(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


    "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

    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.
    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
    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.
    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.
    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
    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
    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
    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