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The root is faith in Christ. The inseparable companion is repentance, and the fruit is obedience. That is true godliness. William Perkins says, ‘A man endued with faith and repentance does, according to the measure of grace received, endeavor to yield obedience to all God’s commandments, from all the powers and parts both of his soul and his body.'
It is our undying duty to live in obedience to our Lord, but, it would prove our utter ruin to live on our obedience, rather than live on the obedience of Christ.
Perkins calls this a ‘new’ saving obedience, new because it is a renewing of that which in man was lost in Adam’s fall, but which has now been renewed through the last Adam. How different is such saving submission to our Lord Jesus from man’s resolutions and temporary reformations.
Perkins acknowledges that it is true that ‘many hypocrites have a reformation of life but yet they fail. They do so in two ways; first, their reformation is only outward, not inward. Their obedience, wills and affections all still remain wicked and corrupt, and secondly, their obedience is partial; it is only to certain of God’s commandments, not to all of them. So it was with Herod; he would hear John gladly, and would do many things, but yet he wouldn’t leave his brother’s wife. But true obedience, which proceeds from true faith and repentance, has these following four heads and branches, firstly a Christian must use his mind and “prove what is the good will of God” (Romans 12:2); secondly, he must restrain his life from outward offenses which tend to dishonor God and scandalize the church; thirdly, he must mortify the inward corruptions of his own heart; fourthly, he must labour to conceive new motions agreeable to the will of God, and bring forth and practice good duties, demonstrating both outward and inward obedience to God’ (op cit p.698). This is living the real Christian life that always pursues godliness.
Do you view holiness like a pharisee?
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