True faith “embraces Jesus Christ…and seeks nothing more besides Him,” since “those who possess Jesus Christ through faith have complete salvation in Him [John 5:24]. Therefore, for any to assert that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides Him, would be too gross a blasphemy; for hence it would follow that Christ was but half a Savior. Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone [Romans 3:28],” which means God forgives all our sins and accepts us righteous, because Christ’s perfect obedience and sacrifice on the cross in our place is our righteousness before God [Psalm 32:1; Romans 4:6] (BC, article 22).
“This is sufficient to cover all our iniquities, and to give us confidence in approaching to God; freeing the conscience of fear, terror and dread, without following the example of our first father, Adam, who, trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig-leaves. And, truly, if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves, or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed. And therefore every one must pray with David: O Lord, do not enter into judgment with Your servant: for in Your sight no one living is righteous (Psalm 143:2).” (BC, article 23).
Since we are slaves of sin, we will never embrace Jesus Christ as our Savior unless God grants us true faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29). God gives true faith to “all whom He, in His eternal and unchangeable counsel of mere goodness, has elected in Christ Jesus our Lord, without any respect to their works [Ephesians 1:4-7]” (BC, article 16). In other words, if we believe in Jesus we were chosen to believe (Acts 13:48).
When we believe in Christ, we are not only set free from the eternal penalty of sin through justification, we are also set free from the inward corruption of sin through sanctification. God not only forgives all our sins, He adopts us as His children and gives us His Holy Spirit to dwell in us, to sanctify us, to make us holy as He is holy, which excites us “to the practice of those works which God has commanded in His Word [summarized in the Ten Commandments].” We do these good works, not to merit or earn our salvation, “for it is by faith in Christ that we are justified, even before we do good works.” Plus, “we are indebted to God for the good works we do… since it is He who works in us both to will and do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13)” (BC, article 24). Therefore, we love our Savior and want to obey Him out of thankfulness for our salvation (John 14:15).