Gratuitous Justification—Excluding Works! An Exegetical Overview of Rom. 3 (23-26) 
& Historical Observation by Calvin (By Sonny Hernandez)

March 5, 2018


This is an excerpt from Sonny’s book, “High Calvinism: A Consistent Approach to Defend and Declare God’s Sovereignty.” To get a copy of this book, click here.



Purveyors of false doctrine will cavil at the righteousness of Christ and are thus guilty of pernicious hypocrisy. Contemptible men will postulate that justification is a transforming act that must include their good works––which is necessary for their “final or future justification” before the tribunal of God. This is patently false, and heretical! Not only is it impossible for men to earn merit or favor with God by their own contrivance, it is also delirious to broach this false and vitiated idea. Because imperfect works can never merit the Father’s favor––only His wrath.


            To enumerate a few examples, false teachers are known by their popularity, subtlety, kindness, ability to relate, and  derogation from the essentials of the faith. Federal Vision heretics,[1] and apostates like John Piper,[2] are a few examples. These imposters and defectors of the Christian faith will compound faith “plus works,” which trifles with the divine beneficence of Christ’s meritorious work––by adding works to the completed and saving work of Christ. Christians must beware of these benighted men who would dare obtrude upon God’s legal declaration by inventing a faith “plus works” heresy. And that is because men are not acquitted because of their works or innocence, but by the gratuitous acquittal from God, and the attestation of righteousness that Christ imputes to those that He reconciled to the Father.



            This essay will provide an exegetical overview of justification, and explain a few reasons why Christians should never compromise on the indissoluble doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone.



[1] Federal Vision (FV) is heresy. FV is a detraction from the Westminster Confession of Faith because it denies the imputation of Jesus’ active obedience, and it distorts the biblical teaching of justification by grace alone by maintaining that faith and obedience are necessary for their final or future salvation. Also, FV teaches: baptismal regeneration, paedocommunion, incipient sacramentalism, and a contradicting position on election and the covenants. Proponents of FV are not Christians. They are false teachers who masquerade as believers in Christ. Rich Lusk, Doug Wilson, Peter Leithart, Tim Gallant, Steve Wilkins, and Steve Schlissel are a few examples. For more information on the FV heresy, please purchase David Engelsma’s book, Federal Vision: Heresy at the Root, [first edition] which was published by the Reformed Free Publishing Association (March 9, 2012).


[2] John Robbins argued that John Piper affirmed justification by faith and works. This should not be perplexing, especially since his mentor Daniel Fuller did the same. Robbins also warned about Piper’s pithy statements that are not congruent with the gospel. “Piper denies justification by faith alone while professing to accept Biblical soteriology––which makes his work all the more dangerous. The most effective attack on truth, the most subversive attack on the doctrine of the completeness and efficacy of the work of Christ for the salvation of his people, is always couched in pious language and Biblical phraseology.” Robbins, John W. “Pied Piper.” The Trinity Review, 2002,



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© 2020 by Reforming America Ministries   

The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization.

Sonny Hernandez