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In my first reading of the Bible, just after my spiritual birth, I came across this statement of the Lord: “ ‘For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ ” (Matt. 5:20, ESV). What a fear entered my soul. From that day onward, I found that the more I grew spiritually, the more I came to a realization of the reality of my sin and its depths.

Trust and Obey: Obedience and the Christian, a compilation of essays by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Michael Horton, John MacArthur, John Armstrong, Joel Beeke, and others, has been a help to me in understanding the relationship of works and grace. The contributors glean from the Scriptures the necessity not only of the grace of God in the life of the Christian, but of the love that comes out of that grace and brings true affection for God’s commandments. As MacArthur writes: “The Christian is obligated to obey God, even though we know our obedience in no sense provides grounds for our justification. That is precisely why our obedience should be motivated primarily by gratitude to and love for the Lord” (p. 77).

Much of the church today finds itself struggling between the opposite errors of legalism and antinomianism. Legalism teaches a false gospel of works. The legalist tries to bribe God with a righteousness as filthy as our most sinful thoughts or actions. Meanwhile, antinomianism gives a false idea of justification by faith by removing the law. The antinomian truly believes he is saved in his sins, not from them. Michael Horton elaborates on the problem, writing, “Whenever the church forgets anything at all, she forgets this: that God has spared her not because of her goodness, but because of His.” Where is the balance? We dare not disregard Jesus’ words: “ ‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments’ ” (John 14:15, ESV).

I hope you will read this book, as well as many of the other treasures available through Soli Deo Gloria Publications.

The Grace of the Law

Hearing “Law” and “Gospel”

Keep Reading Cut Off from the Law

From the September 2002 Issue
Sep 2002 Issue