Assurance, Good Works, and Sovereign Grace (Berkhof)

 The Heidelberg Catechism says that the Christian's good works help in the assurance of faith: "we do good so that we may be assured of our faith by its fruits" (Q/A 86).  The Westminster Larger Catechism notes under assurance that the Holy Spirit enables Christians to "discern in themselves those graces to which the promises of… Continue reading Assurance, Good Works, and Sovereign Grace (Berkhof)

Justification: Not the Time or Place to Speak of the Law

Classic Luther (from his commentary on Galatians 2:16): Of course, we must also teach good works and love, but it must be done in the right time and place—that is, when we are dealing with works, not justification. Here the question is how we are justified and attain eternal life, and so we reject and… Continue reading Justification: Not the Time or Place to Speak of the Law

Free Justification and Holiness (Buchanan)

James Buchanan (a 19th century Scottish theologian) wrote a helpful book on justification through faith alone by grace alone: The Doctrine of Justification. In it, he well explained the truth that those whom God justifies he will also sanctify.  I’ve edited the formatting of the quote to make it easier to read: The charge against… Continue reading Free Justification and Holiness (Buchanan)

Justification, Sanctification, and Good Works

In his discussion on sanctification, Charles Hodge (d. 1878) nicely summarizes the Reformation position of faith, justification, sanctification, and good works.  Here’s what Hodge says about the historical Protestant views (which are found in the Reformed Confessions, and ultimately Scripture): First, it was universally admitted that good works are not necessary to our justification; that… Continue reading Justification, Sanctification, and Good Works

Faith Must Not Be Built Upon Works

Thomas Watson  (d. 1686) is one of my favorite Puritan authors.  He wrote clearly, concisely, and biblically. Here’s one great example from his discussion of faith and works in The Beatitudes. Julian [a Roman emperor who renounced Christianity when he became emperor) upbraided the Christians that they were Solifidians, and the Church of Rome lays… Continue reading Faith Must Not Be Built Upon Works