Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters - by Sinclair B. Ferguson

"The benefits of the gospel (justification, reconciliation, redemption, adoption) were being separated from Christ, who is himself the gospel.  The benefits of the gospel are in Christ.  They do not exist apart from him.  They are ours only in him.  They cannot be abstracted from him as if we ourselves could possess them independently of him." (pg. 44)

"Wherever the benefits of Christ are seen as abstractable from Christ himself, there is a decreasing stress on his person and work in preaching and in the books that are published to feed that preaching. This is accompanied by an increased stress on our experience of salvation rather than on the grace, majesty, and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ." (pg. 49ff)

"The root of legalism is almost as old as Eden, which explains why it is a primary, if not the ultimate, pastoral problem.  In seeking to bring freedom from legalism, we are engaged in undoing the ancient work of Satan." (pg. 80)

"It is this - a failure to see the generosity of God and his wise and loving plans for our lives - that lies at the root of legalism and drives it.  It bears repeating:  in Eve's case antinomianism (her opposition to and rejection of God's law) was itself an expression of her legalism!" (pg. 82ff)

"...legalism and antinomianism are, in fact, nonidentical twins that emerge from the same womb." (pg. 84)

"The ongoing function of God's law is not to serve as a standard to be met for justification but as a guide for Christian living." (pg. 114)

"In contemporary terms God stated the indicative - his commitment to his people; this in turn give rise to the imperative - the implications for the lifestyle of his people.  The implications are the outworking of his declarations." (pg. 116)

"It is, after all, through the gospel-gift of the Spirit that 'the law' is written in the heart - not as a 'covenant of works,' but as a 'rule of life.'" (pg. 121)

"At root then antinomianism separates God's law from God's person, and grace from the union with Christ in which the law is written in the heart.  In doing so it jeopardizes not simply the Decalogue; it dismantles the truth of the gospel." (pg. 154)

"There is only one genuine cure for legalism.  It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself." (pg. 157)

"Love empowers the engine; law guides the direction.  They are mutually interdependent.  The notion that love can operate apart from law is a figment of the imagination.  It is not only bad theology; it is poor psychology.  It has to borrow from law to give eyes to love." (pg. 169)

"Obedience strengthens faith and confirms it to us because it is always marked by what Paul calls 'the obedience of faith.'" (pg. 201)

"We must never confuse the heart of assurance in faith with its confirmation in a life of service." (pg. 214)

Sinclair B. Ferguson, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, & Gospel Assurance - Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016)