Posts Tagged ‘Sinclair Ferguson’

Bellow is an excerpt from the Heidelberg Catechism.  And I must say, it clearly describes what it means to be justified before God.  And without this view of justification, I don’t think we will ever understand the gospel. In fact, if one’s idea of the gospel doesn’t include the following, I don’t think it is the gospel at all. Without this understanding, every false gospel which presents itself to men’s ears, despite it’s many features and allurements, will allow for no sinner to have real peace with God (Rom 5:1).

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

And how to we enter this blessed peace? This rest? Well the previous passage gives us the foundation, without which we have no hope.

“Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”” (Rom 4:4-8)

Perhaps a false-gospel may offer feigned peace, but no true rapture in the glory of the free grace of God in the face of Christ. Rather, every distorted gospel will ever keep human hearts in an endless mire of doubt, confusion, and fear. If not leading them into a legalistic form of works-righteousness, it will keep them in a laze fare, disinterested, agnostic, apathy regarding the whole issue.

To quote one of my beloved theologians:
“When the glow of justification is ascribed to another, and a snare is laid for the consciences of men, the Savior no longer occupies his place, and the doctrine of the gospel is utterly ruined.” – John Calvin

Read now the Heidelberg (w/scripture proofs)

60. How are you righteous before God?

Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:(1) that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,(2) and am still prone always to all evil;(3) yet God, without any merit of mine,(4) of mere grace,(5) grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,(6) righteousness, and holiness of Christ,(7) as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;(8) if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.(9)

(1) Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Php 3:8-11; (2) Rom 3:9-10; (3) Rom 7:23; (4) Dt 9:6; Ezek 36:22; Tit 3:4-5; (5) Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8; (6) 1 Jn 2:2; (7) Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1; (8) Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21; (9) Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30-31; Rom 3:22, 28, 10:10

To quote on of my other favorite pastors:

“Righteousness without works to the sinner, simply on his acceptance of the Divine message concerning Jesus and His sufficiency,–this has been the burden of our good news…It is one message, one gospel, one cross, one sacrifice, from which nothing can be taken and to which nothing can be added. This is the…beginning and the ending of our ministry.” – Horatius Bonar.

John Calvin elsewhere points out:

“When Satan does not venture openly to attack doctrine, his next stratagem is to diminish its influence by indirect attacks.” –John Calvin

This is so much the case I believe in the Church today.  Few may outright deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone, yet overall it seems not many care about it.

And furthermore, from another modern pastor of whom I am quite fond:

“The strength or weakness of our grasp of justification by faith and it’s domination of our hearts is bound to be the index and the measure of the liberty of God’s children that we enjoy.” – Sinclair Ferguson

More quotes:

“Failure to distinguish between the gospel and all the effects of the gospel tends, on the long haul, to replace the good news as to what God has done with a moralism that is finally without the power and the glory of Christ crucified, resurrected, ascended, and reigning.” – D.A. Carson

Further Calvin quotes:

“The righteousness of God, therefore, shines in us in so far as He justifies us by faith in Christ, for Christ was given in vain for our righteousness, if there were no enjoyment of Him by faith.” – Calvin

“[God] deigns to embrace the sinner with his pure and freely given goodness, finding nothing in him except his miserable condition to prompt Him to mercy, since he sees man utterly void and bare of good works; and so he seeks in himself the reason to benefit man. Then God touches the sinner with a sense of his goodness in Read Moreorder that he, despairing of his own works, may ground the whole of his salvation in God’s mercy. This is the experience of faith through which the sinner comes into possession of his salvation when from the teaching of the gospel he acknowledges that he has been reconciled to God: that with Christ’s righteousness interceding and forgiveness of sins accomplished he is justified.” – Calvin

Lastly, since I believe this is such an central and imminent issue facing the church today, I will leave you with another quote from modern day preacher:

“Justifying faith is inseparable from the other graces of salvation, and yet faith is the alone instrument of justification. There is no other way, no other instrument whereby a sinner receives Christ for justification. Repentance does not justify. Our good works do not justify. Our obedience does not justify… God declares a sinner righteous by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone. The church must gain a renewed appreciation and affection for this truth. For here is the heart of the gospel. If we lose it, or, worse, renounce it, then we will bring ruin to our churches and destruction to our own souls. May Christ grant us mercy to guard this truth against error, boldness to proclaim this truth in its fullness, and, most of all, grace for sinners to believe this truth unto justification and life.” -Stefan Lindblad ‘Justifying Faith and the Application of Salvation’ Banner of Truth issue 479-80, Aug-Sep. 2003, 20.

Soli Deo Gloria

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