Arguments of John Forbes, against the Imputation
of Christís active obedience, examined. With
a view of Wendelinís reasonings
††††††††† John Forbes, in his Treatise tending to clear the doctrine of justification, Chapter 24, page 93, &c. comes to speak of the matter of our righteousness, that is, that, wherein Christ is made of God Righteousness unto us; And tells us, that this in one word, in the Scripture, is said to be his obedience, Romans 5: 19. But this obedience he restricts, page 94, unto the passive obedience of Christ only in his death: And by this restriction, not only excludes all his obedience to the law, but even all his suffering, in his state of humiliation; Yea and his soul sufferings also, for anything that appears.
††††††††† He mentions a distinction betwixt those things, wherein the righteousness itself stands, which is imputed to us, and those things, which are requisite in Christ, to the end, that in the other he may be Righteousness unto us. And this distinction is good in itself; but not rightly applied, when he refers all to this last head, which Christ did and suffered, except only in his death.
††††††††† He grants, page 95, that the word obedience is oft times in the Scripture referred to the whole work of Christís humiliation: But we do not take it so largely here, as to comprehend even his Incarnation; but as comprehending that, which belonged to his work of Mediation, as our Sponsor, in satisfying the law and the Law-Giver, for what we were owing, and were not able to pay: nor can we so restrict it, as he doth: Let us therefore see his grounds.
††††††††† His first ground is this. We are not to esteem Christ to be our Righteousness, in anything, but in that only, wherein God hath purposed, and according to his purpose ordained, and according to his ordinance set forth Christ to be our righteousness and propitiation. For the purpose of God, he cites Colossians 1: 19, 20. Answer: We are not to esteem Christ to be our righteousness in anything, but in that only wherein the Scriptures hold him forth to be so: And in that, wherein the Scripture holds him forth to be so, God purposed, ordained and set him forth to be so: But we must not restrict the whole Scripture to these three or four places cited: If the Scriptures elsewhere point forth Christ to be our righteousness in other acts, than in his death, all this arguing is to no purpose. Surely the Scriptures speak of his sufferings in soul, and of his being made a curse for us, and of his being obedient even to the death, of his being made under the
Law to redeem them, that were under the Law: And that what the Law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us. See Philippians 2: 7, 8, Galatians 4: 4, Romans 8: 3, 4. (2.) There is nothing in these texts exclusive of Christís obedience: And it is loose arguing to say, Christís death only is mentioned in three or four places of Scripture. Ergo, nothing else is mentioned, or to be understood, anywhere else: the particle only is not here to be found, neither expressly, nor tacitly. (3.) Beside that in all these passages, there is not one word of a righteousness, no expression, signifying the matter of imputed righteousness to consist therein; or that Christ was our righteousness, upon the account thereof: Nay, neither here, nor anywhere do we find Christ called our righteousness, because he died for us. Nor doth the Apostle attribute our righteousness unto his blood only, Romans 5: 9, Ephesians 1: 7, Colossians 1: 14. No such thing appears there. Neither pardon, nor justification, which only are there spoken of, are a righteousness, or our righteousness, but the consequences, fruits or effects thereof.
††††††††† His arguing, that without shedding of blood, there is no remission, and from Hebrews 6 and 10 that Christ dieth no more, therefore Christ is appointed our righteousness and peace, in nothing, but in his death and blood of his cross, is most loose, and can only conclude against those, (if there be any such), that say, by Christís obedience active only, and not at all by his death and sufferings have we peace and remission of sins. We willingly grant, that without shedding of blood there is no remission; but this says not, that shedding of blood alone is all our righteousness. We conjoin both his active and passive obedience, and so we take in his whole Mediatory work, which makes up his complete Surety-Righteousness: and say that this must be imputed to us, in order to our justification, peace, pardon and acceptance.
