Perkins: Eternal Life Is By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone

If the inheritance of life eternal be by the law, it is no more by the promise. But it is by the promise because God gave it unto Abraham freely by promise. Therefore it comes not by the law. The opposition between the law and the promise shows that Paul in this epistle speaks not only of the ceremonial, but also of the moral. For the greatest opposition is between the moral law and the free promise of God….For if life come by the law, it comes not by the promise,” says Paul. And, ‘If they which are of the law are heirs, the promise is of none effect’ (Rom. 4:14). By this we see the Church of Rome overturns and abrogates the free promise of God. For they of that church teach that the first justification is by mere mercy. And that the second is by the works of the law. But the law and the promise cannot be mixed together, more than fire and water. The law joined with the free promise disannuls the said promise.

William Perkins, Commentary on Galatians, in Works, 2:192–93 (on Gal 3:15–18; HT: Inwoo Lee).


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  • Inwoo Lee
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    Inwoo Lee (BA, UCSD) earned his MA (Historical Theology) in 2020 from Westminster Seminary California and is author of “Righteous Before God: William Perkins’ Doctrine of Justification in Elizabethan England” (MA Thesis, Westminster Seminary California, 2020). He lives in the Great Seoul area, in South Korea with his wife Holly.

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