Perkins On Paul’s Distinction Between Law And Gospel In Galatians

When Paul says, “The law is not of faith,” he sets down the main difference between the law and the gospel. The law promises life to him that performs perfect obedience, and that for his works. The gospel promises life to him that does nothing in the cause of his salvation, but only believes in Christ. And it promises salvation to him that believes, yet not for his faith, or for any works else, but for the merit of Christ. The law then requires doing to salvation; and the gospel, believing, and nothing else.

William Perkins | The Works of William Perkins, ed. Paul M. Smalley, Joel R. Beeke, and Derek W. H. Thomas, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2015), 177.


Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027
The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

    Post authored by:

  • Tony Phelps
    Author Image

    Tony grew up in Rhode Island. He was educated at BA (University of Rhode Island) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He worked in the insurance industry for ten years. He planted a PCA church in Wakefield, RI where he served for eleven years. In 2015–18 he pastored Covenant Reformed Church (URCNA) in Colorado Springs. He is currently pastor of Living Hope (OPC). Tony is married to Donna and together they have three children.

    More by Tony Phelps ›

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!

One comment

  1. Such a pertinent quote from Perkins. Since the Reformation, the distinction between law and gospel has been obscured or lost, so that article of the standing and falling of the church has been jeopardized by adding obedience onto faith. So we end up with a return to something like the Roman teaching that we are justified to the degree we are sanctified by our obedience, rather than that we obey, and are sanctified, because we are justified by faith alone. When people are taught to look to their obedience as a necessary part of saving faith, instead of as its fruit, they will look to their works for salvation rather than to Christ alone. What a tragedy that this all important distinction is being lost.

Comments are closed.