Holiness of Life Comes Only Through Faith in Christ

This quote will reward multiple readings:

“True faith in Jesus Christ is so far from being a hindrance from holiness of life and good works, that it is the only furtherance; for only by faith in Christ, a man is enabled to exercise all Christian graces aright, and to perform all Christian duties aright, which before he could not. As, for example, before a man believe God’s love to him in Christ, though he may have a kind of love to God, as he is his Creator and Preserver, and gives him many good things for this present life, yet if God do but open his eyes, to see what condition his soul is in, that is, if he do but let him see that relation that is betwixt God and him, according to the tenor of the covenant of works, then he conceives of him as an angry Judge, armed with justice against him, and must be pacified by the works of the law, whereunto he finds his nature opposite and contrary; and therefore he hates both God and his law, and doth secretly wish and desire there were neither God nor law. And though God should now give unto him ever so many temporal blessings, yet could he not love him; for what malefactor could love that judge or his law, from whom he expected the sentence of condemnation, though he should feast him at his table with ever so many dainties?

“‘But after that the kindness and love of God his Savior hath appeared, not by works of righteousness that he hath done, but according to his mercy he saved him,’ Titus 3:4-5; that is, when as by the eye of faith, he sees himself to stand in relation to God, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, then he conceives of God as a most merciful and loving Father to him in Christ, that hath freely pardoned and forgiven him all his sins, and quite released him from the covenant of works; and by this means ‘the love of God is shed abroad in his heart, through the Holy Ghost which is given to him,’ and then ‘he loves God because he first loved him,’ Rom. 5:5; I John 4:19. For as a man seeth and feeleth by faith the love and favor of God towards him in Christ his Son, so doth he love again both God and his law; and indeed it is impossible for any man to love God, till by faith he know himself beloved of God.”
— From The Marrow of Modern Divinity, page 195



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