1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life— 2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us— 3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4 These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. 1 John 1:1-4 (NASB)
Most, if not all, of the contention that I have experienced in this ministry has to do with people’s demand to be “justified” on their own terms. For instance, one fellow angrily told me that the genuine gospel was to do good works, to feed the hungry and minister to the homeless….
Another one insists that all he has to do is love God and love everyone and that is how he experiences “salvation.” Are these valid forms of the Gospel?
Dr. James White wrote that the heart of the Gospel is “Justification.” He said, “The word [Justification] should bring to mind “the gracious act of God the Father through the perfect work of Jesus Christ whereby I have been pardoned and made right before God!” It should be a personal word, a thrilling word, a word filled with rich meaning. For many, by God’s grace, it is. And by that same grace, it always will be.”
Martin Luther wrote, “[Justification is] the chief article of Christian doctrine. To him who understands how great its usefulness and majesty are, everything else will seem slight and turn to nothing. For what is Peter? What is Paul? What is an angel from heaven? What are all creatures in comparison with the article of justification? For if we know this article, we are in the clearest light; if we do not know it, we dwell in the densest darkness. Therefore if you see this article impugned or imperiled, do not hesitate to resist Peter or an angel from heaven; for it cannot be sufficiently extolled.“