Perkins: Justification By Works Is Nature, Not Grace

Whereas Paul says that “they are under the curse, that will be of works,” we see the whole world almost walks in the way of perdition. It is a conclusion of nature that we must be saved and justified by our works. The young prince in the Gospel said, “Good master, what must I do to be saved?” The Jews would not be subject to the [righteousness] of God, but they established their own righteousness of the law (Rom. 10:3). Our common people, and they that should be wise, say they look to be saved by faith, but indeed they turn their faith to works. For what is their faith? Surely nothing else (as they say) but their good meaning, or their good dealing, or their good serving of God. Hence again it follows that the papacy or popish religion is the way to perdition, in that it prescribes and teaches justification by works. On the contrary, our religion is the safest and surest from danger because it teaches the free justification of a sinner by the blood of Christ. Emphasis added.

William Perkins | The Works of William Perkins, ed. Paul M. Smalley, Joel R. Beeke, and Derek W. H. Thomas, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 167.


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  • Tony Phelps
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    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

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