This is the best chapter to date.  In this chapter, Marshall seeks to “deliver ignorant zealots from their tormenting labors, by bringing them to despair of the attainment of holiness in a natural state, so that they may seek it only in a new state by faith in Christ, where they may certainly find it, without such tormenting labor and anxiety of spirit.”

 Marshall’s 5th directive is this.

 We cannot attain holiness by our endeavors in a natural state, without union and fellowship with Christ.

 If our growth in holiness is accomplished by the several endowments received from our union and fellowship with Christ, then our sanctification cannot be by our own endeavors, no matter how hard we try.

 James Hervey says doesn’t really change this directive in his 5th assertion.  He writes: the practice of true holiness is not attained by any endeavors of our natural state, but is a blessing of our new state given in Christ Jesus, and partook of by union and fellowship with Christ by faith.

 This chapter begins with Marshall differentiating and defining the two states. 

 The Natural State speaks of those “that are not in Christ, by faith.  They cannot be in a better state than that which they received together with their nature from the first Adam.  This state and nature they received from Him by being born and created in him.  Neither can they attain to a better state by the power of that nature, even if God should offer them some sort of strength and resolve to improve their state. 

 Marshall calls this the natural state because “it consists in such things as we have either received by natural generation or can attain to by natural power through divine assistance.”  In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul call this state that natural man.

 Contrary to the natural state is the New State.  The spiritual state speaks to those “that have the happiness of a new birth and creation in Christ by faith.”  They are thereby placed in a very excellent state which consists of the enjoyment of the righteousness of Christ for their justification, and the enjoyment of the Holy Spirit which enables us to live by and in holiness here on earth, and in glory ever after.  This New state is entered into by our new birth in Christ and is a spiritual state because it is received from Christ.

 These two states are opposed to one another as 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says.  “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.   The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.”

 Marshall then wonderfully, and clearly explains what is prevalent in American churches today . . . people who have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. (2Tim 3:5)  They live in the natural state, yet deceiving themselves, they think they are spiritual people.

 Some are so near the kingdom of God, while they continue in a natural state, that they are convinced of the spirituality of the law, that it binds us principally to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to perform universal obedience to God, in all our inward thoughts and affections, as well as in all our outward actions, and to do all the duties that we owe to our neighbor, out of this hearty love (Mark 12:33, 34). And they struggle and labor with great earnestness to subdue their inward thoughts and affections to the law of God, and to abstain, not only from some sins, but from all known sins, and to perform every known duty of the law with their whole heart and soul, as they think; and are active and intent in their devout practice, that they overwork their natural strength, and so fervent is their zeal, that they are ready even to kill their bodies with fastings and other macerations, that they may kill their sinful lusts. They are strongly convinced that holiness is absolutely necessary to salvation, and are deeply affected with the terrors of damnation; and yet they were never so much enlightened in the mystery of the gospel as to know that a new state in Christ is necessary to a new life; therefore they labor in vain to reform their natural state, instead of getting above it in Christ. And some of these, when they have misspent many years in striving against the stream of their lusts, without any success, do at last fall miserably into despair of ever attaining to holiness, and turn to wallowing in the mire of their lusts, or are fearfully swallowed up with horror of conscience.

 It is this terrible predicament of self-deception that Marshall seeks to free people from in this directive.  And to do so, all self-reliance must be stripped away.  It is only when we despair of ourselves that we grasp ahold of Christ.   To produce this despair of the natural man, Marshall makes 9 points.

 1)  All endowments necessary to enable us for a holy life can ONLY be had in a state of union and fellowship with Christ by faith alone.  And not by the natural power of free-will, but ONLY by the power of Christ coming into the soul by the Holy Spirit to unite us to Him.

 2) We cannot practice true holiness unless we are born of both the water and the Spirit.  We cannot be born again of our own free will, but only by the will of God.   John 1:13 says, “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

 3) Those in the flesh cannot please God. (Romans 8:8, “Rom 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”)  This is the state of all who are not ‘In Christ.’  ‘In the Flesh’ is equivalent to the natural state.

 4) The ‘putting of the old man’ is not simply turning over a new leaf in order to start a new life, but is equivalent to being born again.  This old man not only contains sin, but also all other things that dispose us and incline us to sin.  Therefore, until Christ puts to death the old man, we will always choose sin.

 5) The natural state possesses several qualities that disable us from holiness and enslave us to sin.  The natural state possesses:  A) the guilt of sin, i.e. original guilt, B) an evil conscience, which causes us to resent God and His holiness, C) an evil inclination, which is the desire to be free from the forces that restrain our sin, and D)a subjection to the power of the devil because Satan has blinded the minds of all that do not believe Christ (2Cor. 4:4).

 6)  In the natural state we have no good ground or reason to trust Christ to help us to will or to do that which is acceptable to Him.  Christ aimed at a higher end in his incarnation, death and resurrection than to restore the decay and ruins of our natural state.  His aim was a new creation, and a new state.  This tells us that our natural state is irrecoverable because Christ our Savior did not aim at the recovery of it.

 7) There is no escape from the fact that God has commanded and designed all people to live holy lives.  Ecclesiastes 7:29 says, “This alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes.”  Our impotency to live holy lives does not merely consist in our lack of executive power, but in our lack of a willing mind and heart to live holy lives.

 8) The purpose of the preaching of the gospel is not to enable the natural man to holy living.  The Holy Spirit works powerfully through the preached gospel  to bring to live those who are dead.  The gospel only comes to the elect not only in both Word and power.  Therefore, it cannot depend upon the power of our free-will.

 9) There is no reason why anyone, whether a pagan, a non-believers, or anyone else by their outward profession, having lived without Christ, should move us and encourage us to holiness before God.

 Men in a natural state may have strong conviction of the infinite power, wisdom, justice and goodness of God, and of the judgment to come, and the everlasting happiness of the godly and torments of the wicked. These convictions may stir them up, not only to make a high profession, and to utter rare sayings concerning God and godliness, but also to labor with great earnestness to avoid all known sin, to subdue their lusts, to perform universal obedience to God in all known duties, and to serve Him with their lives and estates to the utmost, and to extort out of their hearts some kind of love to God and godliness, that, if possible, they may escape the terrible torments of hell and procure everlasting happiness by their endeavors. Yet all their love to God is but forced and feigned; they have no hearty liking to God or His service; they account Him a hard Master, and His commandments grievous, and they repine and fret inwardly at the burden of them, and, were it not for fear of everlasting fire, they would little regard the enjoyment of God in heaven, and they would be glad if they might have the liberty to enjoy their lust without danger of damnation.

 Summary:All this can be summarized by saying that there is absolutely no hope apart from union and fellowship with Christ.  This is what Paul says in Ephesians 2:12.  “Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.”

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