Do Not Seek Righteousness by the Law – Pt.3

Do Not Seek Righteousness by the Law – Pt.3

2. I am now to shew you, that seeking righteousness by the works of the law, is to frustrate the grace of God: and I would shew it — first in point of doctrine — and then in point of practice.

1st, As to point of doctrine. In the matter of righteousness before God, the law and the gospel are perfectly opposite, and they are only so in this point. The law and the gospel agree sweetly together in all things else; but in this point of the righteousness of a man before God, the law and the gospel are quite opposite one to another. The gospel comes to bring in another salvation than the law thought of; and the law destroys the salvation of the gospel. The law and gospel, in point of righteousness before God, are exactly opposite; “And if by grace, then it is no more by works, otherwise grace is no more grace; but if it be of works, then it is no more of grace, for otherwise works were no more works,” (Rom. 11:6). Grace and works, in the point of righteousness before God, are perfectly opposite; “You are saved by grace,” saith the apostle, “not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8, 9).

2dly, Let us bring this matter into practice, and you will find that all men express this in their attitude; both the self-righteous man, and he that is not so. Not only is it asserted in point of doctrine, that works and grace are thus inconsistent, but we always find it, even in the spirit and temper, both of the one and of the other.

1. He that seeks righteousness by the law, is a man that never saw his need of grace: and you may be well assured that that man will frustrate the grace of God, who never saw his utter need of it. He was never so far emptied, but he expects and imagines that he shall be able to work out a righteousness for himself, and so is not brought under any conviction of his utter need of the grace of God; whereas he that is for the grace of God in Christ alone, is a man that hath a great need of the grace of God, and sees himself undone without it.

2. This self-righteous man sees no glory in the grace of God shining through the righteousness of Christ; there is no excellency in it to him. Every natural man is in this mind; he sees a great deal of glory in his own doings: in a beautiful conversation, in brave gifts, and in a shining walk before men; he sees a great deal of beauty and glory here. Every natural man thinks there is a great deal of glory in his own performances. The self-righteous Pharisee came boasting in his own performances; “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican: I fast twice a week, and I give tithes of all that I possess,” (Luke 18:11, 12). These were great things in the man’s esteem, and so they are in the eyes of every natural man. But for that righteousness that is lodged in Christ, that is wrought out by a man without him, by one that came down from heaven, and is gone up thither again; that hath all this righteousness seated in him, and gives it forth to us by mere grace; no natural man thinks any thing of this. But the believer is a man that hath an high esteem of the righteousness of Christ. How doth the apostle Paul speak of this? “I count all things but dung, that I may win Christ; and be found in him, not having on mine own righteousness,” (Phil. 3:8, 9).

3. Every natural man is averse from the grace of God, and therefore he must needs frustrate the grace of God. He is averse from it: but every believer is just of another mind. Sirs, if all men’s hearts were known to us, as they are to God, here is one thing that would determine every man’s state, What way do you best like to go to heaven in? “I would gladly be very holy,” saith the poor man, “that I may be very happy when I die.” Saith the believer, “I would gladly be clothed with Christ’s righteousness, and get eternal life as the gift of his grace; and I know that by being in Christ I shall be sanctified.” But no believer seeks sanctification as his righteousness, and title to glory: it is a preparation for glory, and the way that leads to glory, to all them that are saved according to that blessed method, “Whom he justified, them he also glorified,” (Rom. 8:30); and by glorification there, both sanctification and eternal life are well understood by most. — So much for the third doctrine, That seeking righteousness by the works of the law frustrates the grace of God.

I would now speak a few words to the fourth doctrine, and then make some application of both together.

Be continued tomorrow

1 Comment

  1. Anthony Ejere A.
    April 23, 2017, 3:16 pm   /  Reply

    Would love to read the continuation of this message. i love this one i just read. thanks.

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