††††††††† He argues next from Adam, as the type in Romans 5, and says that this TYPE teaches us four things. 1. That our righteousness should proceed from one man Jesus Christ. 2. That our righteousness should consist in the obedience of that one man. 3. That our righteousness should consist in one obedience only of that one man. 4. That our righteousness should consist in the only one obedience of that one man, once only performed. Answer: (1.) If our righteousness should consist in the obedience of Christ, †and that in opposition to Adamís disobedience to the Law; then it must not consist in his sufferings alone; for sufferings, as such, are no obedience to the Law: And further Christís obedience is called his righteousness, Romans 5: 18, but suffering and dying is no righteousness. (1.) There is no ground to assert either of the two last, much less both: for though Adamís act of disobedience was one, and that done at once; Yet it will not follow that therein he was a type of Christ; or that therefore Christís obedience must be one act only, and that performed at one time only: for Paul hints no such comparison, and we must not make typical similitudes without warrant. And again, one act of disobedience, once committed, is a violation of the Law, and enough to constitute one unrighteous; but one act of †obedience, howbeit frequently performed, far less once performed,
cannot be a complete righteousness, which requires conformity to the whole law, in all points, and that all the days of our life. Wherefore Christís obedience, being a righteousness (which consists in full conformity to the law) must be perfect, and correspond with the whole law, and cannot be one only act, once only performed; and that such an act too, is no formal act of obedience to the Law at all.
††††††††† His second ground is taken from the signs and seals of the righteousness, which is by faith, that is Baptism and the Lordís Supper, and tells us, they signify and represent to us, what is the righteousness itself, whereby we are justified, and seal and confirm unto us, that that righteousness is ours. Answer: I should rather think, that they represent and exhibit whole Christ, and seal to believers, or the worthy receivers their interest in Him, and right to Him, and to all his spiritual benefits. And though these sacraments, do in a more special manner, represent Christ, as suffering, or as dying; Yet it is no good consequence hence to infer, that his dying alone and shedding his blood is our righteousness; for his death is principally and specially there held forth, as being the last and completing act of his Mediatory obedience, in his state of humiliation, unto which all his former acts of obedience had a special respect; and in which they did all ultimately terminate. And by what reason, will it be proved, that nothing done or suffered by Christ, can be any part or portion of our righteousness in him, but what is distinctly or expressly represented and pointed forth by these seals? What shall then become of his soul sufferings in the Garden, and on the Cross? These were not his blood, nor his broken body: and therefore, according to him, make no part of our righteousness in Christ. But we dare not say this.
††††††††† His third ground is from Hebrews 10: 5, 6, 7, &c. cited out of Psalm 40. And thus he argues. The obedience of Christ, in the matter of our righteousness, is of no larger extent, than is the will of God, which he did obey and by which we are sanctified. But this is restrained only to the offering of Christ. Answer: The minor is here denied, there being no such restraint made, as is alleged: for he came to do all the will of God and therefore was baptized, that he might fulfill all righteousness: It was not serving to the Apostleís scope, to mention any other act of obedience, than his offering up of himself; but his mentioning no other there, will not exclude all, mentioned elsewhere: Surely, the adversary will not exclude the promptitude and readiness of mind, that Christ had unto the offering up of himself, long before the appointed time, as being no part of that obedience, that he performed; It cannot then be said, that by his once offering up of himself, at the last, alone, we are sanctified, and by nothing going before in conjunction with this. But he tells us that our justification, reconciliation, &c. are ever attributed unto the blood, death and cross of Christ. Answer: Never exclusively as to his preceding obedience: Yea we are to be saved by his life, Romans 5: 10, and justification is upon Christís righteousness, verse 18. And all this will as well conclude for the exclusion of his foregoing obedience from being requisite in Christ (as he said above) to the end he mat be Righteousness to us, as for excluding of it from being any part of our righteousness: as also the next thing he says, concerning Paulís
respecting in his preaching only the cross of Christ: for the Apostle is not there speaking merely of the matter of our righteousness, but of the Gospel way of salvation, through a crucified Mediator, which the wisdom of this world despised; And to this, surely, our author will willingly acknowledge that more belongs, than his death abstractly considered.
