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Here we have St. Paul's conclusion possible obedience to the law as creatures ; drawn from all the foregoing premises : and by performing our obligations as crea. “ Seeing all mankind since the fall are dis- tures, we can never pay our debts as transabled by their inpate corruption, and gressors. But now our surety Christ Jesus, actual transgression, to fulfil the law, either who has given satisfaction for our violation natural or written: it must necessarily of the law, was under no obligation to the follow, that by the works of the law can law, but what he voluntarily laid himself no flesh, that is, no person, either Jew or under upon our account. And if so, let Gentilc, be justified before God; all the us cternally bless God with the highest efficacy which the law now has, being to elevation of soul for the gospel revelation, discover sin, and condemn for sinning; by for sending his own Son to justify and save the law is the knowledge of sin. By the us, by working out a complete and everlaw we apprehend our inalady, but by the lasting righteousness for us : and let us gospel we understand our remedy." Learn plead with him incessantly for the grace of hence, That no son of Adam, since the justifying faith, which is as necessary in its breach of the law, can stand justified before place as the death of Christ. Onc renders God by his best obedience to the commands God reconcileable unto poor sinners, the of the law: by being justified, understand other actually reconciled. that gracious act in God, whereby we are acquitted, and finally discharged, from the 21 But now the righteousness of guilt and punishment of all our sins. By God without the law is manifested, ihe law here, and by the deeds of the law, being witnessed by the law and the we are to understand the ceremonial and moral law both, especially the latter ; for prophets; 22 Even the righteousby the moral law is the knowledge of sin ;
ness of God, which is by faith of it is the moral law that forbids theft, adul- Jesus Christ, unto all and upon all tery, &c. Besides, it is evident that the an
them that believe : for there is no lithesis, or opposition, runs all along, not difference ; 23 For all have sinned, between ceremonial works and moral works, and come short of the glory of God; but between works in general and faith : the law of works, and the law of faith, are Our apostle having proved negatively, opposed to each other, ver. 27. But why that by the works of the law righteousness can no flesh, that is, no person, be justic and justification is not to be had for any fied by the deeds of the law ? Answer, person, bc he Jew or Gentile; he comes 1. Because he is flesh, that is, depraved by now to prove the affirmative part of his asoriginal corruption, and obnoxious to the sertion ; namely, that God hath manifested curse of the law by actual transgression. another way of justification in the gospel, Now that which condemns cannot justify. to wit, by faith in Jesus Christ. An after obedience to the law can never saith he, now, that is, since the coming of atone for a former disobedience. 2. Be- Christ, since the dispensation of the gospel ; cause the best obedience we can perform the righteousness of God; that is, the to the law, is imperfect. Now he that righteousness which God appoints, approves, mixes but one sin with a thousand good and accepts for a sinner's justification, is works, can never be justified by his works without the law ; that is, without performHe that would be justified by his works, ing the works of the law, either natural, must not have one bad work amongst all ceremonial, or moral ; and is manifested to his works ; for that one will lay him un. be the righteousness which is by faith in der the curse and condemnatory sentence Christ ; which all that believe and obey of the law ; Gal. iii. Cursed is every one the gospel, shall be admitted to the particithat continueth not in all things which pation of, both Jew and Gentile; for there are written in the book of the law to do is no difference ; that is, no difference bethem. Nothing that is imperfect can be tween Jew and Gentile, as to the way and a ground of justification before God, be- means of their justification :" and the rea. cause the design of God is to exalt his son assigned by the apostle why there is, justice as well as his mercy in the justific and can be, no other way of justification cation of a sinner. Again, 3. No flesh can but this, we have in the next verse; namebe justified by the works of the law; be- ly, Because all have sinned, the whole cause all that we do, or can do, is a due race of mankind, not one merc man exdebt which we owe to the law: we owe all cepled ; and so will fall short of obtaining
the glory of God, and eternal life, if God's acceptation, but much in respect of thcir they seek it not in this way. Learn hence, application; no difference as ihey are a 1. That there is no standing or appearing body in respect of their head, but much before God for any creature in a creature's difference as they are members of that head. righteousness. There is much unrighteous. And if there be no difference among beness in our righteousness, and therefore we lievers (as such) before God, why should cannot stand justified before God in it. there be so much ditference amongst themBesides, the wisdom of God has appointed selves, as there is oftentimes here in this another righteousness, or the righteousness world? You are all dear, truly dear to of another, even the righteousness of Jesus God; why should you not be so to one Christ, to stand before him in : But now another? Why should not one church the righteousness of God is manifested, and one communion hold you now? Ere even the righteousness of God which is long perhaps one prison may, one heaven by faith in Jesus Christ. Learn, 2. The shall certainly, hold you all. necessity and excellency of faith; the right. eousness of God is unto all, and upon all
