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The distinction between *for* and *from* is the distinction between law & gospel, between the covenants of works & grace. Learn it well.
There are a number of teachers/preachers within NAPARC & without who teach that we do good works *for* salvation. Some say that good works are the instrument of “final salvation.”
Any such teaching would turn the covenant of grace into a covenant of works, were it possible. They want to steal your joy & freedom in Christ & replace it with guilt & servile fear in order to drive you to more good works.
The legal teachers really do not believe that sanctification is a gospel mystery. They see it as a kind of rational machine whereby tgey can guarantee the desired outcome.
The truth is that the Spirit uses the good news of the gospel to sanctify his people, to work in them a love of his law, a desire to love God & neighbor, & to do good works.
The line between gospel & good works as the fruit & evidence of new life, true faith, & gracious sanctification is not a straight line. Preaching the gospel is an act of faith, trusting the sovereign Holy Spirit to do his work, to change hearts, to sanctify.
Yes, we preach the law in its civil & normative (3rd) uses but only *after* we’ve preached the law (in it’s pedagogical use) & the gospel of free salvation (justification, sanctification, & glorification) & in light of the gospel.
The irony of trading in gospel preaching for law preaching is that it never works. There’s no evidence in Scripture, church history, or experience to suggest that it works to create sanctification in Christ’s people.
Why do preachers do it? Often out of fear. Preachers are often terrified that someone will call them an antinomian. Just as often it’s because of ignorance of the law/gospel distinction or of the gospel mystery of sanctification.
Preachers are often afraid to trust the Spirit to do his work: “maybe nothing will happen?” Preaching is like farming but where the crops can be very uneven or hard to see.
Another reason preachers do it is because it gives them control. There is much that preachers can’t control but legal preaching gives them the illusion of control. It’s a desire to be mortified.
Legal preachers get rewarded with a reputation for being “tough” or “form” or even godly because they fulfill the stereotype of what the sheep think a preacher should be.
There are incentives to become a legal preacher and few incentives to be a gospel preacher—as I say, gospel preaching is an act of faith, which believes what it cannot (and may never) see.
I was a legal preacher.…
There’s a legal preacher inside all of us.
Anyone who says that God rewards us because we have done our part has turned the covenant of grace into a covenant of works.
63. Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?

The reward comes not of merit, but of grace. (Heidelberg Catechism)
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