The Doctrine Of The Necessity Of Faith In Christ For Salvation, In The Light Of Scripture -- By: I. E. Dwinell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 044:174 (Apr 1887)
Article: The Doctrine Of The Necessity Of Faith In Christ For Salvation, In The Light Of Scripture
Author: I. E. Dwinell

The Doctrine Of The Necessity Of Faith In Christ For Salvation, In The Light Of Scripture

Rev. Professor I. E. Dwinell

What does the Bible teach about the turning-point of salvation on the human side? On the divine side the decisive point is, doubtless, regeneration. On the part of God nothing preceding regeneration is decisive of salvation, though there may be much that leads to it; and nothing subsequent to regeneration defeats it, though there may be much that delays it. But what is the turning-point or decisive act on man’s side? By what spiritual act or experience does the soul pass across the line from sin and condemnation to pardon and life? What is the destiny step? not what precedes it or follows it, but what is the essential step itself?

It is held by some that no sinful soul can be ripe for the judgment till it has rejected the supreme appeal of the Divine love; and it is assumed that this supreme appeal can come only in connection with the presentation of the historical Christ. Hence, it is believed that, as multitudes do not have an oppor-

tunity to know the historical Christ in this life, they will have it in the life to come. It is not claimed that this is the explicit teaching of Scripture, but it is regarded as following naturally from its general spirit and principles.

This reasoning assumes that the supreme appeal is in connection with the supreme object. If by supreme appeal is meant not an appeal in the highest sphere, but an appeal that makes the deepest and strongest impression on the soul just as it is in its sinful state, this assumption is not justified by the facts. An appeal on a lower basis, coming down to the ordinary experience and level of life, and throwing upon that the illumination of the Divine Spirit and the light of conscience and the natural reason, often makes a much deeper practical impression than the outward presentation of the Son of God. This is too remote from the ordinary currents of thought and motive. When presented in this way, Christ is “a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Isa. 53:2, Rev.). It is generally only when the soul has been instructed, made conscious of its deep spiritual needs and the meaning of its woes, and helped out of its ordinary moods, that the story of Christ becomes influential. As men ordinarily are, in Christian lands, and even in our Christian churches and homes, the supreme spiritual appeal—i.e., the appeal that makes the deepest impression and is best calculated to lead to God and be decisive of destiny—is, so far as we can see, some practical q...

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