The Canons Of Dort (10): Unconditional Grace Gives Assurance

Who of us is sufficiently sanctified and does enough good works of sufficient quality to be able to say that he has done enough and that God must be satisfied?

The Remonstrants agreed with Rome that Luther’s message of free justification and free sanctification, received through faith alone defined as resting, receiving, leaning on, and trusting in Christ alone would never get the job done. Of course, the Reformed churches all agreed with Luther, that salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) is the free gift of God, that sanctification is the necessary fruit or result of justification but that it is just as gracious as justification.

 

The Remonstrants were convinced that the Protestant doctrine of salvation by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide) did not and could not produce sufficient sanctification (holiness) and obedience. Thus, without admitting to it, they turned the covenant of grace into a covenant of works in which the sinner must do his part to receive salvation. They spoke of grace and faith but they substantially changed the meaning of those terms. In effect, the Remonstrants agreed with Rome that Luther’s message of free justification and free sanctification, received through faith alone defined as resting, receiving, leaning on, and trusting in Christ alone would never get the job done. Of course, the Reformed churches all agreed with Luther, that salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification) is the free gift of God, that sanctification is the necessary fruit or result of justification but that it is just as gracious as justification. The Reformed were content to say that sanctification produces good works as fruit and evidence of the gracious work of the Spirit in his elect. The Remonstrants, as the Federal Visionists and their friends today, were dissatisfied with that eminently biblical approach.

Read More