Sola Gratia

But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.
—Romans 11:6

Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
—Romans 4:4

[Paul] first extols grace by contrasting it with works, and then in the clearest and simplest terms he states that we are justified freely, and that grace would not be grace if it were earned by works, so that he quite unmistakably excludes all works in the matter of justification in order to establish grace alone and free justification.

Yet with all this light we still search for darkness, and when we cannot claim large and all-inclusive things for ourselves, we try to claim little modest things, just to ensure that justification by the grace of God shall not be free and apart from works. As if he who denies us all the important things will not even more deny that the little modest things help us in any way toward justification, when he has laid it down that we are justified only by his grace apart from all works, and therefore apart from the law itself, in which all works, great and small, congruous and condign, are included. Now go and boast of your ancient authorities, and rely on what they say, when you see that they have one and all overlooked the clearest and plainest teaching of Paul as if they deliberately shunned this morning star, or rather this sun, because of the carnal notion they doubtless entertained that it would be absurd to have no place left for merits.

—Martin Luther
The Bondage of the Will (Works, 33:269–270).


Thy Kingdom Come

The complete happiness of the redeemed is a kingdom

A kingdom is the top of worldly felicity; there is nothing on earth greater than a kingdom: therefore the hidden weight of the glory in heaven is held forth to us under that notion. But it is not an ordinary kingdom, it is “the kingdom;” the kingdom of heaven, surpassing all the kingdoms of the earth in glory, honour, profit, and pleasure, infinitely more than they do in these excel the low and inglorious condition of a beggar in rags, and on a dunghill.

. . .

The happiness of the redeemed in God’s kingdom includes their reign

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10)

The dominion of the saints will be a dominion far exceeding that of the greatest monarch who ever was on earth. They will be absolute masters over sin, which had the dominion over them. They will have a complete rule over their own spirits; an entire management of all their affections and inclinations, which now create them so much molestation: the turbulent root of corrupt affections shall be for ever expelled out of that kingdom, and never be able any more to give them the least disturbance.

—Thomas Boston
Adapted from The Whole Works of Thomas Boston, 8:317-8.

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