasize too much that it is a judicial act of God, a sentence pronounced by the Judge of heaven, which only acquits from the guilt and punishment and grants a right to eternal life when the last penny is paid to the violated justice of God. That Christ has done, alone and completely, so that outside of His righteousness, nothing has any value at all. That does away with the doctrine that some or all of our good works have merit. Our good works cannot be our righteousness before God, or even a part of it. In justification not the love, but the justice of God is in the foreground. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment. God the Father as the vindicator of the violated justice of the Divine Being justifies. To Him therefore the Son offered Himself as the substituting Surety of His people. "It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us." The Catechism, therefore, stands firmly rooted in the Word of God when it excludes all good works of man as a ground of justification and demands a righteousness that can stand before the tribunal of God, and is conformable to God's law, and our good works do not measure up to that standard. The Romish doctrine that good works must be added is a denial of the complete satisfaction of Christ and violates the inexorable justice of God. Never can we give even one penny to God's demands. Every imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, because of the breaking of the Covenant of Works. The wilful disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve in Paradise, did not however diminish God's demands upon man. God's justice continues to demand perfect obedience to God's holy law. That justice never holds the guilty one guiltless. There is no gracious acceptance with God by which He would accept the imperfect, sinful work as if it were perfect. For Him only, that work counts which is in all respects conformable to the divine law, that is, answers perfectly to all God's commandments. Our works never do that, and therefore all leaning upon our own works is condemned, and the Roman Catholic church is cast out as Hagar, of whom it is written, "Cast out the bond woman and her son, for the son of the bond woman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman." (Gal. 4:30) Oh, may that doctrine be preserved among us and continue from generation to generation. May it ever be known among us, not only historically, but also experimentally. The historical knowledge leaves us inwardly a stranger to this doctrine that is so indispensable to our salvation. It becomes so very different when those who are chosen by God and purchased by the blood of Christ are summoned by the Holy Spirit to appear before the judgment seat of God. All their righteousnesses become as filthy rags; not only are they insufficient to pay one penny of their dreadful debt, but they even become glaring sins. They see themselves subjected to the judgment of eternal death, the avenger of blood pursues them as he did the manslayer in Israel. Whatever they attempt, there is no escape. Their most zealous works do not count. Their guilt increases daily, and they sincerely accept the righteous sentence of death that is pronounced upon them. Comrie calls it a mark of grace when the soul submits to the justice of God even though He should condemn him to hell eternally. We should pay special attention to that acceptance of God's sentence. The almost Christian never reaches that point, although severe convictions of conscience sometimes cause him great anguish for a time. Already in the beginning of true conviction the sinner agrees with the judgment of God, and this, strange as it may seem, gives some hope and liberty to ask the Lord for grace. Although ministers might proclaim from the pulpit, "Believe and be converted", such a soul could more easily reach the sky with his hand than believe that he is saved in Christ. More and more his works lose their value. His praying, his seeking, his zeal to keep God's law circumspectly, and all his contrivances to escape the sentence as condemnation is of no avail. My beloved, we learn experimentally that by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified before God. The Lord delivers His people out of their pharisaic holiness, in order that they may learn to know Christ by faith and find their righteousness before God in Him alone. If only God's justice in His inexorable demand of perfect satisfaction is impressed upon our soul, our works will vanish more and more, and the avenger of blood will continue to pursue until we have entered the city of refuge and are acquitted by the divine sentence. Then all works fall away as ground for justification, including works of faith, such as longing, waiting, pleading upon God's promises, and others. In justification no works are taken into account. In God's balances only the perfect satisfaction of Christ has weight. Those who come with their works, whether they are Papists, or Armenians, or Moralists - who basically are but disguised Arminians - or persons of Reformed persuasion who build upon their baptism, or profession, or upon their pious lives, prayers and the impressions received, will find themselves deceived. Some day they shall hear, "Thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting." The truth is painful to our nature. It cuts off all that man wishes to present to God. It cannot be stated too strongly that our works are entirely excluded in the matter of justification. To many this may sound like harsh language, but they who have been savingly convinced of their sins and summoned to appear before God as their Judge to give an account of their