September 18, 2008

Through the Year ...

I've been spending a few minutes most mornings before our daughters leave for school reading one of the daily Bible readings from a book that Banner of Truth recently published, "Through the Year with William Still." Sinclair Ferguson has referred to Pastor Still as probably the one person who has had the greatest spiritual impact on his life.
Let me share today's reading with you, from "Through the Year with William Still."
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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no-one can boast (Eph. 2:8,9).
Faith is not a faculty which fallen humanity has by nature. It cannot issue from sullied and polluted hearts. It is purely a gift of God, which he bestows solely according to the will of his grace. It lights on whom in his sovereignty he wills.
The fact that we wake up one day and know that it has lighted upon us, so that we are enabled to realize our true condition in God's sight and lift our needy hands to him for rescue, is cause for infinite and everlasting thanksgiving. But let us see the underlying doctrine of salvation by grace through faith in clearer terms, so that we know what this great verse is saying. The ground of God's grace to us is the forgiveness of sins through the blood which Jesus shed for us.
The instrument of that grace, which the Almighty places in our hands and our hearts to enable us to respond to his kindness in saving us, is the gift of faith. We are only saved by faith because grace has bestowed it upon us. We have nothing to boast about in our salvation; it is only God from beginning to end.
To him be the glory!

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