“…there is nothing more notable or glorious in the church than the ministry of the Gospel…”
John Calvin, Institutes, 4. 3. 3.
The goal of this site is twofold:
The first goal is to help you understand why God has saved you.
He has saved you to live a holy life and to glorify Him. The Glory of God is the great end of sanctification by grace through faith (cf., 2 Thess. 2:14)!
Sanctification by grace through faith humbles man and exalts God alone. On your own you can bear no fruit that is good and acceptable to God (cf., John 15:5). You are unable by your fleshly efforts to do anything that is good. None of your good works come about by your own strength, resolve or willpower but rather by faith in the power of Christ and His Spirit who is living in you.
The second goal is to help you understand how to actually live out the purpose for which you were saved.
There is considerable confusion today within Evangelicalism as to how believers actually live the Christian life. To be sure, true godliness is a great mystery (cf., 1 Tim. 3:16). So great in fact believers mistakenly think they must work up a holy disposition by producing it in themselves.
This common error is what I call, “The Galatians 3:3 Road.”
Those walking down this road think that they are justified by faith but must be sanctified by works. Such a common misconception is based on a misunderstanding both of the Gospel and of the discipling process.
This bewitching of American Evangelicalism (cf., Gal. 3:1) has caused considerable distress to many believers in matters concerning what the Bible calls holiness, righteousness, godliness and obedience.
One of the purposes of this site is to keep you from stumbling down The Galatians 3:3 Road and to direct you to run on the Gospel-Driven Road of joy. Or as Walter Marshall once wrote, “…to keep you from killing yourselves through failed attempts at holiness! And, for God to enlarge your heart to run in the way of His commandments with great cheerfulness, joy and thanksgiving!”
The key to holy living is the Gospel’s truth of union with Christ.
If you are going to live a holy life, you must be in Christ, and Christ must be in you through a mystical union. Apart from union with Christ, you can do nothing!
The Gospel is what encourages you to obey God not law (i.e., “relevant, practical tips,” not self-help, self-discipline, 40-days of purpose, not discovering the champion in you, not 30 thoughts for victorious living, incorporating more spiritual disciplines, surrendering more, etc…).
The Scriptures reveal two means by which the Holy Spirit brings about this mystical union and fellowship between Christ and the believer:
1. The Gospel of the grace of God
2. Faith, which is wrought in us by the Gospel
When you come into union with Christ, He (i.e., Christ) begins to impart His godly nature to you. You do not produce a godly nature by your own works out of your own resources (you have none!). Rather, by faith you receive a godly nature from Christ. And, as you live in fellowship with Him, you begin to receive a holy disposition, which is in Christ Himself. This holy disposition consists of your whole life being conformed to all of God’s moral law.
The only way one can be empowered to live a holy life is through union and fellowship with Christ by faith.
Learning to live by faith to obey and glorify God (i.e., live a holy life) is one of the driving (pun intended) purposes of this site. In order to live a holy life, you must live by faith according to your new nature. Walter Marshall put it like this,
“I am telling you to act according to your state in Christ. Obey God and do the works of the law by gospel principles and means. This is the rare and excellent art of godliness, in which every Christian should be a skilled expert.”
The bottom line is:
“You have to understand the privileges and blessings of your new position in Christ that you received through the Gospel of grace. It is the Gospel that empowers your new nature to live a holy life. You have to be stirred up by faith in the Gospel to carry out the duties of holiness- both to God and to other people. When you walk in this way, your heart will be comforted and established in every good word and work. You will grow in holiness, until you attain maturity in Jesus Christ.” Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification