Nathan W. Bingham
Connecting in a Hyper-Connected World

Preaching That Unintentionally Teaches Justification by Sanctification

I stumbled upon this great quote from Graeme Goldsworthy today. It’s an important reminder for preachers, but also useful for all Christians to consider as they listen to sermons.

“One is unlikely to assert that we are justified by sanctification, but, whether done intentionally or not, that is what happens when we allow the teaching of Christian living, ethical imperatives, and exhortations to holiness to be separated from and to take the place of the clear statement of the gospel. We can preach our hearts out on texts about what we ought to be, what makes a mature church, or what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives, but if we do not constantly, in every sermon, show the link between the Spirit’s work in us to Christ’s work for us, we will distort the message and send people away with a natural theology of salvation by works. Preaching from the epistles demands of the preacher that the message of the document be taken as a whole even if only a selection of texts, or just one verse, is to be expounded. Every sermon should be understandable on its own as a proclamation of Christ. It is no good to say that we dealt with the justification element three weeks ago and now we are following Paul into the imperatives and injunctions for Christian living. Paul wasn’t anticipating a three-week gap between his exposition of the gospel and his defining of the implications of the gospel in our lives. Nor was he anticipating that some people would not be present for the reading of the whole epistle and would hear part of its message out of context.”

– Graeme Goldsworthy, Preaching the Whole Bible As Christian Scripture: The Application of Biblical Theology to Expository Preaching, p.237

HT: Paramount Blog