What mysteries are in Justification
What was said in the foregoing chapter may by way of use, first, discover unto us that kindness and love of God our Savior, that hath appeared unto men, whereof the Apostle speaks, Titus 3: 4. For this is one remarkable instance thereof, and calls for admiration and praise from us, upon that account. O! What tenderness, love, and pity appears here! And what a wonderful grace is this, that is here manifested? What condescension of love and free grace is clearly legible in this business? And how clear and distinct will all this appear to a self condemned sinner, arraigned in its convinced conscience, before the tribunal of God; and then sees, in the Gospel, a well contrived way of absolution, and closes with it? How will all this shine forth unto them with a heavenly luster and majesty? And how sweetly will their hearts acquiesce in this sure and safe way of obtaining life?
††††††††† Secondly, this may discover unto us, what a manifold wisdom of God is to be seen and observed, in the Gospel dispensation, that even principalities
and powers may look into, and wonder at; as it is said to be made known unto them, by the Church, Ephesians 3: 10. That is, by what they see and observe, in the administration thereof, in the Church. And in this part of Gospel-device, there are several things remarkable, that may give us ground to wonder at this manifold wisdom of God. The whole is a mystery, and this is a prime part of the mystery, and in this mystery there are many mysteries, a short view of which may be of some use to us.
††††††††† 1. What a mysterious and wonderful thing is it, that such, as are dead by Law, lying under the sentence thereof, and so bound over to the wrath of God, according to the threatening of the Law, which is just and righteous in all points; and such, as having nothing to defend themselves by from the threatened death, unto which they are obnoxious; nor anything, whereby to make satisfaction to the demands of the Law, or to the offended Law-maker, or where with to appease Him; should not withstanding hereof be really, formally, and effectually absolved from the sentence of the Law, by the sentence of the Judge; and so made and declared to live juridically and† in Law-sense; and to be as free of the curse and penalty of the Law, as if they had never been guilty of the transgression thereof. And thus is it here indeed. Such as were dead in trespasses and sins, and in the uncircumcision of the flesh, are quickened together with Christ, Ephesians 2: 1, 5, Colossians 2: 13. He who before had the wrath of God on him, and abiding on him, by believing on the Son of God, hath everlasting life, John 3: 36. And they, who were in a manner condemned already, yet, by believing on Him, are not condemned, yea have eternal life, John 3: 15, 18,
††††††††† 2. What a mystery is this, that God, who is righteous and just, and the righteous Judge of the world, and who hath declared, that he looks upon it, as an abomination for any man to justify the wicked Proverbs 17: 15, and whose judgment is always according to truth, Romans 2: 2, should be one that justifies the ungodly? And yet so is He said to be, and so is He styled, and so is He held forth, as the object of faith, Romans 4: 5, But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him, that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Papists and others, who will not suffer their reason to follow revelation, but will measure all the mysteries of the Gospel, by the corrupt rule of reason; and wiredraw those, according to the dictates of this, pretend an inconsistency here; and therefore will rather pervert the whole nature of Gospel-justification, than yield to the Spiritís revelation of the matter. Hence it is that they say, a person cannot be justified by God, until he be a godly man, and have a righteousness within him, upon the account of which he must be justified; little adverting, that by their own principles it would follow, that no man should ever be justified: for, seeing God is a God of righteousness, and it is a sure and certain thing, that His judgment is always according to truth, He could not absolve a person as righteous, that were not perfectly righteous, and void of all sin; and where is the man, (not out of his wits) that dare say this, remembering what David said, Psalm 130: 3 & 143: 2. But here lies the truth and the mystery. Such
as are really and truly ungodly in themselves, and have nothing of their own, but unrighteousness within them, and whose righteousnesses are but as filthy rags, Isaiah 64: 6, are yet justified by God upon the account of a perfect righteousness, imputed to them, and received by faith. In the judgment of God, such as in themselves are ungodly, are considered as clothed with the perfect righteousness of the Mediator, Christ, that Head and public person, which free grace puts on them, and they receive and stand under by faith; and so are justified and declared to be righteous by God, whose judgment herein and sentence is most righteous, and most consonant to truth: for he justifies such, as are righteous, though not with their own inherent righteousness, yet with the righteousness of their cautioner, now made theirs.
††††††††† 3. Here is another piece of this mystery, that transgressors of the Law shall be absolved and justified; and yet the Law threatens death to transgressors, and promises life only to such, as observe it in all points. Who can reconcile this seeming contradiction, that is not acquainted with the glorious mystery of the Gospel? Paul, a man well acquainted with this mystery, tells us expressly, that the Gospel way of justification, which he preached, and fully cleared in his epistles, derogates nothing from the Law, but establishes it, Romans 3: 31. Where, after he had cleared and confirmed the nature and causes of Gospel justification, and had said in verse 30, that He was one God, who would justify the circumcision (or Jews) by faith, and the uncircumcision (that is the Gentiles) through faith; He obviates this objection that some might have proposed and said, ďWhat then shall become of the Law? You make it void, by speaking of faith, and ascribing justification to it, as a mean, in opposition and contradiction to works.Ē He answers, ďDo we then make void the Law, through faith? That be far from us, yea we establish the Law.Ē So that there is nothing, in this Gospel justification, that weakens, or makes void the Law; but, on the contrary, it is thereby more fully confirmed and established: for, 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, Romans 8: 2, 3. Here then is the mystery, transgressors of the Law are justified, upon the account of what their Mediator, and Surety, their public person and representer did and suffered, for satisfaction to Law, justice and the Law-giver; and by what He did and suffered, the Law is more established, then it would have been by anything that we did, or could suffer; for He made satisfaction to all its demands; there was perfect obedience given thereunto, and its command answered, in all points, by our Lord Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth, II Corinthians 5: 21, Isaiah 53: 9. And because it was violated by sinners, and the curse threatened was due, therefore, He also satisfied that demand, by dieing the shameful death of the cross, and undergoing the wrath and curse due to us for sin; and thereby making a more perfect satisfaction unto the sanction and threatening part of the Law, than we could have done, by lying in hell forever more. And by faith, closing with Christ, and resting
upon Him, as such a satisfying cautioner and redeemer, the sinner acknowledges the Law, in all its force, confessing himself a transgressor, and obnoxious to the curse; and now presenting to the Law and Law-giver the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, whereby both its commands and sanction are fully answered; and resting thereupon, as the only ground of his absolution from the sentence of the Law for his guilt, and of his right to the Crown, which he formerly had forfeited.
