With The New Geneva Podcast On Reformed Comfort: Salvation In The Heidelberg Catechism

That there is a Reformed doctrine of salvation is clear from the confessions and catechisms of the confessional Presbyterian and Reformed churches. We are saved by grace alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide), in Christ alone. God’s Word says: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8; ESV). Nevertheless, there remains confusion about this doctrine, even in circles that profess adherence to the Reformed confessions (e.g., the Belgic Confession, Heidelberg Catechism, the Canons of Dort, and the Westminster Standards). By salvation I mean justification (God’s declaration that a sinner is justified in his sight on the basis of the imputed righteousness of Christ), sanctification (the gracious, gradual work of God in the sinner, by the Spirit, conforming him to Christ), and glorification (the consummation of salvation). This needs to be said clearly and unequivocally because there are those, both outside the confessional Presbyterian and Reformed churches and within them, who are seeking to revise Reformed theology. They are proposing that we are initially justified sola gratiasola fide but finally justified and saved through our sanctification and good works. In October 2017, Desiring God Ministries tweeted: “You are not saved through faith alone. Be killing sin.” It is true that John Owen said, “be killing sin or sin will be killing you.” The Reformed believe in the mortification of sin. We do not believe, however, that we are either justified or saved through mortification. We seek to put sin to death because we have been saved, not in order to be saved. We do not confess either two stages of justification or two stages of salvation. The United Reformed Churches in North America faced a version of this doctrine and rejected it.

In light of such confusion over an essential Christian truth, I was happy to record an episode of The New Geneva podcast in when Angela and Tony were in town last month.

Here it is.

For future readers, in case the link to the original source become broken, here is the HB archive version:


Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. I found the PCA after being raised a Southern Baptist. The Five Sola’s blew me away. I went to a Ligonier Conference with my dad and listened to Steve Brown and D. James Kennedy. 20 years later I’m in another reformed denomination and all anyone seems to want to discuss (it seems to this sinner’s ears) are the puritans. Twice now I’ve seen Richard Baxter’s words used for our corporate confession a couple of folks have called out Sproul for Second Commandment violations at St. Andrews. The session is comprised of Godly men that I love dearly and we’re not going anywhere but some discussion about Christ’s imputed righteousness would be awesome. Our TE did reference HC a couple of sermons back though!

    • Richard Baxter was a moralist who believed we are saved by faith and doing our part. Could that explain why you are not hearing about the imputation of Christ’s righteousness?

  2. This was a great pod cast clearing stating the error of Federal Vision against what Scripture clearly teaches.

    My only issue is the demeaning and haughty manner in which a certain man (not named in the podcast but is evident to whom you are speaking) are spoken of. I only bring this up because one can not use this podcast to those who follow “this unnamed man” in an effort to show the error of Federal Vision. And there is so much great information here.

Comments are closed.