Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 20
XX. Of Justification and Faith.
Through faith, which, as shown above, stands directly connected with conversion and the new birth, a poor, grief-stricken sinner (Matthew 5:3; Luke 18:13) obtains true justification from God (Romans 3:24-26; 8:33), not for any merit of his own, but alone out of grace (Titus 3:5) by virtue of the full obedience and sufficient offering of Christ (Romans 5:18, 19; Hebrews 10:10-14), being made free and absolved from all his sins (Acts 13:38, 39), however great they may be (Isaiah 1:18; Psalms 32; Psalms 51; Romans 5: 6-10) called into fellowship with Christ (1 Corinthians 1:9, and made a rightful partaker of Him (Hebrews 3:14) and of the blessings of salvation which He obtained for His people (1 Corinthians 1:30) and which out of His fullness and in His wisdom He gives each in His time. Ephesians 4:7; John 1:14-16.
In the counsel of God this boon, great beyond all comprehension (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10), has been accomplished and bestowed once for all (2 Corinthians 5:17-19) when the Son of God, as the surety of a better covenant (Hebrews 7:22) and the Redeemer of His people, offered (1 Timothy 2:5, 6; Hebrews 10:4-10), accomplished (John 17:4) and suffered (Philippians 2:8-10) in their stead, all that the offended majesty of God demanded to be reconciled with the world. Wherefore the Son of God could say on the cross as He gave His soul into death, "It is finished" (John 19:30); and to this also bear witness the rending of the veil (Hebrews 10:14-20), Christ's glorious resurrection and ascension (Romans 1:4; 4:18-25), the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the preaching of the gospel in all the world.
But before the tribunal of conscience this comes to pass only then when true faith is exercised, and not before, since faith is distinctly the God-ordained means (John 3:16; 6:40) of becoming actually and personally a partaker of Christ and the blessings He obtained for us. For this reason evangelical justification is always associated with faith (Romans 3:22, 28, 30; John 3:16-18, 36) and remains thus inseparably associated.
Thus it is (as set forth in Art. 18) that a really convicted sinner, poor (Isaiah 66:2) and heavy laden (Matthew 11:28), flies for refuge to this gracious Christ. Utterly undone in himself, he hungers after Christ with weeping and sighing (Jeremiah 3:21, 22), falls at His feet praying for forgiveness of sins and adoption into the sonship of God (2 Corinthians 6:16-18; Galatians 4:4-6); he tastes and realizes that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:3) in that He covers our nakedness and condescends to dwell in us (John 14: 23; Ephesians 3:17) and we are found in Him. Romans 8:1; Philippians 3:9. We come praying that we may be healed of our infirmities (Matthew 9:12), of our spiritual blindness (Isaiah 35:5; Ephesians 1:18; Revelation 3:18), deafness, barrenness (Psalms 63:1; 119:81-83), leprosy (Psalms 38:3-8; Isaiah 1:6), and every form of spiritual disease (Psalms 103:3); that He baptize us with His Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11); that He satisfy our hunger and thirst with heavenly food and drink (John 6:48-51; 7:37, 38), and make us partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:24) so that His mind may be in us (Philippians 2:5; Matthew 5:44-48), that by His grace our old man may be crucified with Him. (Romans 6:46; Galatians 5:24) and His life may be manifested in us (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11) being conformed unto His death and risen again to a newness of life thus to know by personal experience the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:19, 20) to the praise and glory of His heavenly Father. Romans 6:17.
This is what we call knowing Christ after the Spirit whereby eternal life is received (John 10:4, 14; 17:3), and we frankly submit that without this spiritual knowledge, this inward exercise and experience, a knowledge of Christ historically or according to the letter does not suffice unto salvation. Romans 2:14-20, 28, 29; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. However, the soul that in truth seeks refuge in Christ (Psalms 145:18) with steadfastness in prayer (Luke 18:7; Romans 12:12) we believe will assuredly find grace (Matthew 7:7-11) in God's own time, and be received into the covenant of God (2 Corinthians 6:18) whereby everyone thus constituted, becomes the property of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:19.
The most certain outward proof of this great work of salvation, we hold is to be found in the fruits of righteousness, such as unfeigned love to God (1 Corinthians 8:3; Luke 7:47) and to the brethren (1 John 3:14) yea to all men, active godliness (1 John 3:18, 19) and an earnest observance of God's commandments (1 John 5:1-4). The inward verification is found in the experience of peace with God (Romans 5:1; Isaiah 32:17), a new spiritual joy (Isaiah 29:19; 61:10), as also a strong assurance (Romans 8:38, 39) and sealing of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; 5:5; Romans 8:16; Ephesians 1:13; 4:7, 30; 1 John 4:13); and all this according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: "Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 20." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1766. Web. 19 June 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M4637ME.html/m4637me_20.
APA style: (1766). Mennonite Articles of Faith (1766) - Article 20. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 19 June 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/M4637ME.html/m4637me_20.