††††††††† 4. Here is another mystery. That such, as are unrighteous, and ungodly, should be declared and pronounced righteous. In justification, the person is declared not guilty, of what was laid to his charge, in order to punishment, and that juridically; and so he is declared free from the punishment, that the accuser was seeking to have inflicted upon him; and so is declared and pronounced to be a righteous man, though not one, that has not sinned, yet now one, that is juridically righteous. But how can this be, seeing every man and woman is guilty before God, and is come short of the glory of God? The mystery lies here (as was said), the righteousness of their cautioner, Christ, is reckoned upon their score, and is imputed to them, and they receive it by faith, and so it becomes theirs; for now by faith they are united unto Christ, and become members of His mystical body, He being the Head and true representative; and thereby He and they are one Person in Law, (being one Spirit) as the husband and the wife are one person in Law (being one flesh) and as the representer and represented, the cautioner and principle debtor: and thus they have a true interest in His righteousness and obedience to the Law,† which He yielded, not upon His own account, being not obliged thereunto, antecedently to His own voluntary condescension for us; for as to his person, He was God, and so not obnoxious to any such Law, imposed upon man, who is in the way to the obtaining of a crown, as the end of his race: yea nor was this requisite, as to His human nature, which, by virtue of the personal union with the God-head was, as to itself, either in Patria, and in possession of the state of blessedness; or in a capacity thereto, without working therefore: And it is certain, that therefore His being made under the Law, was for His own people, that, in their room, He might in the nature of man, give perfect obedience to the Law; and so make up a righteousness, with which they might all become clothed, by imputation on Godís part, and by faith receiving it, on their part; and so be justified. Hence saith the Apostle, by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous, Romans . And thus are they, who are unrighteous in themselves, being transgressors of the Law, constituted righteous as to the commands of the Law by the righteousness of their cautioner. As also they are, though guilty in themselves and obnoxious to wrath, yet pronounced free, and absolved from that charge, by the imputation of the satisfaction of Christ, made in His sufferings, and death, who did bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, and was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed, Isaiah 53: 4, 5, I Peter 2: 24. And his own self bear our sins, in His own body on the tree.
3. There is likewise a mystery here, that the imputation of the obedience and righteousness of Christ doth not take away the imputation of His satisfaction, nor make his satisfaction useless and of no importance, or necessity, as Socinians imagine, who cast the whole Gospel in the mold of their own corrupt reason and understanding: For they think, if Christís righteousness be imputed to us, we are perfectly righteous; and if we be perfectly righteous, we have no sin; and if we have no sin, there is no need of satisfaction for our sin. But they little consider, that we are both guilty of the broken Law, and also notwithstanding obliged to perfect obedience. It is unreasonable to think, that Adam, by his breach of the Law, was exempted and delivered from any obligation to obey the Law; sin does not, neither can, dissolve that obligation; otherwise, the best way of being freed from the Laws of God, or man, were to break them, and cast them at our heals. We then being transgressors, and still under the obligation of obedience to the whole Law, our Mediator and cautioner must not only obey the Law for us, to the end, we may inherit the promised reward; but must also make satisfaction, for the violation of the Law, to the end we may escape Godís curse and wrath, threatened in the Law, and due to us for the breach of the same. Had we perfectly kept the Law, we had then had no need of any satisfaction for our breech thereof: but being guilty of sin, this satisfaction and the imputation thereof to us, is absolutely necessary. And though we need not here nicely distinguish between this righteousness and satisfaction, in reference to the different ends; and say, that by His righteousness imputed to us, we have right to the crown, and by His satisfaction, freedom from death, which was the penalty of the broken Law: for God hath joined both together, as we should not separate, so neither may we nicely and scrupulously distinguish; but adore the wonderful wisdom of God in this contrivance, and observing our necessity of both, sweetly acquiesce in and thankfully accept both. But you will say, ďIf we be perfectly righteous by the imputation of Christís righteousness, what need have we of any more? Are we not possessed of right to the reward, and being righteous, are we not free of our sin?Ē I answer, it is true indeed, if we said, that Christís righteousness, or complete obedience, was first imputed to us; or if the Scripture gave any ground to say so, there might be some color for this exception: but as the Scripture gives no such ground; so neither do we assert it: Only we have need of both, and both are graciously imputed, and received by faith: yea, we being sinners, if we might speak of an order here, satisfaction must first be imputed, that thereby we may be freed from the sentence of the Law, which most presses a wakened, convinced sinner, who is most anxious here anent, crying out, ďHow shall I escape the wrath and curse of God?Ē But, as the Lord hath graciously and wonderfully knit the effects together, so is the cause. Both Christís obedience and sufferings were so woven together, that they both belong to and made up his state of humiliation; and by both imputed to God, and received by faith, and received by faith, the believers receives the whole effect, that is, both immunity from punishment
and a right to the reward promised to obedience, or to the crown. As Christ, the Messiah, made an end of sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity; so He brought in an everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9: 24. And believers have the benefit of both; for as they receive the grace of God, and the gift by grace, and abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness; so they shall reign in life; and grace thru righteousness reigns unto eternal life, Romans 5: 15, 17, 21.
††††††††† 5. Upon the other hand, this mystery is also observable. That Christís satisfaction does not take away the necessity of the imputation of Christís righteousness and obedience; as some do say, who think, that because we have full pardon of all sins, by virtue of the satisfaction of Christ; therefore we need no more; a person who is pardoned being therefore one that is not unrighteous; and one that is not unrighteous is righteous, for (say they) nothing lies between just and righteous, and not unjust or not unrighteous; and he who is righteous has done all his duty, and so has a right to the promised reward of eternal life. So that, upon this ground they suppose, there is need of no more in order to the obtaining of life: and besides, say they, the Scriptures say that the man is blessed, to whom the Lord does not impute sin; And he who is blessed upon this account, needs no righteousness to be added to render him blessed, and to give him a right unto glory. But (1) we were, as was said, guilty of the breach of the Law, and so, liable to punishment, and were also under obligation, to give perfect obedience unto the Law. Satisfaction, therefore, for our breach, and our pardon upon satisfaction, says not, that we have not broken the Law. Now if we have broken the Law, we cannot be said to have yielded perfect obedience unto the Law. When God pardons upon a satisfaction made, He does not judge or suppose, that the person pardoned hath perfectly kept the Law; for His judgment is according to truth; and the very pardon supposes a transgression; and a transgression takes away perfect obedience, as perfect obedience destroys or renders useless all pardon. Wherefore neither before God nor man, can a person merely because of pardon, be said or accounted to have done all that was required. Upon pardon it is true, he is as much exempted from the obligation to punishment, as if he had kept the whole Law. Yet, by that pardon he is not made, nor accounted to be, one who never broke the Law, and so does not, thereupon, hath a right unto the reward promised. Suppose, for illustrationís sake, a Prince makes a law commanding such and such persons to obey the same, under pain of death; at the same time, promising to those who observe the law, and do what is commanded, a rich reward and the inheritance of a great kingdom. Now suppose these persons, after they have broken the law and become guilty of death, are pardoned upon the interposition of some great person, who makes satisfaction for their failure. They cannot, on account of this satisfaction and pardon, be said to have done what was commanded, or to have a right to the reward and inheritance promised to those who obeyed the law. (2) Therefore, though a person that is pardoned is not unrighteous, that is, obnoxious
