I Got You Covered!
Four quotes from Martin Luther: "Justification by faith alone is the article of the standing or falling Church."
"This doctrine [justification by faith alone] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour. For no one who does not hold this article or, to use Paul's expression, this 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1) is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary . . . this is the heel of the Seed that opposes the old serpent and crushes its head. That is why Satan, in turn, cannot but persecute it."
"Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc. . . If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time."
"When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen. Therefore it is necessary constantly to inculcate and impress it, as Moses says of his Law (Deut. 6:7); for it cannot be inculcated and urged enough or too much. Indeed, even though we learn it well and hold to it, yet there is no one who apprehends it perfectly or believes it with a full affection and heart. So very trickish is our flesh, fighting as it does against the obedience of the spirit."
Justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls, the main hinge on which religion turns. Yet as important as justification is, many Christians remain confused about it, and others actively blur its features. This is the case not merely with Christians in general but so called evangelical leaders also.
Over the last few months I have had private correspondence with a number of Christian leaders and ministers, both here in the USA and oversees, as I have challenged them to be clear on this issue, and sadly, I have not been successful at all. In many churches and ministries, the Gospel is often assumed but not proclaimed. That is a great scandal as well as a great tragedy.
The fact is that in many sectors of the professing Church there remains a great fuzziness on the Gospel, and especially on the issue of the basis in which God can declare a person just in His sight, who in and of themselves are unjust. The doctrine of justification by faith alone and the imputation of the righteousness of Christ is not something being heralded as it should. It is our holy duty and privilege to herald the evangel in clear terms. Only the unfaithful servant of Christ would refuse to do so.
For many decades, stepping into this breach have been men like Dr. R. C. Sproul. Should the Lord tarry and generations to come look back on our time, I think R.C. will be seen as a modern day Luther. God has used him greatly to call the Church back to the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and central to the gospel is sola fide, justification by faith alone.
In this lecture, taken from the 2011 Ligonier National Conference, Dr. R.C. Sproul explains the importance and basic tenets of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone that we might know the ground on which we stand before a holy God. I would encourage you to watch this video and refresh your heart and soul in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Then, perhaps a few days from now, watch it again. These are truths we need to get into our bloodstream! - JS