Pristine Grace

The Hinge Upon Which the Hope of Mankind Hangs
Paraphrased in Modern English by David Bishop
by Robert Sandeman
The Hinge Upon Which the Hope of Mankind Hangs

     Most of the seminarians who talk about acceptance with God raise questions that go like this: "shall our efforts to gain acceptance with God be caused and motivated by the Spirit alone, or should man's cooperation with the Spirit be taken into account?" 

     The question these seminarians ought to be asking instead though, is can any doing, feeling, or trying, be it in cooperation with the Spirit or a creation of the Spirit alone, in any way benefit us in the matter of acceptance with God? In other words, did Christ finish upon the cross, without exception, all that God requires to procure acceptance for and give relief to the guilty conscience of the most profane wretch that lives? Or is there something more needed that only man plus Spirit or Spirit alone can supplement? I ask, because I do not think I need to explain why the satisfaction of Divine justice is necessary for the relief of a guilty conscience. That which relieves a guilty conscience must also be that which satisfies Divine justice. 

     Therefore, with this in mind, we must not borrow from the double-minded distinctions used by seminarians today. That is to say, we must not think on one hand that what Christ has done is indeed the only meritorious cause of our acceptance with God, and yet at the same time think on the other hand that acceptance with God requires something more from the Spirit performed through or by us. 

     No, we must either take the one side or the other. Either Christ has done everything God requires to procure acceptance with Him and relieve the wretched conscience of its guilt, or He has not. This is why my plea with Aspasio in this respect proceeds upon this cardinal question: what is the turning point from despair toward hope? 

     The hinge upon which the hope of mankind hangs is the subject of our controversy. In this matter I have the advantage. My advantage is this: that I have only one object, one single point to keep in view. In every circumstance I have only one thing to maintain; namely, that there is only one thing needful for acceptance with God. 

     This is why I do not suffer anyone's faulty distinctions and fine sounding arguments taught in our seminaries today. I shall not and will not accept any teaching that belittles or adds to the one thing needful.

     Aspasio’s faith rests one foot on grace and the other on nature; or, to adopt a contrast often stated in the New Testament, his faith rests one foot on the spirit and the other on the flesh; or, to make myself still more readily understood, his faith rests one foot on the work of Christ, and the other on human efforts and the motions of man’s heart. 

     Being double minded, Aspasio diligently seeks to assign both his feet a proper place for each to rest. And even though he has handled this matter with greater care than I have ever seen anyone do before; nevertheless, still he has not been able to do it without falling into hypocrisy and faulty logic. But then again, to suppose him capable of not falling into hypocrisy and faulty reasoning would be to suppose him capable of doing something no man can.