Dec 2, 2015
A few years ago I received a stack of books at a Desiring God Conference.
One of them was “The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification” by Walter Marshall.
It was written in the 17th century, but the version I received had been put into modern English by Bruce H. McRae.
In the introduction I was surprised to read that a seminary professor, John Murray, had said this was “the most important book on sanctification ever written.”
So I decided to read it. And I found it so helpful that I thought I would share with you some quotes.
Real love for God means that he must … be your greatest happiness. …When you love God, you make him the greatest pleasure of your life. (31)
If you think you can keep the law of God in your own strength, you have never truly been humbled and brought to understand the sinfulness of your own heart. (37)
You do not produce a godly nature by yourself … Rather, you take it to yourself by receiving it from Christ. Through fellowship with him, you begin to receive that holy frame of mind which is in Christ himself. (39)
True saving faith means that you come … to see Christ as all your salvation and happiness. (51)
Faith is the means by which you actually receive Christ and all his fullness in your heart. (52)
The only way you can be empowered to live a holy life is through union and fellowship with Christ by faith. (65)
Faith is the mouth by which your soul feeds hungrily on Jesus. (104)
Your soul must come to take pleasure in God and Christ by faith, or else it will just go after fleshly and worldly pleasures. (109)
When you believe, you really do receive Christ, just as you really receive food when you eat and drink. (118)
You can be completely confident in [Christ] without having to fulfill any conditions. All you have to do is receive him as your own – eat and drink of him – and he is yours immediately. (135)
Some people [wrongly] think “living and walking by faith” means that you merely stir yourself up to live by the principles you believe. (169)
It is simply not enough to trust in Christ to help you act and labor… This kind of “resolution faith” is not really relying upon God’s grace at all. It is relying upon your own strength and willpower. (177)
How This Book Helped Me
This book helped me see that —
- There is a difference between “resolution faith” (p.177), and faith which actually turns to Christ and depends on him to use his Word to change our hearts.
- When by faith I fellowship with Christ and behold his glory, sin’s pull will weaken, love for Christ will strengthen, and obedience will grow.
- Union with Christ is not just a doctrinal truth to believe; it is an experience of Christ we will feel as we turn to him by faith.
- I can turn to Christ by faith, even if there’s sin in my heart, and receive everything I need to be assured of salvation and battle sin.
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And here are some related posts you might find helpful –
- How to Live the Christian Life
- How Does The Holy Spirit Empower Obedience?
- How to Obey God — Self-Pushing or Spirit-Empowering?
- Jesus Gives Us Reasons To Obey