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Chapter 9

 

Other passages of the New Testament briefly mentioned, which

plead for this imputation of Christís righteousness.

 

††††††††† There are other passages of Scripture, beside these mentioned, in the preceding chapter, and against which I find no exceptions made by Mr. Goodwine, in the forecited book, which yet do with no small clearness and fullness of evidence plead for the truth, which we own, to wit, the imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto believers, in order to their justification. These we shall not insist upon, but only mention in short; seeing the full insisting upon them will not be necessary, after what is said, in the explication and vindication of foregoing passages.

††††††††† 1. Romans 1: 17. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, the just shall live by faith. The Apostle is here giving a reason, proving the Gospel, whereof he was not ashamed to be a preacher of, to be the power of God unto salvation, and that to everyone that believes, be he Jew, or be he Gentile; viz. Because there is a righteousness revealed therein, which sinners only stand in need of; and that righteousness of God; that is, not only a righteousness, which is devised by God, and is accepted in His sight; but an excellent righteousness, even the righteousness of one, who is God; and a righteousness revealed for faith to lay hold on and receive, and that which faith leans to first and last, when it is weakest, and when it is strongest; that thereby the poor sinner, who formerly was dead by law, may live, as one reconciled to God. So that hence we see, sinners have need of a righteousness; and this righteousness is the righteousness of God, and is revealed in the Gospel, that it may be received by faith, and so imputed and made over to the poor sinner, in order to his justification, and acceptance with God.

††††††††† 2. Romans 4: 11. And he (i.e. Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith, which he had, yet being uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also. Her is a righteousness, and a righteousness called the righteousness of faith, because received and applied only

 

 

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by faith; and a righteousness, whereof circumcision was appointed a seal, and granted to Abraham as such; and a righteousness, which was imputed to Abraham, that he might be the Father of all them, that believe: for it is added, that righteousness might be imputed to them also: and this must be the same righteousness, that was imputed to Abraham, and the same way imputed, and the same way received, that there might be no essential difference between the way of justification of father and children. The Ethiopian version may serve for a commentary, and he had circumcision, a sign of his righteousness, which He gave him, and the sign thereof; that this might be made known unto him, that God justified Abraham by faith, when he was not at that time circumcised, that they may know, that they also are justified by faith.

††††††††† 3. Romans 4: 24, 25. But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him, who raised up Jesus, our Lord, from the dead, who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification. Here is something said to be imputed, and this must be in order to justification: And this that is imputed, cannot be faith itself, or our act of believing; for what is said to be imputed, is promised to be imputed upon condition of faith, or our believing on Him, who raised up Jesus our Lord. So that it must be the righteousness of Christ, consisting in His Mediatory work, which He undertook and performed for His own: for it is added, that He was delivered for their offenses; that is, He was delivered unto the death, to make satisfaction for their sins; and He rose again, that He might declare, He had given full satisfaction; and that He might apply this surety-righteousness of His, to the end, they might be justified. Socinus doth not understand this, and therefore de Servat. part. 4. p. 333. says, It is most certain, that the Apostle doth not speak of any imputation of the righteousness of Christ; but asserts, that the faith or credit, we give God, because He hath called Jesus Christ, our Head, from death to eternal life, shall be accounted unto us, in the place of righteousness; just as faith, whereby Abraham gave credit to the words of God, was imputed to him for righteousness. But the text hereby manifestly is perverted: for it says, that something shall be imputed, if we believe, which cannot be faith, but something distinct from faith, which is to be imputed, upon condition of faith. And what else can this be, than the surety-righteousness of Christ, who is here mentioned, as dieing and rising, in the place, and for the good of His people, that they might be justified. And further, if it were faith itself, that were here said to be imputed, in order to justification, the justified man should not be one, that is in himself ungodly, because he hath a righteousness in himself; and he, who hath a righteousness in himself, is not ungodly: and yet it is said, Romans 4: 5, that God justifieth the ungodly. Again, that, which is imputed, must be a righteousness without works, verse 6, but if faith itself be imputed, a work is imputed, and not a righteousness without works: and this would also lay down a ground of boasting, and make the reward of debt, and not of grace, verse 14.

††††††††† 4. Romans 10: 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The Apostle had been before,

 

 

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verse 4, telling us, that Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes; and thereafter he discriminates the way of justification by the Law and by the Gospel, under the notion of a righteousness which is of the law, and a righteousness, which is of faith: and then more particularly he describes the righteousness of faith, or a righteousness is had unto salvation, in and thru faith, verse 9. If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved; which he proves in the tenth verse, now cited; and therein shows, how by this believing that God hath raised the Lord Jesus from the dead, salvation is brought about; viz. that by believing with the heart, a righteousness is obtained and received: and this righteousness must be Christís, even His surety-righteousness; for faith looks on Him, as raised from the dead, and that by God, as having now received full satisfaction from Him; and thereupon bringing Him, as it were, out of prison. And in the text cited, we see, that by faith a righteousness is received; or faith is the way unto the possession of a righteousness, as confession is the way unto salvation, or as the actual possession of salvation is had by confession. And as confession itself is not salvation, but the way thereto, and the mean thereof; so faith itself is not the righteousness, but the way thereunto, and the mean or medium thereof.

