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Misplaced Faith

It is not uncommon for Christians to lack peace about the state of their souls. At times, the cause is legitimate: a guilty conscience should provoke self-examination. Often, however, we suffer from a misplaced faith. While justification unfailingly produces sanctification, our sanctification is not the ground on which our salvation rests.


Another cause of disquiet is, that men by a natural kind of popery seek for their comfort too much sanctification, neglecting justification, relying too much upon their own performances. St Paul was of another mind, accounting all but dung and dross, compared to the righteousness of Christ, Philip. iii. 8, 9. This is that garment, wherewith being decked, we please our husband, and wherein we get the blessing. This giveth satisfaction to the conscience, as satisfying God himself, being performed by God the Son, and approved therefore by God the Father. Hereupon the soul is quieted, and faith holdeth out this as a shield against the displeasure of God and temptations of Satan. Why did the apostles in their prefaces join grace and peace together, but that we should seek for our peace in the free grace and favour of God in Christ?

No wonder why papists maintain doubting, who hold salvation by works, because Satan joining together with our consciences will always find some flaw even in our best performances; hereupon the doubting and misgiving soul comes to make this absurd demand, as, Who shall ascend to heaven? Ps. xxiv. 3, which is all one as to fetch Christ from heaven, and so bring him down to suffer on the cross again. Whereas if we believe in Christ we are as sure to come to heaven as Christ is there. Christ ascending and descending, with all that he hath done, is ours. So that neither height nor depth can separate us from God’s love in Christ, Rom. viii. 39.

—Richard Sibbes, The Soul’s Conflict with Itself, Works (Banner of Truth, 2001), 1:138–139

Posted 2017·07·26 by David Kjos
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Posted in: Assurance · Richard Sibbes · Saving Faith · Works of Richard Sibbes

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