deeds, heartily assent to it. Lost sinners are saved without their works, by grace alone, because of the merits of Him Who disarmed the law of its curse and has reconciled His elect to God. He rendered the perfect obedience that God demanded. No sigh, no tear, nor anything of man counts in justification. Our opponents say that God will nevertheless reward good works, not only in this life, but even in life eternal. That reward is not denied by what we have said. On the contrary it is affirmed. Let us then observe in the second place that the doctrine of free justification before God, acknowledges the reward of good works. II This is explained to us in question sixty-three which reads: "What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?" Although the answer of the instructor acknowledges this reward, it shows that good works do not earn it, but that it is granted by grace. Scripture speaks very clearly of that reward. God said to Abraham, "I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward." (Gen. 15:1) Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, "for he had respect to the recompence of the reward." (Hebr. 11:26), and whoever he may be, "he that comets to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." (Hebr. 11:6) Therefore the Lord said in Matt. 5:12 to those who were despised and persecuted for His sake, "Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven." And the church in Sardis had a few names which had not defiled their garments; "and they shall walk with Me (says Christ) in white, for they are worthy." So we see it is definitely true that God will reward good works, both in this life, and in the life to come, to shame those that live in sin. "And in the keeping of His word there is a great reward." The adversary, from the Pelagian to the Semi-Pelagian or the Papist, would therefore have won the argument of the merit of good works, if this reward were given according to merit. But that is not so. Therefore their doctrine of good works has no basis. For rewards are either of two kinds; namely, of grace or of merit. I mention just one example. Consider the laborers in the vineyard of which we read in Matt. 20. The five groups of laborers mentioned there are of two kinds when payment is made. They all receive one penny, but that penny is not the same for each of them. Those that were sent first, with whom the householder had made the agreement, receive the wages they had earned. They receive a fair wage. They murmur, but without a cause. "Friend," said the Lord, "I do thee no wrong, didst thou not agree with me for one penny? Take that is thine (what you have earned honestly) and go thy way." Here, therefore, the reward was of merit. All the other laborers went to work in the vineyard without an agreement. They must wait to see what the lord of the vineyard will give them. If they receive a penny, it was not earned. Their penny was a reward of grace, and the more so since they worked fewer hours. The lord of the vineyard gave them of his own with which he does what he will. Thus the Lord rewards His elect with the penny of grace. This becomes still clearer when the Lord by this parable takes all merit out of the disciples' following of Him and shows them that they are saved by virtue of God's sovereign election. He concludes the parable of the laborers in the vineyard with the words, "So the last shall be first, and the first last; for many be called, but few chosen." The disciples shall not be saved because of their following of Jesus; the children of God as the chosen of God shall not inherit eternal life because of the grace received and the fruit thereof shown in their works, but by sovereign grace alone because of the eternal good pleasure of the Father. Not only did the rich young man with all his works fall short but the disciples and all God's children find every ground in their own works washed away. This makes the way of salvation so narrow for God's people. They cannot stand before God with their experiences and their exercises of soul, however much refreshment may lie in them, nor with the precious promises given them, nor with their following of Christ. Oh, how deep the significance is of the words, "By grace are ye saved." Even the works of God's favorites do not avail. May the Lord reveal it to us more and more, and may He keep us and our children faithful to the pure doctrine that the reward of good works is not of merit, but of grace. There can be no thought of merit when we consider the relation in which man stands to his Creator. "When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which was our duty to do." God demands perfect obedience because He has created us after His image; and though we should render Him that perfect obedience (although this is impossible to fallen man) we still could not claim merit. When the Lord promised life in the state of innocence, it was by virtue of the Covenant of Works made with Adam, and in him with all his posterity, in which He opened the way to develop the full glory given him in creation. If you consider the works in themselves as our duty of keeping the law, there can be no thought as merit or of a demand by man for payment from God. Much less, then, can such a demand be made by fallen man who is worthy of death, and who has by sin entirely corrupted himself in soul and body. How can he bring forth anything for which he may demand a reward? The reward of good works is given by virtue of the Covenant of grace to them that shall be heirs of salvation. The people that are renewed by the Holy Spirit bring forth fruits meet for faith and repentance. They themselves are pleasing to God in