across the country, a dangerous perception
that, though the gospel comes by faith and
is for our salvation, our sanctification happens by some other means.
Alstad asks, “How about the Church
teaching better the things that follow faith?”
I defer to the Apostle Paul: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed – a
righteousness that is by faith from first to
last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will
live by faith’ ” (Romans 1: 17). In this sense,
there is nothing that follows faith.
Whenever we are confronted with
ways we are failing to live righteously (as
Alstad confronts us in his letter), we are
being confronted with our sin. This is true
both for non-Christians and for the most
mature of believers. We need to recognize that the Christian life is a repeated
response to the same Good News.
In every case, we first exercise our faith
by acknowledging our sin and embracing
the work of Jesus Christ who has paid sin’s
penalty. But we don’t stop there. Part of
the Good News is that Christ has freed us
from the bondage of sin and promised the
Holy Spirit to enable us to live righteously.
We continue exercising our faith in the
same message of the gospel as we turn
from our sin in Spirit-empowered repentance and do what God’s Word says is right.
If we proceed in any other way, we
are acting like the foolish Galatians Paul
says were abandoning the gospel. Having
begun by faith, by means of the Spirit, they
were trying to finish by means of the flesh
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