In his superb book The Whole Christ, Sinclair Ferguson reminds us of an absolutely critical point of salvation:
The benefits of the gospel (justification, reconciliation, redemption, adoption) were being separated from Christ, who is himself the gospel. The benefits of the gospel are in Christ. They do not exist apart from him. They are ours only in him. They cannot be abstracted from him as if we ourselves could possess them independently of him (Ferguson, 44).
Dr. Ferguson is addressing the early 18th century’s Marrow Controversy, the theological and historical lessons of which apply directly to the Church’s present struggles over legalism, antinomianism, and gospel assurance. The thesis of the selection above may seem too basic to mention. Yet in our theologizing, we can have the tendency to drift away from the central truth that we are saved in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. While it is imperative that we understand the precise biblical doctrine of each benefit, we must never turn our gaze away from Christ unto an abstracted doctrine.
The Whole Christ is an absolute must read for visitors of this site. Buy it, read it, mark it up, meditate upon it, and share it with others.