Jeremiah Burroughs On The Spiritual Value Of Distinguishing Between The Covenants Of Works And Grace

The doubts and fears of most Christians arise from hence because they have not a clear understanding of the difference between the covenant of grace and the covenant of works. There is nothing in the world would so satisfy the consciences of men and women so as a clear understanding of the Covenant of Grace and the Covenant of Works. Many people cry out of the preachers that they disquiet and trouble the hearts of people by their preaching. The Truth is no preachers occasion so much the trouble and perplexity of consciences as those that preach morality and merely the way of duty and never come to make them see clearly between the covenant of grace and the covenant of works. And I appeal unto you who are they who most quiet and settle your consciences and satisfy your spirits? Are they not those preachers that open the difference between the covenant of grace and the covenant of works? Certainly those preachers that show you what the covenant of grace is are the only men that quiet and satisfy the conscience and ’tis a truth that nothing can do it but that.

Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Remission (HT: Particular Voices, original article no longer available)


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  1. Amen! If it’s ok let me add –

    Gal. 2:16; 3:10-11 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified…. For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

    And the following directed to believers who, in their sojourn on earth, never cease in the struggle against their sin:

    “The law guides, directs, commands all things that are against the interest and rule of sin. It judgeth and condemneth both the things that promote it and the persons that do them; it frightens and terrifies the consciences of those who are under its dominion. But if you shall say unto it, “What then shall we do? this tyrant [sin], this enemy, is too hard for us. What aid and assistance against it will you afford unto us? what power will you communicate unto its destruction?” Here the law is utterly silent, or says that nothing of this nature is committed unto it of God: nay, the strength it hath it gives unto sin for the condemnation of the sinner: “The strength of sin is the law.” But the gospel, or the grace of it, is the means and instrument of God for the communication of internal spiritual strength unto believers. By it do they receive supplies of the Spirit or aids of grace for the subduing of sin and the destruction of its dominion”… (John Owen, A Treatise of the Dominion of Sin and Grace)

  2. Just as we see Yahweh alone passing through the midst of the animal parts in Genesis 15 while Abraham slept, so Jesus takes on Himself the entire sanction of the broken Law of God, bearing the curse on our behalf. Now we preach Christ, and Him crucified as our food and sustenance; He is our shelter from the burning fires of the guilty conscience. These posts as of late have buoyed my counseling of the worried brothers in my life, and strengthened my own love for Christ.

    Thanks, Professor.

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