The Primary Goal of Every Christian

I have been thinking and reading quite a bit lately about the reformed doctrine of justification by faith alone — sola fide. Martin Luther, the great German reformer believed that justification by faith alone is the doctrine by which the protestant church stand or falls. This evening I read the following quote from Martin Luther on Dr. Ray Ortlund’s website:

Since we are justified by faith alone, it is clear that the inner person cannot be justified, freed or saved by any external work or act, and such works, whatever they may be, have nothing to do with the inner person.  Therefore, only ungodliness and unbelief of the heart make a person a condemned servant of sin — this cannot be caused by any external work or act of sin.  It follows that it ought to be the primary goal of every Christian to put aside confidence in works and grow stronger in the belief that we are saved by faith alone.  Through this faith the Christian should increase in knowledge not of works but of Christ Jesus and the benefits of his death and resurrection.

—Martin Luther
The Freedom of the Christian

Horatius Bonar opened the first chapter of his book The Everlasting Righteousness with the following question: “How may I, a sinner, draw near to Him in whom there is no sin, and look upon His face in peace?” That is a question I fear that very few people today would ever stop to ponder. As Dr. R.C. Sproul stated at Together for the Gospel in 2006, the primary view of most modern evangelicals with regard to the doctrine of justification is that of “justification by death – all you have to do to be justified is to die – because everybody that dies goes to heaven.” My hope and prayer for myself, and for you, is that we would look away from ourselves and put our complete trust and faith in Jesus Christ — his perfect life and atoning death.

Via: Ray Ortlund