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.

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