24 Being justified freely by his that believe. Faith is the bond of union, the instrument of our justification, the grace, through the redemption that spring of our consolation : Being justified is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God by faith, we have peace with God, Rom. hath set forth to be a propitiation v. 1. Render we then unto faith the things through faith in his blood, to dewhich are faith's, as well as unto Christ clare his righteousness for the rethe things that are Christ's. Learn, 3. mission of sins that are past, through That in reference to, or in respect of, our
the forbearance of God; 26 To justification before God, there is no differ- declare, I say, at this time, his rightence among believers, ver. 22. For there is no difference, that is, no difference as to cousness : that he might be just, the way of justification, between Jew and and the justifier of him which beGentile, male and female, bond and frce; lieveth in Jesus. but all, without the righteousness of faith io Christ, must die and be damned to all Observe here, 1. A glorious privilege eternity. There is now a difference amongst vouchsafed to believers, which the scriptures believers with respect to their degrees of call justification, whereby they are judicisanctification, and with respect to their ally acquitted and discharged froin the guilt measures of consolation, and will be here- and punishment of all their sins, and acafter with respect to their degrees of glori- counted righteous before God. Observe, fication. Some saints have more grace and 2. The efficient cause of our justification. comfort on earth, and shall have higher de. It is God that justifies : who can forgive grees of glory in heaven, than others; the crime, but the person against whom but the justification of all believers is alike. we have done the wrong? Observe, 3. There is the same sin in all, not for mea- The moving or impulsive cause, namely, the sure and degree, but in respect of guilt and free grace of God; Bcing justified freely obligation to punishment; there is the same by his grace. Observe, 4. The meritorious price paid by way of satisfaction to divine cause, the blood-shedding and death of justice for all ; namely, the death of Christ. Christ; through the redemption that is in There is the same righteousness imputed to Christ Jesus. Observe, 5. The final all, and the same Spirit of boliness impart- cause; to declare his righteousness, not ed amongst all, and the same mansions of his clemency and mercy only, but his jusglory designed for all; thus there is no lice and righteousness, especially that atdifference. And there is no difference tribute which disposes and inclines him to amongst believers in respect of truth of punish sin and sinners. Observe, 6. The grace, but much in respect of strength of instrumental cause of justification, faith : grace; no difference amongst then in re- Whom God hath set forth to be a propispect of God's promises, but much diffe- tiation, through faith in his blood, &c. rence with respect to their performances ; Some of the Papists, especially Cajetan and no difference in respect of God's covenant, à Lapide, do call faith Causa applicans in but much difference in respect of God's our justification ; verily an unapplied Christ counsels, as also in respect of God's justifies none, saves none. Learn thence, 1. dispensations ; no difference in respect of That in order to a sinner's being saved, he must
be justified, that is, discharged of, absolved upon the ruin of another ; but justice
27 Where is boasting then ? It
The apostle having laid down, in the therefore the apostle saith, that God hath set foregoing verses, the nature of justification forth Christ to be a mercy-seat to us through exactly in the several and respective causes faith in his blood ; we have reason to be- of it, declares in this verse what is the conlieve the blood of Christ, as our sin-offering, sequent of this doctrine, namely, the exdoth make an atonement for us, and renders cluding of all self-confidence and boasting God propitious to us. Learn, 5. That in ourselves, or in any works done by our Almighty God, in the justification of a be- selves: Where is boasting then ? Learn lieving sinner, is not only gracious and thence, That man is naturally a very proud merciful, but just and rightcous in the most
creature, prone to boast of and glory in exalted degree; To declare his righteous any excellency, either real or supposed, ness for the remission of sin. Where belonging to himself. Learn, 2. That note, That the design and end of God in
God has taken care to give a check to this exacting satisfaction from Christ, was to
insolent pride of man, and to cut off all declare his righteousness in the remission occasion of boasting from him, 1 Cor. i. 29. of sin ; but the apostle would have us take That no flesh should glory in his sight. notice, that our justification is an act of Whilst God intended to give man glory, justice as well as mercy, and that God, as he took a course to cut off all glorying he is a just God, cannot condemn the be.