to the penalty, yet he is not one that is righteous positively, or in reference to the reward; but only one that is negatively righteous. In other words, though he has no right to the reward, yet he is not liable to the punishment. Therefore, though negatively he is not unrighteous, i.e., he is freed from punishment; yet he cannot be accounted as one that has done all that was commanded. And so, he cannot be accounted righteous in reference to the reward. (3) So that there is a manifest difference between being righteous, that is, one having a right to the reward, and not being unrighteous, that is, not obnoxious to the punishment, as is clear by the instance of Adam, before his fall. For, during that time, (how long or how short so ever it was,) he could not be said to be unrighteous, because he had not yet sinned. Nor could he be said to be righteous, in reference to the reward that was promised on condition of perfect obedience to the end, that is, such as had done all his duty. For if he had then done all his duty, or all that was required in order to the reward, he had then a full and complete right to the reward of life promised, and God would have given it to him according to the covenant and promise. But we know it was not so. He was to finish his course and run his race to the end, before he could have challenged a right to the promised inheritance; and this he did not. So that before he fell by transgression, It might have been said of him, that he was not unrighteous, that is, that he was one that had not yet transgressed and deserved the punishment threatened. But, he could not be said to have been fully and positively righteous, that is, one that had done all his duty, and thus had now a full and complete right to the reward. (4.) It is true, the Scriptures say that the man is blessed, to whom the Lord doth not impute sin: but they do not say that the man is blessed, to whom the Lord only imputeth not sin, or to whom He gives nothing more. Nor do the Scriptures say, that this pardoning, or not imputing of sin, purely and abstractly considered, that is, considered alone without any more, (as it must be considered by such as oppose us here) is that complete blessedness whereof the Scriptures speak. But the reason why such are said to be blessed to whom the Lord doth not impute sin, is because imputation of righteousness is inseparably annexed with non-imputation of sin. Therefore, in that same place of Scripture, Romans 4: 6, it is said that David (Psalm 32: 1, 2) describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness, while he says, blessed is the man, unto whom the Lord will not impute sin, &c. Whereby we see, that both these are so firmly connected by the Lord, that the one clears and confirms the other; and that whoever has the one, has the other also; and upon that account are blessed, enjoying the whole effect of the imputation of Christís whole surety righteousness. And so, the pardon of sins, and the right to the inheritance, flowing from the imputation of Christís satisfaction and His obedience, though they are never separated, yet they are distinguished and spoken of distinctly in Scripture. It is one thing to be delivered from under the Law, and another thing to receive the adoption of sons, and the blessing of Abraham, Galatians 3: 13, 14 and 4: 4, 5. As it is on thing to finish the
transgression, to make an end of sin, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and another thing to bring in everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9: 24. Yea, the redemption from the Law and its curse is mentioned, as preceding the other, as the finishing of transgression is also mentioned before the bringing in of righteousness, in the passages cited. And thus, as these effects are distinguished, though inseparable, so is the cause. By the imputation of Christís satisfaction we have pardon of sin, being redeemed from the curse of the Law, by His being made a curse for us; and by the imputation of His righteousness, and obedience, we are looked upon as righteous, and so have a right to the promise and inheritance. We need not thus consider these two distinctly, save only to demonstrate the necessity of the imputation of both. For, Christ by His death did also purchase the inheritance for us; and by obedience made satisfaction for sin, it being a piece of His humiliation. So that both, in the deep wisdom of God, make up one cause of that one effect, which comprehends all blessedness; that is, both pardon of sins and right to inheritance, &c. By the imputation of both, or of this complete surety-righteousness of Christ including both, believers are pardoned and adjudged unto life. Hence our pardon and justification are often ascribed unto Christís death, not as distinctly considered, or as excluding his righteousness and obedience; but, among other reasons, because that was the completing act of His obedience; and to which all the rest preceding had a respect, as to that which should complete the whole meritorious part of His mediation. And hereby His obedience can no more be excluded, than His foregoing soul-sufferings. Nay, His death did presuppose and include His obedience; for it was the death of one who had perfectly obeyed the Law. This death and obedience being His mediatory work in the state of His humiliation, was a complete righteousness for the blessedness and advantage of all those for whom He appeared, and whose debt He undertook to pay. (5.) That the obedience of Christ must also be imputed to sinners, is manifest from this: That otherwise they should have no righteousness at all imputed to them, that can properly be called a righteousness. For if nothing but that which is commonly called Christís passive obedience, or His sufferings, be imputed, then no righteousness can be said to be imputed; for dying and suffering the penalty, as such, are no righteousness; being no obedience to the commands of the Law, in conformity to which consists proper righteousness. When one dies for his crime of murder, he cannot be said to be thereby a righteous man, or to have obeyed the Law which forbids murder. Nor can it be said properly that we have obeyed the Law, when Christ in our room did suffer the penalty of death, due to us for the breach of it. They who are in hell, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, cannot be said to be obeying the Law. It is true, Christ in dying did obey a command, imposed upon Him by the Father; but that was no command of the Moral Law prescribed unto man. And so, it can no more be said that Christ was obeying the Moral Law, (under which man is obliged,) in His dying and suffering the penalty, than that He was suffering the penalty while He
was obeying the Moral Law, these two being so manifestly different. So that it is clear, that if Christís obedience be not imputed to us, no proper righteousness is, or can be said to be imputed to us. Yea (6.) if Christís obedience be not imputed to us, that Law which says, do this and live, is not fulfilled; but rather abrogated and abolished; and it must be said, notwithstanding of that constitution of Godís, we live, though we neither do this, nor is our Cautionerís doing of it imputed to us. And so we have a right to the reward, and get it at length, without the righteousness required in order thereunto. Let us therefore admire the harmonious perfection of this effect and work of infinite wisdom. I know several things are objected against this truth, as there are many other grounds and reasons adduced for the same; but these I shall speak to at more length afterward.
††††††††† 7. This is also a mystery here to be noticed, that a righteousness that is not ours inherently, but Christís, should be made ours, made over to us, and reckoned upon our score, or we become clothed therewith, and thereupon justified as righteous, as really and effectually, as if we had wrought it ourselves, and it had been properly inherent in us. Socinians, Papists, Arminians, and others, who will not subject their reason unto this mystery, and give credit to revelation, will acknowledge no such imputation of righteousness: but at most do grant but an improper imputation; i.e., an imputation as to effects. For they hold that Christ neither suffered nor obeyed in our stead and room, but only for our good and advantage, and that only conditionally, if we believe and perform the Gospel condition. But this imputation as to effects only is no imputation at all, there being nothing thereby imputed; not the righteousness of Christ itself, for this they expressly deny; nor yet the effects themselves, for we nowhere read of justification, adoption, pardon, &c., which are the effects. Yea, it is not enough to them to deny this imputed righteousness; but in contempt and scorn, they call that which we name Imputed Righteousness, a putative Righteousness, as if it were a mere imaginary thing. But whatever such in decision think or say, the Gospel holds forth to us a righteousness imputed, or the righteousness of Christ, graciously bestowed upon and made over to believers, or freely given to them, so that they are dealt with by God, as righteous juridically and legally, or as possessors of such a complete and perfect righteousness, and that as really, and to all effects, as if it had been their own inherently, and performed by them, and so had been theirs without any such imputation. And because this, as the cause, is imputed to them and made theirs, therefore all the effects thereof shall really and certainly be bestowed upon them, in Godís appointed time and method. This is the truth, which the Gospel holds forth, to the solid peace, joy and comfort of believers; the full clearing and vindicating of which would require a just treatise. I shall therefore here propose but a few clear and manifest grounds of this refreshing and comfortable truth, leaving the further prosecution and vindication of them, and of other arguments that are used in this matter, with the examination of what is objected on the contrary, till afterward. First, therefore, we say, as Christ,
