Monday, June 12, 2006

Two Very Good Quotes on Justification, Works, and the Moral Law

I'm reading through The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, by Walter Marshall, and today in my reading I came across these two excellent parts that were too good not to share, though they are admittedly a bit lengthy. From Direction VI:

The apostle Paul opposeth the believing required in the gospel, to all doing for life, as the condition proper to the law (Gal. iii. 12). The law is not of faith: but, the man that doth them, shall live in them (Rom. iv. 5). To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. If we seek salvation by ever so easy and mild a condition of works, we do thereby bring ourselves under the terms of the law, and do become debtors to fulfil the whole law in perfection, though we intended to engage ourselves only to fulfil it in part (Gal. v. 3); for the law is a complete declaration of the only terms whereby God will judge all that are not brought to despair of procuring salvation by any of their own works, and to receive it as a gift freely given to them by the grace of God in Christ. So that all that seek salvation, right or wrong, knowingly or ignorantly, by any works, less or more; whether invented by their own superstition, or commanded by God in the Old or New Testament, shall at last stand or fall according to these terms.
Continuing, also from Direction VI:

The covenant made with Israel on Mount Sinai, is abolished by Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant (Heb. viii. 8, 9, 13). And the ten commandments bind us not as they were words of that covenant (Exod. 34. 28). I mean, they bind us not as conditions of that covenant, except we seek to be justified by works: for the law, as a covenant, doth still stand in force enough to curse those that seek salvation by their own works (Gal. iii. 10); and, if abolished, it is only to those that are in Christ by faith (Gal. ii. 16, 20); Acts iii 22-25; xv. 10, 11). But the ten commandments bind us still, as they were then given to a people that were at that time under the covenant of grace made with Abraham, to show them what duties are holy, just, and good, well-pleasing to God, and to e a rule for their conversation. The result of all is, that we must still practise moral duties, as commanded by Moses: but we must not seek to be justified by our practice. If we use them as a rule of life, not as conditions of justification, they can be no ministration of death, or killing letter unto us. Their perfection indeed maketh them to be harder terms to procure life by, but a better rule to discover all imperfections, and to guide us to that perfection which we should aim at. And it will be our wisdom, not to part with the authority of the decalogue of Moses, until our new divines can furnish us with another system of morality, as complete as that, and as excellently composed, and ordered by the wisdom of God, and more authentic than that is.

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