Monday, April 18, 2011

Sincerity not enough

In The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification, Walter MArshall rails against legalism by refuting our ability to please God through our own efforts of moral performance. In the following excerpt, Marshall exposes that we often think that our sincere endeavours to live a life of dutiful holiness will secure our salvation and foment God's favour. Such is not the case. Sincerity is no more sufficient to save us than is the performance of our duties. Thus he writes,
Our consciences are informed by the common light of natural reason that it is just with God to require us to perform these duties, that we may avoid His wrath and enjoy His favour. And we cannot find any better way than this to obtain happiness, or to stir up ourselves to duty, without divine revelation. Yet, because our own consciences testify that we often fail in the performance of those duties, we are inclined by self-love to persuade ourselves that our sincere endeavours to do the best we can shall be sufficient to procure the favour of God, and pardon for all our failings.
Marshall continues to remind us that sanctification is by faith and not of works, the same as our salvation. And yet, we are called to work out our salvation as we know that it is God who works and causes us to will it.

1 comment:

  1. I've been reading through "Of Communion With God" by John Owen. This quote below goes well with this post...I think:

    "Herein is love," saith the Holy Ghost, "not that we loved God, but that he loved us" first, 1 John 4:10,11. Now, thou wouldst invert this order, and say, "Herein is love, not that God loved me, but that I love him first." This is to take the glory of God from him: that, whereas he loves us without a cause that is in ourselves, and we have all cause in the world to love him, thou wouldst have the contrary, —namely, that something should be in thee for which God should
    love thee, even thy love to him; and that thou shouldst love God, before thou knowest any thing lovely in him,—namely, whether he love thee or no.

    I struggle with this every time I pray. I think and feel the inadequacy of my approaching Him reasoning that I should go get myself fixed up first and then come back and pray. So tragically backwards!