• Faith and Works Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2014 | Genesis 15

    Some years ago, I read an article in which the author argued rather vigorously against the teaching that believers are justified by grace alone through faith alone on account of the work of Christ alone. According to this author, the single reference to “faith alone” in the New Testament is found in the words of James 2:24: “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” How, the author wrote, could it not be more clear that Abraham, who is the exemplar of one whose faith was “credited to him for righteousness” (Gen. 15 … View Resource

  • Faith Alone Article by J.V. Fesko

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2012

    In 1647, a group of Reformed pastors and theologians meeting at Westminster Abbey in London completed a set of documents we now know as the Westminster Standards, which include the Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms. The divines (theologians) sought to codify Reformed teaching in order to create a unified Reformed church in the British Isles. In question and answer 33 of the Shorter Catechism, they summarize one of the chief pillars of the Reformed tradition: What is justification? Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us … View Resource

  • Caring for Our Families Article by John Piper

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2011

    A few years ago I wrote a short book on justification that was published by Crossway under the title Counted Righteous in Christ. In one section of it I ask, “Why would a pressured pastor with a family to care for … devote so much time and energy to the controversy over the imputation of Christ’s righteousness? Well, it is precisely because I have a family to care for, and so do hundreds of my people.” Here is part of the answer I wrote in chapter one of the book: Yes, I have a family to care for. Noël and … View Resource

  • Justified by His Blood Article by Anthony Carter

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2011

    Have you ever wondered why God loves you and desires you in His eternal blessed presence? Have you ever contemplated (seriously) why God would look favorably on you and bless you rather than condemn you? Most of us (dare I say, all of us?) think more highly of ourselves than we ought. While very few of us would actually say it, we do live our lives as if there is something about us that makes God want to be our friend. Amazingly, we treat God like one of our earthly friends — we can’t help ourselves. We know why we … View Resource

  • Justification by Death? Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    In the sixteenth century, Christendom underwent one of the most extensive and serious schisms in its history. The chief article that caused the controversy to end in division was the doctrine of justification by faith alone. The Protestant Reformation was not a tempest in a teapot. The issue that divided the Roman Catholics from the Protestant Reformers was not a secondary or tertiary doctrine. The dispute focused on the essence of the gospel. Some have argued that sola fide (faith alone) is central to the Christian faith but not essential. I contend, however, that it is essential to the gospel … View Resource

  • Making Molehills Out of Mountains Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2010

    The crisis regarding the doctrine of justification that provoked the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century has not yet been resolved. Thus, the Reformation is by no means over. The dispute over justification that split the church back then threatens to fracture contemporary, evangelical Christianity. At issue during the Reformation was the relationship of justification to sanctification. It was a question of the order of salvation. The difference is not a tempest in a teapot; it’s one by which salvation itself is defined. View Resource

  • Why Is Justification So Important? Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2009

    During the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century, there were few things more precious to believers than the recovery of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. Centuries of semi-Pelagian (and Pelagian) growth were dragged into the light and revealed as the deadly poison they were, and despite fierce opposition, the glorious gospel of grace began to be proclaimed again from pulpits across Europe. As the truth spread, resistance increased, and untold numbers of the faithful suffered persecution and even death rather than renounce or compromise this essential biblical doctrine. Five hundred years later, how many … View Resource

  • A Message Worth Fighting For Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009 | Galatians 2

    Paul’s letter to the Galatians is relentless in its insistence that there is only one, true gospel. Any subtraction from or addition to the saving message of God’s work in Jesus Christ renders the gospel impotent. That is why Paul so passionately pleads with the Galatians to hold unswervingly to the truth that he taught them, namely, that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. Deviate from this, he warns, and you will miss God.  To illustrate the seriousness of what is at stake Paul writes about a very public and potentially scandalous confrontation that … View Resource

  • Basking in the Benefits Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009

    Q. What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?  A. The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love, peace of conscience, joy in the Holy Ghost, increase of grace, and perseverance therein to the end.(Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A 36)  Many of us take for granted how wonderful it is to place our heads on the pillow at night and know deep down inside that it is well with our souls. There are other times when our … View Resource

  • The True Sons Article by Terry Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2009 | Galatians 3

    Who are the true sons of George Washington? Every player in our political arena today attempts to legitimize his or her political agenda by an appeal to the Founding Fathers. American politicians must be able to show that they embody the principles first established by our Founders. Who best represents their concepts of justice? Of freedom? Of the “common good?” Of the separation of church and state? Conservatives, liberals, the American Communist Party, and even the American Nazi Party of the 1930s present or presented themselves as the true heirs of the Founding Fathers. You may have seen pictures of … View Resource

  • When Wright Is Wrong Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2008

    If you are a reader of contemporary theological works and you have not already encountered the name “N.T. Wright,” you will. Wright is the Anglican Bishop of Durham, and he is one of the most prolific biblical scholars of our day. I first encountered Wright’s name years ago while doing research on the topic of eschatology. His work on the Gospels provided a number of insights that assisted me in my own work. His magisterial book on the doctrine of resurrection will likely be the standard work on the subject for decades to come. Since my reading of … View Resource

  • Christian Loses His Burden Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006

    As a seminary student, I remember my favorite professor often setting forth arguments for particular theological positions. On many occasions, as these debates proceeded, the professor stopped in mid-sentence, paused, looked at his students and said, “I sense that you do not feel the weight of this argument.” His regular reference to the “weight” of arguments was an interesting metaphor for me. Arguments that we do not take seriously are those that we take lightly. The whole idea of weight or weightiness is one that is found throughout the Bible. In the first instance, the glory of God is … View Resource

  • Necessary Qualifications Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2005

    When in the course of human language it becomes necessary to qualify the meanings of words, we must unite and defend the correct use of our language against the onslaught of misused phrases, misappropriated adjectives, and misunderstood words. In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformers found themselves amidst a raging battle. It was the great battle of qualification. Somewhere along the line, the Roman Catholic Church decided to make itself the infallible authority over the church of Jesus Christ. By so doing, the Roman church usurped the authority of the divinely inspired Word of God and began to inject the … View Resource

  • Justification by Association Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2004

    Over the past few years I have grown increasingly concerned about the state of evangelicalism. There has been a rapid decline of doctrinal integrity, and evangelical churches throughout the country have lost their theological bearings, especially regarding the doctrine of justification. According to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, justification is the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls. If Luther was right, and indeed he was, many churches have fallen by the wayside. No longer do such churches preach justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone; rather, they preach justification by association. The general … View Resource

  • Justified by Faith, Perfected by Hope Article by Douglas Kelly

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2004

    The great Apostle who so clearly teaches us the liberating gospel truth that sinners are justified by faith, later in the same epistle adds that “we are saved by hope” (Rom. 8: 24). While Romans chapters 3 through 5 teach the joyous news that faith is the alone instrument of justification, Romans 8:24 exemplifies how faith is not alone in the person justified but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces. How supremely powerful is hope in Romans 8! It is this hope, which always accompanies justification, that gets us through the trials and tribulations of life in … View Resource