Grace Protestant Reformed Church

Answering Objections to Gracious Justification

Date: AM
Text: Luke 17; Lord's Day 24
Psalters: 76, 101, 260, 397
Series: Heidelberg Catechism
  1. Cannot add.
    1. Every human is naturally proud of his achievements (and thoughts), and believes they deserve some recognition from God.
    2. There are good reasons why our good works cannot be any help in making us righteous and acceptable with God.
      1. First, God Himself is perfectly righteous and therefore He can approve only what is absolutely perfect.
      2. Second, all the good works of believers are imperfect and defiled by our old nature (Rom. 7:18ff), and “filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6)
      3. Third, even perfect man is an unprofitable servant to God because he is only doing what is required of him (Luke 17:10).
      4. Fourth, good works are the fruit of salvation, not the reason or basis for salvation.
  2. The second objection comes from those who argue that Scripture teaches that God rewards our good works.
    1. They insist that if God rewards our good works, then that must mean that our good works have earned a part of our salvation.
    2. Good works are rewarded, but it is the reward of grace (not because of any merit).
      1. First, Scripture teaches that all the good works of any believer come from God, originate in His grace.
      2. Second, God does reward His people for their good works (Heb. 11:26).
  3. The third objection is that if salvation is by grace alone then the Christian becomes careless about doing good works.
    1. But, first, salvation puts one into communion with Christ. He is the vine and the branches are made spiritually alive and fruitful.
    2. Second, those saved by grace (undeserved love) will never be careless and profane about their relationship to God.
    3. Finally, God treats us as children (not slaves) giving us wonderful incentives to encourage us in our godly walk.
      1. He encourages us to know that though our best is very imperfect, it will be received because of Christ’s righteousness.
      2. Our unprofitable works are laid on the altar of Christ’s work, where they are “sanctified by grace,” changed into beauty.