who knew no sin, was made sin; that is, had the sins of His people laid upon Him, and imputed to Him; so that they were all caused to meet together on Him Isaiah 53: 6, and He therefore was made a sacrifice for sin, or dealt with and punished as a sinner, though not a sinner inherently, but only by imputation, for He did bear our griefs, and carried our sorrows, and was wounded for our transgressions, and was bruised for our iniquities, Isaiah 53: 4, 5, to wit, now imputed to Him by God, and reckoned upon His account, who knew no sin in Himself inherently: So are we made the righteousness of God in Him II Corinthians 5: 21, that is, have His righteousness, who is God, imputed to us, who were in ourselves and inherently sinners; and being in Him by faith are dealt with as righteous. The manifest scope of the place, and the plain import of the word, must enforce this truth on all who are not more than ordinarily blinded with prejudice. Secondly, as Adamís posterity, who were not existing when he transgressed the Law of God, but were only in his loins, and federally comprehended with him in that covenant, by Godís voluntary designation and appointment; and so did not actually and really eat that fruit, which Adam did eat; yet have that sin and guilt so imputed to them, that it is really accounted theirs; and not merely in its effects, for its effects are not truly imputed, neither can it be said to be so. For that natural contagion and corruption of nature which is truly propagated to the posterity, and all actual transgressions, the fruits thereof, cannot be said to be imputed, because they are really theirs, and inherent in them. But that original sin, which is the guilt of Adamís first sin, can alone be imputed to those who did not actually commit it in their person, (unless we mean such an imputation whereby our actual sins, which we commit, are said to be imputed to us, when they are laid to our charge, and we are actually punished therefore.) By virtue of this imputation, they are accounted guilty of that self-same sin; and therefore are dealt with and punished upon the account thereof, as if they had actually committed it themselves, in their own persons; and no less than Adam himself was punished therefore. So are believers, being by faith united unto Christ, and made real members of His mystical body, and now interested in Him as His children and brethren, made partakers of His righteousness, and have it imputed unto them, for all ends and uses, as if it had been their own, without any imputation. The reading of the Apostleís discourse, Romans 5, from verse 12 and forward to the end, may satisfy any as to this whole affair, who will yield themselves captive unto the Truth. For, upon this doth the Apostle found His whole discourse and explication of the rich advantages, had by Christ and His righteousness, clearing, and illustrating the same by that similitude of Adam, whom he expressly calls the figure of Him, that was to come, verse 14. And so he asserts, that as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all, because all sinned; so by one man, Jesus Christ, the second Adam, righteousness entered into the world, and life by it, and so life passed upon all, that were in Him, because they are righteous in Him, or have His righteousness imputed unto them. Nay, in the following verses, the matter is cleared with
an advantage unto believers in Christ, But (saith he verses 15 Ė 19,) not as the offense, so also is the free gift; for if through the offense of one, many be dead; much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many, &c. And so he goes on to show what and how great things believers receive from Christ, with no less, yea rather with much more certainty, than the posterity of Adam were interested in what he did. Therefore, as judgment was by one to condemnation; so the free gift is of many offenses unto justification; and if by one manís offense, death reigned by one, much more they who believe or receive abundance of grace, and the gift of righteousness, shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ. And as the offense of one Adam was imputed to all, and thereby guilt and judgment came upon all, making them liable to condemnation: so by the righteousness of one Jesus Christ, imputed to all that receive this abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, the free gift of justification comes unto them, reconciling them to God, and instating them for life. And the ground and reason of this is laid down in verse 19, for as by one manís disobedience, many were made sinners; and so were guilty, and made liable to judgment and condemnation; so by the obedience of one, that perfect obedience to the Law that Christ performed, opposite to Adamís transgression and disobedience, shall many be made righteous, that is, constituted righteous; and therefore dealt with as such, through this imputed righteousness; and so justified and made heirs of life. For, in verse 21 he adds as sin hath reigned unto death, even so grace must reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ, our Lord. They then, who will deny, or oppose themselves unto this imputation of Christís righteousness, must do manifest violence unto the whole discourse of the Apostle, in this place. Thirdly, hence, another evidencing ground of this imputation: What is done by a public person, representing others, is accounted legally to be done by those who are represented, and they are dealt with accordingly. Adam was a public person, representing all his posterity that were to come of him by ordinary generation, according to the ordination and appointment of God. In the same way, Christ, of whom Adam as a figure, was a public person, representing all whom the Father had given to Him, and for whom He had undertaken, and for whose sake He sanctified Himself, John 17: 19, and became their brother taking on their nature, Hebrews 2: 11, 14. Becoming like them in all things, except for sin, (Hebrews compare with Hebrews ,) Therefore He took not upon Him the Nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham, Hebrews , He was the captain of their salvation, verse 10. He is also made and called the Head of the Church, which is, His body and fullness Ephesians 1: 22, 23, and 5: 23, Colossians 1: 18, and so He with His church make up one mystical body, whereof He is the head, and believers are members. Thus there is a close and mystical union between Christ and believers beyond any union that is in nature, whether it be that of head and members, of root and branches, of King and subjects, or of that betwixt husband and wife, for all these are but dark resemblances of this spiritual union betwixt Christ and believers,
which is therefore compared to these, and in part explained thereby, for our better understanding of the matter: but none of them, nor all of them do fully unfold the mystery. And in it there is ground enough to suppose, Christ to be a public person and a representative; as also for asserting this imputation; because believers being thus united unto Christ, are made partakers of His righteousness, and of what He, as Head and Husband, did and suffered, in their room and place; and they thereupon are blessed with all the fruits and effects thereof. Fourthly, His being called a Surety, Hebrews , doth also give ground and confirmation to this imputation. For he who becomes surety for another undertakes to do or suffer what he for whom he is surety, was obliged to do, or suffer; as when Paul became surety for Onesimus; and bound himself, as such, unto Philemon, so that whatever Onesimus owed was now to be accounted as the Apostleís debt instead, as we see in Philemon verses 18, 19, If he hath wronged thee, or oweth the ought, put that upon mine account, I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it. So what the cautioner does, or suffers, as such, or according to his undertaking, is reckoned upon the score of the principle debtor; as Paulís paying the debt of Onesimus to Philemon, was to be reckoned on the score of Onesimus, and imputed to him, that he thereby might be freed from all pursuit of Law, or action against him, at the instance of Philemon. Wherefore as Christ, becoming surety for his children, and saying to the Father, Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will; o God, Psalm 40: 7, 8, Hebrews 10: 7, did take upon Himself the debt of sinners, and engage to pay all; that is, both to give perfect obedience to the Law, and fulfill all righteousness, Matthew 3: 15, as also to pay the penalty, to make satisfaction to justice, by becoming a curse, and suffering griefs, sorrows, bruisings, mockings, and the cursed death of the cross: for all this He did willingly and cheerfully. I have (said He) a baptism to be baptized with, (meaning His death) and how am I straightened (or pained) until it be accomplished, Luke . He laid down His life, that He might take it again; and no man took His life from Him, against His will; but He laid it down of His own accord, John 10: 17, 18. And as Christ did actually and really perform all, that He did undertake, so that He said upon the cross, it is finished: it must of necessity follow, that all they, for whom He became surety, and undertook to do and suffer what was laid upon Him, must have that imputed, and made over unto them, and they must be clothed with that robe of righteousness, which He did make for them, and must appear before the throne of justice clothed therewith. Fifthly, Christís making proper and full satisfaction to the Father, in the name and room of His people, saith also, that there is an imputation of Christís righteousness unto them, for whom He performed that righteousness; as His satisfaction must be for them. So that if imputation be denied, satisfaction must also be denied. Hence the Socinians wickedly deny both: and indeed, whoever denies the one, must also deny the other,
or not speak consequentially; for when one lays down a satisfactory price for another, it must be reckoned upon the score of and imputed to that other; to the end, he may be dealt with, as if he had laid it down himself; and thereby be freed from what otherwise he must have undergone: and if upon the account of that satisfaction, he is not so freed, it cannot be called a satisfaction for him. When Christ lays down His life for His sheep, His sheep must not die and perish. If they perish, then He did not die for them. If they perish not because of His dying for them, His death must be imputed to them, and upon the account of it they must be saved. So that Christís dying for His own, is dying in their room, person, and stead, as the particle for manifestly imports II Samuel 18: 33, Genesis 44: 33, Numbers , Romans 5: 6, 7. Hence His ransom is expressly called †I Timothy 2: 6. Many more arguments might be adduced here, for confirmation of this truth; but I shall satisfy myself at present, with these few and plain ones; and so proceed.
