Menno Simons on ... justification by faith
I presume, he [Gellius Faber] well knows, that we plainly teach that we cannot be saved by outward works, however great and glorious they may appear or that we can thus entirely please God; for they are ever mixed with imperfection and weakness and, therefore, through the corruption of the flesh we cannnot acquire the righteousness required in the commandments; therefore we point, alone, to Christ Jesus who is our only and eternal Righteousness, Reconciliation and Propitiator with the Father, and do not at all trust in our works. My reader, I write the truth in Christ Jesus, and lie not. [p. 25]
Behold, kind reader, thus we do not seek our salvation in works, words or sacraments, as do the learned, although they blame us therefor, but we seek them alone in Christ Jesus and in no other means in heaven or earth. In this only means we rejoice and in no other. We trust, by the grace of God, to abide therein unto death.
But that we abhor the carnal works and desire to suit ourselves to his word and commandment, according to our weakness, we do because he has so taught and commanded us. For, whosoever does not walk according to his doctrine, proves in fact, that he does not believe on him nor knows him, and that he is not in the communion of the saints, 1 Jn. 3:10; 5:10; 2 Jn. 1:6.
All those, now, who accept this means of divine grace, Jesus Christ, with believing hearts, and enclose him in their consciences, believe and confess that their sins are forgiven through his sacrifice, death, and blood; that his wrath and damnation will not be upon them forever; that he accepts them as his beloved sons and daughters, and gives them life eternal. All such become of peaceable and joyous spirit, and give thanks to God, with renewed hearts; for the power of faith quickens and changes them into newness of life, and they walk thus, by the gift and grace of the Holy Spirit in the power of their new birth, according to the measure of their faith, in obedience to their God who has shown them such great love. [p. 262]
If God should judge us according to our worthiness, righteousness, works and merits, and not according to his great goodness and mercy, then I confess with holy David that no man could stand before his judgment, Ps. 143:2; 130:3. Therefore it should be far from us that we should console ourselves with any thing but the grace of God through Christ Jesus; for it is he, alone, and none other, who has perfectly fulfilled the righteousness required by God. We are also aware, by the grace of God, that all saints, from the beginning, have lamented the corruption of their flesh, as may be seen by the writings of Moses, David, Job, Isaiah, Paul, James and John.
But for Christ's sake we are in grace; for his sake we are heard; and for his sake our failings and transgressions, which are committed involuntarily, are remitted. For it is he who stands between his Father and his imperfect children, with his perfect righteousness, and with his innocent blood and death; and intercedes for all those who believe on him and who strive by faith in the divine word, to turn from evil, follow that which is good and who sincerely desire, with Paul, that they may attain the perfection which is in Christ, Phil. 3:12.
Mark, beloved reader, that we do not believe nor teach that we are to
be saved by our merits and works, as the envious accuse us of without
truth; but that we are to be saved solely by grace, through Christ Jesus,
as has been said before. By grace man was created, through Christ Jesus,
Gen. 1:27. [p. 263]
All excerpts are from The complete works of Menno Simon (Elkhart, Ind., 1871).