Justification by Faith Alone Is an Essential Part of the Gospel -- By: Robert N. Wilkin
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Justification by Faith Alone Is an Essential Part of the Gospel
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
I. “I Hope I Shared Enough”
A while back I was visiting with a pastor friend about a short-term mission trip he had taken. Something he said grabbed my attention. This friend is a solid Free Grace proponent. He believes and would surely die for justification by faith alone.
“Steve” was given the chance to speak at a secular orphanage. He was told he shouldn’t say anything about Jesus or Christianity. Well, Steve felt burdened to preach the gospel. So he told the boys and girls that God became a baby, that baby grew up and the man, Jesus, lived a sinless life and then He died on the cross for our sins. Three days later He rose bodily from the grave. Jesus died for your sins and for my sins. And now He is alive. With that, Steve ended his message and sat down.
Steve told me that everyone was deeply moved by his message. The power of the cross really came through. But then he told me something remarkable. Steve looked at me and with a wistful look on his face said: “I hope I shared enough so that maybe some of the children were born again that day.”
Steve forgot something in his preaching that day. He never mentioned the promise of the gospel. He never told the audience what they needed to do and what they would have if they did it.
Steve knew deep down that telling people that Jesus died for our sins and that He rose from the grave on the third day is not enough. He knew people needed more information than that. Steve forgot to tell his audience anything about believing in Jesus or about everlasting life.
I believed Jesus died on the cross for my sins and rose bodily from the dead 14 or more years before I believed in Jesus for eternal life. There are millions of people around the world who do not believe in justification by faith alone, yet who do believe many orthodox truths
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about Jesus and the Bible, including the fact that Jesus died for our sins and rose bodily from the dead.
The thesis of this article is this: Justification by faith alone is an essential part of the gospel. Stated another way, if you have not communicated the truth of justification by faith alone, you have not given enough information for a person to be born again.
II. Many New Testament Scholars See Many Ways to Come to Jesus
Back in 1998 I had a discussion in front of about 150 students with a renowned seminary professor who teaches New Testament. Our topic was “What ...
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