justifieth the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness...For this cause it is of faith, that it may be according to grace?; <480506>Galatians 5:6 ? ?For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith working through love?; <450105>Romans 1:5 ? ?through whom we received grace and apostleship, unto obedience of faith among all the nations.?
Faith stands as an intermediate factor between the unconscious and undeveloped tendency or disposition toward God inwrought in the soul by God?s regenerating act, on the one hand, and the conscious and developed affection toward God, which is one of the fruits and evidences of conversion, on the other. Illustrate by the motherly instinct shown in a little girl?s care for her doll, a motherly instinct which becomes a developed mother?s love, only when a child of her own is born. This new love of the Christian is an activity of his own soul, and yet it is a ?fruit of the Spirit? ( <480522>Galatians 5:22). To attribute it wholly to himself would be like calling the walking and leaping of the lame man ( <440308>Acts 3:8) merely a healthy activity of his own. For illustration of the priority of faith to love, see Shedd, Dogm. Theol, 2:588, note; on the relation of faith to love, see Julius Muller, Doct. Sin, 1:116, 117.
The logical order is therefore unconscious and undeveloped love, faith in Christ and his truth, conscious and developed love and assurance of faith. Faith and love act and react upon one another. Each advance in the one leads to a corresponding advance in the other. But the source of all is in God. God loves, and therefore, he gives love to us as well as receives love from us. The unconscious and undeveloped love, which he imparts in regeneration, is the root of all Christian faith. The Roman Catholic is right in affirming the priority of love to faith, if he means by love only this unconscious and undeveloped affection. But the Protestant is also right in affirming the priority of faith to love, if he means by love a conscious and developed affection. Stevens, Johannine Theology, 368 ? ?Faith is not a mere passive receptivity. As the acceptance of a divine life, it involves the possession of a new moral energy. Faith works by love. In faith a new life force is received and new life-powers stir within the Christian man.?
We must not confound repentance with fruits meet for repentance or, faith with fruits meet, for faith. A. J. Gordon, The First Thing in the World: ?Love is the greatest thing in the world but faith is the first. The tree is greater than the root but let it not boast: ?if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee? ( <451118>Romans 11:18). Love has no power to branch out and bear fruit, except as, through faith, it is rooted in Christ and draws nourishment from him. <600105>1 Peter 1:5 ? ?who by the
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