3. The Purity of His Gospel
By grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola fide)
Salvation is wholly of God, a gift of divine grace that cannot be earned by human works, even works granted by God (Isa 64:6; Jonah 2:9; Luke 18:9–14; Rom 3:10–20; 11:6). It is not received because of any human merit, virtue, or work, but it is received solely through conscious faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by which faith alone believers are declared righteous in God’s sight (Acts 16:31; Rom 3:21–4:5; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8–9; Phil 3:9; Titus 3:5–6). In this justification, righteousness is not infused into the believer but is imputed to him through the instrument of faith (Rom 4:4–5; 5:18–19; 2 Cor 5:21).
Based on the substitutionary work of Christ (solus Christus)
The sole basis of the believer’s justification is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, which consists in (a) the fulfillment of the just requirements of God’s law by His life of perfect obedience, as well as (b) the efficacious satisfaction of God’s wrath against the sins of His people through His substitutionary death on the cross (Mal 3:15; John 10:14–15; Romans 3:24–25; 5:8, 18–19; 1 Peter 2:24). It is this perfect righteousness with which believers are clothed in union with Christ and which is the sole ground of their acceptance with God (Gal 3:27; cf. 2 Cor 5:21).
Evidenced by the fruits of repentance
By the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit, sinners are born again and granted saving faith in the person and work of Christ (John 3:3–9; Titus 3:5; 1 John 5:1). In this work of regeneration, the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual life to the one dead in sin, such that the mind is enlightened, the heart renewed, and the will freed from its bondage to sin (Ezek 36:26; Rom 4:17; 6:17–18; 2 Cor 4:6; 5:17; Eph 2:4–5; 2 Pet 1:4). The work begun in regeneration is continued in progressive sanctification, wherein the Spirit produces the fruit of practical righteousness in the believer, such that good works are the proper evidence of genuine salvation, the absence of which is cause for sincere self-examination (Mal 3:8; Acts 26:20; 2 Cor 13:5; Gal 5:16–25; Eph 2:10; Jas 2:14–26; 2 Pet 1:5–10; 1 John 3:8–10, 17).