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considered just or right in God's sight, while the guilt of sin, which exposes him to wrath, lies upon his soul. Therefore the apostle says, "David describeth the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." In justification, God blots out every sin of heart and life by a free and full pardon; so that we are "justified by Christ's blood," because it cleanses from all sin. Oh! happy moment! Oh! blessed is the man whom God justifies freely!

The next blessing is security from future condemnation. If this were not granted, were we forgiven all past sins, we not only might, but should, the next day, nay the next moment, forfeit all the benefit by new sins, which deserve condemnation; and so the blessing would be nullified, by being rendered momentary. But God does not save us by halves: his work is perfect; and therefore the Scripture says, "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus; they have passed from death to life, and shall never come into condemnation." For though "there is not a just man upon earth that sinneth not," and "if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves;" yet God never condemns those whom he has justified; though he will chasten them for sin, "as a father the child in whom he delighteth."

The next blessing which justification includes is a title to eternal life in heaven. For the apostle, when instructing us on this subject, says, "Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God:" for when God forgives our past sins, which exposed us to eternal death, he does not leave us to acquire, by our own obedience, a right to eternal life; but grants us this freely. Mark how clearly he puts the case-"The wages of sin is death;" and then he does not say, as men would have expected, The wages of obedience is eternal life; but, "The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vi. 23.) They who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." (Rom. v. 17.) So, when the guilt of sin is forgiven, and the gates of hell, which yawned to receive us, are closed; the gift of life eternal is granted, and the gates of heaven are opened. The thief on the cross was assured that he should be that day with Christ in Paradise. Oh! happy heirs of heaven! heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ!


At the same moment, reconciliation and peace with God, and hope and joy are granted; but this change in our temper, and

preparation for heaven, belong to sanctification; rather than to that change of our state, or acceptance with God, which is justification.

Now let us consider how we obtain the blessing. What say the Scriptures? Do they not declare that we owe our justification to Christ? If he is really our Saviour, he must be so at that moment in which we are saved from the guilt of sin: if we owe our salvation to him, we must owe to him our acceptance at God's bar, and our title to eternal life. In the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, the apostle, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, compares, or rather contrasts Christ with Adam, who is called the figure of him that is to come to save us; and in writing to the Corinthians, he calls Christ the second Adam. Why? Because, as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of

one, shall many be made righteous. As, by the offence of one, upon all men is condemnation; by the righteousness of one, the free gift comes on all to justification of life." For this reason, Christ was to be called "The Lord our Righteousness;" for " Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and glory." If Christ is not the meritorious cause of our justification, he is not the cause of our salvation-not our Saviour. But if we owe our justification to Christ, how do we obtain it from him? How are we put in possession of the blessing? For not all are justified.

There must be some union between us and Christ: we must be brought into contact, if we are to call him our righteousness. By a union between us and Adam, through that one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon us all. We trace up our fallen state to him, to whom we are united by nature. Now when a union takes place between two parties, each acts: as in the marriage union, they both join hands. Christ is first and foremost in this affair, and he forms the union by giving us his Spirit; as John the Baptist said, "This is he that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit, as I baptize with water." This Spirit of Christ, that comes to dwell in us and unite us to him, is the Spirit of illumination, of conviction, of repentance, and of faith. Immediately, therefore, that the Spirit comes to dwell in us, he shows us our sin, our danger, our refuge, and causes us by faith to lay hold of Christ, as the hope set before us. Then the union, being formed on both sides, is complete; for the Spirit, convincing us of sin and of righteousness, makes us feel our guilt-that we have no righteousness of our own—and "takes of the things of Christ, and

shows them to us ;"-that He is the Lord our righteousness; that "not to him that worketh, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted unto righteousness." "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law."-Rom: iii. 28.

This is the great mystery of salvation by grace, through faith, which is the grand theme of the Gospel-the good news from heaven; but is so far beyond all that men would have invented, that they are slow to understand it, and slower still to believe and trust it, though it is their only "refuge from the wrath to come." However, let us glance at the evidence of its truth, and then inquire what are the evidences of our interest in the blessing.

