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Free from the Curses but not the Commands

Samuel Bolton (a Westminster divine) is my favorite writer on how the moral law relates to the gospel. He makes some brilliant turns here to explain what’s been traditionally called the third use of the moral law:

We look next at the case of those who are called Antinomians. Just as the Papists set up the law for justification, so the Antinomians decry the law for sanctification. We claim to be free from the curses of the law; they would have us free from the guidance, from the commands of the law. We say we are free from the penalties, but they would abolish the precepts of the law. They tell us that we make a false mixture together of Christ and Moses, and that we mingle law and Gospel together. How unjustly they lay this charge against us, let men of understanding judge. We cry down the law in respect of justification, but we set it up as a rule of sanctification. The law sends us to the Gospel that we may be justified; and the Gospel sends us to the law again to inquire what is our duty as those who are justified.

-from Samuel Bolton, The Moral Law a Rule of Obedience

Note these juxtapositions:

  • We are free from the curses, but not the commands
  • We are free from the penalties, but not the precepts
  • We do not use the law as a means of justification, but we do use it as a means of sanctification

Christ Gaining Our Trust, Being Present in Places He Hates

‘You must learn that Christ is no mere censor, but a Saviour who saves us by gaining our trust and confidence more and more, and letting us live our total life in Him. He is much more concerned about where we are going, than about how far on we have got.’ This chap’s Christ was a drill sergeant and he thought that was what I was advocating. No: I was thinking of a Christ who would be with him when he went off the deep end and betrayed his fallen self and made an ass of himself, and, in private, denied his own, true, holy nature. A Christ who was always kindly, always there, not to his sin, but to him. Who was willing to be dragged to places and into thoughts that He hated, because He loved him and would not let him go.

-William Still, The Work of the Pastor, Kindle Loc. 553

This is probably one of the best quotes in the book. An appropriate text is 1 Corinthians 6:15, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!”

Since we are united to Christ as believers, Christ is said to dwell in us, and us in him. Hence, he is ever-present with us. Hence, he goes places with us that he himself hates. This will cause you to react in one of two ways – either to run from him, or to run away from where you are trying to take him.

And all the while, says Still, he is teaching us more and more to trust him. All the while he is teaching us to confide in him – seeking our confidence. This is how he sanctifies us.

The Mortification of Sin by Looking to Jesus

Here’s another talk I gave recently if you’d like to hear me discuss my take on the doctrine of sanctification. What role does the Law play in sanctification? How do we put sin to death? How do we become more holy?  Listen and you’ll hear what I believe to be the Bible’s answer:

Sanctification in the Technopolis

Since I’m not writing much these days, here’s a link to a talk I gave recently on the subjection of technology in relation to Christian sanctification. If you’ve been around the blog for a while you’ve seen me write on this a good bit. This is the first time I’ve condensed much of this information down into a talk.

You can listen HERE or watch below:

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”

Amazing Ebook on Sanctification

Last week I came across an ebook put out by the fine folks over at Monergism. It is a compilation of classic works on sanctification along with some more recent articles on the same subject. It is available for free in epub and mobi, so you can read it on your Kindle or other electronic reading device. It also has a working table of contents, which is a major plus.

Get the ebook HERE. Do it! It is books and compilations like this that make having a Kindle (or other e-reader) worth it – and amazing.

Anyhow, I cannot recommend this little compilation more highly. Some of the books it contains have been highly influential and helpful in my own life; I am looking forward to rereading a couple of things and reading others that I haven’t yet read. Here is the full table of contents:

Table of Contents

The eReads

Preface
Sanctification Via Union with Christ by John Hendryx

Part I: Articles
The Expulsive Power of a New Affection by Thomas Chalmers
The Saint’s Call to Arms by William Gurnall
Preacher of Good Tidings Dr. R. B. Kuiper
The Christian in Romans 7 – Arthur W. Pink
Christ our Surety by Richard Sibbes
Growth in Grace by J. C. Ryle
Justification and Sanctification: How do they Differ? by J. C. Ryle
Sanctification in Christ by Marcus Peter Johnson
The Nature of Sanctification and Gospel Holiness by John Owen
Mortifying Sin: Bringing Your Lust to the Gospel by John Owen
Works of the Self-Righteous by Martin Luther
Sanctification by Louis Berkhof
Strength Against Sin by Horatius Bonar
Sanctification by Abraham Kuyper
Holy Raiment of One’s Own Weaving by Abraham Kuyper
Sanctification by B. B. Warfield
Definitive Sanctification by John Murray
The Moral Law as a Rule of Obedience by Samuel Bolton
True Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton
Sanctification by Thomas Watson
Sanctification and Good Works by R. L. Dabney
Sanctification by A. A Hodge
Sanctification by Dr. William Ames
The Sanctification of the Saint by Francis Turretin
Sanctification by John Bunyan
The Doctrine of Mortification by A. W. Pink
Entire Sanctification by B. B Warfield

Part II: Books
The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification by Walter Marshall
On the Mortification of Sin in Believers by John Owen
The Doctrine of Sanctification by A. W. Pink
Holiness by J. C. Ryle
The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes
Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks
Appendices
The Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 13
Are We Basing Justification on Sanctification by John Hendryx
Does Sin Make You Worry if You Are Really Saved? by John Hendryx
What Does the Phrase “Dead in Sin” Mean? by John Hendryx
Our Ongoing Need of Redemption as Christians by John Hendryx
To Cut Off the Sinner from All Hope In Himself by John Hendryx
Christ Vs. Moralism by John Hendryx
Will Nice People Be Saved? by John Hendryx
Growing in Grace & Conscious of Sin by John Hendryx