Jun 14, 2013

Romans 1:5 - William Button

I now proceed to the second proof of the Third Proposition, which is, that faith is called obedience, “They are described as obeying the gospel, obeying the truth and obeying Christ.” Now, says Mr. F., “It is generally supposed, that nothing deserves the name of obedience, but what is a conformity to some duty. If therefore faith were not their duty previous to believing, that believing could not with propriety be termed obedience” (p. 59). To which I answer, the passages referred to by Mr. F. none of them prove faith to be an act of obedience, they only shew that obedience is the fruit of faith. The passage in Rom. 1:5, “By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith,” must, I think, to every common understanding, clearly appear to point out the grand design of the gospel ministry, which is (through the blessing of the Holy Spirit) to bring men to obedience to Christ, the object of faith, and to the doctrine of faith. And when faith is produced in the soul, evangelical obedience follows; faith must be prior to obedience, I mean evangelical and acceptable obedience; for without faith it is impossible to please God. “Those acts of holy obedience (says an excellent writer) which the subjects of supernatural faith yield unto God, are fruits of that faith, and accompany it: but they are not that faith itself; or, that faith does not consist in acts of obedience, though acts of obedience flow from that excellent grace” (Animadvertions upon the Letters on Theron and Aspasio, p. 34).

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