It is not until we understand what it means to be justified, that we are in any position to discuss sanctification, which is that life-long process through which the old habit of sin (what we call “indwelling sin”) is progressively weakened and the new nature (given us by virtue of regeneration) is progressively strengthened.
Closely related to the doctrines of justification and sanctification is the subject of good works. One of the most common objections raised by critics of the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone is this: “If we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, on account of Christ alone, what place does that leave for good works?” Even apostle Paul had heard a similar objection from Christians in Rome.
The New Testament has no category for someone who is a believer in Jesus Christ but who is not also a member of a local church. The reason is so obvious that we take it for granted. Since all true believers become members of the body of Christ by virtue of their union with Christ through faith, the New Testament assumes that those who are members of Christ’s body will naturally identify with a local assembly of those who likewise believe in Jesus and confess him as Lord before the unbelieving world. Sadly, many Americans have completely different assumptions.
Foreign missions is undoubtedly one of the primary tasks of the church. After all, it was Christ who commanded his church to evangelize the nations in the Great Commission. Moreover, we know that the apostle Paul was one who had a great zeal for missions.
I am thankful for the invitation to contribute to the Valiant for Truth blog. In the series that follows, I will be offering Meditations on the Larger Catechism, which will include exposition and application of this wonderful statement of Christian teaching from our Reformed Protestant tradition.