Preaching Connection: Justification

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The Modernist Impulse in American Protestantism

In 1874, David Swing, pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago (then called Westminster Church), was summoned before the Chicago Presbytery to answer charges of heresy, and especially the heresy of seeming to deny justification through faith alone.  “To make salvation dependent on ‘faith in Christ,’ Swing asserted, is all very well; but how can...

Additional content related to Justification

Romans 8:26-39

Few biblical passages offer a greater wealth of preaching material than Romans 8:26-39. Several earlier commentaries on this site examined some of its most glittering treasures – in 2017, Scott Hoezee’s, and in 2020, mine. However, preachers whom the Spirit leads toward one of this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s other glorious themes might focus on verses…


Psalm 15

By my count nearly one-third of the 150 Psalms—44 out of 150—never appear across the three-year Cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary.  But there are some that come up with frequency, and Psalm 15 is one such poem from the Psalter as it occurs once in each of the Lectionary Years A, B, & C….


Romans 5:1-5

A quick glance at the church year’s calendar may make gospel proclaimers’ pulses race. Trinity Sunday has, after all, come again. It may make proclaimers’ palms sweat not just because, as the New Testament scholar Beverly Gaventa to whose commentary I owe a great deal for this commentary, notes, “reference to the Trinity is itself…


Romans 4:1-5,13-17

When I was a teenager, we liked to sing a song that also had motions.  With arms and legs flailing, we’d sing something like: “Father Abraham/ Had many sons;/ Many sons had Father Abraham;/ And I am one of them,/ And so are you,/ So let’s all praise the Lord.” Now once you got past…


Psalm 17:1-9

There are a number of ways to read this Psalm.  Clearly, it is a prayer, but what kind of prayer?  A cursory reading might dismiss Psalm 17 as the proud prayer of a self-righteous person, an Old Testament version of the Pharisee’s prayer in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:11,12).  One wag said that the Pharisee had…


Galatians 5:1, 13-25

Most of Galatians can be summed up through a subtle reversal of a traditional saying: “Don’t just do something, stand there!” Paul has whacked and whacked away at the false teaching that infiltrated Galatia—the teaching that we can and must add something to the cross of Christ for salvation to be truly effective. Get circumcised,…


Romans 3

No one will ever be able to accuse Paul of lacking passion. It oozes out of each of his letters in the New Testament. Sometimes though, when you’re passionate, your arguments don’t always make logical sense or flow smoothly from point to point. The opening of Romans is a good example of this. In Romans…


Galatians 3:1-14

In the letter to the Galatian church, Paul pleads for the believers there to cling to the faith that unites them and reject what others have argued as being the most important component to knowing who one is: keeping the law, especially the parts of the law that easily identified the community of God (i.e….