Monday, August 10, 2009

Faith -- The Instrument of Our Justification, Not the Grounds

A selection from a letter by Martyn Lloyd-Jones to Fred and Elizabeth Catherwood, his daughter and son-in-law. Lloyd-Jones was one of the greatest expositors of the 20th Century. He often wrote letters to them, telling them what he preached the week before. In this letter he refers to a sermon he gave on a Friday evening at the Bible study at Westminster Chapel on justification. The letter was written April 12, 1954.

On Friday night I tried to deal with the doctrine of justification by faith only. I felt that I did not do it justice, largely due to the fact that I was somewhat tired physically. I shall send you the notes when they arrive. The main point emphasized was that faith is but the instrument of our justification, not the grounds. We are not justified because of our faith or on account of it. It is but the channel or instrument by which we receive the righteousness of our Lord by which we are justified. He is our justification, not our faith in Him. You will realize that many, if not most evangelicals these days, go astray at that point. It is a most subtle heresy which turns faith into a work and really teaches justification by works again, our faith being the works.

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Letters 1919-1981, Selected with Notes, by Ian H. Murray, Banner of Truth, 1994, p. 121.

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