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Justification by Grace Alone through Faith Alone

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Biblical Wisdom Faith

How are people saved? This should be a question that Christians can easily answer, and indeed most can. However, Christians are less knowledgeable about the doctrine of justification and its important distinctions.

 “’For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him will not perish but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16, NKJV). This is a very familiar verse to most people. It talks about God the Father send his Son, Jesus, into the world to give us everlasting life. Jesus did this by dying on the cross and taking the punishment for the sins of the world “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23, NJKV). Jesus was raised from the dead. His work on the cross has brought everlasting life to all who believe in him, because everyone has sinned and needs to be justified by Christ in order to obtain everlasting life.

Protestant Christians in the Reformed tradition believe that people are saved by grace alone through faith alone. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV). Not everyone believes this, and the different perspectives on justification have caused division, the most well-known one being the Reformation.

While we are justified by grace alone through faith alone, we should be compelled to perform good works as a result of our faith. It is important to realize that our justification does not hinge upon these works, though. Our works do show, however, that we truly believe in Christ and point others to Him. The Bible tells us that “someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works…Do you not see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” (James 2:18,22, NKJV). This passage shows how faith and work come together in harmony to point people to Christ.

God’s plan is for Christians to be justified in His sight, saved, by grace alone through faith alone. Easter and the resurrection of Christ has its meaning in this truth. While we are justified by faith, we cannot let that become an excuse to not do works. We do works from a spirit of gratefulness and in doing so show others our faith, lead them to Christ and glorify our Father in Heaven. This Easter season, rest in His grace and in the knowledge that, as Jesus said to the woman washing His feet grateful for forgiveness, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50 NKJV).

-Kelsey Gerhard '23


Image by Raheel Shakeel from Pixabay

Opinions expressed in the Geneva Blog are those of its contributors and do not necessarily represent the opinions or official position of the College. The Geneva Blog is a place for faculty and contributing writers to express points of view, academic insights, and contribute to national conversations to spark thought, conversation, and the pursuit of truth, in line with our philosophy as a Christian, liberal arts institution.

Apr 1, 2021