Justification, Sanctification, and Good Works

The Reformed Reader

Systematic Theology, 3 Volumes In his discussion on sanctification, Charles Hodge (d. 1878) nicely summarizes the Reformation position of faith, justification, sanctification, and good works.  Here’s what Hodge says about the historical Protestant views (which are found in the Reformed Confessions, and ultimately Scripture):

First, it was universally admitted that good works are not necessary to our justification; that they are consequences  and indirectly the fruits of justification, and, therefore, cannot be its ground.

Secondly, it was also agreed that faith, by which the sinner is justified, is not as a work, the reason why God pronounces the sinner just.  It is the act by which the sinner receives and rests upon the righteousness of Christ, the imputation of which renders him righteous in the sight of God.

Thirdly, faith does not justify because it includes, or is the root or principle of good works; not as ‘fides obsequiosa’ [faith including evangelical obedience].

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