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Paradox of Salvation

Paradox of Salvation

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Published by glennpease
REV. HENRY WOODWARD, A.M.


Philippians II. 12, 13.
Wherefore^ my beloved, as ye have always obeyed^ not as in my
presence only, but now much more in my absence^ work out
your own scUvaiion with fear and trembling, J^or it is God
which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good
pleasure.
REV. HENRY WOODWARD, A.M.


Philippians II. 12, 13.
Wherefore^ my beloved, as ye have always obeyed^ not as in my
presence only, but now much more in my absence^ work out
your own scUvaiion with fear and trembling, J^or it is God
which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good
pleasure.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 10, 2013
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PARADOX OF SALVATIOREV. HERY WOODWARD, A.M.Philippians II. 12, 13.Wherefore^ my beloved, as ye have always obeyed^ not as in mypresence only, but now much more in my absence^ work outyour own scUvaiion with fear and trembling, J^or it is Godwhich worketh in you both to will and to do of His goodpleasure.It requires but a slight acquaintance with the sacredScriptures to be assured that there are upon its surfacea variety of texts which it is hard, nay impossible, for usto reconcile one with another. or is that apparentcollision of doctrines any where more remarkable thanin those passages which speak of the sovereign grace of God upon the one hand, and man's responsibility uponthe other. They appeal to us as if every thing dependedon the former, and at the same time as if every thingdepended upon the latter. Amongst a multitude of instances, let us take the following, in reference to Di-vine grace : A man can receive nothing, except it be givenhim from heaven (John iii. 27). By grace are ye savedthrough faith ; and that not of yourselves : it is the giftof God: not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph ii.8, 9). Every good gift and every perfect gift is fromabove, and cometh down from the Father of lights, withwhom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (JamesSERMO XXXVI. 445i. 17). Let US also select an equal number which lay noless stress on the importance of our own endeavours :By thy words thou shalt be justified^ and by thy wordsthou shalt be condemned (Matt. xii. 37). Who will renderto every man according to his deeds: to them who by
 
patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honourand immortality y eternal life : but unto them that are con-tentiouSy and do not obey the truths but obey unrighteous-ness^ indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, uponevery soul of man that doeth evil, of t/te Jew first, andalso of the Gentile ; but glory, honour, and peace to everyman that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to theGentile (Rom. ii. 6 — 10). Be not deceived, God is notmocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he alsoreap. For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the fleshreap corruption ; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting (Gal. vi. 7, 8). ow, thatthe doctrines which these passages of Scripture respect-ively contain are true, we know ; but how to reconcilethem, how to shew their consistency, to solve the diffi-culties, and to silence all controversies which may ariseconcerning them, is a task to which perhaps no finitemind is competentThey have been compared to the shafts of the rain-bow, which touch the earth and are plain and palpableto the eye, while the centre of their unity above, thekeystone of the arch in which they meet, is embosomedin the clouds, and shaded from our view. To reducethe immensity of the Scriptures into such a shape assuits our notions of a system, is as far removed from ourpower as to lift the earth from its foundations. Ourpart is to believe and practise what we do understandof that wondrous and mysterious volume, and not to446 SERMO XXXVI.deal with it as if the Mind, whose inspirations gave itbeing, were upon a level with our own. o : if sometexts of Scripture refer every thing to the grace of God,and if others would apparently make every thing dependupon our own doings, let us pray as if the former werethe whole truth, and let us use all diligence as if the
 
latter were no less so. It is by the seeming oppositionof these passages that they ^x^ profitable for doctrine^ forreproof for correction^ for instruction in righteousness^ tothe most contrasted cases of the mind, which the endlessvariety of our wants, experiences, and circumstances canexhibit They furnish milk for babeSy and strong meatfor men of age. With us it lies, for ourselves or others, toselect such portions as are appropriate, and thus rightlyto divide the word of truth ; otherwise we might, by anundue application, render that word of worse than noneeffect, and wrest the Scriptures to our own destruction.To explain my meaning, let us suppose that a personwere to come to one of us, and say, ** I have this dayresolved, that in thought, word, or deed I will nevercommit another sin ; and by this resolution I am deter-mined to abide ;" would it be right to cheer one thuspresumptuously relying upon his own strength, andboasting in self-righteousness, with such passages as,Work out your own salvation. Whatsoever a man soweth,tliat shall he also reap. Then shall He reward everyman according to his works ? o, assuredly ; no poisoncould be more deadly than such doctrines thus in- judiciously applied. They would be like cordials ina fever, or stimulants to the inflammatory action of thebrain. On the other hand, were we addressed by onewhose mental constitution was in perfect contrast withthis presumptuous confidence, and were his language inSERMO XXXVI. 447the following strain, " It is in vain for me to kick againstthe pricks ; I am utterly helpless ; I am carried just asthe current bears me ; I have no power to resist sin, butyield passively to every temptation ;" would it be wiseto meet this faint-heartedness, to cheer this guilty sloth,by saying — " True : we are not sufficient of ourselves tothink anything as of ourselves. Without me ye can do

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