December 16, 2006

Thomas Manton (1620–1677) on Man’s Part in Salvation

But especially let us have regard to the mandatory part of the gospel; there we are apt to flinch and start aside; but we must hearken not only to what God hath done for us, but what he requires of us, that we may obey the counsels as well as believe the history of the gospel. The covenant is mutual; there is an obligation upon God, and an obligation upon us; therefore we read, Exod. 24:7-9, that half of the blood was sprinkled upon the altar, to note God took upon him his part of the obligation, and half upon the people, to note they must take upon them their part of the obligation. It is true that God in the covenant of grace gives the condition as well as the blessing promised, but our obligation is to be acknowledged; though it be wrought of God, yet it is to be done by us. And there must be a restipulation, 'the answer of a good conscience towards God,' 1 Peter 3:21. What answer do you make to God's proposals and articles? It is an allusion to the manner of admitting persons to baptism in those days; they were to answer to questions. Credis? dost thou believe? The person to be baptized was to answer, Credo, I do believe. Abrenuncias? dost thou renounce the world? he answered, Abrenuncio, I do renounce. Spondes? dost thou undertake to obey God? Spondeo, I undertake, I promise so to do. We must not only regard what God and Christ have done, but there must be something in us before we can make use of what God and Christ have done for us. There is a mutual consent of both sides; the gospel is as it were an indenture drawn between God and us; therefore, as we look to God for eternal life and salvation, which is made over to us in the promises of the covenant, so God looks for obedience and faithfulness from us, which is required of us in the precepts of the covenant.
Thomas Manton, “Sermons Upon Titus 2:11-14,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, D.D. (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1874), 16:65.


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