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David also describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” v. 19. “for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” It is evident therefore that the justification, in so far as we are concerned, is gratuitous; in so far as Christ is concerned, not gratuitous : inasmuch as Christ paid the ransom of our sins, which he took upon himself by imputation, and thus of his own accord, and at his own cost, effected their expiation; whereas man, paying nothing on his part, but merely believing, receives as a gift the imputed righteousness of Christ. Finally, the Father, appeased by this propitiation, pronounces the justification of all believers. A simpler mode of satisfaction could not have been devised, nor one more agreeable to equity.
Hence we are said to be clothed with the righteous ness of Christ. Rev. xix. 8. “ to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the justification of the saints." For the same reason we are also called the friends of God. James ii. 23. “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness, and he was called the friend of God.”
Are absolved from sin and death. Acts x. 43. “to him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” xxvj. 18. “ that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith which is in me.” Rom. v. 18. 6 by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” viii. 1. “ there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in
Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” v. 34. “who is he that condemneth? it is Christ that died—" Coloss. ii. 14. “ blotting out the hand-writing of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.” Even from the greatest sins. 1 Cor. vi. 9—11. “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, ........ &c. and such were some of you ; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified.” Jer. 1. 20. “in that time, saith Jehovah, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found; for I will pardon them whom I reserve." Isai. i. 18. " though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
Accounted just in the sight of God. Eph. v. 27. " that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” On the same principle the faithful both before and under the law were accounted just ; Abel, Gen. iv. 4. Enoch, v. 24. Noah, vi. 8. and vii. 1. and many others enumerated Heb. xi. Nor is it in any other sense that we are said not to sin, except as our sins are not imputed unto us through Christ.
Not by works of the law, but through faith. Gen. xv. 6. “ Abraham believed in Jehovah, and he counted it to him for righteousness." Habak. ii. 4. “the just shall live by his faith.” John vi. 29. “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." Acts xiii. 39. “ by him all that believe are justified from all things from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Rom. ii. 20—23.
6 therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight : for by the law is the knowledge of sin; but now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” v. 27, 28. “ where is boasting then ? it is excluded : by what law ? of works? nay, but by the law of faith: therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." v. 30. “seeing it is one God which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.” iv. 2–8. 6 for if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory, but not before God : for what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness : now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt : but to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness : even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth · righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they
whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered : blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." ix. 30–33. “ what shall we say then ? that ...... Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness : wherefore ? because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law : for they stumbled at that stumbling-stone.” Gal. ii. 16. “knowing that a man is not justified by the works
of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law, for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.' v. 21. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.' iii. 8–12. the Scripture foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed : so then they which be of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham: for as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse ; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them: but that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith: and the law is not of faith, but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.' Philipp. iii. 9. that I may be found in him, not having mine own righteouness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. Heb. xi. 4, &c. 'by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. Eph. ii. 8, 9. that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.' Throughout the whole of this multitude of passages we are said to be justified by faith, and through faith, and of faith ; whether through faith as an instrument, according to the common doctrine, or in any other sense, is not said. Undoubtedly, if to believe be to act, faith is an action, or rather a frame of mind acquired and confirmed by a succession of actions, although in the first instance in
fused from above; and by this faith we are justified, as declared in the numerous texts above quoted. An action, however, is generally considered in the light of an effect, not of an instrument; or perhaps it may be more properly designated as the less principal cause. On the other hand, if faith be not in any degree acquired, but wholly infused from above, there will be the less hesitation in admitting it as the cause of our justification.
An important question here arises, which is discussed with much vehemence by the advocates on both sides ; namely, whether faith alone justifies ? Our divines answer in the affirmative ; adding, that works are the effects of faith, not the cause of justification, Rom. iii. 24, 27, 28. Gal. ii. 16. as above. Others contend that justification is not by faith alone, on the authority of James ii. 24. "by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. As however the two opinions appear at first sight inconsistent with each other, and incapable of being maintained together, the advocates of the former, to obviate the difficulty arising from the passage of James, allege that the apostle is speaking of justification in the sight of men, not in the sight of God. But whoever reads attentively from the fourteenth verse to the end of the chapter, will see that the apostle is expressly treating of justification in the sight of God. For the question there at issue relates to the faith which profits, and which is a living and saving faith : consequently it cannot relate to that which justifies only in the sight of men, inasmuch as this latter may be hypocritical. When therefore the apostle says that we are justified by works, and not by faith only, he is speaking of the