††††††††† His fourth ground is from Hebrews 10: 18, whence it follows, says he, that in nothing, which is in Christ himself, before his death, consists the remission of our sins, and so consequently our righteousness. Answer: We willingly grant, that in nothing, that Christ did before his death, considered abstractly from his death, and separately by itself, did remission of sins consist, or to speak more properly, was satisfaction made, in order to remission; Yet hence it will not follow, that all his preceding obedience was no part of his righteousness, or of that, whereof we are made partakers in him;† more than it will follow, that it was not requisite in him, to the end, he might become righteousness to us: If any said, (as he seems to allege,) that all our iniquities both original and actual were pardoned in his preceding actual obedience, (which I shall be loath to say, nor know I who speaks so) then his arguing were good, that then Christ should be made to die without a cause. If any say, (as he insinuates also, page 104,) that Christ was offered only to remove the punishment of our sin, and not the sin, or guilt thereof, I shall not approve of it. Yet I cannot assent to what he says, ibid, that the very offering of Christ for sin, secludes all things preceding whatsoever, from all virtue or efficacy of removing iniquity; for then it should seclude his soul sufferings, which, surely were no small part of the satisfaction made by him for sin. Neither will it hence follow, that all his foregoing acts of obedience made no integral part of that Surety-Righteousness, which he undertook to perform. He cites for his first ground I John 1: 7. To which we say, that it is true, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin, because it was the blood of him, who had fulfilled all righteousness, and in his death had completed that satisfaction he undertook to do: He tells us again, page 105, from Romans 4, that unto eternal blessedness it is sufficient to have remission of sins. But he remembers not, that all such as have remission of sins, there, have righteousness also imputed without works: and we deny, that righteousness consists, in remission of sins alone: But in all this, he is disputing only against such, who say, that remission of sins is had by the imputation of Christís actual obedience, and by his death, freedom from punishment is obtained; and with such, I have nothing to do. To what he here adds of the difference betwixt an innocent man, and a just man, enough hath been said already elsewhere.
††††††††† His sixth and last ground, page 108, is built upon the Law of the Priesthood, which he says, was ordained of God, for this end to make expiation of our sins, and to bring us unto God, which two were shadowed in two actions, in the day of expiation, viz., in offering sacrifice, &c., and in carrying the names of the tribes, engraved in the stones on his shoulder and breast plate. And this is so far from making against us, that it confirms rather our opinion: for that carrying of the names of the tribes, on the Ephod, which was upon the other holy
garments, together with that plate of gold, that was upon the miter, on the forefront having engraved upon it HOLINESS TO THE LORD, Exodus 28, was sufficient to typify and hold forth Christís holy obedience and righteousness, and could not typify his death and sacrifice. And without a righteousness, there is no coming or approaching unto God, and this righteousness is some other thing, than mere remission of sins. His arguing from the Priestís first entry on their office at 30 years of age, and Christís doing the like, Luke 3: 21, to infer, that no action performed by Christ before that time, can be accounted the action of expiation of sin, or of reconciliation of us to God, is most vain; for (1.) we make no limitation or restriction of his expiatory work to what he did before he was 30 years of age. (2.) This will make against himself, and nothing for limiting and restricting all to his last act of death. Therefore he adds that no action done after by Christ, can be account a Priestly action of expiation except only the offering of himself, and entering with his own blood into the heavens for us. But then (1.) what will he do with his prayer and intercession before his death, especially John 17? (2.) There was more than expiation of sins requisite to bring us unto God; Therefore the High Priest was to carry that memorial on the front of his Miter.
†††††††† The learned Wendeline, in his Great System of Theology, lib 1. c. 25, Thes. 7 page 1116, &c. disputes against the imputation of the active obedience of Christ together with the passive, making it only a condition requisite in the Mediator, so as without it, he could not be our Mediator, and merit anything to us, by his death: So that in his judgment, Christís active obedience, whereby his obedience to the Law of God is understood, and that no doubt, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, did only contribute to qualify him, to be a fit Mediator, which it seems then, according to him, he was not by his hypostatic union; and to put a value upon his passive obedience, (by which he understands his suffering and dying, so undergoing the curse of the Law, and paying the penalty in our room) which his being God did not, as it would seem, sufficiently do: And thus all his acts of obedience, while under the law, and in he state of humiliation, howbeit in all he may be conceived as a sufferer, are excluded from being any part of the satisfaction, he was to make unto justice, and to the Law-Giver, for us and in our room, or any part of that righteousness, which is imputed to us, in order to justification.
