With this post I want to present to you Ignorance's own confession of faith in response to Christian's probing and tactical question, "How dost thou believe?" I would remind us of how only a few paragraphs back. Ignorance made his own affirmation of justification by faith when he said:
Ignorance: Do you think that I am such a fool as to think that God can see no further than I; or that I would come to God in the best of my performances?
Christian: Why, how dost thou think in this matter?
Ignorance: Why, to be short, I think I must believe in Christ for justification.Now, though Ignorance uses such good words here, more important than words is the MEANING Assigned to them. The meaning becomes quite clear as Ignorance answers the question, "HOW DOST THOU BELIEVE?"
Christian: How dost thou believe?
Ignorance: I believe that Christ died for sinners; and that I shall be justified before God from the curse, through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws. Or thus, Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified.
"I believe that Christ died for sinners." -- words that are true when invested with the correct meaning. But this morning as my three little girls and I discussed, it was the 13 year old who said in answer to my question, "Does Ignorance speak truth here or error when he says, "I believe that Christ died for sinners," 13 yr old said, "he speaks falsely, for though the words are true what he MEANS by them is not really that Christ died for sinners. He doesn't mean it in the true way."
"and that I shall be justified before God from the curse," The same goes for the second part, though the words are true when meant in the true way, Ignorance understands them to mean something quite different from the truth.
This question is answered in the remainder of Ignorance's Confession of Faith:
Ignorance says, I am justified... "through his gracious acceptance of my obedience to his laws."
Q. But Ignorance says "gracious" isn't Ignorance affirming that we are saved by GRACE in this statement?
A. Though Ignorance speaks of grace it is not the grace that saves. For Ignorance speaks not of being saved by Grace apart from works but GRACE that accepts my works. Grace that makes MY WORKS the grounds of acceptance.
And finally, further does the meaning of IGNORANCE's words become clear and how though they were RIGHT WORDS they had WRONG MEANING as he confesses:
"Christ makes my duties, that are religious, acceptable to his Father by virtue of his merits, and so shall I be justified."
Q. But Ignorance says it is by VIRTUE of the MERITS of Christ by which I am justified. Is that not a true statement.
A. NO, the statement is false though part of the words are true their meaning is FALSE. For Ignorance makes the merit of Christ the justifier of my WORKS -- Not my PERSON. The grounds of Justification in the eyes of Ignorance is my own works which are made acceptable by the merits of Christ. YET it is my WORKS says HE that are the grounds by which I shall be justified.
Lord willing, in our next post we will consider Christian's answer to this IGNORANT CONFESSION OF FAITH.