taking not giving

Two people making the same point from different angles.

John Colquhoun:

Faith, then, instead of being the condition of the covenant, is only a condition of connection in the covenant, a moral instrument or mean of receiving Christ, and, in union with him, justification and sanctification.

Instead of giving a right to eternal life, it receives the gift of the surety-righteousness, which gives all the right to it.

Instead of giving a personal interest in the Saviour, it only receives that personal interest in him which is freely offered to sinners in the blessed gospel. It does not, strictly speaking, give possession of Jesus Christ, or of his righteousness and salvation, but it takes possession of them. … [Someone] cannot otherwise take possession of Christ and salvation, than by the instrumentality of faith. …

Faith takes all that is in the promises, as a gift of immensely rich grace, but gives nothing of it.

A View of Saving Faith, p30.

Thomas Goodwin:

To endeavour after faith with our own strength is like the scrabbling and striving of one that cannot swim, which sinks him the sooner and the more, and is opposite to the way of faith; for faith fetches all strength from another, since that is essential to that grace … [Faith] is a receiving, borrowing grace.

Justifying Faith, p488

2 thoughts on “taking not giving

  1. I like those two quotes. Faith is the mere opening of the hand to receive Christ – and Christ makes it possible to open the hand in the first place (election and regeneration). I like to think that a person truly understands Christianity when he or she understands that “even your salvation isn’t really about you”.

    (By the way, in the Goodwin quote, “one that cannot swim” should be “one who cannot swim.” But, that’s a grammatical battle I’ve been losing for a long time!)


  2. Interesting point. It’s a strange mix of being intensely personal yet not at all fueling egotism. Or admitting any contribution on our part. Faith is the beggar’s outstretched empty hand. Been mulling this over for a wee while, may have more to say later.

    Re who/that, I’d have to go back and double check for sure, but I suspect that’s a battle you’ve been losing since the 19th century edition of Goodwin if it’s not original to him :-)


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