††††††††† 8. This mystery is also considerable here, that both the justice of God, and the mercy and free grace of God, take place in this matter. Socinians cry up the mercy and free grace of God in the matter of justification: but it is to this end, that they may with more desperate confidence shut out the justice of God, so that it may have no place there. Therefore, they deny all satisfaction, redemption, and atonement, &c. (except what is merely metaphorical) because they cannot see, how both justice and mercy can with joined hands concur to our justification. But the Apostle, better taught than they, and better acquainted with the mind of Christ in this mystery, sees no inconsistency. Rather, he declares the sweet and perfect harmony and concurrence of these, in this mystery; telling us (Romans 3: 24, 25, 26,) that we are justified freely by His grace; and yet he adds, through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness, &c. And again, to declare His righteousness, that He might be just, and the justifier, of him, which believeth in Jesus. Here is a free grace triumphing; and yet justice is declared and manifested. God is declared to be just, and His righteousness manifested, and yet sinners and believers are justified freely by grace. So Ephesians 1: 7, 8. There is a redemption through the price of blood; and yet a free pardon of sins, according to the riches of Godís grace, wherein He hath abounded towards us, in all wisdom and prudence. But if it be enquired, where does this mercy and free grace appear in our justification, since there was a satisfaction made to justice for all the sins of His people? I answer, (1.) was it not an act of wonderful free grace and mercy, that, when the Lord might have executed the sentence of the Law upon us, according to that threatening, that day thou eats, thou shalt die; and so have made us, sinners, who transgressed the Law, to die and suffer; yet He would accept of a satisfaction, at the hands of a surety and cautioner? (2.) Was it not an act of grace and mercy to us, that He himself would provide a surety and put His name in our obligation; and so make Him sin for us, who knew no sin, and lay all our iniquities upon Him, that He might bear the punishment, due to
us for the same? See John 3: 16. (3.) Was it no act of sovereign grace and mercy, that God should both provide a mediator and surety for us, and accept His mediation and satisfaction, most freely, out of free grace and love, when we had neither done, nor could do anything to move Him hereunto, or to procure this at His hands; yea, when all our carriage, and all that He could see in us, did rather cry aloud for the contrary dealing? (4.) Was it no act of sovereign grace, that God should provide all this remedy for a few, whom He did choose for Himself out of free grace and love, and gave away to Christ, to be redeemed by Him, leaving the rest, and passing them by, though no more unworthy, than such, as were chosen? (5.) Is it no act of grace and mercy, that in order to this great favor of justification, no more should be required on our part, than faith in Jesus Christ; seeing this very faith, including a union with and a marriage consent unto Christ, is in itself, in a manner, a favor nothing inferior to the pardon of all our sins, and to the accepting of us as righteous in His sight? (6.) Is justification no act of grace and mercy, though it be upon the account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ; when that very faith, which is only required of us, in order to our full interest in Christ and His merits, is also the free gift of God, Ephesians 2: 8? If these particulars will not abundantly say that we are saved in justification by grace, and by the exceeding riches of Godís grace and kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus, according to Ephesians 2: 7, what will!
††††††††† 9. Here is a great and wonderful mystery, in this matter, that the innocent should suffer, and the guilty escape and go free. The Socinians, that they may strengthen themselves in their mischievous prejudices against the satisfaction of Christ, imagine an impossibility here, and an inconsistency with justice, that an innocent person should be put to suffer. But whatever they dream, who will walk in these mysterious matters by no other guide than the dim light of corrupt nature, it comports abundantly with justice, that the surety be put to pay what He has undertaken to pay for the principal debtor. And here was no wrong done to our surety, Jesus Christ, who willingly undertook this debt, and was lord of His own life, having absolute power to lay it down, and power to take it up again, and to raise himself from the dead; and knowing withal, how richly to compensate and make up that loss another way, so that He should be no loser, when He should see His seed, and receive the rich reward of His labors from the Father, whose servant He was in this affair. Here then is a mystery of wisdom, grace and love, that the innocent Lamb of God, who knew no sin, who did no violence, nor was guile found in his mouth, II Corinthians 5: 21, Isaiah 53: 9, who, when He was reviled, reviled not again. I Peter 2: 22, 23, who was Holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, Hebrews 7: 26, that He should be made sin by God, II Corinthians 5: 21, and so legally guilty and obnoxious to the punishment due for sin; that He should be made a High Priest to offer up Himself a sacrifice for sin, Hebrews 9: 14, 28. That He should bear our griefs, and carry our sorrows, and be wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities; that the punishment of our peace should be upon Him; and He should have
stripes, and be oppressed and afflicted, and be cut off out of the land of the living; have strokes upon Him, and make His grave with the wicked; be bruised and be put to grief, and make His soul an offering for sin. Isaiah 53: 3 Ė 10. That he, who could not be charged with sin, should yet be put to suffer most grievous torments, immediately in His soul, Matthew 26: 37, 38, and 27: 46, Luke 22: 44, John 12: 27, and pains in his body, Matthew 26 and 27. That He should die, and that He should die the shameful, painful, and cursed death of the cross, Galatians 3: 13, Philippians 2: 8. And, on the other hand, that we, who were the sinners, and guilty, and so obnoxious to all the miseries of this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell and wrath of God forever, should escape, and be healed by His stripes, Isaiah 53: 5. I Peter , and become the righteousness of God in Him, II Corinthians . And be justified and made heirs of the promises; O! what an unsearchable mystery of love and free grace shines forth here?
††††††††† 10. This is also part of this mystery, that nothing should be forgiven, and yet all should be forgiven. Nothing was forgiven to our Surety. He paid all that was required of Him, for the Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He gave full obedience to the Law, in all its demands, and made a perfect and complete satisfaction for our offences; so that the Father was well pleased in Him; and so this was at two different time declared and expressed out of heaven; once at His baptism, Matthew 3: 17, and again at His transfiguration, Matthew 17: 5. The sword of justice was awakened against Him, though He was Godís fellow, Zechariah 13: 7, and did abate Him nothing of what was due. The Lord Jesus gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God, for a sweet smelling savor, Ephesians 5: 2. He is a perfect High Priest, continuing forever, having an unchangeable priesthood, and therefore is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by Him; for He needeth not daily as the High Priests under the Law to offer up sacrifice first for His own sins, and then for the people; for this He did once, when He offered up Himself: for the word of the oath makes Him a Priest, who is consecrated forever more, Hebrews 7: 24 Ė 27. And yet, though He had nothing forgiven or abated to Him, while standing in our room, but paid all to the utmost farthing; all notwithstanding is freely forgiven to us, and we have blessedness, by the Lordís forgiving our iniquities, and covering our sins, or not imputing them to us, Psalm 32: 1, 2 Romans 4: 7, 8. Our redemption is forgiveness of sins Ephesians 1: 7, Colossians 1: 14. And all sins must be forgiven to us, or our redemption should not be perfect, nor we saved; for one sin would ruin us forever; because if the Lord should mark iniquity, and enter into judgment, no man should stand, and no flesh should be justified, Psalm 130: 3 and 143: 2.