††††††††† He first propose his arguments and vindicates them, and then proposes, some, used for the contrary opinion, adding his answers.
††††††††† His 1st argument is, Christ as a man, was bound to give active obedience to the Law, for himself; every creature is bound to obey his Creator. Therefore it is not imputed unto us. Answer: The Antecedent is denied; neither doth the proof adduced confirm it; for the human nature of Christ, now in the state of glory, is and will be a creature forever; Yea the confirmed angels, and saints made perfect are creatures, yet not subject to any Law as Viators, but as Comprehensors; such was not the obedience of Christ, while in the flesh. He was obedient as a Viator, his human nature being personally united unto the divine,
and subsisting therein, in respect whereof he became heir of all things, and Lord of Life; and therefore stood in no need of working out a life of obedience for a crown to himself: wherefore, what he did as a Viator was for us, for whom he subjected himself, and became obedient, even to death: And moreover all his acts of obedience were not the acts of obedience of a mere creature, but of one who was God-man; for his human nature did not subsist of itself, and so did not of itself as a nature not subsisting, perform acts of obedience, as so subsisting. We have said enough to this at several occasions before.
††††††††† It was answered Christ was made man, not for himself, but for us; Therefore he obeyed not for himself, but for us, that is, in our place. He replies: 1. The antecedent is ambiguous: If you say Christ was made man for us, that is, for our good, it is granted, if for us, that is in our room, it is denied: for what Christ was made, in our place, that we are not bound to do and to be, as he was made a curse for us, that we might not be an eternal curse. But Christ by His incarnation did not obtain, that we should no more be men, or be bound to do things congruous to human nature. Answer: We grant that he was made man for us, not in our room, but for our good: Yet do hence gather, that he being made man for our good, to the end he might come under the law, both as to its duty, and as to its curse, under both which we were lying, what he did, as well as what he suffered, while in that condition, in order to the ends of his being made man, for our good, was in our room and stead; because this was our debt and he became man for our good, that in our stead, he might pay our debt. The reply is not grounded upon that word alone, he was made of a woman, but on that, with what follows. Made of a woman, made under the Law. And if it would have necessarily followed, from his being made of a woman, that he would have been under the law for himself; to what purpose was this added, made under the Law? And yet we see the main emphasis here, because of what is added to redeem them, that were under the Law. And why did he same Apostle, Philippians 2: 7, 8, after he had said, that he took upon him, the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, and found in fashion, as a man, tell us moreover, that he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, seeing this did necessarily follow his being man, and that for himself? And may it not hence be inferred, that the exaltation afterward mentioned in verses 8 and 9, was given to him, not as Mediator, but for himself, as a humbled, obedient man?
††††††††† He replies 2. denying the consequence for (says he) albeit Christ was made man, not for his own, but for our good; Yet after he was made man, he was a man by himself, and therefore subject to the Law by himself, and for himself, as man: as after he assumed a body subject to corruption of itself, he stood in need for himself, of meat, drink, rest, &c. As it was not necessary for man to be created, so nor for the Word to be incarnate, and to assume the form of a servant, but only upon supposition. Yet as man, being created, is necessarily subject to the Law of his Creator; So the Word being made man, is, as man, necessarily subject to the Law of God. Answer: (1.) Christ, being made man, for our good, and particularly for this end, that he might come under the Law, and pay our debt, he was not
subject to the Law for himself. (2.) Though he was true man, having manís nature, yet he was not made man, as other men are; for his human nature had no subsistence of its own, as other men have; and therefore could not for itself be subject to the Law, as other men are. (3.) How or what way Christís body was subject to corruption, of itself, we need not here debate; it is sufficient, to note, that our question here is about moral actions as such, the performance of which was a part of our debt. (4.) What is added, is but a repetition of what is denied, to wit that the logoj the word, becoming man, did become, upon that account, necessarily subject to the Law for himself.
