Caspar Olevianus on the error of observing the sacraments as meritorious works

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Note that whenever some merit derived from the sacraments or other works is mixed with faith, the result is another gospel that is not Christ’s but a radical perversion of it. Let us apply this teaching to our own times. Paul is contending for the basic principle of the gospel, which is that we are justified (or pardoned from our sins) by trusting in Christ alone and not by circumcision. Satan still objects to this principle today, but not in the same way. What he objects to now is our assertion that we receive Christ, who is our righteousness, by faith alone (that is, by trusting that he was handed over to death for our sake and that we are united with him).

Satan adds that Christ is also received by our mouths. As a result of this teaching of his, there are many people today who think that the forgiveness of sins is part and parcel of the sacramental host. How can we be surprised if they try to get righteousness and the forgiveness of sins by receiving the sacrament if that is the way they have been taught to receive Christ? But the articles of our faith teach something very different from that, and Paul opposes this notion directly in Romans 4:10–11. What we have here is a different gospel and a perversion of the gospel of Christ. Just think what great danger you are exposing yourself to if you accept such ideas.

For the reference, see Caspar Olevianus on the error of observing the sacraments as meritorious works.