Empty Handed Faith

This morning I opened up my Twitter feed to read this:

We shall never be clothed with the righteousness of Christ

except we first know assuredly

that we have no righteousness of our own.[1] -- John Calvin

While I agree that we must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ the issue I have here is that not all who are so clothed know their need “assuredly”. This is where Calvin’s theology goes beyond scripture, once again. Calvin makes salvation based upon your definite, full knowledge of your need. Calvin feigns that unless one has this knowledge one will not be clothed with Christ’s righteousness but remains in their sins. This means, for Calvin, that one is saved by knowledge not by faith alone.

Let’s first look at what Scripture says about salvation, since that is what being “clothed with the righteousness of Christ” is.

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” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

These are familiar verses for many but read it again with this in mind: What is the “this” that Paul speaks of? Well, it is three things, grace (that comes from God and is not in yourself), salvation (that comes from God and is not from anything you do or have done) and faith (is a gift from God and not something you have within you on your own). Here we read that saving faith is a gift of God’s grace through which HE saves you. Paul goes on to remind us that works of any kind do not save but it is through faith.