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fore he had any goodness! This being the case there is no difference in the sight of God between the man who has some goodness and the man who has none: that is, according to the objection, there is no difference in God's sight between the regenerate and the unregenerate. And if the holiness of the good man be nothing, on account of the excess of his sin and guilt: then I see not but the man of virtue, “true holiness,” is as likely to appear on the left hand, in the day of judgment, as the wicked man.
You will perhaps say that for Christ's sake, the good man will be admitted to a seat on the right hand of the glorious Judge. But why may not the wicked man for Christ's sake, be admitted there as well as the good man, if in God's sight there is no difference between them? as, according to the objector, “The man is as hateful in God's sight as he was before he had any goodness.
Some perhaps will say that the meaning of the objection is, that the regenerate man would be no more likely to be saved, except his sins were blotted out, than the unregenerate. But to suppose a man to be born of God and his sins not blotted out, is inconsistent with the plan and purpose of God as revealed in his Holy Word. Yea, to suppose a person born of God, and his sins not blotted out, is a contradiction; for when God regenerates a sinner, he takes away the heart of stone, and gives an heart of flesh; he takes away the carnal mind and gives a right spirit. Now, for sin to be taken away and yet remain unpardoned, is not according to the Bible representation. Therefore, when God views a man as possessed of real goodness, or true holiness, he views him as cleansed from his transgressions, and his sins forgiven. God therefore does not behold the goodness of the saint in connexion with his guilt; but he beholds his goodness as it is, allowing it all its weight without any diminution on account of any former transgressions. As soon as a man is born of God, he then, according to the Bible representation, is viewed and treated as a righteous
man: his former sins are not considered as forming any part of his present character. He is in the sight of God that blessed man, “whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered;—unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile."
2. Objection. The righteousness and the sin of the saint are so mixed, that taken together, his righteousness may be considered as an unclean thing, or as a rejected garment. Reply. To determine the nature and properties of each, they must be viewed separately. To determine whether righteousness be a clean thing, it is necessary to examine it by itself. Though sin and holiness may belong to the same person, yet they do not belong to the same act, or exercise of heart. Love to God is a pure act of the mind, in which there can be no mixture of moral impurity: for love to God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Love to God therefore must be a pure thing, for an unclean thing cannot come from God.
3. OBJECTION. The apostle Paul speaks of his own righteousness in strong terms of disapprobation. “What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all
things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, 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.”
A correct understanding of this quotation from Saint Paul will remove all the weight there seems to be in it, as an objection against the doctrine under consideration.
We perceive by this quotation, that the apostle brings into view his own righteousness; and also the righteousness which is of God by faith. The one is put in contrast with the other; for they are opposite to each other. The righteousness which he calls his own, was a righteousness which was of himself; which he made himself by living the life of a Pharisee; but the other righteousness of which he speaks, was the righteousness which was of God. His former righteousness, which was that of a Pharisee, was as filthy rags; and it ought to be counted but dung, and to be cast away as mere filth. But the righteousness which was of God by faith, was the righteousness which God gave him, at his conversion. This was the righteousness of a saint, or of a child of God; this was far from being an unclean thing, or as filthy rags.
The righteousness of Paul as a persecuting Pharisee, was essentially different from
that righteousness which he had as a child of God. The righteousness of Saul when breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the church of God, was as filthy rags. To this conduct he was not led by the Spirit of Christ, but by the very spirit of that religion in which he was brought up. The religion of the Jews, that religion which was taught Saul at the feet of Gamaliel, was an unclean thing: and all the religion of the unbelieving Jews was as filthy rags. But the righteousness in which the apostle was arrayed, which was given him at his conversion, was as linen clean and white: for the fine Jinen is the righteousness of saints.”
From these remarks we learn the importance of renouncing our own righteousness; but the saint ought not, and cannot renounce that righteousness which constitutes him a saint. That righteousness which consists in renouncing our own righteousness ought not, and cannot be renounced. For a person to wish to renounce his righteousness as a saint, would be the same as for him to wish to be a saint no longer. To renounce our own righteousness, is to come into possession of THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS WHÍCH IS OF GOD BY: FAITH. This righteousness cannot be renounced: this righteousness will endure forever: this righteousness will deliver from death. To those of this character, the Judge will say, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
NO MATERIAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DOING
PROVERBS xxix, 18. Where there is no vision the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
ROMANS ii, 13. For not the hearers of the law are just before God,
but the DOERS of the law shall be justified.
John iii, 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.
IS an illustration of the similarity between doing, or working, and believing.
As there is more than one kind of doing, so there are different kinds of believing. The apostles speak of "dead faith,” and of “unfeigned faith;" also, of dead works, and of good works. Sinners are not only called upon to believe in Christ to the saving of the soul; but they are also called upon to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling: “for it is God which worketh in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Hence when we do that work, which God worketh in us to will and to do, we perform a work, with which salvation is as indissolubly connected, as when we "believe on the Son of God.” Yea, that faith which does not imply unfeigned love to God and the brethren, or that charity which “suffereth long and is kind,” is dead faith. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” And, he also,