Doctrine Necessary for Salvation

     “Men may be really saved by that grace which doctrinally they do deny; and they may be justified by the imputation of that righteousness which in opinion they deny to be imputed.”
     – John Owen, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone in Works 5:163-64

     “The clearer the knowledge of the truth and the more deep the denial, the less assurance one can have that the God of truth will save him. Owen’s words are not meant to make us cavalier about the content of the gospel, but to hold out hope that men’s hearts are often better than their heads.”
     – John Piper, The Future of Justification, p. 25 n. 30

     “Virtually everyone has been told that if he will believe that Jesus died for him, he will be saved, but I repeat: this is not found in the Bible. A person is saved not when he believes in right doctrine (substitutionary, penal atonement, in this case) but a person is saved when he believes in the right person, namely Christ. So the object of saving faith is not a doctrine but a person. Christ himself is the treasure chest of salvation. Receive him, and you receive all that is in him. The doctrine of substitutionary, penal atonement is an indispensable, essential component of the gospel, but it is not the whole gospel. How many Christians understood this crucial doctrine when they first received Christ? Nearly none! So how could they have been saved? Because, in spite of having underdeveloped or even mistaken ideas about the nature of the atonement, all who receive Christ the risen Lord as Lord and Savior are saved.”

     – Michael Horton, How Much Do I Need to Know
     – Michael Horton, How Far Is Too Far?

     “How far a wonderful and mysterious agency of God’s Spirit may so influence some men’s hearts, that their practice in this regard may be contrary to their own principles, so that they shall not trust in their own righteousness, though they profess that men are justified by their own righteousness—
     or how far they may believe the doctrine of justification by men’s own righteousness in general, and yet not believe it in a particular application of it to themselves—
     or how far that error which they may have been led into by education, or cunning sophistry of others, may yet be indeed contrary to the prevailing disposition of their hearts, and contrary to their practice—
     or how far some may seem to maintain a doctrine contrary to this gospel-doctrine of justification, that really do not, but only express themselves differently from others;
     or seem to oppose it through their misunderstanding of our expressions, or we of theirs, when indeed our real sentiments are the same in the main—
     or may seem to differ more than they do, by using terms that are without a precisely fixed and determinate meaning—
     or to be wide in their sentiments from this doctrine, for want of a distinct understanding of it;
whose hearts, at the same time, entirely agree with it, and if once it was clearly explained to their understandings, would immediately close with it, and embrace it:—
     how far these things may be, I will not determine; but am fully persuaded that great allowances are to be made on these and such like accounts, in innumerable instances; though it is manifest, from what has been said, that the teaching and propagating [of] contrary doctrines and schemes, is of a pernicious and fatal tendency.”
     – Jonathan Edwards, Justification by Faith Alone
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