The Gospel: Sincere Obedience?

  This is one of the most significant statements I’ve read in quite a while.  It is by Walter Marshall in The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification first published in 1692.

“The difference between the law and the gospel does not at all consist in this, that the one requires perfect doing; the other, only sincere doing; but in this, that the one requires doing, the other, not doing, but believing for life and salvation.  Their terms are different, not only in degree, but in their whole nature” (p. 42 in my edition).

Marshall’s quote reminds me of Edward Fisher’s great section on the difference between the law and the gospel in The Marrow of Modern Divinity.  Here’s a piece of it:

“…In the case of justification, the law must be utterly separated from the gospel.  Therefore, whensoever, or wheresoever any doubt or question arises of salvation or our justification before God, there the law and all good works must be utterly excluded and stand apart, that grace may appear free, and that the promise and faith may stand alone; which is faith alone, without law or works, brings thee in particular to thy justification and salvation, through the mere promise and free grace of God in Christ, so that I say, in the action and office of justification, both law and works are to be utterly excluded and exempted, as things wich have nothing to do in that behalf” (p. 342).

That is freeing truth!  By the way, I hope to blog a bit more on Marshall’s book later, so stay tuned….

shane lems

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