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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Justification by faith alone: The doctrine by which the true congregation stands or falls...

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

Article XI:  Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

Article XII:  Of Good Works

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

The Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession (Dutch) say the same thing:

Westminster Confession:  Chapter 16:  Of Good Works

5. We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them, we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins;1 but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants;2 and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit;3 and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.4


The Belgic Confession says:

Chapter 24:  Of Sanctification and Good Works

We believe that this true faith, worked in man by the hearing of God's Word and by the operation of the Holy Spirit,[1] regenerates him and makes him a new man.[2] It makes him live a new life and frees him from the slavery of sin.[3] Therefore it is not true that this justifying faith makes man indifferent to living a good and holy life.[4] On the contrary, without it no one would ever do anything out of love for God,[5] but only out of self-love or fear of being condemned. It is therefore impossible for this holy faith to be inactive in man, for we do not speak of an empty faith but of what Scripture calls faith working through love (Gal 5:6).


This faith induces man to apply himself to those works which God has commanded in His Word. These works, proceeding from the good root of faith, are good and acceptable in the sight of God, since they are all sanctified by His grace. Nevertheless, they do not count toward our justification. For through faith in Christ we are justified, even before we do any good works.[6] Otherwise they could not be good any more than the fruit of a tree can be good unless the tree itself is good.[7]

Therefore we do good works, but not for merit. For what could we merit? We are indebted to God, rather than He to us, for the good works we do,[8] since it is He who is at work in us, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Phil 2:13). Let us keep in mind what is written: So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, "We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty (Luke 17:10)." Meanwhile we do not deny that God rewards good works,[9] but it is by His grace that He crowns His gifts.

Furthermore, although we do good works, we do not base our salvation on them. We cannot do a single work that is not defiled by our flesh and does not deserve punishment.[10] Even if we could show one good work, the remembrance of one sin is enough to make God reject it.[11] We would then always be in doubt, tossed to and fro without any certainty, and our poor consciences would be constantly tormented, if they did not rely on the merit of the death and passion of our Saviour.[12]


And the Heidelberg Catechism says:

Lord's Day 24

Question 62. But why cannot our good works be the whole, or part of our righteousness before God?

Answer: Because, that the righteousness, which can be approved of before the tribunal of God, must be absolutely perfect, and in all respects 1conformable to the divine law; and also, that our best works in this life are all imperfect and 2defiled with sin.

Question 63. What! do not our good works merit, which yet God will reward in this and in a future life?

Answer: This reward is not of merit, but of grace.3

Question 64. But doth not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

Answer: By no means: for it is impossible that those, who are implanted into Christ by a true faith, should not bring forth fruits of 4thankfulness.


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1 Gal. 3:10; Deut. 27:26;

2 Isa. 64:6

3 Luke 17:10;

4 Matt. 7:17-18; John 15:5;



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Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

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