“A man is justified by faith”  [Romans 3:28]

This is Reformation Day, commemorating the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg.  It is appropriate that today we should consider the foundational truth for which he contended, justification by faith alone or sola fide.

In its defense, Luther wrote, “Well then I, Dr. Martin Luther, unworthy heralder of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, do confess this article that faith alone without works justifies us in the sight of God, and I declare that in spite of……the pope, all cardinals, bishops, priests, monks, nuns, kings, princes, nobles, all the world, and all devils, this truth shall stand forever.”

Justification is God declaring man to be righteous.  Paul makes it clear that this act of God is not based on the sinner’s own righteousness, for he asserts that it is “without the deeds of the law.’  No naturally born son of Adam ever kept the law of God perfectly: “There is none righteous, no, not one” [Romans 3:10].   God has pronounced the whole world guilty before Him.  Therefore, justification cannot be based on the sinner’s own righteousness or keeping of the law.

But there is another way of obtaining righteousness.  When the sinner truly believes the gospel, God removes all of his sins [Rom. 4:6] and imputes to him the perfect righteousness of Christ [Rom. 4:2-3, 22-24].  At that moment of faith, God views the sinner as righteous, but not because of the sinner’s own righteousness or law-keeping.  By imputation, God reckons the sinner to be righteous.  Because this happens at the time the sinner believes in Christ, we can clearly state, with Paul and Luther, that a man is justified by faith alone.  [Dr. Mark Allison].

“When the article of justification has fallen, everything has fallen.  This is the chief article from which all other doctrines have flowed.”  [Martin Luther].


     In June, we reported on a festering sore in Canada – the residential school system (1925-1970).  Over a thousand indigenous children were found in unmarked graves.  Over 70% of these schools were operated by the Roman Catholic Church, and the others by the Anglican and United churches.  The latter two have publicly apologized for any wrongdoing, but the Roman church has steadfastly refused to admit any wrong on its part.

Now it has been announced that Pope Francis is to visit Canada to meet with indigenous leaders.  No apology has been made or talked about.  Neither has any date been set for the proposed visit.  The indigenous leaders seem less than impressed.  Their message to Francis?  “Bring plenty of money with you” – for reparations!

The indigenous leaders should not get their hopes too high.  They are dealing with a very shrewd organization in the Vatican.


One of the pope’s most important titles is the “Vicar of Christ.”   Vicar is from vicarious and means ‘in place off.’  This raises the question, ‘Does the church on earth need a visible head?’

During Christ’s earthly ministry, there was a dispute among the disciples about ‘primacy.’ [Luke 22:24].  Jesus rebuked them by drawing attention to the heathen nations and how “the kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them.” [Luke 22:25]. In other words, the Gentile nations have their visible heads.

Then He delivers this statement, devastating in its simplicity and power, “But ye shall not be so.”  [v26].

The church of Jesus Christ, which is His body, has but one Head, the Lord Himself.   [Ephesians 1:21-23].

If a person were born with two heads, it would be a monstrosity, and so would be a church with two heads.  Jesus Christ is the great King and only Head of the Church.


The evangelist, R.A. Torrey, said there were two things we need to know and one thing we need to do in order to become a Christian.

First, we must know that we are sinners and in need of God’s salvation. [Romans  3:10, 23]. Only a drowning man will cry for help.  If we are not aware of our need, we will not ask.

Second, we need to know there is someone who can save us from sin.   And the only one that can do that is Jesus Christ [Acts 4:12].

What we must do is admit our need and call upon His name.  He, who cannot lie, will honour His Word and save the sinking soul.

“Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” [Romans  10:13].