Sunday, March 16, 2014


By Roger Salter
Special to Virtueonline
March 16, 2014

It is almost true to say that within the Christian Church serious confusion arises through the competing proclamation of three pathways to salvation, namely 1) the way of personal merit, 2) the sacraments asindispensable means of salvation, and 3) trust in Jesus Christ and his righteousness imputed to the believer immediately upon the exercise of sincere faith.

The least plausible of these alternatives, of course, is the way of works. St. Paul demolishes this fatal fiction with one succinct statement (backed up by a multiplicity of others): So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace (Romans 11:6). Legalism prevails enormously in the church under many guises that mix works, human attitude and action, with inadequate conceptions of grace in varying proportions, from outright Pelagianism to devilishly subtle forms of Semi-Pelagianism, but in each version of a polluted gospel a contribution from the sinner (inevitably small given our condition) is required for their salvation. Salvation is not cheap (a minimum contribution) but free (at great cost to the One who stood as Victim in our stead).

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