Shoot the horse and burn the cart

“Nowhere is it more important to have the theology of justification and sanctification straight than here on the subject of child-rearing. We are justified by faith in the promise of God, manifested in our initial trust. We are sanctified by faith in the promise of God, manifested in our ongoing obedience. We are set free to walk through the process of sanctification because we have been fully and completely justified by faith alone – ‘That the righteous requirement of the law might by fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit’ (Rom. 8:4). The well-worn clichĂ© of a cart and horse is probably almost as old as the debate over faith and works, but it may still help us understand the relationship between them. Faith in God and His Word is the horse that pulls the entire cart. The cart is the work that follows as a result. This is not complicated, but sin regularly distorts the truth of it anyway. The legalist tries to pull the horse in the cart, and the antinomian shoots the horse and burns the cart. The Christian does neither.”

-Doug Wilson in Standing on the Promises: A Handbook of Biblical Childrearing (Canon Press, 1997), p. 37



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