Westminster Seminary California
Notable Quotable: Machen and the Law Is Not of Faith


Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’ But the law is not of faith, rather ‘The one who does them shall live by them.’ [Gal 3.12] . . . [the law] requires doing something. . . . faith is the opposite of doing. There are two conceivable ways of salvation. One way is to keep the law perfectly, to do the things which the law requires. No mere man since the fall has accomplished that. The other way is to receive something, to receive something that is freely given by God’s grace. That way is followed when a man has faith. But you cannot possibly mingle the two. You might conceivably be saved by works or you might be saved by faith; but you cannot be saved by both. It is ‘either or’ here not ‘both and.’ But which shall it be, works or faith? The Scripture gives the answer. The Scripture says it is faith. Therefore it is not works.

Taken from Machen's Notes on Galatians