The more I thought of my own work on Berkouwer, the more I came to feel that the key Biblical text is Ephesians 2:8 - "By grace you have been saved through faith".
The emphasis is on the absolute necessity of both grace and faith.
is not 'by grace you have been saved without faith'. It is not 'by
faith you have been saved apart from grace'. It is 'by grace you have
been saved through faith'.
The full emphasis on both grace and faith
is most important for our understanding of the relationship between the
divine and the human aspects of our salvation.
In his book, "Faith
and Sanctification", Berkouwer leads us on from the words, 'by grace ...
through faith' to the words which follow, 'for good works', emphasizing
that, in the life of sanctification, we remain firmly within this
context - 'by grace ... through faith'.
You will see from my
Berkouwer blog that the concern with overcoming polarization in our
understanding of the divine and the human lies at the heart of my work
on Berkouwer. Quite a number of my posts touch on this theme in one way
approaches social concern from a Biblical and Reformed perspective. In
Ephesians 2:8-10, the emphases 'by grace' and 'through faith' lead
directly on to the emphasis 'for good works'. Berkouwer underscores this
connection between 'Sola Fide and Sanctification' (Chapter II, pp.
17-44). He emphasizes that the true nature of good works cannot be
understood apart from Christ who is our 'sanctification' (1 Corinthians
1:30). Sanctification is not 'the humanly operated successor to
the divinely worked justification. 'Genuine sanctification' has a
'continued orientation toward justification.' Berkouwer
emphasizes the 'by grace .. through faith' context in which the 'for
good works' character of sanctification expresses itself. He draws
attention to the nature of the Spirit's work in sanctification: 'The
Spirit alone could perform the miracle of making man walk on the road of
sanctity without a sense of his own worth.' The life of
sanctification has a gracious character which Berkouwer observes in the
parable of the unprofitable servants and a social context which
he sees in the parable of the good Samaritan (A Half Century of
Theology, p. 191). A Reformed theology, grounded in the 'Scripture
alone' principle, seeks to rightly represent the purpose of Scripture -
'to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus ... that
the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy
3:15, 17). Berkouwer, in his discussion entitled 'The Imitation of
Christ' (Chapter VII, pp. 135-160), emphasizes both the gracious
character and the social context of the Biblical teaching concerning
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