Erskine On The Difference Between Presenting Ourselves To God On The Basis Of Our Obedience And On The Basis Of Christ’s Obedience

He then runs to the way of works by the law, and tries what he can do for his own salvation by his reformation, his prayers, years, vows, penances, and the like. When the man has wearied himself in pursuit of salvation in this way, and finds the law so holy, so spiritual and extensive, that it is impossible for him to obey it perfectly, then he will join Christ and the law together. I mean Christ and his law-works, and thinks with himself, ‘Now I cannot scale heaven, or make out salvation by my own obedience to it, I will rely upon Christ’s righteousness to supply my defects. Thus he takes the new cloth of righteousness to patch up [join together] his own filthy rags. And here it is that many a man stays, without going a step further, seeking salvation by Christ and the law together, which is the thing the apostle calls a ‘seeking righteousness, not directly, but as it were by works of the law.’ But when a sinner is brought really to trust in the Lord Jesus, he receives him, and rests upon him alone as he is offered in the gospel, disclaiming his own righteousness as filthy rags, saying with the apostle, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, I count all things loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of a Christ Jesus my Lord.

Ebenezer Erskine, The Whole Works of the Late Rev. Ebenezer Erskine (Glasgow: Free Presbyterian Publications, repr. 2001), 414 (HT:Inwoo Lee).


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