††††††††† 11. Here is another mystery, considerable in our justification, that though thereby we be declared and pronounced righteous, and so acquitted and absolved from what was, or might be charged upon us; yet we have need of pardon, and must be freely pardoned. Socinians cannot or will not see the connection that infinite wisdom hath made here. Therefore, they make use of forgiveness and free pardon of sins as an argument, wherewith to fight against true Gospel justification, or the justification of a sinner upon
the account of the imputed righteousness of Christ; and against the imputation of Christís righteousness to this end, that the sinner may be absolved and pronounced righteous, and accepted as such. But the Scriptures see no inconsistency or repugnancy here, but a harmonious and sweet accord betwixt the Lordís causing the iniquities of the people to pass from them, and His clothing them with a change of raiment, Zechariah 3: 4. And the Apostle joins both, as inseparable; yea he declares the necessity of both, saying, now the righteousness of God without the Law is manifest óeven the righteousness of God, which is by Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe, Romans 3: 21, 22. Whereupon it follows, verse 24, that they are freely justified by His grace. But then, one might say, ďWhat need is there of remission, does this not take away all remission?Ē† No; for he adds in verse 24, 25, through the redemption, that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins, that are past. Yea, the forgiveness of sins establishes and confirms the imputation of righteousness, whereby we are justified; for thus speaks the Apostle Romans 4: 6 Ė 8. Even as David also describes the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputes righteousness without works, saying, blessed are they, whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man, unto whom the Lord will not impute sin. Where we see, that non-imputation of sins is so far from shutting out imputation of righteousness, that it confirms it, and proves it, and is inseparable from it, and must necessarily presuppose it: for we, being sinners, can have no absolution, until the satisfaction of Christ be applied to us, and be made ours by imputation: and where this is imputed by God, the soul must be absolved from all that can be laid to its charge. Therefore in justification, as we are declared righteous, by reason of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and received by faith; so have we thereby a full remission of all our sins. Paul tells us II Corinthians 5: 19, That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. And what giveth he for the ground of this? See verse 21, for he says, He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
††††††††† 12. It is also observable in this mysterious business, that though our justification be an act of Godís free grace, wherein, only upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by God; and not upon the account of anything in us, or done by us, He pardons our sins and accepts our persons as righteous. Yet, this is not with an exclusion, but rather with an inclusion of faith, which is a receiving, a laying hold upon, and a leaning unto the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us. Socinians and others are utter strangers unto this mystery; and make use of their wit here, to plead against the imputation of Christís righteousness, the only ground of our justification; because faith is required of us, in order to our justification; and is (as they say) itself imputed to us, as our righteousness; upon the account of which we are justified. They suppose, that if Christís righteousness be imputed to a person, and he is thereupon acquitted and pardoned of all his sins, that person must be righteous, pardoned and justified,
whether he believe or not; and the righteousness of Christ must be his, before he believe. But, leaving the debating of that question, whether faith properly taken, that is, as our act, done in obedience to the command of God, be imputed to us as our righteousness? óuntil we come to the next part of the words, I shall only now say, as to the other thing here alleged, that they being ignorant of the Gospel, feign an opposition in things, whereas in these same things the Gospel points forth a perpetual and harmonious agreement. On the other hand, they will patch up a reconciliation and agreement between those things which the Gospel sets at perfect opposition and variance. For Paul, better acquainted with the Gospel, and with the nature of Gospel justification, than they, tells us, yea, he proves it by many arguments, that by deeds of the Law, there shall no flesh be justified; and consequently, not by faith, as one deed or work of the Law. And he makes mention of the righteousness of God without the Law; and says, that that righteousness of God is imputed to and upon all them, that believe. And notwithstanding of this, he tells us, that this righteousness is by faith of Jesus Christ, and imputed to all that believe, exclusive of others, Romans 3: 20 Ė 22. And again he tells us, that as we are justified freely by his grace; yet it is through the redemption, that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood verses 24, 25. And again in verse 26, as God is declared in this matter to be just; so is he the justifier of him only, that believeth in Jesus. Moreover, in verse 27, he mentions the Law of Faith, as opposite to the Law of Works, in that it excludeth boasting: and concludes again in verse 28 that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the Law; and in verse 30, that God justifieth by faith and through faith. Yet we never hear, that he says, we are justified for faith, or upon account of faith. Further, that faith is required, in order to justification, is clear from Romans 9: 31, 32, where it is said, that Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. This also is fully proved by the same Apostle, in this epistle to the Galatians, knowing (saith he in chapter 2: 16) 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 to point forth this interest of faith; and yet not as imputed for our righteousness, when properly taken, the same Apostle in Philippians 3: 9, calls that righteousness, which he opposes to his own righteousness, which is of the law, a righteousness, which is through the faith of Christ, and the righteousness which is of God by faith. By all which, and many other passages mentioning our justification by faith, which might be cited, we see that the Lord hath so ordered the matter, that faith should have an interest in justification as an instrumental cause, or some such thing (for to contend about words, is not much to edification) as may fully denote and point forth the emphasis of the Scripture expressions herein; such as are to be found in Romans 3: 22, 28, 30 and in other places now cited; and that because faith carries a poor convicted and self condemned sinner out of himself, to seek a righteousness in Christ, in and upon the account of which, he may be
accepted of God and justified: and so brings him to close with Christ and to accept of His righteousness, and put it on, that he may appear in it before God, and so receive the atonement and abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness, Romans 5: 11, 17. And albeit it may satisfy us to know, that so the Lord hath ordained it, that the self condemned sinner should flee to the righteousness of Christ, held forth in the Gospel, lay hold on it, and lean to it, thereby he may attain justification and remission, without enquiring after reasons of this contrivance? Yet we may clearly see the wisdom of God shining forth, in this appointed way of justification: for the sinner is hereby brought to sear (as it were) himself bare, to renounce all in himself; to declare and profess himself a plain bankrupt; and so to despair in himself; that the riches of the free grace of God, and everlasting love may shine forth in him, in a more divine luster, and in a singular heavenly beauty: and hereby all ground of pride, boasting, or glorying in himself is taken away; and the sinner is made to see and to subscribe unto the glorious wisdom, that then appears in that contrivance, and to wonder; as also to see his everlasting obligation unto the Lord contriver, and to the Lord ransomer. So is he made to see the perfect ground of security and safety in this way, when he sees, that in order to his partaking of the great blessings and favors his soul longs for, he must first be untied unto Jesus Christ himself, and married unto him, in a perpetual marriage covenant, that shall never be dissolved. And he comes hereby to a sure ground of peace and tranquility of soul, when he sees, that it is nothing in himself, that is taken, as a satisfaction to the infinite justice of God; but the righteousness of Christ who is God and man in one person; and so a perfect and infinite righteousness, able fully to repair the breach made, and to make satisfaction for the wrong done to the infinite God. So that upon his ground, he may boast and glory in the Lord alone, and triumph over all assaults and temptations of Satan. Hereby then as the Lord hath consulted his own glory; for the sinner, fleeing to the righteousness of Christ, as his only refuge, and resting there, doth proclaim God to be holy, just, righteous, gracious, and only wise; so he hath consulted the safety, peace, joy, and confidence of His own. The consideration whereof should make us comply sweetly with this noble contrivance; and instead of disputing against it, or ourselves out of it, acquiesce with all our heart in it, and rest there.
