Mr Murray Distinguishes Law And Gospel

Recognition of this datum of awful sanctity, and republication of it with conviction and authority is the only path of repentance and restoration. As we recognize the awful sanctity that surrounds the law, we shall certainly be crushed with a sense of our own hell-deserving guilt and hopeless inability. We shall certainly be constrained to cry out, “Woe is me for I am undone.” “Surely I am more brutish than any man and I have not the understanding of a man.” (Isa. 6:5; Prov 30:2). But in that condition there falls upon our ears and into our hearts the sweet news of the gospel, the gospel of a crucified and risen Redeemer and Lord. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us” (Galatians 3;13). We shall be constrained to come to Calvary.

—John Murray, “Sanctity of the Moral Law” in Collected Works of John Murray vol. 1.

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  1. There is woefully little preaching of the Law in our day, yet our Reformed forefathers correctly taught that it the faithful preaching of *both* Law and Gospel that is made effectual to salvation. Many a nominal professor will make lip profession of faith to the Gospel, but heart conviction and faith in the Gospel will not come without a cutting-off work of the Law in the heart.

    As Thomas Boston well says in ‘Fourfold State’, in the chapter on ‘Regeneration’, the section entitled ‘the Mystical Union of Christ and the Believer’:

    “The cutting of the branch from the natural stock, is performed by the pruning
    knife of the law, in the hand of the Spirit of God, Gal. 2:19, “For I, through the
    law, am dead to the law.” It is by the bond of the covenant of works, as I said
    before, that we are knit to our natural stock: therefore, as a wife, unwilling to be
    put away, pleads and hangs by the marriage tie; so do men by the covenant of
    works. They hold by it, like the man who held the ship with his hands; and when
    one hand was cut off, held it with the other; and when both were cut off, held it
    with his teeth.”

    Boston’s marvellous book, by the way, is a free download at:

    I knew Dr Joel Beeke’s father very well. John Beeke (Dr Beeke’s father) would read Fourfold State all the through, once a year, beginning in April.

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