• What Are Justification and Sanctification? Article by Guy Waters

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2015 | Romans 3

    The words justification and sanctification have largely fallen out of use in Western culture. Sadly, they are also fading from sight in the Christian church. One reason this decline is distressing is that the Bible uses the words justification and sanctification to express the saving work of Christ for sinners. That is to say, both terms lie at the heart of the biblical gospel. So, what does the Bible teach about justification and sanctification? How do they differ from one another? How do they help us understand better the believer’s relationship with Jesus Christ? Justification is as simple as A-B-C-D … View Resource

  • 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. 15:6), found … 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 as … View Resource

  • Jesus: The Only Savior Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2012

    I cannot imagine an affirmation that would meet with more resistance from contemporary Westerners than the one Paul makes in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”This declaration is narrow and downright un-American. We have been inundated with the viewpoint that there are many roads that lead to heaven, and that God is not so narrow that He requires a strict allegiance to one way of salvation. If anything strikes at the root of the tree of pluralism and relativism, it is a claim of exclusivity … View Resource

  • The Price of Our Redemption Article by Anthony Carter

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    The story is told of Abraham Lincoln, who went down to the slave block and there noticed a young black girl up for auction. Moved with compassion, he bid and won her. Upon purchasing her, Lincoln told the disbelieving young girl that she was free. In her Surprise she said, “What does that mean?” “It means you are free,” he replied. “Does that mean,” she said, “I can say whatever I want to say?” “Yes, my dear, you can say whatever you want to say.” “Does that mean I can be whatever I want to be?” “Yes, you can be … 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

  • Christ, Our Righteousness Article by Roger Nicole

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    N.T. Wright in his advocacy of a “new perspective” on Paul and his teaching makes a special plea that “justification” should relate to the question “who belongs to God’s covenant with the world?” rather than “how can you be saved?” Wright’s answer to the question is “Jews and Gentiles alike, who believe in Jesus the Messiah.” This position is discussed widely in the present issue of Tabletalk. View Resource

  • A Future Justification Based on Works? Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    One of the remarkable features of N.T. Wright’s reformulation of the Protestant doctrine of justification is his emphasis upon a “future justification” on the basis of works. According to Wright, the apostle Paul clearly teaches that believers will be subject to a final judgment “according to works” (Rom. 14:10–12; 2 Cor. 5:10). View Resource

  • Has the Church Misunderstood Justification? Article by Guy Waters

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    For all their differences concerning the doctrine of justification, Protestants and the Roman Catholic Church have agreed on this: justification fundamentally concerns the salvation of the sinner. To draw this observation is not, of course, to minimize the importance of the differences between Rome and Protestantism concerning justification. View Resource

  • Justification for Everyone Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    For years we have wrestled with the question as to whether we should produce an issue of Tabletalk devoted to the new perspectives on Paul on the doctrine of justification, and for years we concluded that many of our readers would be generally unaware of what has been, until recently, an academic discussion among studied churchmen the world over. View Resource

  • A New Luther? Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    The accusation that systematic theology (doctrinal formulations of the Reformation period in particular) overly governs (distorts) exegesis is not new, and Bishop N.T. Wright trots it out with renewed zeal in his latest book, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision (SPCK, 2009). View Resource

  • Rethinking the Gospel? Article by Albert Mohler

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    Bishop Wright believes the Christian church has fundamentally misunderstood the gospel. If he is right about this, we must hear him and accept his corrective. But, if he is wrong, he will lead us away from the gospel. The stakes simply could not be higher. View Resource

  • Salvation and the Life After Life Article by Paul Helm

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    How do we estimate what a person is primarily interested in? Perhaps by seeing how often they return to the subject, or what they mention on important occasions. And perhaps, also, by the manner in which people write about things: is it detached, or is it impassioned — “urgent,” as Wright says? View Resource

  • What Does Justification Have to do with the Gospel? Article by Sinclair Ferguson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2010

    There is a striking plausibility about saying that “justification by faith is not what Paul means by ‘the gospel.’” After all, as N.T. Wright elsewhere observes, we are not justified by believing in justification by faith but by believing in Jesus Christ. View Resource