Episco-Fact #156
September 19, 2019

Do the Articles of Religion say anything about how we are reconciled to God, or, in other words, how we are saved?

In this part of the Articles of religion, members of the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopal Church, are deeply connected to the Reform movement begun when Martin Luther nailed his thesis to the door of the Church in Worms. Luther first, then Thomas Cranmer and John Calvin, later, all stated that Christians are reconciled to God by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. This statement is made in Article XI (11) and is: "We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings."

The Old and New Testaments are pretty unequivocal concerning human righteousness before God—it is God's doing. Which is why the Trinity is so important. If Jesus is part of the Godhead through the Second Person (the Son), then our belief is consistent with that of the Hebrew Scriptures, it is God whose grace and love complete us.

How is the justification understood by Luther, Cranmer, and Calvin different from that which is proclaimed by the Roman Catholic Church from which these theologians were estranged? The Roman Church holds that good works are essential to the continuation of grace, therefore, grace is not sufficient to justification. Now, no committed Reformed theologian would tell someone that works are not important, but that theologian will also say that the Grace of God stands on its own and the works are acts of sanctification, not salvation or justification.