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Posts Tagged ‘Protestantism’

Joy Because of Justification

by Erroll Hulse

WE have seen that humiliation because of sin is the first experience of Christianity and without it there can be no salvation. The good news of the Gospel is for sinners only. The self-righteous cannot be saved because they trust in themselves and their own works. The degree to which sinners will experience conviction and feel their guilt varies. After conversion the experience of humiliation because of sin can be intense as is seen in many examples — Job, Isaiah, Peter and Paul. The depth of humiliation has a profound effect upon the believer, particularly with reference to understanding and practising the doctrines of grace. Spurgeon put it this way:

Hardly a glimmer of the humbling truth of our natural depravity dawns on the dull apprehension of the worldly-wise, though souls taught from above know it and are appalled by it. In divers ways the discovery comes to those whom the Lord ordains to save. . . . There is a vital connection between soul-distress and sound doctrine. Sovereign grace is dear to those who have groaned deeply because they see what grievous sinners they are. Witness Joseph Hart and John Newton whose hymns you have often sung, or David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards, whose biographies many of you have read.1

Also we have observed that the new birth takes place after, before or during conviction, i.e. in some cases it might precede, in other cases it might follow. That the new birth precedes saving faith and saving repentance is fundamental to the Reformed faith, but, again as we have seen, it has always been a matter of debate as to how much conviction or preparation goes on in a sinner before the new birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit. Some believe in more preparatory work prior to the new birth than others. Jonathan Edwards in his writings……

Read the entire article here.

Justification and Imputation

by Persis Lorenti

On October 31, 2017, many Christians celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My church held a service where several pastors spoke on the theological importance of this historical event, namely the recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone for God’s glory alone. This indeed is a wonderful truth that is the ground of the gospel. What then is the ground of justification? The doctrine of imputation.

Apart from God’s intervention, Romans 3:23 is true for every man, woman, and child. We have fallen short of the glory of God, and we have fallen in two respects. We are guilty of breaking the law, which is a capital offense. (Gen. 2:16-17) God cannot sweep our sin under the rug and maintain His holiness. Therefore, sin must be punished. (Ps. 5:4-6, Heb. 10:26-31) We are also guilty of not keeping the law. (Deut. 5:29-33) God our Creator rightfully demands perfect obedience, but our best efforts are filthy rags. (Is. 64:6) Therefore, these two mammoth obstacles must be dealt with in order for us….

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the Old Perspective

by Jeffrey Stivason

Charles Spurgeon’s famous quip goes something like this, “I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus.” We might say something similar about justification. We may describe it as the Reformed perspective or Protestant perspective on justification but it is nothing other than the truth of God revealed in Scripture. In this article, I simply want to point out the constituent elements of the doctrine of justification and make reference to their Biblical support.

First, we must affirm that man is fallen in Adam……

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the New Perspective

Jeffrey Stivason

The New Perspective now feels old. Or to say it differently, it has gained stability in the academy and in the church. Tom Wright, its leading salesperson, is as intelligent as he is winsome. He also has the instincts of a pastor. Hence the Everyone’s Commentary, which has quickly become a staple in the church, is reaching, well, everyone! The New Perspective is leaching into the pews at an accessible rate. So, as we think about justification I think it’s a good idea that we address the New Perspective on Paul (NPP).

Let me begin by saying that Robert Cara, Provost, Chief Academic Officer and Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, has gifted the church with a book titled, Cracking the Foundations of the New Perspective. It is a text meant to equip pastors who are ill-equipped to answer arguments rooted in Second Temple Judaism made by advocates…..

Read the entire article at Reformation21 

Reaffirming Sola Scriptura

by Tom Nettles

As Philip Schaff indicated, confessions and creeds hold no absolute authority for Protestants. Their authority is only an ad hoc, ecclesial, and localized standard for the sake of unity in fellowship and consistency of witness either in a denomination or a local assembly of believers. They can be amended or expanded in light of evidence from more mature biblical exegesis or in light of doctrinal and cultural challenges to biblical truth. For this reason, confessions arising from within Protestantism usually contain an article that affirms the sole authority, inspiration and infallible authority of Scripture. For example, the Second London Confession of the Baptists stated in its first sentence, “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, Faith, and Obedience.” In paragraph 6 of the same article on Scripture, reflecting the words and concepts of both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Savoy Declaration with one slight variation [italicized], the confession added: “The whole Councel of God concerning all things necessary…..

Read the entire article at Founders Ministries.

Why Evangelicals Must Engage Roman Catholicism

As I speak to different audiences and at various conferences, the question comes back over and over again: why should Evangelicals bother engaging Roman Catholicism? Let me suggest four reasons.

It’s a Global Issue

Wherever you go in the world – North and South, East and West – you will find people who call themselves Roman Catholics and with whom all of us will interact in one way or another on matters of faith. You will also encounter the Roman Catholic Church through its institutions and agencies: parishes, schools, hospitals, charities, movements, etc. According to the 2020 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, Catholics around the world amount….

