Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. John 6:29
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Acts 16:31
The discussion in the pages of the RFPA Standard Bearer regarding the gospel message seems to be nearly complete and it does appear to me that the controversy was not over the gospel as such, but about the call of the gospel-what the preacher preaches. We all agree that the command must be preached and that this command is different from all others because, if it is said to an elect person, it comes with the power to obey (Psalm 110:3), BUT the response of faith is essential and is granted to every sheep who hear Christ’s voice and thereafter follow him. Faith is granted through the command, and the bond with Christ is made (on God’s side this has already happened by regeneration and on man’s side it is confirmed subsequently by conversion) but God doesn’t believe for man. From the human standpoint you must believe in him and his work. The issue is not salvation from God’s point of view i.e. regeneration, the issue is how I am saved consciously, and the answer is, by responding in faith, faith granted by Christ himself who is the “one calling forth the faith, through the mouth of the preacher.” I believe it was rightly stated that, “one cannot know forgiveness or approving love” i.e. be conscious of union with Christ without faith. Faith IS this consciousness. It is the essential activity that the call requires from sinful men AND by this call through it’s own power, because it is the word of Christ, the gift of faith is bequeathed and activity of faith is expressed.
We don’t want to confuse faith with work though the consensus is that faith is a doing or activity. The jailer and the convicted Jews were commanded to repent and believe, not to do nothing, they had to believe. It is also obedience but does not merit. Is it not easier just to say that believing is a fruit of salvation which salvation comprises regeneration and the bond of faith AND the activity of faith being all graciously given by Christ?
Canons Head II error 4 is crucial-faith does NOT merit!
The command to obey the gospel is not law, rather that, like all of Scripture it is part of God’s law/precepts/commandments/statutes (names for Scripture in Psalm 19 and Psalm 119) that convert the soul. It is only like the law in that it is also commanded. We are under Christ’s law.
The contrast has to be kept between faith and good works as the means of salvation but faith as the first step, and good works as subsequent evidence of faith and the fruit of that faith are linked by all being of grace
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:Both of these verse inextricably link faith with good works and James says that faith without works is dead! Faith works by love!Faith and good works are not two ways of meriting salvation but they are linked in the fact that grace precedes and enables faith and all the subsequent good works of the saved believer. Faith always does work. And when we do get to glory we will only say that we did our duty and then cast our crowns before the Lord.Christ saves us. He saves us objectively and he saves us subjectively. We receive this salvation by faith through which all his imperious life, and what he achieved through his death and resurrection save us objectively and subjectively.When Paul says to the jailer that by believing he shall be saved-perhaps we ought to say that his activity of faith, enabled by the command of the preacher, brought him to the assurance that he was saved (subjective faith). What actually saved him was regeneration by the Holy Spirit that made him cry out, “What must I do?” Subsequently he expressed that faith and was baptized.Believing in Christ and subsequent good works are examples of Philippians 2:13 in action, both the will to do and the doing are wrought by Christ and the promise of eternal life for the first and the reward of grace for the second stand firm. This is confessional.