††††††††† 5. Galatians 2: 21. I do not frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come from the Law, Christ is dead in vain. Whence we see, that a righteousness must be had; and that this cannot be had by the Law, or by our obedience to the Law; but by Christ; and to deny this, is in plain terms, to frustrate the grace of God, and to say, that Christ is dead in vain. And if we look back to verse 16, and forward, we shall see, that the Apostle is speaking of justification by faith in opposition to the works of the Law; that is, by faith in Jesus Christ, receiving a righteousness, which He hath wrought in His estate of humiliation.

††††††††† 6. Galatians 3: 21, 22. For if there had been a law given, which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law: but the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. Whence we see, that righteousness is required unto life, viz. the life of justification; and by whatever way life is had, by the same is righteousness had: and that neither life, nor righteousness is had by the Law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ: and both are held forth in a free promise, and given to the believer in Christ.

††††††††† 7. Galatians 4: 4, 5. But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them, that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. Christ, we see, was made under the Law, and that to redeem such, as were under the Law, that they might be freed from what they were liable to by the Law, and by being under the law, and withal receive the adoption of sons, which necessarily takes in His obedience, as the Ethiopic version explains it saying, He was begotten of a woman, and was a doer of the command, in the law. And that

 

 

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His sufferings are here included, is plain from the one end assigned, that he might redeem them, who were under the Law, or under the Lawís curse. The end thereof being twofold, viz. Deliverance from under the Law, and receiving the adoption of sons; the cause must have a suitableness thereunto; and say, that this complete righteousness, comprehending both, must be imputed unto us, for the ends mentioned.

††††††††† 8. Galatians 5: 5. For we through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Whether we take here the hope of righteousness, for justification, as the Ethiopic version doth, translating the words thus, and we in the Holy Spirit, and in faith hope to be justified; to which also the scope may give some countenance; or for the recompense of glory, which is the thing hoped for; that which we intend, will be equally confirmed; for if justification be immediately here spoken of, it is manifest, that hereunto a righteousness is requisite, and that this righteousness is had by faith; and so is not in ourselves; and therefore must be the righteousness of Christís, unto whom faith carries forth the soul, and of whom he spoke, verse 4, saying, Christ is become of none effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law. If glory be here immediately intended, we may see, that the Apostle, to persuade the Galatians, not to seek after a righteousness by the Law, tells them, what he and others did, and were resolved to do; to wit, how they ventured their whole salvation on the truth he delivered: for they waited and looked for heaven and happiness (which is here called, hope, by a metonymy) not by the works of the Law (for heaven with them was not the hope of the Law, or of the works of the Law) but by the righteousness of faith; that is, by and through that righteousness, which is by faith: and therefore it is called the hope of righteousness by faith; that is, that which we hope for, through the help of the Spirit, and expect in and through the righteousness of Christ; which righteousness is had by faith in Christ: and that this righteousness is none else but the righteousness of Christ, the following verse clears, where he says; for in Jesus Christ, &c.

††††††††† 9. Philippians 3: 8, 9. That I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness, which is of God by faith. The place is so clear and full, that by speaking much of it, we may rather darken it, than explain it. We see, what was the main thing Paul designed, in opposition to what he once intended and sought after: what he did formerly look upon, as gain, and was hot in pursuit of, he now had no better account of, than of as much loss and dung: yea he had no better esteem of all things beside Christ, and in this judgment, he persisted, accounting all but dung, that He might win Christ, and have Him for all his gain. And what would he make of Christ? He would be found in Him, hid in Him, covered with Him, and united to Him. In opposition to this, he desires not to be found in, or having on his own righteousness, which is of the law; thereby showing us, that it was the righteousness of Christ, he desired to be clothed with, and found in; and therefore adds, but that (i.e. that righteousness) which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. The righteousness he was

 

 

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seeking, is the righteousness of God, and which is of God by faith, and is had through the faith of Christ; and all this was said in opposition to the way, that the dogs, the evil workers, the circumcision, mentioned in verse 2, were crying up, and following, viz. the observation of the law, in order to justification.

††††††††† 10. Hebrews 11: 7. By faith Noah became heir of the righteousness, which is by faith: where there is a metonymy, the cause put for the effect; righteousness put for that life, which is had by this righteousness: which shows, that a righteousness is necessarily required, unto the life of acceptance with God, and unto salvation; and that this righteousness is not in or of ourselves, but in and from another; for it is had by faith; and therefore is called, the righteousness, which is by faith: and faith lays hold on no righteousness, but on that, which is Christís.

††††††††† These and other passages, which might be mentioned, are evident proofs of the truth, we are asserting, with all such, as are unprejudiced, in the point; beside all those passages, which prove justification not to be by the works of the law, but by faith; for they also confirm this truth, that in order to our justification and salvation; we must be clothed with the righteousness of Christ; which is that, which faith grips to and apprehends, that the shame of our nakedness may not appear, and we may be in case to stand before the tribunal of God.

 

 

 

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