The Whole Reason For Writing Romans

The sum and whole cause of the writing of this epistle is to prove that a man is justified by faith only; which proposition whoso denieth, to him is not only this epistle and all that Paul writeth, but also the whole Scripture, so locked up, that he shall never understand it to his soul’s health…And by justifying understand no other thing than to be reconciled to God, and to be restored unto his favor, and to have thy sins forgiven thee. And when I say, God juistifieth us, understand thereby that God for Christ’s sake, merits, and deservings only, receiveth us unto His mercy, favour, and grace, and forgiveth us our sins. And when I say, Christ justifieth us, understand thereby that Christ only hath redeemed us, bought, and delivered us out of the wrath of God and damnation, and hath with his works only purchased us the mercy, the favor, and the grace of God, and the forgiveness of our sins. And when I say that faith justified, understand thereby that faith and trust in the truth God and in the mercy promised us for Christ’s sake, and for His deserving and works only, doth quiet the conscience and certify her that our sins be forgiven, and we in the favour of God. Furthermore we set before thine eyes Christ’s own works and thine own works. Christ’s works only justify thee and make satisfaction for thy sin, and not thine own works…For the promise of mercy is made thee for Christ’s work’s sake, and not for thine works’s sake…Finally, that we say, faith only justified, ought to offend no man. for if this be true, that Christ only redeemed us, Christ only bare our sins, make satisfaction for them and purchased us the favor of God; then it must it must needs be true that the trust only in Christ’s deservings and in the promises of God the Father, made to us for Christ’s sake, doth alone quiet the conscience and certify it that the sins are forgiven.

—William Tyndale, Preface to Romans c. 1526 (Works, 1.508).

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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