The Spirit creates faith through the gospel and saving faith bears the fruit of love and good works. We are united to Christ for justification and renewal. There must be distinguished, but never separated. Saving faith is not the enemy of good works, but their only possible source.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 40
When I find my justification in Christ alone, I am free to love and serve others in ordinary and unheralded ways. A relatively insignificant and imperfect act of generosity is nevertheless useful to my neighbor and therefore glorifying to God. Our perfectionism, however, makes others and their needs simply an instrument for loving and serving ourselves.
– Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 35
Indeed, I had to learn the hard way (the only way?) that the gospel alone can free us from our addiction to being liked – that Jesus measured up for us so that we wouldn’t have to live under the enslaving pressure of measuring up for others – including ourselves. I finally understood what Paul meant in Romans 10:4 when he wrote that Christ is the “end of the law.” Because of Jesus’ finished work for me, I already had the justification, approval, acceptance, security, freedom, affection, cleansing, new beginning, righteousness, and rescue I longed for.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 134
Christianity is not first and foremost about our behavior, our obedience, our response, and our daily victory over sin. It is first and foremost about Jesus! It is about His person; His substitutionary work; His incarnation, life, death resurrection, ascension and promised return. We are justified – and sanctified – by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone.
– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 68
Justification is something that happens externally from us. It is accomplished by the sinless life, substitutionary death, and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ in our place, for our sins, as our savior. It is a legal transaction in the sight of God for those whose faith is in Christ. Practically, this means your righteous in Christ. God can’t love you anymore, and he will never love you any less. You do not have to be perfect, because Jesus is. You don’t have to pay God back, because Jesus ask. You don’t need to suffer for your sense, because Jesus did. You are free to stop working for your righteousness and start working from Jesus’s righteousness.
– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 143-144
The question becomes, how do we put off our old self and put on our new self? The answer is found in the effects of Christ’s work on the cross for us: justification, regeneration, and glorification. Justification makes us externally new. Regeneration makes us internally new. Glorification makes us eternally new in Christ.
– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in Christ; Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 142
Yet we are on the wrong track if we think that the gospel was only necessary for “getting saved” and not for staying saved – even for growing in holiness. It is always “in view of God’s mercies” that we can offer ourselves as “a living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2). Our sanctification, no less than our justification depends on Christ’s absolution, so that we live out of gratitude rather than guilt and out of faith rather than self-trust. No longer trying to make God indebted to us, we receive his gift and share it with others. The gospel makes us extroverts: looking outside of ourselves to Christ in faith and to our neighbor in love.
Horton, Michael; The Gospel Driven Life: Being Good News People in a Bad News World; Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; Copyright 2009; page 132