††††††††† His second argument is: If Christ did perform active obedience, in our room, so as it might be imputed to us unto righteousness, then we should be no longer obliged to perform active obedience to the Law. The reason of this, he takes from the like, saying, as we are not obliged to undergo eternal death, because Christ hath sustained that, in our room. Answer: To this enough hath been said elsewhere: I shall only here say, that it will no more hence follow, than from the satisfaction of Christ (whatever Socinians allege) that we are loosed from all obedience to the Law; but only that we are loosed from that obedience, which was required, under the Old Covenant of works, to wit, to perfect obedience, and thereby obtain the prize, as our reward of debt; and fail in the least, and lose all, which were the conditions of the Old Covenant; and as to this we deny the minor.
††††††††† He replies by denying, what is now in question, to wit, that Christ performed active obedience, in our room, to procure eternal life to us, affirming that he was bound to do it for himself, and so did merit nothing to us thereby. Answer: This is but, what was said above; and hence it is clear, that, in his judgment, Christ wrought for the crown of glory to himself, and did merit it to himself: and so had no right thereto before, by virtue of his hypostatic union, let be possession, albeit all the angels were to worship him, and his throne was forever and ever, Hebrews 1: 6, 8.
††††††††† He adds, If notwithstanding of Christís active satisfaction, we be obliged to satisfy actively; so, not withstanding of his passive satisfaction we should be bound to satisfy passively, that is suffer eternal death. Answer: All the obedience now required, is no satisfaction to the Old Covenant Conditions: Christ hath satisfied that, and left no part thereof for us to do; And therefore it will not follow, that we are bound to suffer eternal death, or any part of the curse, as such.
††††††††† To that answer, that some gave, that by Christís active obedience we have this advantage, that we are more obliged unto rigid and exact obedience, he replies, that then we should not sin by short-coming, or negligence. Answer: But by that rigid and exact obedience, is not meant full conformity unto the Law; but such a conformity, as was the condition of the Old Covenant, as is said; that is, we are now freed from obtaining the crown, or right thereto by perfect conformity (which to us is impossible) and from loosing of the crown upon the least escape or failing. All obedience runs
now in another channel, though the commands and the Law, as a Law and rule of walk, remain the same.
††††††††† His third argument is, The Scripture everywhere, speaking of our justification and pardon, mentions Christís passive, and not his active obedience. As Isaiah 53: 5, 6, Romans 3: 24, 25 and 5: 6, Galatians 3: 13, I John 1: 7. Answer: It is denied, that the Scripture doth everywhere mention only Christís passive obedience, and the contrary hath been frequently shown. And as to the places mentioned, none of them contain any exclusive particle, or hint the exclusion of his active obedience: And our adversaries themselves must understand these and the like passages, synecdochically, otherwise they shall exclude Christís soul sufferings, as well, as his active obedience, and restrict all to his death and blood shed on the cross; which yet they will not do.
††††††††† Now follows his answer to some arguments for the contrary. Argument 1. Two things are required unto our salvation, delivery from death, and the gift of life; that (the first) is had by expiation of sin by his suffering, this (the second) by the donation of righteousness, or imputation of his active obedience.
††††††††† He answers: The passive obedience of Christ both expiates sin, and gives life, his death gives life, I Peter 2: 24 and 3: 18. Answer: True, but the reason is, because it was the death of one, who had fulfilled all righteousness: we need not speak of his obedience and of his sufferings, so distinctly, as to ascribe to each severally, these several effects; It is better, I judge, to take both conjunctly, as one complete righteousness, for us, and one meritorious cause of all the benefits procured thereby.
††††††††† Argument 3, (for argument 2 I pass, as judging it not cogent.) The actual disobedience of Adam made us sinners.
