Friday, August 26, 2011
Keach: Come, venture your Souls on Christ's Righteousness
I just finished reading Benjamin Keach's The Marrow of True Justification (Solid Ground Christian Books edition, 2007). Keach first published these two sermons on the doctrine of justification by faith alone, both taken from Romans 4:5, in 1692. If anyone doubts that the early Particular Baptists held to the Reformation principles of sola fide and sola gratia, he needs to read this booklet. If anything, Keach has to defend his preaching of free grace from the charge of antinomianism. In the preface he states, "I had rather err on their side [the antinomians] who strive wholly to exalt the Free Grace of God, than on theirs, who seek to darken it and magnify the Power of the Creature...." (p. 8). Here is an excerpt from Keach's moving closing "application" section of the book:
Therefore Sinners, though ‘tis your Duty to reform your Lives, and leave your abominable Sins, which often bring heavy Judgments upon you in this World and expose you to eternal Wrath in the world to come, yet know that all that you can do, will fail in point of your Acceptation and Justification in God’s sight, or to save your Souls: Your present Work and Business is to believe in Jesus Christ, to look on him, who only can renew his sacred Image in your Souls, and make you New Creatures, which must be done or you perish. O cry that he would help your Unbelief: Come, venture your Souls on Christ’s Righteousness. Christ is able to save you, though you are ever so great Sinners. Come to him, throw yourselves at the feet of Jesus: Look to Jesus, who came to seek and save them that were lost; If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink, John 7:37, 38. You may have Water of Life freely. Do not say I want Qualifications or Meetness [fitness] to come to Christ. Sinner, dost thou thirst? Dost thou see a want of Righteousness? ‘Tis not Righteousness; but ‘tis a sense of the want of Righteousness, which is rather the Qualification, thou shouldst look at: Christ hath Righteousness sufficient to clothe you; Bread of Life to feed you, Grace to adorn you; or whatsoever you want, it is to be had in him. We will tell you there is help in him, Salvation in him, through the Propitation in his blood you must be justified, which is by Faith alone (pp. 92-93).