Learn, 3. That the course liever, since Christ has satisfied for his sins. which the wisdom of God has taken to O blessed be God ! the pardon of sin is hide pride from man's eyes, and to cut off built upon that very attribute, the justice
all occasion of boasting from him, is by of God, which is so affrighting and dread- denying him justification by his own ful to the offending sinner. This attribute, works; and ordaining that the merito. which seemed to be the main bar against rious cause of justification should not lie remission, is now become the very ground in himself, but in another.
Grace must and reason why God remits. Hence saith bave all the glory : not the law of works, St. John, God is faithful and just to for- but the law of faith, justifieth and saveth give us our sins : faithful with respect to
all believers. his own promise, and just with respect to his 28 Therefore we conclude, that Son's satisfaction. Who then can lay any thing to the charge of God's elect, when the deeds of the law.
a man is justified by faith without
29 Is he justice itself doth justify them? Behold here the sweet harmony of the divine attri- the God of the Jews only? is he butes in justifying and pardoning the be. not also of the Gentiles?' Yes, of liever! one attribute is not robbed to pay the Gentiles also : 30 Seeing it is another: neither is one attribute raised one God, which shall justify the cir
cumcision by faith, and uncircum- fication by faith, as if this would render cision through faith.
the law of God void and altogether useless :
Do we then make void the law of God? Observe here, 1. The conclusion drawn As if he had said, “ There may be those that by the apostle from all that he had been will say so, but untruly; for we establish discoursing of in the foregoing chapters; the law: because we acknowledge, that Damely, that God's way of justification of without exact obedience and conformity to a guilty sinner is not by works done by the law, both in our nature and in our lives, him, but by faith in the Mediator, who as a rule of living, there can be no salvahath satisfied the justice of God for him: tion."— Learn hence, that the doctrine of Therefore, we conclude, that a man is justification by faith alone, doth not overjustified by faith without the deeds of throw but establish the law. Tere note, That the law. Learn thence, That justification it is the moral, not ceremonial law, which the from our past sins is by faith alone, without apostle speaks of. The ceremonial law is respect to any works of ours, done either uiterly abolished by the gospel; but the before or since conversion. Observe, 2. moral law is not abolished, but established How the apostle doth extend his proposition by the gospel ; or if abolished, it is only universally to all sorts of persons, Jews and as a covenant, not as a rule, Christ has Gentiles, ibat is, the whole race of man. relaxed the law in point of danger, but not kind; affirming, that God will justify cir- in point of duty; for the law is holy, just, cumcised believers and uncircumcised be- and good, and is not disannulled, but lievers one and the same way, even by the established, by the gospel : because by the way of grace and faith: It is one God which gospel we obtain grace, in some measure to justifieth the circumcision by faith, and un- fulfil the law, and yield a sincere obedience circumcision through faith. Where note, to it ; which, for the sake of Christ's perthe argument is drawn from the unity or one- fect and spotless obedience, shall find a graness of God, which is not to be understood so
cious acceptance with God. Therefore much of the unity of his essence and nature, with the highest elevation of soul let us as of his will and purpose; yet as God is bless God for Jesus Christ, and for the gosone and the same unchangeable God in his pel-revelation, which has so fully discovered nature, so is he as immutable in his will and clearly revealed to us the only way of and purpose. Having therefore determined justification by faith in the Son of God, and declared his way of justifying all sin. who hath loved us, and washed us from ners to be one and the same to all nations, our sins in his own blood. To whom be both Jew and Gentile, even by faith alone glory and dominion for ever and ever. in his son Christ Jesus ; no other way is to Amen. be expected from that God who is unchangeable in his purpose. Learn thence,
CHAP. IV. that God's way and method of justifying In the close of the foregoing chapter our apostle laid all sinners, both Jews and Gentiles, great
down a positive and peremptory conclusion, that and small, is and ever will be the same,
a man is justified by faith without the works of
the law. In this chapter he undertakes to coufirm namely, by faith alone without works. the truth of that conclusion, by instancing in the What false notions socver men may enter
patriarch Abraham, the father of the faithful,
who did not find justification and acceptance tain in their minds about it, and when the with God by virtue of his circumcision in the pride of men has arraigned the wisdom of
flesh, or any otber works of obedience perform
ed by him in the law, but by virtue of his faith, God never so much, the apostle's conclusion
which was impuled and accounted to him for will remain like a rock unshaken, ver. 28. righteousness. Therefore we conclude, that a man
ham's justification by faith, the apostle infers the
justification of all believers with him ; for who justified by faith without the decds of the doubts but that the children are justified after law.
being the design and scope of the chapter, let
us observe the force of the apostle's argument, 31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid :
WHAT shall we say then that yea, we establish the law.
