On Sunday morning at Capitol City, we unpacked the glorious doctrine of justification by faith alone. Many churches like ours will celebrate this truth explicitly at some point this year as we recognize the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

Justification by faith is the absolute heart of the gospel. No work of ours can ever make us right in God’s eyes. Only the perfect, finished work of Christ can. Nor can we add to Christ’s work. The gospel is not good news that says, “Now you must get to work.” It is good news that declares, “It is finished” (John 19:30). We can only accept Christ’s work for us – that’s where faith comes in. It is absolutely essential that we uphold and cherish the wonderful truth of justification by faith alone.

The gospel is not good news that says, “Now you must get to work.” It is good news that declares, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

Yet we must also acknowledge that while saving faith alone can justify us, saving faith is never alone. True faith goes public. It produces something in us and through us. This is James’ point in James 2: But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works (James 2:18). We can know true faith when we see it – because we will see it. It will be evident by works – namely joyful submission to the commands and will of Jesus.

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