A quick note on our previous post, Part 1. It seems that many take exception to Ursinus’ use of the word “regeneration.” I am not suggesting we change our current use, but rather just pointing out that when we read what he has written on the subject, Regeneration is used simply to denote all that is the second benefit in the duplex gratia. It represents all that answers to our corruption received from Adam in distinction to our guilt derived from the same. And this was the common usage of the word prior to the tidier ordering and parsing of benefits that came later. For example, Witsius writes,
For really, sanctification differs no other ways from the first regeneration and renovation, than as the continuance of an act differs from the beginning of it. (Bk. 3.8.10)
And as to the concern that Ursinus is saying faith precedes Regeneration in time, that is not at all what he is saying. Rather, the Holy Spirit is working Regeneration when He works faith in the heart. As the Catechism says,
Q.65. Since, then, we are made partakers of Christ and all His benefits by faith only, where does this faith come from?
The Holy Spirit works faith in our hearts by the preaching of the Holy Gospel, and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.
Rachel Miller recently posted the article, “Salvation by Grace Alone Through Faith Alone in Christ Alone,” wherein she critiques John Piper’s latest iteration of his doctrine of “Future Justification” according to works (yes, I’m sure that many think I have already misrepresented him with that description). The issue comes up yet again due to his 9/25/17 post, “Does God really Save us by Faith Alone?” To my lights, Rachel has simply reiterated the Reformation and (more importantly) Pauline doctrine that “by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). She lists a host of passages from the Scripture as well as the most important statements found in the Reformed Confessions on the subject, my favorite being the following:
Q. 61. Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only?
A. Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because only the satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God; and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only
Q. 62. But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?
A. Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law, but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.