The law commands, and makes us know
What duties to our God we owe;
But 'tis the gospel must reveal
Where lies our strength to do his will.
The law discovers guilt and sin,
And shows how vile our hearts have been;
Only the gospel can express
Forgiving love and cleansing grace.
What curses doth the law denounce
Against the man that fails but once!
But in the gospel Christ appears
Pardoning the guilt of numerous years.
My soul, no more attempt to draw
Thy life and comfort from the law,
Fly to the hope, the gospel gives;
The man that trusts the promise lives.
Christ must either be a whole Saviour, or no Saviour at all. The moment a man says, Except ye be this or that, ye cannot be saved, he totally subverts Christianity; for in Christianity I find God coming down to me, just as I am a lost, guilty, self-destroyed sinner; and coming, moreover, with a full remission of all my sins, and a full salvation from my lost estate, all perfectly wrought by Himself on the cross.
Hence, therefore, a man who tells me, You must be so and so, in order to be saved, robs the cross of all its glory, and robs me of all my peace. If salvation depends upon our being or doing aught, we shall inevitably be lost. Thank God, it does not; for the great fundamental principle of the gospel is, that God is all: man is nothing. It is not a mixture of God and man, it is all of God. The peace of the gospel does not repose in part on Christ's work and in part on man's work; it reposes wholly on Christ's work, because that work is perfect-perfect forever; and it renders all who put their trust in it as perfect as itself.
Under the law, God, as it were, stood still to see what man could do; but in the gospel, God is seen acting, and as for man, he has but to "stand still and see the salvation of God".....If man has anything to do in the matter, God is shut out; and if God is shut out, there can be no salvation, for it is impossible that man can work out a salvation by that which proves him a lost creature; and then if it be a question of grace, it must be all grace. It cannot be half grace, half law. The two covenants are perfectly distinct. It cannot be half Sarah and half Hagar: it must be either the one or the other. If it be Hagar, God has nothing to do with it; and if it be Sarah, man has nothing to do with it.....
C. H. Mackintosh