Christ, and therefore, their works are pleasing also. "The Lord had respect unto Abel (first Abel) and to his offering, but unto Cain and to his offering He had not respect." Its value for God lay not in the work, but in grace for Christ's sake. Therefore you read in Rev. 14:13 "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth." "Yea," saith the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them." This reward of grace is the comfort for God's people in their affliction and misery. Scorn and reproach is often their portion in this life. Sometimes they are rejected by their father and mother because of the truth, but this is counterbalanced by the reward of communion with God's children, God's blessing in their life and the Lord's mercy in their hearts which strengthens them more than choice foods. Some day their souls shall enter into peace, and their works shall follow them. Their works shall not precede them, for they are not a ground of ones righteousness before God nor a part of it. They shall be rewarded as it is written in Matt. 25 so very differently from those who want to count their merits by naming them one by one. "Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in; naked, and ye clothed Me; I was sick, and ye visited Me; I was in prison, and ye came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him saying, Lord, when saw we Thee an hungered, and fed Thee? or thirsty and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger and took Thee in? or naked, and clothed Thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me." God will reward their works, not according to merit, but of grace; and that makes it the greater wonder. This reward of good works therefore cannot be the basis for the doctrine of the meritorious value of good works. On the contrary all of its grounds are taken away because the reward is only of grace. Grace entirely excludes works as a ground for justification. Thus the Papists and all those who ascribe merit to good works are disarmed. Will they surrender now? Far from it. Hear what the Catechism says in the third place about the necessity of good works. III The enemies of the doctrine of free grace scoff and say that this doctrine would lead to careless and offensive lives. The instructor answers that charge when he teaches that although good works are not meritorious they are still necessary. Question 64 therefore reads, "But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?" As you can feel, it is the same slander that was brought against the preaching of the gospel in Paul's days. Then already there were some that slandered the doctrine of free grace, and caused the apostle to write in Rom. 3:8, "And shall we not rather say (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say) Let us do evil, that good may come?" And what answer did Paul give those slanderers? "Whose damnation is just." This damnation is pronounced upon those who misuse free grace to give occasion to the flesh. This text alone should be sufficient to close the mouth of the slanderer. The reproach is effectively refuted. If anywhere the doctrine of justification is taught with the exclusion of all works of men, it is in the Epistle to the Romans. In that very epistle Paul includes in his condemnation those who would do evil that good might come. He concludes that same chapter with the words, "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law." To mention no more, after the apostle had taught justification by faith so clearly in the preceding chapter, he comes back to this matter in Romans 6 saying, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?" And again he rejects this slanderous thought with the words, "God forbid." No, indeed, this doctrine does not make careless and profane people who continue in sin. "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" In justification one is planted in Christ, else His righteousness could never become ours, but the consequence then must be that justification without any works of ours does not make men careless and profane. Just as the instructor answers the question quoted above, "By no means: for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness." That should silence all those Pelagians, Papists, and others that glory in their works; all who are enemies of sovereign grace, and who like the elder son are very angry when a prodigal waster, a lost, guilty sinner is accepted and reconciled with God by grace alone. They work for wages, not for God; heaven is their highest aim, but their end shall be eternal perdition. Sanctification is inseparably connected with justification. Nevertheless these two benefits are different. Already in our youth Hellenbroek taught us that this difference is threefold; (1) Justification is an act without us, but sanctification within us. (2) Justification removes the guilt of sin, but sanctification its pollution. (3) The act of justification is complete, but sanctification, during this life is not complete. As we heard in Lord's Day 23, justification takes place without us in Christ. It is the acquittal by God in eternity and in the resurrection of Christ, of which the Holy Spirit gives the elect sinner knowledge, and whereof He assures him. In justification the guilt of sin is pardoned but we are also entirely polluted, and that pollution is washed away in sanctification. Thirdly, justification is complete, for God does not justify a man only half, but He acquits him completely from his sins and grants him a right to life eternal. But sanctification is imperfect in this life. Even though the church of God is perfect in Christ, sin cleaves unto her until her