Abraham, our father as perObserve here, The wise and holy caution taining to the flesh, hath found ? which our apostle uses 10 take away the 2 For if Abraham were justified by calumny and reproach cast upon him by works, he hath whereof' to glory; the adversaries of the doctrine of free justi- but not before God.
From which instance of Abra
the same manner that their father was!
verse the first.
As if the apostle had said, “What shall justifieth the ungodly, his faith is we say ? Shall any one affirm, that Abra- counted for righteousness. ham our father found or obtained righteousness by or according to the flesh; that is, Observe here, 1. The account which the by being circumcised in the flesh, or by scripture gives of Abraham's justification : any works of righteousness which he had it was by faith alone. He believed God, done? surely no: for if Abraham were and it was counted to him for righteous. justified by circumcision, or any other ness ; that is, he firmly believed the proworks of his own, he hath whereof to glory; mise of God, that he would give him a son, that is, ground of boasting in these works, in whom all the families of the earth should by which he was thus justified. But mani. be blessed. And by means of this faith, fest it is, that he had not whereof to boast he was reckoned or esteemed righteous and glory before God; therefore he was not before God, and not by means of his works. justified by circumcision, nor any works of Observe, 2. The apostle's argument to his own." Learn hence, That no righteous- prove that Abraham was justified by faith, ness of our own, no services we can per- and not by works: had he works of perfect form, are sufficient to procure our justifica- holiness, then in strict justice a reward tion in the sight of God; for if we are might have been expected by him as a due justified by our works, it must be by works debt, and not given bim in a way of grace either before faith or after faith. Not be- and favour. For to him that worketh, fore faith ; for the corruption of nature and that is, with a design and intent to obtain man's impotent condition thereby, will give justification by his works, is the reward check to any such thought. Surely, un- rockoned not of grace, but of debt, he righteousness cannot make us righteous, no having performed all that was required in more than impurity can make us clean. order to his being righteous before God. Nor do works after faith justify ; for then But to him that worketh not ; that is, a believer is not justified upon his believe who worketh not to the intent and end ing, and faith is not the justifying grace, forementioned, namely, to procure justibut only a preparation to those works fication by working, but seeks that in a which justify; which is contrary to the way of believing, his faith is counted for whole strain of the apostle throughout the righteousness. To him that worketh not, epistle, who ascribes justification to faith but belicvcth, &c. We must not underin the blood of Christ without works. In stand it absolutely; for he that believeth short, no righteousness of man is perfect; worketh ; but secundum quid, after a sort; therefore no righteousness of man can be he is said not 10 work, because he worketh justifying. There is nothing that a man not with a design to stand righteous before doth, but it is defective, and consequently God by his works. Again, by him that has matter of condemnation in it: now that workcih not, we are not to understand an which is condemning, cannot be justifying: idle, lazy believer, that takes no care of the that which falls short of the holiness of the duties of obedience; no, an idle faith is law, can never free us from the condem- an ineffectual faith, and can never be a sav. natory sentence and curse of the law. Now ing faith. But the meaning is, he worketh all works after faith fall short of that perfec- not in a law sense, to the ends and intention which the law requireth. Learn, 2. tions of the first covenant, to make up a That the design of God was to justify us in righteousness to cover himself by his own such a way, as to strip us of pride. Not of working. Being convinced of bis utter works, lest any man should boast, says inability to work out his own righteousness the apostle often. We are justified by faith, by the law, and seeing all his endeavours to exclude boasting, which would not have to obey the law fall short of righteousness, been excluded by the law of works. he is therefore said in a law sense not to
work, because he doth not work so as to 3 For what saith the scripture ? answer the purpose and end of the law, Abraham believed God, and it was which accepts of nothing short of perfect counted unto him for righteousness. and complete obedience. And whereas 4 Now to him that worketh is the it is here said, that God justifieth the unreward not reckoned of grace, but godly; the meaning is, such as have been of debt. 5 But to him that work- apostle describes the temper and frame of
ungodly, not such as continue so. The eth not, but believeth on him that their hearts and lives before justification,