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(The previous post in this series is found here: https://memoirandremains.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/john-flavel-the-method-of-grace-6/

From the eight propositions, Flavel draws out seven inferences.

Inference 1:. Learn from hence, what a naked, destitute, and  empty thing, a poor sinner is, in his natural unregenerate state.

The Gospel begins where human merit and ability end. We constantly seek for some good in ourselves, some justifying merit. But God says, that lies in Christ alone:

As no creature (in respect of external abilities) comes under  more natural weakness into the world than man, naked, empty, and more shiftless and helpless than any other creature; so it is with his soul, yea, much more than so: all our excellencies are borrowed excellencies,

The purpose of such a realization is not to wallow in self-loathing (which would be to make ourselves the point), but rather to lead us to prize Christ:

Well then, let the sense of your own emptiness by nature humble and oblige you the more to Christ, from whom you receive all you have.

Inference 2: Hence we are informed, that none can claim benefit by imputed righteousness, but those only that live in the power of inherent holiness; to whomsoever Christ was made righteousness, to him he also was made sanctification.

The justification we receive in Christ is to change us.

It is true, our sanctification cannot justify us before God; but what then, can it not evidence our justification before men? Is there no necessity, or use for holiness, because it has no hand in our justification? Is the preparation of the soul for heaven, by altering its frame and temper, nothing? Is the glorifying of our Redeemer, by the exercises of grace in the world, nothing? Does the work of Christ render the work of the Spirit needless? God forbid.

We are saved to be changed – we are changed when we are saved. Dallas Willard wrote of “bar code Christianity” – those who think that justification is merely a label we affix to a man or woman: a label which changes nothing in the nature of the person. Just like putting a bar code for peanut butter on a box of raisins does not change the raisins – even though the scanner will submit to the label and disregard the reality.

John, in the famous third chapter of Gospel, makes plain, saving faith is transforming faith:


Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. John 3:36 (ESV)