Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification
By Thomas Schreiner
Zondervan, 2015, 288 pages
In commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Zondervan is publishing the 5 Solas Series. Each book in the series will examine one of the great solas of the Reformation.
The first book, Faith Alone: The Doctrine of Justification (September, 2015), examines one of the dividing truths of Christianity: that one can only be justified before God by faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.
The Reformers attempted to return the corrupted, institutionalized church to the Gospel message of the New Testament of simple, saving faith in Jesus Christ. Schreiner examines the doctrine of faith alone, one of the rallying cries of the Reformation, in the context of Scripture and church history. Opponents of “sola fide” call it “cheap grace” and the road to antinomianism (free license to sin). They insist good works and merit are a necessary part of justification. Certainly, good works and charity are the fruit of salvation in Christ but they could never be the basis for it because of their imperfection. But one who has genuinely accepted Christ will want to follow Him in obedience. A genuine conversion will lead to a transformed life. Those who claim to have accepted Christ but have no fruit never genuinely accepted Him.
On the other hand, those who claim to be followers of Christ but insist they must obey the Ten Commandments (an impossible task!) to merit their salvation do not know Jesus or understand the Gospel of grace.
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.” – Romans 3:20
Schreiner covers the doctrine of justification by faith alone – and the biblical relationship between faith and works – in great detail but for a theology book this is actually quite readable and enjoyable. In our current day, when right doctrine is increasingly dismissed in favor of “just loving Jesus,” it’s important to uphold the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone. Every believer would benefit from this book as well as those who seek Him and wish to understand the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith.