Summary: Explanation of the Biblical doctrine of Justification.
Justification By Faith Alone
“Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:”
The great 16th Century German Reformer, Martin Luther, called it “the article upon which the church stands or falls.” The
article in question is that of justification by faith alone. To Luther, whether this doctrine was believed and preached or not
was the basis by which we judge if it is a true church! A church ceases to be a church when it ceases to declare that sinners
are reconciled to God by no other way than by faith.
I’m happy to report to you that West Broadway Baptist Church is a true church. On Dec. 6, 1908 the first members of this
church adopted a statement of faith that states this concerning justification in article 5:
We believe that the great gospel blessing which Christ secures to such as believe in Him is Justification; that Justification includes
the pardon of sin, and the promise of eternal life on principles of righteousness; that it is bestowed, not in consideration of any works
of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in the Redeemers blood; by virtue of which faith his perfect
righteousness is freely imputed to us of God; that it brings us into a state of most blessed peace and favor with God, and secures
every other blessing needful for time and eternity.
We live in a day of religious tolerance, when truth, it is said, should be sacrificed on the altar of relationships. May our
voice sound with the noble martyrs of generations of the true church who say with the apostle Paul, “If any man preach any
other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.’
The doctrine of justification by faith alone is essential to the gospel. The gospel ceases to be ‘good news’ if it ceases to
declare that Christ alone has accomplished our salvation. Theologians have always understood that when we say we are
justified by faith alone, we are really saying we are justified by the work of Christ alone. That’s why this doctrine is so
important. If we contribute anything more to our salvation than simply believing what Christ has already done, we cheapen
His work of grace and declare it insufficient. Now let’s look at Romans 5:1 and may we stand in awe of what Christ has
done for us.
We will break down this verse into three parts.
1. The Means of Justification ‘. . . having been justified by faith . . .’
2. The Result of Justification ‘. . . peace with God . . .’
and, 3. The Person of Justification ‘. . . through our Lord Jesus Christ:’
But let’s begin by defining justification:
“Justification is God’s act of pardoning sinners and accepting them as righteous for Christ’s sake.”
It is a forensic, or legal, term meaning that sinners are declared righteous. It is a positional term meaning that we are declared righteous positionally
before God, even though we are still practically speaking sinners.
1. The Means of Justification “. . . justified by faith . . .’
What did we do to merit such a divine pardon? Nothing! What is the means by which this pardon is received? By Faith
and Faith Alone! Not by our good deeds. Titus 3:5 states,
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, . . .’
Nor is it as may false religions teach, that it is faith plus human effort or faith plus sacrifices or faith plus confession to an
earthly priest. No the reformers were right when they said in the face of Rome in the words of John Calvin,
“Let it therefore remain settled . . . that we are justified in no other way than by faith, or, which comes to the same thing, that we are justified by
Is this what Scripture teaches? Let’s look at Romans 3:20-24, 28.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.21 But now the
righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by
faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Yet some of us still try to take credit for our own salvation. “Yes, we’re saved by faith,” we say, “but I supplied the faith.”