Monday, June 1, 2009

The Foundational Doctrine

What is the foundation doctrine? I shall not shock any one of you if I say that it is admitted by all evangelical Christians that the standing or falling in the church is that of justification by faith. The church which holds that doctrine is in the body; the church which is tampering with that doctrine is not in the body. I will not merely say the church that is not holding it, but the church that is not holding it in the most distinct form is not to be acknowledged as a part of the body of Christ; for this is such a truth that it must not be hidden, and to obscure those words, legible in their own light - ”Believe and live” - is to commit high treason against the majesty of God, and to make one’s self an outlaw from God and from mercy.

The great standing or falling doctrine, then, is this - “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God;” “Therefore we are justified by faith, and not by the works of the law.” We hold that it is of faith that it might be of grace through Christ Jesus. Holding this truth, that every soul who believes in Christ is thereby made a partaker of the merit of his passion and is saved, what joy and peace are opened up to us!

From a sermon entitled "An Immovable Foundation," delivered May 13, 1866. Image by Paulo Brandão under Creative Commons License.

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