††††††††† He answers: If by actual obedience of Christ, in the consequence his active obedience be understood (for his passive may also be called actual, in that actually and not potentially only he suffered) and that imputed to us, the consequent is denied: for Christís passive obedience imputed hath restored unto us what we lost by Adamís disobedience. Answer: But thus the comparison, that Paul makes in Romans 5, betwixt Adamís disobedience and Christís obedience is taken away: He opposes the righteousness of Christ to the offense of Adam: now Christís death and suffering is no where called his righteousness: So he opposes obedience to disobedience, and therefore, as the disobedience was the violation of the Law, obedience must be the keeping of the Law. Christís death imputed is no righteousness answering the commands of the Law; and therefore, though it did merit the recovery of what we lost in Adam, being the death of one, that fulfilled all righteousness; Yet considered abstractly, by itself without his active obedience, it cannot be our formal righteousness, with which we must be covered and as having which we must be considered, when justified of God, who pronounces none righteous, but such as are righteous indeed.
††††††††† Argument 4. With Christís active obedience, his passive was conjoined.
††††††††† He answers: Denying the consequence that therefore one cannot be imputed without the other: for things conjunct can be distinguished; and as the one can be known, so also imputed without the other. Answer: But they are so conjoined, as being integral
parts of one complete Surety-Righteousness and satisfaction for our debt; and therefore belong to his estate of humiliation; during which in all his obedience there was suffering, for a part of his subjection was, that he was made under the Law, even under the commanding power thereof; because otherwise, being God and Man in one person, he was not subject to the Law, as a Viator, in reference o himself. So in all his sufferings, there was obedience. And what is thus inseparably conjoined, we ought not to separate, especially seeing our case and necessity calls for the imputation of both.
††††††††† Argument 5. If only Christís passive obedience were imputed, then only the half of Christ should be given unto us; contrary to Isaiah 9: 6.
††††††††† He answers, denying the consequence, because it is one thing to be given to us, and another thing to be imputed, even Christís humanity and deity is given unto us. Answer: But Christ was so given, as that all he did and suffered, as such a given and public person, and which our case called for, was to be made over to us, in order to our receiving the grand benefits of pardon and life: Now it was necessary for us, to have a righteousness, consisting in perfect obedience to the Law, because of that constitution, Do this and live, and suffering, as such, is no obedience to the Law.
††††††††† He adds, Their opinion is hard, who deny that Christís passive obedience is imputed to us unto righteousness, and that it is the cause of the reward, or of life eternal. How could Christís blood purge us from all sin, if it were not the cause of our righteousness? How should he give his flesh for the life of the world, if life were not restored to us thereby? How should we be healed by his stripes, if we were not sanctified by him? How should Christís death be our life, if we got not life thereby? Betwixt freedom from the curse of the law, and right to the everlasting inheritance, there is no middle state. Answer: (1.) We deny only, that Christís passive obedience alone is imputed to us, unto righteousness; for alone considered, being only the paying of the penalty, it is not the righteousness required in the Law. (2.) The paying of a penalty, though it may deliver from punishment; yet cannot procure a right to the reward, promised to keeping of the Law; as is manifest; and therefore Christís passive obedience, considered alone, cannot procure a right to that reward of life, that was promised to the fulfilling of the Law by obedience. (3.) Christís blood, being the blood of one, that fulfilled also the Law; and conjunct with that obedience, both purges from sin, and merits life: And so we say of the rest following; only I cannot see how pertinently, in the last, sanctification is mentioned; for we are speaking of right to life eternal. (4.) It is true, as to us now, there is no middle state, betwixt freedom from the curse of the Law, and right to the inheritance; because Christís whole obedience both active and passive is imputed, as a complete satisfaction and righteousness, whereby we come to obtain both a freedom from the curse, and a right to the inheritance: But in Adam before he fell, there was a middle state, for so long as he stood, he was free of the curse, and yet was to finish his course of obedience, in order to obtaining the right to the promised reward; unless it be said, that no more was promised, than the continuance of what he possessed.
††††††††† It was excepted, that the law is not fulfilled by suffering the punishment: for the Law and the command is one; but punishment fulfills not the commandment, it only satisfies the threatening. Therefore the suffering of the punishment cannot be the cause of the reward.
