The Heidelcast is working through The Marrow of Modern Divinity (1645) as a model for how to account for justification and sanctification, how to keep them together, without losing either and without confusing them. The circumstances in which The Marrow first appeared were like ours in certain ways. The English were involved in a long-running war. There’s was a civil war but it was a time of social, political, and moral chaos. Some of the orthodox Reformed theologians felt threatened by a rising tide of antinomianism. There was also a strong nomist movement led by a figure whom many regarded as a godly man. That caused confusion that still exists to this day. In The Marrow, Fisher responded by affirming and distinguishing both the law and the gospel. He did so by correlating them to the biblical covenants of works and grace. The second major section of The Marrow is an explanation of the covenant of grace. He identified the law with the covenant of works and the gospel with the covenant of grace. He identified two distinct principles for each covenant. The covenant of works, the law, operates on the basis of the law of works (Rom 3:27). The covenant of grace, the gospel, operates on the basis of the “law of faith” (Rom 3:27).
The law of faith is as much as to say the covenant of grace, or the gospel, which signifies good, merry, glad, and joyful tidings; that is to say, that God, to whose eternal knowledge all things are present, and nothing past or to come, foreseeing man’s fall, before all time purposed, and in time promises, and in the fulness of time performed, the sending of his Son Jesus Christ into the world, to help and deliver fallen mankind.
As he works out this principle he take us on a tour of the history of redemption, to the Mosaic covenant, to Sinai, and to a consideration of the way the old covenant was both an administration of the covenant of grace and the covenant of works.
Here’s episode 62:
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Scott, thanks for unpacking more of the Marrow. It is amazing to me how this book, which is so helpful, is yet so unknown in many reformed churches. And where it has been heard of, one often finds a skepticism that reflexively comes forth at the mere mention of it (rumor as opposed to having read it). In my mind it’s a catechism of salvation that comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.