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Weekly Reflections

Introducing the Anglican Church: 2. Getting God's Approval 8June14

Introducing the Anglican Church: 2. Getting God's Approval

We are looking at some of the key teachings of the Anglican Church as found in the 39 Articles, one of the foundation documents of the Anglican Church of Australia. Last week we looked at the place of Holy Scripture.Today we look at another in a simple modern English version (the original 16th and 17th century version is in the Prayer Book).

11. About the justification of Humans

We are accounted righteous before God, only because of the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not because of our own works or because of what we deserve. So the doctrine, that we are justified by faith only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and full of comfort, as is expressed more fully in the Homily of Justification.

The biblical doctrine of justification describes the grounds on which God justifies sinners: that is declares them to be righteous.

The Roman Catholic Council of Trent described justification not just as the forgiveness of sins but as the renewal and sanctification of the inner person that comes about by receiving God’s grace and gifts. To be justified meant we had to be holy in practice. (This teaching confuses justification - God’s declaration that we are righteous, and sanctification - the process of becoming holy in practice).

The Anglican Article rejects the teaching of Trent. It says that justification means to be counted as righteous by God. The basis for it is the work of the Lord Jesus, especially his death. It is not based on how good we are, or on what we do. We are all sinners who need forgiveness. It is a free gift from God which he promises in the gospel. The way we come receive justification is by believing the promise of the gospel. We cannot earn it.

This doctrine is a wholesome doctrine, that is it brings spiritual health. It assures us that we have peace with God, and saves us from doing good just to prove we are good. It frees us to serve Christ for his sake. It is full of comfort because it forms the basis for holy living. It is not the reward for holy living, but rather the starting place. It encourages us to be holy for the sake of being like God, not in order to win his approval.  See more here.


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