††††††††† 13. We may observe further another mystery, in this matter of justification to wit, that the way of justification, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, doth not take away the necessity and usefulness of the exercise of the grace of repentance. Socinians and others, who follow their footsteps, can observe no harmony here, and cry out against the imputation of Christís righteousness, because (as they suppose) it evacuates the use and necessity of repentance, enervates all the commands enjoining it. But (1.) This mistake must certainly flow from a misconception of the true nature, use and ends of Gospel repentance, for they must of necessity suppose, that Gospel repentance is required for the same ends
and uses, for which the imputation of Christís righteousness is required; otherwise they could not think, that the asserting of the one should tend to the jostling out of the other. But whatever they imagine, we assert no such thing, but affirm: That Christ hath purchased the whole of our remission: and repentance, whatever Papists say, hath no interest herein; nor hath it any merit with it, whether ex condigno, or ex congruo, to procure remission, and the favor of God, or reconciliation with Him; but it is only required in its own place, to accompany faith, and to follow upon it, as a suitable and profitable exercise for sinners, advanced to such high favors and privileges. And the imputation of Christís righteousness can no more prejudge the exercise of this grace, than of any other Gospel grace, or duty, such as love, fear, hope, prayer, patience, &c., but rather incite and encourage to it. (2.) What was formerly said of faith and its harmonious agreement with the imputation of Christís righteousness, will sufficiently also clear and confirm this: for if the adversaries speak of legal repentance, the imputation of Christís righteousness will no more take that away, than faith, for it precedes faith, whereby the sinner lays hold on Christ. And if they speak of Gospel repentance (which is more to the purpose) they must know, that though in its exercise (at least in its remarkable exercise) it follows faith, and in order of nature is posterior to it. Yet, it is inseparably connected therewith; so that where faith is, there is and must also be repentance, at least, in its roots and begun exercise: for a sinner cannot rightly accept and close with Christ, as offered in the Gospel, for Gospel ends, and in a Gospel manner, and according to the call of the Gospel, but withal he must have a sight and sense of his sins, and a hatred thereof, as also a purpose firm and fixed, to turn from them unto God, as also an endeavor after new obedience. Yea, we find sometimes repentance pressed, as including faith in it; as when pressed in order to pardon and acceptance with God. Sometimes again it is mentioned together with faith, as being inseparable there from. (3.) As the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, and the justification of believers thereupon, doth not put them in such a case, as they shall sin no more afterward, so neither doth it take away the usefulness and necessity of renewed acts of faith and repentance; nor in the least weaken the after exercise of these graces, but rather doth excite thereunto, each in their proper place, and to their proper ends, in order to actual pardon, according to the Gospel method, in which it is required, that justified persons or believers repent of their after sins, and by faith to flee to Christ for pardon, and as at the first, so afterward there can be no true exercise of faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, for pardon of after sins, without a true exercise of repentance towards God, these perpetually accompanying each other. Yet, we must not think that repentance considered by itself, and as distinct from faith, hath the same interest in the covenant, for pardon, first or last, that faith hath, nor is it appointed, or called for, for that end: and when it is enjoined and mentioned
in order to remission, it is to be taken as distinct, far less as separated from faith, but as including faith, being the necessary concomitant and consequent thereof, as also the public and sensible expression and evidence of true and lively faith. For repentance being towards God, and a turning to God, from whom sin draws the soul away, must of necessity have faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, accompanying it, and laying a ground for it, seeing there is no coming to the Father, but by the Son. John 14: 6. (4.) To say, that by imputation of Christís righteousness, we should have no more need of repentance, than Christ had, who was wholly without sin, is to imagine, that we dream of such an imputation, as makes us to have been no sinners, or under no guilt; and consequently to have stood in need of no gracious imputation. But we assert no such thing; for we were sinners, and so stood in need of a righteousness to be imputed to us, in order to our justification. And he who did graciously provide this righteousness for us, might also, without the least derogation from the freedom and glory of His grace and favor, also appoint the means, method and way, how he will have us made partakers of the benefits of this grace and imputed righteousness first and last; so also to prescribe what duties He thought meet for such, as He had so visited with grace and mercy.
††††††††† 14. Another part of this mystery lies in this, that justification through the imputed righteousness of Christ, takes not away the rich and honorable privilege of adoption. Such, as are adversaries unto this imputation of Christís righteousness, allege that there is no consistency here; because, say they, if Christís righteousness or obedience should be imputed unto us, so that we may have a right and title to life, according to the tenor of the covenant, do this and live, adoption, by which this right and title is conveyed, according to the Scriptures, is rendered useless. But not to mention the great difference, that is between the life and privileges of life, a right whereunto is solemnly had in adoption; and the life, that was promised in the old covenant, by these words, do this and live. They consider not, that the imputation of Christís righteousness doth no more destroy or take away adoption, than it doth destroy, or take away pardon; and that it is so far, from rendering either useless, that it establishes both, and is the ground and firm basis of both. For as without the imputation of Christís righteousness and satisfaction, there can be no ground for pardon; so without the imputation of His righteousness and obedience there is no ground for adoption. As justification is a solemn and formal stating of a person in favor and reconciliation with God, and in pardon of sins, so adoption is a solemn and formal stating of a person in a right to glory and to all the privileges of Sonship here and hereafter. Now neither of these are rendered useless, through the doctrine of imputation; but both are the more cleared, confirmed and secured thereby. The imputation of righteousness is not formally pardon itself, nor is it formally a right to glory; but the necessary ground of both. Christís righteousness is imputed, that we may be justified, and that we may be adopted; that is
solemnly and formally placed in a state of pardon† and reconciliation, and into a state of right and interest in the privilege of Sonship. As the producing of the cautionerís payment, in judgment, is not formally the absolution of the debtor, but the ground of a formal sentence of absolution; so the imputation of Christís righteousness and satisfaction, is not the formal sentence of absolution and pardon, but the ground thereof. And as the paying of the price condescended on for land or houses, is not a formal infeosing, or a formal conveyance of right and title, by charter and seasing, but the ground thereof; so the imputation of Christís merits and obedience is not the formal and legal conveyance of right to the inheritance of glory, and glorious privileges of Sonship; but is the ground thereof, upon which necessarily follows adoption, which is, as it were, the believerís infeosment and seasing, whereby right is formally and legally conveyed unto him, to all these privileges.
