Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Error of Confusing Justification and Sanctification.

There are generally two types of gospel preaching common among us. The first presents all men as sinners and Christ's blood as the remedy, and then asks if one is a partaker of the remedy, with the surety of it generally contained in such questions as, Have you left the ways of the world, Are you living after the flesh, Have you made confession of (put away your) sin, Are you striving against sin, etc. This preaching ignores the Justification that is by faith in Christ, and places our faith, or confidence, in Sanctification, or how well we are warring against sin. This is a great and hideous error.

The right way to preach the gospel is to present all men as sinners and Christ's blood as the remedy, and then preach forgiveness of sins by faith alone, teaching the penitent to look only to the atoning blood of Christ and believe that therein is his or her complete, absolute, and eternal Justification, or forgiveness of sins. God forgives and receives you solely for the sake of Christ and His redemptive work, with no regard to your greatest merit (which is none before God) or your greatest demerit. God beholds only the work of His Son and is completely satisfied. Then teach that on account of having received such an inestimable gift, having beheld what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called the children of God, let us as obedient children strive against sin, the world, and our own flesh. Not so that we can receive forgiveness, but because we have already received and possess it by grace alone.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Acts 18:27
And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

Believe by grace. How often do we hear the phrase, "Believe by faith." It is, unfortunately, common to hear preaching which separates Christ from Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and sets people on an endless quest for certitude of salvation based upon their faith, or their inner experience. Neither faith nor an experience can be a saving foundation, for Christ alone is the foundation of salvation for all who believe, and He is ministered unto us in the gospel, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and the Sacrament of the Supper. Therefore we ought to say that we obtain by faith, through grace, the benefits of Christ disclosed therein, for the word and sacraments contain and offer to the sinner all the promises of God in Christ Jesus.

This does not mean that the believer does not experience Christ, His love and forgiveness, but this experience is a fruit of having received Christ in the word and sacraments wherein Christ, our Foundation, is revealed and extended. The Word is foundational, and in this we trust and believe.