and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh?
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.
For one who has died has been set free from sin.
And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
"But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."
This is at the heart of the Reformed faith (Calvinism) and more importantly - biblical Christianity. Salvation is of the Lord - it is all of grace! We add nothing to it and do not cooperate in it to obtain it. It is God's free gift to sinful men. It is a Sovereign act of a holy God upon unregenerate people who are by nature children of wrath, sons of disobedience, and dead in trespasses and sins. We must "made fit" for the inheritance (Col. 1:12-14); because in and of ourselves we are hostile to God; enemies of Him and His truth, with all our own righteousness being nothing but dirty, filthy rags. But because of His great love, unfathomable grace and never-ending mercy - by grace through faith in Jesus we may be clothed with the perfect righteousness of Christ our Lord.
This is no spoony faith. This is Christianity; this is what the Reformation was chiefly concerning: a recovery of the biblical gospel of justification by faith alone, through grace alone, because of Christ alone. Theological systems may come and go, but what has become known as Calvinism, symbolically and truthfully, represents the biblical gospel and an exalted sufficient view of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Word.
As the Apostle Paul say in Romans 4:5: "To the man who does not work, but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness." Look at these seven great truths on justification mined from this one verse by our dear late brother, Dr. John Gerstner:
1. The justified one does "not work."Amen?
2. The justified one "trusts."
3. The justified one trusts not in himself but in another: "God."
4. The justified one confesses himself to be "wicked."
5. The justified one does not have faith in his faith.
6. The justified one sees his faith only as "credited" to him.
7. The justified one sees his faith credited as "righteousness."
As we read some excerpts of these men below, may their words encourage us all to proclaim His gospel of grace, not by the authority of Calvin or the Reformation, but by the authority of God's Word alone to which they gave their lives!
"This doctrine [justification by faith] is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour…. For no one who does not hold this article – or, to use Paul's expression, this 'sound doctrine' (Titus 2:1) – is able to teach aright in the church or successfully to resist any adversary . . . this is the heel of the Seed that opposes the old serpent and crushes its head. That is why Satan, in turn, cannot but persecute it."
"Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc."
"Of this article [justification] nothing may be yielded or conceded, though heaven and earth and whatever will not abide, fall to ruin; for 'there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved,' says St. Peter (Acts 4:12); 'and with His stripes we are healed' (Is. 53:5). And on this article all that we teach and practice is based, against the pope, the devil, and the world. That is why we must be very certain of this doctrine and not doubt; otherwise all is lost, and the pope and the devil and all things gain the victory over us and are adjudged right."
"In short, if this article concerning Christ — the doctrine that we are justified and saved through Him alone and consider all apart from Him damned — is not professed, all resistance and restraint are at an end. Then there is, in fact, neither measure nor limit to any heresy and error."
“Now the real nature of Calvinistic soteriology becomes plain. It is no artificial oddity, nor a product of overbold logic. Its central confession, that God saves sinners, that Christ redeemed us by his blood is the witness both of the Bible and of the believing heart.
The Calvinist is the Christian who confesses before men in his theology just what he believes in his heart before God when he prays. He thinks and speaks at all times of the sovereign grace of God in the way that every Christian does when he pleads for the souls of others, or when he obeys the impulse of worship which rises unbidden within him, prompting him to deny himself all praise and to give all the glory of his salvation to his Savior.
Calvinism is the natural theology written on the heart of the new man in Christ, whereas Arminianism is an intellectual sin of infirmity, natural only in the sense in which all such sins are natural, even to the regenerate. Calvinistic thinking is the Christian being himself on the intellectual level; Arminian thinking is the Christian failing to be himself through the weakness of the flesh.
Calvinism is what the Christian church has always held and taught when its mind has not been distracted by controversy and false traditions from attending to what Scripture actually says; that is the significance of the patristic testimonies to the teaching of the ‘five points’, which can be quoted in abundance.
So that really it is most misleading to call this soteriology ‘Calvinism’ at all, for it is not a peculiarity of John Calvin and the divines of Dort, but a part of the revealed truth of God and the catholic Christian faith. ‘Calvinism’ is one of the ‘odious names’ by which down the centuries prejudice has been raised against it. But the thing itself is just the biblical gospel.”CH Spurgeon:
“I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.
I do not believe we can preach the gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a gospel I abhor."
HT: The Irish Calvinist