††††††††† He answers by denying the antecedent and saying, that by suffering of the punishment the Law is fulfilled by the Mediator, partly formally, in that he suffered the punishment due to us by the Law, partly efficiently, in that by his sufferings he not only took away the curse, but acquired a holiness to us, and with holiness, life eternal. Answer: This answer is no way satisfying; for suffering of the punishment, as such, is no obedience to the Law; and of the fulfilling of the Law by obedience to the commands thereof, did the exception only speak, no man will say, that such as are now suffering the punishment in hell, are any way fulfilling the Law. Neither is that holiness, procured by Christís death, any fulfilling of the Law, according to the Old Covenant; and such a fulfilling is required, in order to the obtaining of a right to the reward of life, promised in that covenant.
††††††††† He answers again, that when the threatening of the Law is satisfied, that is done, which the Law commands to be done; and so in part the Law is fulfilled. Answer: Suffering as such is no commanded thing, and the Law constituting a penalty, makes only suffering to be due, but does not enjoin any suffering: So that though the Law be satisfied with a satisfaction laid down by another, so far as that the other is not to suffer; Yet by this paying of the penalty, the Lawís commands are not fulfilled, in whole, nor in part; And the Law, as to the commands, must be fulfilled, ere a right to the reward, promised to obedience, be obtained.
††††††††† Argument six is taken, from passages of Scripture, mentioning the active obedience of Christ, such as Daniel 9: 24, Jeremiah 23: 6, I Corinthians 1: 30, Romans 5: 19, Philippians 2: 8.
††††††††† He answers 1. That these places do not prove, that Christís active obedience is imputed, so as by it we are accounted observers of the Law. Answer: These passages sufficiently prove, that his active obedience belongs to that righteousness and satisfaction, which is imputed unto us; and the fruits of the righteousness of Christ, imputed, are here as well ascribed to his active, as to his passive obedience: of the places in particular, we have said enough elsewhere: our dispute here is not about imputation, but about that which is imputed, or that, which is reckoned to us, as our righteousness, and this, we say, cannot be pure suffering of the penalty; for that, as such, is no righteousness nor is it so called anywhere.
††††††††† He answers 2. That it only follows, that the reforming of our corrupt nature could not be had from Christ and by Christ, without his active obedience. Answer: The same may as well be said of the passive obedience; and so the cause shall be yielded unto the Socinians: But the matter is clear. That Christ is our complete righteousness, not effectively: for he works no complete legal righteousness in us, that is a righteousness according, as was required in the Old Covenant: And beside the expiation of sin, he brought in a righteousness, which is called everlasting, Daniel 9: 24, which cannot be understood of our
imperfect sanctification. And beside that he is our sanctification, he is our righteousness, I Corinthians 1: 30, and therefore must be our righteousness another way, than by working it in us; for so is he our sanctification. And in Romans 5, our justification and life are directly ascribed to his obedience and righteousness.
††††††††† To Philippians 2: 8 he says, The meaning is, that Christ from his birth to his death, did so accommodate himself to his Fatherís will, that he suffered all most patiently, that he was to suffer, even the cursed death of the cross. Answer: It was a suffering of what he was to suffer, even to come under the Law, for that was a part of his humiliation; and the text says, he humbled himself, and became obedient; and there is o ground to restrict the word obedient, to his suffering only.
††††††††† Argument 7. Christ was made under the Law for us, Galatians 4: 4, 5.
††††††††† He answers, He was made under the Law for our good, hat he might be a fit Mediator. Answer: Why may we not as well admit the same sense of Christís being made a curse for us, to wit, that it was only for our good; and so give up the cause to the Socinians? Then it seems all the hypostatical union, and his having the Spirit, without measure, was not sufficient to make him a fit Redeemer for us. Nor was he a fit Mediator, until he had finished his whole course of obedience. And yet he was born a Savior, Luke 2: 11. And was the Lordís Christ, verse 26, and salvation, verse 50.