last breath; the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. Although these two benefits, which the Roman church confuses, are different, they are not to be separated from each other. Christ is given not only for justification, but also for sanctification. They that die with Him shall also live with Him. Both benefits go together from regeneration on to the exercises of faith. He who would glory in justification, but has no desire to observe God's law, deceives himself. Paul includes the Antinomian in his condemnation. Therefore the Roman Catholic accusation against justification without works is false. Those who are implanted into Christ by a true faith shall bring forth fruits worthy of repentance and faith. It cannot be otherwise. It is impossible that this should not take place. No, good works are not the ground for justification, but they are the fruits of sanctification which cannot be separated from justification. Good works are therefore not excluded, and God's people yearn after communion with Christ by faith that they may abide in Him, and bring forth much fruit. "I follow after," says Paul, "if that I may apprehend that for which I am apprehended of Christ." And he was called to strive after perfection, namely, to eternally praise and glorify God, as all of God's people are. All of God's people seek that perfection which they shall one day attain in eternal glory. The accusation that the doctrine of justification without works makes men careless and profane is so false that on the contrary it causes them to press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, and those who are perfect (established in their state in Christ) are thus minded. (Phil. 3:15) This causes those that are justified to desire continually the ministration of the Holy Spirit who fulfills the promise, "I will cause them to walk in My statutes." Come let us sing with the psalmist of Psalm 119: "O let Thy Spirit be my constant aid, That all my ways may ever be directed To keep Thy statutes, so to be obeyed, That from all error I may be protected. I shall not be ashamed then or afraid, When Thy commandments I have e'er respected." Psalter No. 428 stanza 2 Application Are there then no careless or profane people even among them that speak of the free grace of God? Yes, indeed, there are such people. They are a disgrace, who, contrary to their confession, and while pretending to have become partakers of Christ, live in sin and draw others away from the paths of righteousness. Yes, there are such: antinomians, who affirm that we need not be so particular about our works. Has Christ not died for our sins? In the church of Pergamus they were called, "Them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel to eat things sacrificed unto idols and to commit fornication." "So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate," says the Lord. O, that it might fall as a stroke of thunder upon their soul; God hates their works, and if they do not repent He will fight against them with the sword of His mouth. He that has an ear, let him hear! Although there always have been and always will be to the end of time, people who misuse the doctrine of justification without works to give occasion to the flesh, that doctrine itself gives no license for a careless and profane life. On the contrary, it admonishes us to bear fruit as branches in Christ, the vine. Soon, in Lord's Day 32, we hope to return to this subject, so we will now make only these remarks, desiring that God will keep us with the pure doctrine. Let us turn to ourselves. Have we ever learned by the light of the Spirit of God to cast away our works as ground for justification before God? Was that the practice of our heart? Have our best works ever become sin before God? Oh, do not be too easy about sin; do not think, "A person must have something." Soon before God's judgment seat we must give an account of every idle word that we have spoken. Even if we became as the rich young man or as Paul who lived blameless according to the law, our works are not found perfect before God. We must become partakers of Christ and His righteousness by a true faith, or the eternal judgment of death will soon be executed upon us. My unconverted hearer, may it bring you to a standstill before the day of grace shall have passed. Oh, what a discovery lies in this doctrine of free grace for the people of God. Oh, worried souls who are still seeking to satisfy God with your works, may the Lord take all your grounds away from you, so that you might seek your salvation in Christ alone, and that you could find no rest until you are hidden in Him. May the Lord also show you more and more by discovering grace your lack of conformity to that perfection of which the Lord said, "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." The holiest men have but a small beginning of it, and in their own strength God's people cannot conquer one sin. In communion of faith with Christ they are more than conquerors. The Lord grant us then to abide in Him. "Abide in Me and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in Me." Oh, may the Lord cause us to understand the words, "Without Me, ye can do nothing", so that we may shun all that tends to draw us away from Him, and be privileged more and more to abide in Him so as to bear much fruit. Thus you will glory in being justified only by grace without any work and still show in all your conversation that this doctrine does not make men careless and profane, but that the Father is glorified in you, enabling you to bear much fruit. Amen. (continued in part 26...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-25.txt .