Perkins: By Nature We Seek To Contribute To Our Salvation But The Gospel….

By nature we desire to stand upright and righteous before God by some good thing in ourselves; as the rich man in the gospel, he demands of Christ, ‘What good thing shall I do to be saved?’ [Matthew 19:16]. Again, it is our nature not to look to be saved by anything out of ourselves. If we have nothing else, our good meaning and good hope must save us. But the gospel restrains us of these desires, and enjoins us to renounce ourselves in the matter of salvation, and all that is in us, and to depend upon a righteousness out of ourselves in the person of Christ, which is His obedience and suffering.”

William Perkins (1558–1602), The Works of William Perkins, 1.666–67 (HT: Inwoo Lee).

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5 comments

  1. The worst act of rebellion against God is to attempt to add to the perfect obedience of Christ by our works or covenant faithfulness, for a right standing before God either in this life or at the final judgment. It usurps the the role of Christ in providing the only righteousness that makes us acceptable to God. It denies Him the honour of being our Saviour. It denies us our only comfort in life and in death, that we belong to him and He is our perfect righteousness. Heidelberg 1

    • Thanks for your kind response. I’ve had some really bad experiences with moralism such as the FV. Many people just don’t seem to realize that when it comes to the gospel, we do not do our part through holiness, in sanctification, so that we will be found righteous at the final judgment. Our only righteousness is in Christ. Our imperfect works can never stand before the perfect demands of God’s law so it is fatal to think that they could. But through Christ’s perfect righteousness we have perfect peace about our acceptance by God. We only have this by the work of God, so it is impossible for us not to do the good works He has prepared in advance for us to do, not to ensure our salvation on the last day, but because we are already sure of it. Since we are justified, we no longer need to look to works for justification, and God is pleased with our imperfect efforts to please Him because of our love for Him. Christ said, “if you love me, keep my commandments.” Our works are a demonstration of love to God, our complete Saviour. Heidelberg 60-64. I’m not on social media.

  2. TERRIFIC – PERKINS is new to me And that kind of direction is
    a struggle for me. I seem to never get it without the usual;
    how can I be a Xtian and do the things I do.
    Or I find too many authors that seem to have missed Perkins words
    and tell me that if I do THIS!! as a Xtian. You will perish.
    And I find that from one source at BBC, Sem. in Mpls MN.
    They must of arrived and no sin is an issue for them. Ya right.

    But recently I have discovered a NEW EDITION of Walter Marshalls book –
    Gospel Mystery of Sanctification – in modern English by Bruce McRae.
    I have just started it and am at odds with it so far. But will keep on reading
    and hope to finally SEE just how Sanctification works, I hope so. I stinketh at it.
    I am just one of those who grew up with struggles I seem to never get over and
    think that I will not be saved. At 66 – I find out just how much sin is a struggle.
    If I am saved by Grace Alone thru Faith Alone on Account of Christ ALONE – PERIOD.
    End of story. Then why do I keep going back to my navel gazing?
    Then I got an email from Ligonier – Burk Parsons. Jan 13 2020
    ON-( Is addiction a sign that someone is not a Xtian?) That hit home, Gladly.
    Why does God not take away a sin/s that so beset us ?? – and He does so to others??
    I will be so glad for Glory – I will no Longer Sin against God ever again.

    THX Angela for HC Q60-64 – Must reading for me from now on.

    I will have to look into this Perkins Fellow. Books are not cheap. I see. $$
    Dr Clarks site is terrific – Need to make it a regular – THANKS Dr Clark!

    • I love what you say about sanctification, “I stinketh at it.” The apostle Paul said much the same thing in Romans 7: 7-25 That is the confession of a spiritual man who is broken over his inability to please God as he wants to. The fact that he wants to please God and struggles to please Him demonstrates his love and gratitude. I think of David, who in gratitude for all that God had done for him, wanted to build a house for God but was unable. God was pleased with David’s desire to build a temple to show his love to God. After Romans 7 comes Romans 8 promising that God will give us the victory. Not that we will be perfect in this life but we should be assured that our striving to obey God out of love for what we have in Christ, shows that we are sons by adoption, and nothing can separate us from the love of God. 1John 3:2-When he appears we will be like Him. Then we will be perfect like Him.

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