“God justifies the ungodly.” Paul’s statement in Romans 4:5 has brought comfort and provoked controversy throughout the history of the church. Historically, most Protestants have seen the Reformation as a rediscovery of this gospel truth—indeed, justification as “the article by which the church stands or falls.” In our day, however, neither the Reformers’ account of the doctrine nor their appraisal of its significance can be taken for granted. Through various movements within Protestant theology and biblical studies, fresh (and not so fresh) challenges have made it imperative for us to reevaluate the Scriptures and the systematic as well as historical arguments that have been persuasive for so many Christians in previous eras.
This book joins that contemporary conversation, bringing together voices from the pages of Modern Reformation magazine over the years. Like the magazine, this collection connects Lutheran, Reformed, and Baptist theologians, historians, and biblical scholars who are able to unpack important issues for thoughtful nonspecialists. This collection covers a lot of ground: the relationship of justification to covenant, the law, union with Christ, and sanctification, as well as the contemporary relevance of justification. A final chapter considers the contemporary relevance of justification. If theology is for the church, then the gospel is surely a matter for all of God’s people to wrestle with together.