The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification – Direction 14: Epilogue and Closing Exhortations

[This is the 14th of a 14 part highlight of Walter Marshall’s book, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification.]

“Direction 14: That you may seek holiness and righteousness, only by believing in Christ, and walking in him by faith, according to the former directions, take encouragement from the great advantages of this way, and the excellent properties of it.”

This final direction serves as an epilogue or conclusion to the preceding thirteen directives, with five closing motives for employing everything taught therein. Before sharing those weighty motives, Marshall exhorted his readers to remember the way of sanctification laid out in directives 1-13, namely via:

“union and fellowship with Christ, and by faith in Christ, as discovered in the gospel; not by the law, or in a natural condition, or by thinking to get it before we come to Christ, to procure Christ by it, which is striving against the stream: but that we must first apply Christ and his salvation to ourselves, for our comfort, and that by confident faith; and then walk by that faith, according to the new man, in Christ, and not as in a natural condition; and use all means of holiness rightly for this end.”

The five desirable properties or motives for following the preceding 13 directives which Marshall provided were:

  • This way tends to the abasement of the flesh, and exaltation of God only, in his grace and power through Christ.
  • This way consists well with other doctrines of the gospel, which contrary errors do not (doctrines such as original sin, predestination, justification and reconciliation by faith, union with Christ, and perseverance of the saints).
  • This way is the never-failing, effectually powerful, alone sufficient, and sure way to attain to true holiness.
  • This way is a most pleasant way to those who are in it (Prov. 3:17) in several respects.
  • This is a high exalted way, above all others, for these are the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that God has set us in (Eph. 2:5-6).

When developing the fourth property, above, Marshall made five points, the third being it is a way of peace, wherein he cited Prov. 3:17: “Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” (ESV) And then he made this observation:

“The doubts of salvation that people meet with arise from putting some condition of works between Christ and themselves; as hath appeared in this discourse. But our walking in this way, is by faith, which rejects such fears and doubtings (John 14:1; Mark 5:36; Heb. 10:19, 22). It is free from fears of Satan, or any evil (Rom. 8:31, 32); and free from slavish fears of perishing by our sins (1 John 2:1, 2; Phil. 4:6, 7); faith laying hold on infinite grace, mercy, and power to secure us; the Lord is the keeper and shade on the right hand (Ps. 121:5). Free and powerful grace answers all objections.”

May the Lord grant grace for us to take these truths to heart and walk by faith accordingly!

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