“If therefore the doctrine and persuasion of any man tend to the exaltation and advancement of any righteousness or perfection, except of Christ Jesus alone; if any affirm, that Christian righteousness which is available before God, be any other perfection, than remission of our sins, which we have by faith only in Christ’s blood; or if any promise such perfection in this life, that unfeignedly we need not to say, “Remit to us our offences, for we are unprofitable servants” —and finally, if any persuade, that our merits, good works, or obedience, be any cause either of our justification, or yet of our election, let him be accursed, suppose that he were an angel from heaven; for he preacheth to us another Evangel than the Son of God hath revealed to the world, and the Holy Ghost hath sent up to us by the mouths and writings of the apostles, which plainly affirmeth, that there is no other name given to men under the heaven, in which they may be saved, except in the name, that is, in the power and virtues of Jesus crucified, who is made to us from God, righteousness, wisdom, sanctification, and redemption:by whom alone we have access to the throne of God’s mercy, as by one only propitiator and obtainer of grace, to us that of nature be sinful; the flesh (even after our regeneration) ever rebelling against the spirit, during the travail of this life in such sort, that with the apostle Paul, the rest of God’s children are compelled to confess, that in them, that is, in their flesh, there remaineth no good. And therefore shame they not to confess, and that openly and from the heart, that not of the works of righteousness which they have done, but of His mere mercy and grace, who loving us when we were enemies, did give to the death of the cross his only Son for us, are we saved.
And further, they acknowledge, that this salvation doth not proceed of our works, neither yet, that it was appointed to us in time; but that before the foundation of the world was laid, did God elect us in Christ Jesus, that we should be holy and blameless before him, by love, by the which he loved us, even when we were dead in sin; and did predestinate us, and freely choose us to be his inheritors with Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will. So that we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus to good works, (lest that any should glory;) but all the children of God do acknowledge and confess, that salvation and the life everlasting, are the gift of God the Father, freely given with Christ his Son — as the twenty- four elders casting their crowns before him that sitteth upon the throne, with one voice do cry, giving glory and praise to him in these words, “Worthy art thou, O Lord, to receive glory, honour, and empire; for thou wast killed, and hast redeemed us, and hast made us to our God, priests and kings.”
John Knox 1557