The evidence of its truth must be derived from the word of God; for he alone has a right to determine how he will accept us as righteous, or justify us. He declares there is none of us righteous, for "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; that every mouth must be stopped, and all the world stand guilty before God." Many think their own good works must justify, or make them righteous; but what signifies what we think, if God does not think so, nor say so? He has said, "by works of law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin;" (Rom. iii. 20) and that which makes us know our sin, cannot make us righteous.

If this great affair of our justification, or acceptance at God's bar, is owing to our own works, we are our own saviour; and how is Christ our Saviour? how is he the Lord our righteousness? how does the obedience of one justify many? how can it be said we "are saved by grace, through faith; not of works, lest any man should boast ?" But men dispute against God, and say, How can the obedience of another person justify, or make us righteous? We answer, How can your own obedience, which is really no righteousness at all, make you righteous? For God says, there is none righteous; but we are all sinners condemned by his law. Who but a madman can pretend to have fulfilled the righteousness of the law, which, Christ says, commands us to love God with all our heart, and all our soul, and all our strength, and to love our neighbour, just as we love ourselves?

They who ask how Christ's obedience can justify us, may as well ask how his blood can blot out our sins. It is, in fact, asking how Christ can be our Saviour. Why do not men ask, how Christ could take our sins? for surely they have as much reason, as to ask how we could have his righteousness. Why not ask how it can be said, "the Lord laid on him the iniquity

of us all ?" This is as difficult, as to impute to us his obedience. Why not make a stumbling-block of his suffering for us, dying for us the most awful death, at which creation shuddered with horror? Why not say, How could he be thus afflicted for other persons' faults? But you dare not say it was for his own; for "he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." Then "he bore our sins, and carried our sorrows; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, that by his stripes we might be healed." This healing of us, by our forgiveness, was the very end and design of his stripes. Our justification was the very reason for which he suffered condemnation to death. Surely a righteous God will as soon justify us for his righteousness' sake, as sacrifice him on account of our sins.

But when he united himself to us, by taking our nature, he took our place, and "was made under the law, to redeem those that were under the law;" and he obeyed it, not for himself merely, but for us; and when he died, he took our guilt upon himself" the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all :" saying, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.”—Isaiah liii. Now "the Lord is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; for he has magnified the law, and made it honourable."


This is the reward of his glorious obedience unto death, that every one who believes in him shall be justified by faith in him, and call him the "Lord our Righteousness." For "he is made of God unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."-I Cor. i. 30, 31.

And why should we make a difficulty? If by the sin of another, Adam, we all become sinners, is not this harder to believe, than that a gracious God should justify us by the obedience of another? If Christ took our sins, and suffered for crimes he never committed, is it hard to believe that he should be rewarded by our being justified and saved by his righteousness, which we never performed? What could be a more appropriate reward and honour to our Redeemer?

Then let us say, with the apostle Paul, Oh! "to win Christ, and be found in him; not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness of God by faith!" For if ever we are saved by Christ, we must give him all the glory; saying, "Not unto us, not unto us, but unto thy name be glory:' "the Lord is our righteousness; in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and glory." "But if we seek to be justified as it were by the law, Christ shall profit us nothing."

It is not difficult to show how we may give evidence of our interest in this blessing, and prove that we are justified by faith in Christ. For is it possible we should have received such a blessing through believing in Christ, and not love him? Well; the Scripture says "faith worketh by love." Can we love him, and not do everything to please him? The Scripture says, "Show me thy faith by thy works." Thus we are justified before all the world by our works, as the apostle James shows. Some suppose he teaches justification before God by works; but he says, when Abraham offered up Isaac, his faith wrought by works, and was thus made perfect by producing its proper fruits; and the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith, "Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to him unto righteousness;" and he was called the friend of God.

The peace which passeth all understanding is an evidence of our having "believed in Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law." For that peace can be enjoyed, only by those who can say, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I; but Christ liveth in me; and the life I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."




J. & W. Rider, Printers, Bartholomew Close, London.


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