††††††††† 15. This is also a mystery in this matter, that such as are adversaries to the imputation of Christís righteousness, cannot understand, to wit, that believers should be accounted righteous, and thereupon justified, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ; and yet the Lord should see sin in them. They say, if believers be righteous with the righteousness of Christ, God can no more see sin in them than in Christ. But they do not distinguish between the existence of sin, and obnoxiousness to punishment, which is separable from the existence of sin. Otherwise, there could be no pardon. In such, as are covered with the righteousness of Christ, imputed by God, and received by faith, God sees sin in its being, for He pardons it, and pardon does not make sin to have been no sin; nor does pardon say that the man has not sinned; for then pardon should be no pardon, seeing that all pardon supposes sin. But He does not see sin so, as to punish and condemn for it. For in respect of this reatus, guilt and obligation to punishment, sin is taken away, forgotten, cast behind Godís back, and into the depths of the sea &c, as the Scripture expresses the matter. The judge sees not the debtor guilty and obnoxious to the sentence, when the payment made by the cautioner is instructed in open court: yet he cannot but see, that he has contracted debt, and was thereupon obnoxious to the sentence. Neither do our adversaries here consider, that by this way of arguing, they destroy all pardon. For when a man is pardoned, he is no more obnoxious to punishment; and God cannot see sin in him, in order to condemnation, because it is pardoned; and thereby that obligation to condemnation is taken away. And so, if they mean only this, by Godís not seeing of sin, when they deny this, they must deny remission, nor yet do we say, that the imputation of Christís righteousness takes away the existence of all after sins, and makes them no sins; but only that it ensures their pardon. We do not argue from this imputation that after sins do not exist, or that God does not see them; but only the non-imputation of them unto condemnation; for we know that sin, in its being, is killed and mortified another way, viz. by the work of sanctification.
††††††††† 16. To the same end, we may consider: That though by the way of justification
through the imputation of Christís righteousness, and faith laying hold on the same, the Law is not made void, but established; as the Apostle says in Romans 3: 31, and the righteousness of the Law is in some sense fulfilled in us, being fulfilled in our nature, by Christ, the Mediator and Surety, Romans 8: 4. Yet we are not justified by the Law, but by the Gospel; not by the Covenant of Works, but by the Covenant of Grace. The adversaries to the imputation allege, that we, by asserting the same, do establish justification by works of the Law, because the obedience of Christ was obedience to the Law, and so legal righteousness; and if that be imputed to us, so as we are accounted to have done what he did, we must be justified by Law righteousness, and consequently by the Law; which is contrary to Scripture. But in answer to this I say (1.) They avert not, that some of themselves do expressly call Christís righteousness, our legal, or prolegal righteousness; and therefore it must be a righteousness answering the Law, and also made ours. (2.) Nor do they observe, that justification by the Law, or by the works of the Law, which the Scriptures speak so much against, is not to be understood in their sense; the obvious, plain and only meaning thereof being this, that no man can be justified by his own personal obedience to the Law, for by the Law, the doers only of the Law are justified, Romans 2: 13. The plain tenor of the Law is set down in Romans 10: 5, where Moses is mentioned as describing the righteousness of the Law to be this, that the man, who doth those things, shall live by them, Leviticus 18: 5. When therefore the Law says, that the man that doth these things shall live by them, and not, the man that either doth those things or getteth a cautioner to do them for him, shall be justified; it is manifest, that we are not justified by the Law, seeing we do not these things ourselves, in our own persons; but by the Gospel, which only provides this Surety, and proposes justification through His righteousness imputed and received by faith. Thus we see, that justification through the imputation of Christís righteousness, does quite annul and destroy our justification by the Law: all imputation being inconsistent with Law-justification, and repugnant thereunto, because it is of grace; and what is of grace, neither is, nor can be of works, Romans 11: 6. (3.) We assert not imputation in this sense, to wit: That we are accounted and reputed to have done what Christ did; for that cannot be. God cannot judge amiss, but He should judge amiss, if He should judge that we did what Christ did. Our meaning is this, that the believer, being now united unto Christ, hath an interest in Christís righteousness, and upon the account thereof, now reckoned upon his score by imputation, he is freed from all that the Law could charge upon him, and that as fully, to all ends, as if he had performed that righteousness himself.
††††††††† 17. It is likewise here considerable, that we are justified upon the account of the righteousness of Christ imputed; and yet this righteousness of Christ is the proper meritorious cause of our justification, and of all that follows there upon. Some, who oppose this imputation, imagine an
opposition here: But mistakenly they think, that the righteousness of Christ must be made the meritorious cause of itself, or of that righteousness which is imputed; while as we only say, that Christís righteousness is the meritorious cause of our justification, adoption, &c., and that it is also imputed to us, for this end, that we may be thereby formally righteous, juridically and in Law sense; and so justified, &c. And who sees not, that it must be so, seeing we can be justified by no righteousness, which is not a proper meritorious cause of our justification: and consequently, that we cannot be justified by any other righteousness than the righteousness of Christ; and so not by our own Gospel-righteousness, nor by faith, as such a righteousness; for that cannot be a meritorious cause of our justification.
††††††††† 18. This is also a considerable part of this mystery, which carnal eyes cannot see, and which men, carried away with prejudice at the pure doctrine of the grace of God, in the Gospel, cannot sweetly comply with; to wit. That our justification is solely upon the account of the imputed righteousness of Christ, and not upon the account, or because of anything wrought in us, or done by us: and yet our obligation to holiness and conformity to the Law of God, in all points, is not hereby in the least weakened. Paulís frequent preoccupation with this objection in his epistles may let us see how ready carnal hearts are to abuse the doctrine of the grace of God, revealed in the Gospel, to carnal liberty; and what a propensity there is in us, to look for justification upon the account of our works only; so that if we hear of anything, to put us of this apprehension, we presently are ready to conclude that all study of and endeavor after holiness is wholly useless and unnecessary: and that we need not wonder much at Socinians and others who do thus reason against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. But Paul clears to us a sweet consistency between free justification upon the account of Christís righteousness imputed, and the serious study of holiness. He saw no inconsistency between the study of obedience to the Law, in all points, and the expectation of justification by faith in Christ alone, whatever men, who would seem sharp-sighted, and zealous for the study of holiness, do suppose they cannot but see. And albeit men in those days were ready enough to except against free justification, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, and to pretend that the asserting thereof did take away all study of holiness: yet (and this is very remarkable) the Apostle, to remove that objection, never gives the least hint of the necessity of our works of obedience, in order to our justification. And though he does frequently press to holiness, yet he never makes use of any argument thereunto, which might so much as insinuate that we were justified by works, in one measure or another. Nay, we will find, that he draws argument pressing unto holiness, from the very nature of their Gospel justification, and of their state by virtue thereof. And experience proves this day: that the most effectual medium unto holiness, is taken from free justification, through faith in Christ alone; and that the holiness and obedience of such, as practice the orthodox doctrine,
concerning justification, hath another heavenly luster, (as it flows from another fountain, and stands upon another ground,) and looks more like holiness, and universal sincere obedience, than what is to be seen among such, as lay most weight upon their own duties, whether we speak of Papists, Socinians, Arminians, or of others. And whatever inconsistency men may imagine to be between free justification, through the imputed righteousness of Christ, and the universal, sincere, and acceptable study of holiness, yet the Gospel knows no such thing; but presses holiness, though not for this end, that we may thereby be put into a state of justification, or might sweat and toil, run and work for the prize, as the hire and ways of our work; yet upon more spiritual and Gospel like grounds; and by arguments more suitable to the state of the justified, who only are in case to perform acts of obedience, and duties of holiness, acceptably unto God; such as the Image of God proposed for our imitation; the perpetual obligation of His Law; the relation they stand into; the holy appointment of God; the engagements they stand under, the spiritual help and furniture, which is at hand, the nature of holiness itself; the genius and kindly inclination of the new nature, whereof they are partakers; and the many advantages thereof here and hereafter, too many, here to be mentioned. Let any consider the arguments, used to this purpose by Paul, Romans 6th, 7th, and 8th chapters, and in many places elsewhere, and he shall find this true.