Read the entire article here

Justification and Roman Catholicism

by Stephen Unthank

It shouldn’t surprise Protestant readers that our Roman Catholic friends (or maybe they’re not your friends) really do believe that God justifies sinners. When they read Romans 3:19-26 they also say “Amen!” But of course, it’s what is meant by the term justify that needs careful clarification. In fact, it’s that very definition which makes the difference between calling our Roman Catholic neighbors merely a friend or a brother.[1]

The history of Rome’s understanding is itself variegated and in no way lends itself to an easy retelling, at least not in a short article like this. There’s a story about an argument over justification by faith, held during the two-decade deliberation of the Council of Trent, where “the Bishop of La Cava wrenched the beard of the Cretan Bishop of Chironissa, who had commented that he was either a knave or a fool for sounding a bit like Martin Luther on justification.”[2] And yet, you could turn to many of Thomas Aquinas’ statements on justification and easily conclude that he sounds exactly like Martin Luther. That is to say, there is not a clearly defined doctrine of justification which is easily traceable throughout the history of the Catholic Church. This is partly why there could be such a vague document like the Evangelicals and Catholics Together, which plays on how close Catholics and Protestants can seemingly come. Yet, being close is not the same thing as being faithful and when it comes to the Gospel, faithful is essential whereas being close is still an eternally distant “close.”

It is not quite right to say that the Roman Catholic church opposes salvation by grace through faith. Their own Catechism explicitly states that a person is made right with God by God’s grace, and that grace is accepted by faith. “The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit….

Read the entire article over at Reformation21  

The Wednesday Word – What does that mean? (Pt 5) Soli Deo Gloria

Glory to God alone Romans 11:36

Soli Deo Gloria was one of the five mighty battle cries of the Reformation. It means that we, in all matters, are called to Glorify God alone.

But what does ‘To Glorify’ mean?

It means simply to honour and praise the Lord alone. To Him alone belongs magnificence, excellence, pre-eminence, and dignity. We are called to worship Him. And why not? He is God after all. No man can take credit for what Yahweh has done, and no man can compare Himself to who He is.

He is perfect in all His ways (Deuteronomy 32:4). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Light (1 John 1:5). Soli Deo Gloria

He is Love (1 John 4:16). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Fire (Hebrews 12:29). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Sovereign (Deuteronomy 3:24). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Holy (Leviticus 19:2). Soli Deo Gloria.

He is Merciful and Gracious (Psalm 103:8). Soli Deo Gloria.

He did all the work in salvation. He is, therefore, worthy of all the praise and all the honour. Soli Deo Gloria.

He gave us the faith to believe the Gospel. Soli Deo Gloria.

He baptized us into the salvation provided by Christ’s doing, dying and rising again. Soli Deo Gloria.

He ransomed, redeemed and reconciled us. Soli Deo Gloria.

Here’s a striking fact…..all things are for His glory, not ours! Yahweh, speaking through Isaiah (48:11) tells us; “For my own sake, even for my own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.”

God’s salvation is for Himself and for His Glory! Soli Deo Gloria.

Many folks sincerely believe that they give glory to God for their salvation. But it’s all in their imagination for they cannot say that they give glory to Him alone. They are clinging to grace + their contribution of good works. But, this is not Bible salvation. Salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end.

Soli Deo Gloria.

As a result of the Gospel, we can lead lives which glorify God. We have been ransomed, redeemed and reconciled to God Himself in the person of His Son, the God/Man Jesus Christ.

Soli Deo Gloria.

It is no wonder then that Paul says in 1Corinthians 10:31 “Whether therefore you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Soli Deo Gloria.

In practical terms, Soli Deo Gloria means that everything we do is to be done for God’s glory. Man’s pride and glory are excluded. We are to be motivated and inspired by God’s glory and not our own. He is the goal of our salvation. We, of course, are the beneficiaries of His matchless grace, but we are not the center of God’s plan. Ephesians 1:10 informs us of God’s ultimate intention saying, “That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:”

That’s how the future looks!

Soli Deo Gloria

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 4) Sola Scriptura

“We’re not just dogmatic about this, we’re bulldog-matic. Sola Scripture (Scripture alone) is a non-negotiable” (Dr. Steven Lawson).

The teaching of Scripture alone refers to the sufficiency of Scripture as our supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura was another great rallying cry of the Reformation. For centuries the Papal Communion had declared its traditions to be superior in authority to the Bible. This resulted in many practices that were horribly contradictory to the Scripture. For example

Prayer to the saints,

Prayer to Mary,

The Immaculate Conception,

Transubstantiation,

Baptismal regeneration,

The supremacy and authority of the Pope.

The Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the Pope, not traditions, not church councils, not subjective feelings, but Scripture alone. Therefore, if any teachings differ from Scripture, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected, rather than vice versa.

The Bible is the final authority, that’s what we mean by Sola Scriptura.

The Reformers believed the Bible to be their final authority. Likewise, we believe that it is the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. All Popes and Councils are fallible. The Bible alone is infallible.

At the Diet of Worms (AD 1521), when called on to renounce his supposed errors. Martin Luther replied,

“Unless I am convinced by testimonies of Scripture or by evident reason ..for I believe neither the Pope nor Councils alone since it is established that they have often erred and contradicted themselves-I am the prisoner of the Scriptures cited by me, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

This is Sola Scriptura.

Our opponents, however, insist that the Bible nowhere teaches Sola Scriptura. This is nonsense! Although no one verse declares Sola Scriptura, the Bible clearly states “All scripture is given by inspiration of God … 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

The Greek word for “inspired” describes ships sails filled, being carried along over the seas. Our scriptures are quite literally God breathed!

Since God is the author of the Scriptures, we can be confident that any teaching which is at variance with the truth of His Word is wrong.

This is Sola Scriptura.

Every Scripture is the product of the Spirit’s work. He inspired the Bible writers and gave them His words. And even though God’s Word and the scribe’s personality were in some way intertwined, every Word came from God Himself.

This is Sola Scriptura.

We must, therefore, either recognize the divine origin of the Bible or deny it. However, if we deny the Bible as being the very Word of God, we deny the fact that what the Bible says, God says. We will then eventually deny the reliability of the glorious promises of the Word and will soon deny salvation by grace alone and other precious truths. We will then be like a rudderless ship on its way to disaster.

Jesus held to the authority of Scripture.

Finally, let us look to the Master. He was a man of the Scriptures. Three times, in the wilderness, He was tempted by the Devil, and each time He boldly replied “IT IS WRITTEN” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Also, consider these sayings of His;“And Jesus answering said unto them, “Do ye not therefore err because you know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).

“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him” (Matthew 26:24)

“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” Matthew (21:42)

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify of Me” (John 5:39)

“But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:54)

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Jesus believed in the authority of Scripture.

So do I!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 3) Faith alone

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Romans 3:21-22, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Romans 10:3

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Faith Alone (Sola Fide) was the battle cry of the Reformation. It’s a radical truth that will deliver us from self-absorption and legalism.

It is a vital truth, therefore, we must get it straight. We receive our salvation by faith + nothing. Neither ceremonies nor rituals need apply for the job. Faith alone grasps that all which is necessary for our acceptance with God has already been done by God Himself in His great redemptive act in Jesus Christ.

To paraphrase the Australian Forum, “Faith receives that the God/Man, Jesus Christ, in our name and our behalf, met all our obligations before the bar of eternal justice.”

Faith understands that our salvation was secured by a complete and perfect work. Faith alone apprehends that we cannot add or contribute anything to Christ’s accomplishments.

This, however, does not mean that faith is our Saviour. Faith was not led as a lamb to the slaughter. Nevertheless, faith causes us to look to our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus, as our only hope. Faith never looks at itself. It provides no foundation of safety for the believer.

Gospel faith is the opposite of having a vague faith in some God out there. Having a general sort of faith is not saving faith.

Some people may actually believe that for every drop of rain that falls, a flower grows! But, that’s not saving faith.

Someone says, “I believe that everything will turn out for good in the end.” Good for you, but that is not saving faith.

Others say, “It doesn’t matter what you believe, as long as you believe sincerely.” That’s not saving faith, and besides, it is nonsense. It’s like saying, “It doesn’t matter what medicine I take, as long as I’m sincere.” Welcome to the funeral parlour.

Faith, Gospel Faith, on the other hand, grasps that God’s saving work has been done completely outside of our own experience. Indeed, gospel faith comprehends that the Finished Work was in no way accomplished inside the believer. As John Bunyan pertinently says, “……., this is one of the greatest mysteries in the world; namely, that a righteousness that resides in heaven should justify me, a sinner on earth!” (Bunyan: Justified by and Imputed Righteousness).

Faith embraces that God is righteous, holy, just, and loving. Faith recognizes that we have sinned against this same God. Faith perceives that, outside of grace, we stand guilty and condemned. But, faith also embraces that Jesus is God clothed in a human body. Faith sees Him and His perfection as the substitute for sinners.

Gospel Faith sees that all our sins have been paid for. Not one of them has been left to damn us.

Faith receives this and makes it our own.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by confession.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by fasting.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by prayer.

Faith sees that our sins are not put away by popes, prelates or priests.

Faith, however, sees that, at the cross,

Sin was condemned,

Justice was satisfied,

The Law was magnified,

God was glorified,

The sinner was saved and our adversary, Satan, was utterly confounded!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com