In his excellent book The Gospel for Real Life, Jerry Bridges writes: We need to learn and remind ourselves every day that God’s favor — His blessings and answers to prayer — come to us not on the basis of our works, but on the basis of the infinite merit of Jesus Christ. Is this right? What about, […]
What is the Gospel?
On Easter, it is always good to refresh our understanding of the gospel so we can avoid the trap of being pulled away by additions to it that undermine our relationship with God. Here’s how I summarize it in a call-out box in What’s Best Next, in a chapter where I talk about the relationship between the […]
What Does Romans 5:1 Mean?
Romans 5:1 in many translations, including the ESV, reads: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” There is a variant reading with this passage, however, and some manuscripts say instead “since we have been justified by faith, let us have peace with God.” In […]
What Does it Mean that the Christian is Simultaneously Just and Sinful?
Sometimes, the truth that we are just and sinful at the same time is misunderstood. It is rightly recognized that, even as Christians, we still sin and still have sinful dispositions. So the “sinful” part of the picture is usually understood correctly. But the “just” part of the equation is sometimes understood to mean to […]
Why Does Justification by Faith Apart from Works Lead to Good Works?
Martin Luther explains one of the chief reasons. Here’s what he says in The Freedom of a Christian (quoted in Don’t Stop Believing: Why Living Like Jesus Is Not Enough): Although I am an unworthy and condemned man, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation without any merit […]
John Calvin on the Justification of Our Works
Calvin (from the Institutes, Book III, chapter XVII.10): A work begins to be acceptable only when it is undertaken with pardon. Now whence does this pardon arise, save that God contemplates us and our all in Christ? Therefore, as we ourselves, when we have been engrafted in Christ, are righteous in God’s sight because our […]
The Often Missing Reality in Most Teaching that the Final Judgment Will be According to Works
A post I wrote for the DG blog today.
A Surprise at the Final Judgment
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4: This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by […]
Good Works that are Performed in Order to Become Right with God are Not Really Good
Good observations from the Scottish preacher and writer John Colquhoun (1748 – 1827), from his book A Treatise on the Law and the Gospel: Can a man perform no good works till after he is justified in the sight of God? Hence it is manifest that they who rely on their own obedience for a […]
Why Justification by Faith Alone is Necessary for Good Works
“Justification by faith alone frees me to love my neighbor disinterestedly, for his or her own sake, as my sister or brother, not as the calculated means to my own desired ends,” writes Timothy George of why the traditional Protestant doctrine of justification by faith alone encourages rather than discourages good works. The freedom to […]