"If something is not what God did in and through the historical Jesus two thousand years ago, it is not the gospel. Thus Christians cannot 'live the gospel', as often exhorted to do. They can only believe it, proclaim it & seek to live consistently with it. Only Jesus lived (and died) the gospel. It is once-for-all finished and perfect event done for us by another."
~ Graeme Goldsworthy
There is nothing in us or done by us, at any stage of our earthly development, because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake, or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only when we believe. It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be trust as long as we live. Our need of Christ does not cease with our believing; nor does the nature of our relation to Him or to God through Him ever alter, no matter what our attainments in Christian graces or our achievements in behavior may be. It is always on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest.
- B. B. Warfield (1851 – 1921) on why the gospel is necessary for Christians
If I think I am better than my neighbor, or more moral, and therefore, by extension, somehow more deserving, then I have forgotten that it was mercy alone which saved me and mercy alone which keeps me there. Thus the more grounded we are in the knowledge of God's mercy toward us, the easier it is for us to maintain humility among our neighbors, regardless of how depraved we may be tempted to think they are...."
"...we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual ... but from the New Testament's point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirtuality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about ourself and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ."
- Sinclair Ferguson
"To will is of nature, but to will aright is of grace."