††††††††† Argument 8. We are made acceptable unto God in the beloved, Christ, Ephesians 1: 6.
††††††††† He answers. We are acceptable to God by inherent obedience, which Christ hath purchased by his sufferings. Answer: But the text is to be understood of a being made acceptable, in order to our obtaining the redemption, mentioned in verse 7, that is, the forgiveness of sins; and so cannot be meant of that acceptation, which is upon our inherent holiness, which follows our justification and pardon.
††††††††† Argument 9. Christ hath purchased his Church, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, Ephesians 5: 27.
††††††††† He answers: That Christ did purchase by his death the Churchís inherent righteousness. Answer: This is granted. But notwithstanding, the expressions here used, and in the foregoing verse, will hold forth a full cleansing, not only from the stain and power of sin, in sanctification; but also from the guilt of sin in justification, the Church must be presented without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and cleansed with the washing of water, and holy and without blemish: Now in order to justification, the sinner must be clothed with a complete righteousness.
††††††††† Argument 10. Believers are found in Christ, having a righteousness, Philippians 3: 9. How forcible this place proves our point, hath been shown elsewhere.
††††††††† He answers, The righteousness of faith is twofold, one is imputed and apprehended by faith, which is Christís passive obedience; the other is inherent, which is also by faith. Answer: But Paul here lays aside all his inherent righteousness, which was his own, and was according to the Law; and only betakes himself, to that righteousness, which is of God by faith: and this is not to be restricted
to Christís sufferings only; for these, as such are not a righteousness, as hath been oft said, and the contrary hath never yet been proved, though it b the main ground of all.
††††††††† Argument 11. We are perfect and complete in Christ, Colossians 2: 10.
††††††††† He answers, Christ makes us perfect in justifying, sanctifying and glorifying us, by the imputation of his passive obedience only. Answer: This is but to assert the thing, that is a disproving: we say, we cannot be justified, without the imputation of a complete righteousness, because in justification we receive a right to life, and this cannot be had, according to the constitution of God, do this and live, till the Law be satisfied by obedience, and because we could not do it, we must have it in and from Christ, in whom we are complete, and have all, we need.
††††††††† Argument 12. Christ hath delivered us from all our debt, both of yielding perfect obedience, and of suffering for disobedience, Colossians 2: 14.
††††††††† He denies this, and says; Christ hath not delivered us from giving perfect obedience, for we remain obliged thereunto, and wherein we come short it is pardoned for his satisfaction imputed to us, and it is piece and piece made up by begun holiness, which hereafter shall be perfected. Answer: This looses not the force of the argument; for though we be obliged to keep the Law in all points, yet we are not under that obligation, by virtue of the Old Covenant, so that the least breach should frustrate us of heaven, and so as he reward should be of debt, and of this obligation the argument is to be understood. Now because, by virtue of this covenant, which must be satisfied, we cannot partake of the prize, because it is violated, therefore, it must be satisfied by the perfect obedience of another, of our Surety, which must be imputed unto us, in order to life; for all our begun sanctification will not avail us; and Christ satisfying by his suffering, according to that, that day thou eats, thou shalt die, doth not withal satisfy that other part of the Law, do and live.
††††††††† Argument 13. We must not only not be unjust, but we must be just, if we would have eternal life. Therefore Christís righteousness must be imputed, as well as his death.
††††††††† He answers, denying the consequence, and says, We are freed from the curse of the Law by justification, whereby the Passive righteousness of Christ is imputed to us: Purity is begun in us in sanctification. Answer: By justification we have no righteousness imputed to us, for we must be righteous, before we be justified; and therefore must have a righteousness imputed before. (2.) Our begun sanctification, is no purchase of the reward of life. (3.) Delivery from the curse, is but a freeing us from punishment, or from the guilt of punishment, but this is nothing but a being not unjust, as Adam was before he fell; It is not being positively just, in order to the reward; for to this is required complete obedience to the Law, and that unto the end, in which respect Adam was never just, having never finished his course of obedience, that he might have had a right unto the reward promised, I mean in himself.