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they knew not that justification is that, that makes sins that they shall never be remembered: mark, it is said, thou shalt hear of all thy good deeds for thy honour and thy praise; but for thy sins, there shall search be made, and they shall not be found, when God forgives sins, he doth it fully, it shall never be cast in thy teeth again: but thou shalt hear of all thy good deeds, not of thy bad. Then "lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth near" here is the blessed grace of justification, that we being justified by faith, have not only no condemnation, but no guilt; whereas all the sins of the wicked man shall be set before his face, and he shall stand quaking and trembling by reason thereof: "not" one good thing that he hath done shall be remembered, but in the iniquity that he hath committed, in that shall he die;" and so I have said somewhat of that point.
Luke, chap. 21. ver. 28.
You may remember that I said (a word perhaps that some think much of) that the question betwixt us and Rome, is not whether we be justified by faith or no? But whether we be justified at all; I will make it good. There are two graces, righteousness imputed, which implies forgiveness of sins; and righteousness inherent, which is the grace of sanctification begun. They utterly deny that there is any righteousness, but righteousness inherent. They say forgiveness of sins is nothing but sanctification. A new doctrine never heard of in the Church of God, till those last days, till the spawn of the Jesuits devised it. Forgiveness of sin is this, that God will never charge me with it again. They say, that forgiveness of sin is an abolishing of sin in the subject, where is true remission; as much as to say, there is no justification distinct from sanctification: whereas the apostle distinguisheth them, when he saith: "The Son of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." He is made unto us "of God." By the way let me expound it unto you. Christ hath three offices; a prophe
"Ezek. chap. 18. ver. 24.
tical, regal, and sacerdotical office. He exerciseth his prophetical office to illuminate our understanding. He exerciseth his kingly office to work on our will and affections there are two branches of it, the kingdom of grace, and the kingdom of glory. How am I made partaker of Christ's prophetical office: he is made unto me wisdom, before I was a fool, but now, by it, I am made wise. First, he enlightens me, and so he is made unto me wisdom: well, he is my priest; how so? He is made an expiation for my sin; he is said to be iλaouòç in St. John, “ a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for the sins of the world." There is a difference between ovyyvúμn and iλaoμòs, that is a bare pardon, but this is such a propitiation, as the party offended is well pleased with Christ, being made a ransom; he is made unto us iλaoμòs, by the oblation offered unto his father. He is righteousness imputed to us. And as a king, he rules me in the kingdom of grace, and in the kingdom of glory; in the kingdom of grace he is made unto me sanctification, and in the kingdom of glory he is made unto me redemption; it is called by the apostle, the redemption of our bodies; these two are thus clearly distinguished. The work of Christ's priestly office is to be a propitiation for our sins; sanctification proceeds from the sceptre of his kingdom : the one is without me, the other within me, the one receives degrees, the other not. As a man that is holy, may be more holy; but imputed righteousness doth not more forgive one man than another. Imputation is without augmentation or diminution. Those things which have divers contraries, cannot be one and the same thing. Justification and sanctification have divers contraries. The contrary to justification is condemnation; but the contrary to sanctification is wickedness, and false dealing, &c. Aristotle distinguisheth homonymous words, and bids you consider their contraries; thus you see the difference between these two.
I should now come and descend unto the dependance one hath on the other; that is, in what respect doth faith
justify? Is faith an instrument to work justification, or to receive it only?
y Rom. chap. 3. ver. 25.
a 2 Pet. chap. 1. ver. 1.
The answer is clear, it justifieth in regard of the object. If you remember the two places I bid you compare : "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood;" is that all? compare this place with, "Much more then, being now sanctified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him;" we are justified by his blood, and by faith in his blood: here are two acts which signify the same thing. It is no more than to say, I was cured by the bath, or by going to the bath, so that faith is the legs of the soul, that brings a man to Christ. And so my faith is an instrument, not to procure my justification, but to receive it; so that, seeing faith is an instrument, to receive justification, and to procure it, then the weakest faith carryeth away as much forgiveness as the strongest. A strong faith rids a great deal of work, because it is an active instrument. The stronger faith worketh the greater work; but in the point of justification, it is an instrument whereby my justification is wrought, an instrument whereby Christ is received. And the weakest hand may receive a piece of gold as well as the strongest; we must know that in the point of receiving we live on God's alms. All our justification is his free gift, and faith is that palsy hand which receives all our comfort. It is not then a strong faith that justifieth, but faith; it is called by Peter, "a like precious faith." "Simon Peter a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ to them that have obtained like precious faith with us, through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." It is ouóruos, in the meanest Christian that hath a trembling hand to pitch on that, and draw virtue from him; it is a like precious faith in them, as in the most great apostle Peter, and all the rest.
Rom. chap. 5. ver. 9.
ROM. CHAP. V. VER. 1.
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
I HAVE heretofore declared unto you, that in these words, and the words following, there are set down the great graces and great blessings which you have in Christ, in the kingdom of grace, before you come to the kingdom of glory.
First, here is set down the mother and radical grace of all the rest, and that is justification by faith; and then followeth the blessed fruit that issueth from thence. 1. Peace with God.
2. A gracious access into his presence.
3. A joyful hope arising from that great glory that we shall enjoy for the time to come.
4. In the worst of our troubles, and midst of our afflictions, this joy is so great, that it cannot be abated by any of them; yea, it is so far from being abated by them, that they are as fuel to kindle it: we rejoice in affliction, saith the apostle, that which would undo the joy of a carnal man, is made the matter of this man's joy.
Concerning the first of these, I shewed you that justification is the ground or foundation of all the rest: "being justified by faith;" that is the root and ground, without which there is no fruit, no peace, no joy, no hope, much less any kind of rejoicing in tribulation. Faith is that which seasoneth all; we must be justified by faith, before we have any other comforts; for that is the first ground, the first rudiment for a Christian in the school of Christ.
Gal. chap. 2. ver. 2.
e Psalm 139. ver. 23.
Therefore I proposed unto you three things for the understanding of it.
1. What that faith is that justifieth.
2. What that justification is that is obtained by faith. 3. What relation the one of these hath to the other. Concerning the first of these I shewed you that it is not every faith that justifieth. I shewed you that there is a dead faith, whereupon the apostle saith: "The life that I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God." A dead thing cannot make a living man; it must be, and I shewed you how, a living faith.
Again, I shewed that beside the true faith, there was a temporary faith, which is active too, and comes near the other. It had the operations of the Spirit, but it wanted root. It had supernatural works, but it wanted the new creature. There was a conception, that was but an abortive kind of birth, it came not to maturity, not to a full growth, it did not continue. And I shewed unto you how a man might discern one of these from the other; for herein lieth the wisdom of a Christian, not to content himself, or be deceived with flashes; therefore the apostle exhorts us "to prove, and try, and examine ourselves." It is an easy matter to be deceived, and therefore God's people should be careful to examine themselves, to have their senses exercised herein, that however others may slight and slubber over the matter, they may be careful in it; and then they will not only do it themselves, but they will crave the aid of God also: "Prove me, O my God, try me."
Then for the second thing, concerning that justification that is obtained by faith. I shewed you that the word justification was derived from justice or righteousness; and as many ways as justice and righteousness may be taken, so many ways may justification be taken: sometimes for justification of righteousness in a man, and sometimes it is opposed to condemnation; so it is taken
2 Cor. chap. 13. ver. 5.