Archive for the ‘justification’ Category

True Gospel preaching is charged with antinomianism

May 19, 2014

If we are proclaiming Paul’s gospel, with its emphasis on the freeness of grace and the impossibility of self-salvation, we are sure to provoke the charge of antinomianism. If we do not arouse this criticism, the likelihood is that we are not preaching Paul’s gospel.


Stott, John. The Message of Romans: God’s good news for the world. Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. 2001. 167

What is Justification?

December 23, 2011

…we simply interpret justification, as the acceptance with which God receives us into his favor as if we were righteous; and we say that this justification consists in the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

Calvin, Institutes, Book 3, 11, 2

It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, by faith alone

December 23, 2011

It is ordained of God that he who believes in Christ is saved freely receiving forgiveness of sins, without works, by faith alone.


in The Augsburg Confession, Art.6

NB Ambrose, who taught Augustine, believed in salvation by grace apart from works. But if he had lived in the Reformation he would have been declared a heretic by the Council of Trent

Regeneration precedes faith – causal not temporal order

August 6, 2010

The following example may help grasp why (the idea that regeneration preceeding faith and justification does) not occur in some temporal order. In the physical world, consider a pool ball that hits another – ask yourself, does one hit first and then the other? No, both pool balls hit each other at the same time, but it was only the ball rolling with the momentum that actually caused the other to move. In this way, two events can happen at the same time as another even if one event caused the other. This is a causal order, not a logical or temporal order and this expresses a little about how God acts on us. His work comes in from the outside, apart from which we can do nothing. That initial move of regeneration we are passive (sic), but from this regeneration concurrently springs faith, justification and the beginnings of sanctification. How can this be? Because God is not a creature and is not locked into a temporal history as we are. His acts from the outside are what change our heart instantly from a poisoned spring to a fresh spring.. Apart from the Spirit’s work our heart remains dormant or hostile to Christ. Our regenerative grace in Jesus Christ is what makes all the the other benefits spring forth at once.

John Samson

The Catholic Church sees justification as a true eradication of sin and a true sanctification and renewal

May 11, 2010

The Reformers saw justification as a mere legal act by which God declares the sinner to be meriting heaven. … The Catholic Church, not surprisingly, understands justification differently.  It sees it as a true eradication of sin and a true sanctification and renewal.  The soul becomes objectively pleasing to God and so merits heaven.  It merits heaven because now it is actually good …. The Bible is quite clear that we are saved by faith.  The Reformers were quite, right in saying this, and to this extent they merely repeated the constant teaching of the Church.  Where they erred was in saying that we are saved by faith alone.

Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism, 1998, pp.167-168

…which contradicts the teaching of scripture that God justifies the ungodly, not the godly, by faith in Christ, and that justification is reckoned to our account, or is a legal declaration rather than an inward work changing the soul.

If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA

May 10, 2010

If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA.

Council of Trent,  Canons on Baptism, Canon 5

Which  means that justification is not solely by faith as the Scripture teaches. If it is argued that baptism is commanded by the Lord Jesus then we agree, but so is perfect love of God and neighbour. Yet if all must do the latter to be saved, then all are certainly lost.

This is explicit in the same council:

If anyone says that after the reception of grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out…and that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.

Sixth Session, Canon 30

Roman Catholics can have no assurance of salvation

May 4, 2010

The reason for the uncertainty of the state of grace lies in this, that without a special revelation nobody can with certainty of faith know whether or not he has fulfilled all the conditions which are necessary for achieving justification.

Dr. Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma

When the Biblical concept of justification has been lost or obscured then the grounds for assurance for the believer have been undermined. How sad. This is good reason to share the good news with a Catholic.

God’s freedom to save, not justification by faith, was the crucial question in the Reformation

April 3, 2010

It is wrong to suppose that the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that storm center of the Reformation, was the crucial question in the minds of such theologians as Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin. This doctrine was important to the Reformers because it helped to express and to safeguard their answer to another, more vital, question, namely, whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ’s sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith.

Michael Haykin

We might say, then, that to assert men choose God is the pathway to Rome. It is the potter, not the clay who has freedom.

Thy righteousness is in heaven

November 24, 2009

(Bunyan was under terrible conviction of sin. He was aware of is own shortcomings yet knew what the Law of God demanded of him)

“‘But one day, as I was passing in the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly, this sentence fell upon my soul, ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven,’ and methought withal I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand: there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say of me, He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.

“‘Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed: I was loosed from my affliction and irons, my temptations also fled away; so that from that time those dreadful Scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing for the grace and love of God.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.116-17

When he speaks of his ‘frame’ he is speaking of his ‘frame of mind’, as we might say today.

Chrysostom: Justification by Faith Alone

November 7, 2009

Let us see, however, whether the brigand (the thief on the cross) gave evidence of effort and upright deeds and a good yield. Far from his being able to claim even this, he made his way into paradise before the apostles with a mere word, on the basis of faith alone, the intention being for you to learn that it was not so much a case of his sound values prevailing as the Lord’s lovingkindness being completely responsible.

What, in fact, did the brigand say? What did he do? Did he fast? Did he weep? Did he tear his garments? Did he display repentance in good time? Not at all: on the cross itself after his utterance he won salvation. Note the rapidity: from cross to heaven, from condemnation to salvation. What were those wonderful words, then? What great power did they have that they brought him such marvelous good things? “Remember me in your kingdom.” What sort of word is that? He asked to receive good things, he showed no concern for them in action; but the one who knew his heart paid attention not to the words but to the attitude of mind.

– John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Sermon 7 on Genesis, in St. John Chrysostom, Eight Sermons on the Book of Genesis, pp. 123-24 (2004), Robert C. Hill translator.
Source: John Chrysostom: Thief Justified by Faith Alone without Works