Графични страници
PDF файл
[ocr errors]

eleventh Canon passed at the same session anathematizes "any who shall say that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the righteousness of Christ or by the sole remission of sing, to the exclusion of the grace and charity which is shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost and is inherent in them.” 1

Thus according to the Roman view justification includes sanctification. On the other hand, as is well known, Luther and the Reformers generally insisted very strongly and even vehemently on the distinction between justification and sanctification, and on the forensic meaning to be given to the former. According to them, justification is the initial blessing, when God receives the repentant sinner, pardons, and accepts him.

And on this point an examination of S. Paul's usage of the word makes it clear that they were right. The Apostle certainly does distinguish between justification and sanctification, and uses the former word, not for final salvation, nor for infused holiness, but, as the Reformers insisted, for the initial blessing, when God accepts a man and, pardoning him, or “not imputing his sins to him," at the outset, treats him as "not guilty.” “All have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. iii. 23, 24; cf. iv. 5, where God is said to justify Tòv ảoeßn). To be justified, according to him, is to be pardoned and accepted ; to be taken into

Dei, non qua Ipse justus est, sed qua nos justos facit, qua videlicet ab eo donati, renovamur Spiritu mentis nostræ, et non modo reputamur, sed vere justi nominamur, et sumus, justitiam in nobis recipientes."— Conc. Trid., Sess. VI. c. vii.

1 "Si quis dixerit homines justificari, vel sola imputatione justitiæ Christi, vel sola peccatorum remissione, exclusa gratia et charitate, quæ in cordibus eorum per Spiritum Sanctum diffundatur, atque illis inhæreat; aut etiam gratiam qua justificamur esse tantum favorem Dei; anathema sit.”- 1b. canon xi.

God's favour all sinful and unworthy as we are: and justification, according to this view, contains these two ideas, (1) pardon for sin, and (2) a right and title to eternal life founded upon promise; but the idea of an infused righteousness is not contained in the term. Being made free from sin "there is justification— "ye have your fruit unto holiness"-there is sanctification, distinct from justification, but not independent of it.

[ocr errors]

On the whole, then, it may be safely said that if we are to follow the teaching and language of S. Paul we must at least in thought distinguish between these two blessings, the one (justification) the work of the Son of God for us, the other (sanctification) the work of the Holy Spirit within us; and so distinguishing them, must hold that in the order of the Christian life justification precedes sanctification. In the words of S. Chrysostom, God "crowns us at the outset, making the contest light to us." And if it be said that this introduces into God's dealings with us an element of unreality, man being regarded as righteous when he is not really so, and Christ's merits being "imputed" to him by a sort of legal fiction, it may be replied that there is no more unreality or fiction necessarily involved than is implied in all pardon, since the forgiveness of any wrong implies the treating of the doer of it as "not guilty." But


1 Hom. in Rom. xiii.

"There is something sufficiently startling in this. The Christian life is made to have its beginning in a fiction. No wonder that the fact is questioned, and that another sense is given to the words-that dikaιoûσlaι is taken to imply, not the attribution of righteousness in idea, but an imparting of actual righteousness. The facts of language, however, are inexorable: we have seen that dikaιoûr, dikaιoûσlai have the first sense and not the second; that they are rightly said to be "forensic"; that they have reference to a judicial verdict, and to nothing beyond. To this conclusion we feel bound to adhere, even though it should follow that the state described is (if we are pressed) a fiction, that God is

when so much has been said, and the two blessings have been thus distinguished in thought and assigned definite theological names, it must never be forgotten that in actual life they are inseparable. In the order of thought justification precedes sanctification. But together the blessings stand or fall. If a man is justified we may be sure that he is being sanctified, however imperfect his condition may be. If he is not being sanctified, he has fallen from his state of grace, and can no longer be regarded as “justified."

II. The meritorious Cause of Justification. On this point the teaching of the Article is clear and distinct. The meritorious cause of our justification is the atoning work of Christ. We are accounted righteous before God only for the merits of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (propter meritum Domini, etc.), ... and not for our own works or deservings (non propter opera et merita nostra). It will be observed that the same preposition, “for” (propter), is used in both clauses, whereas when faith is mentioned in connection with justification an entirely different preposition, "by” (per), is employed. It is

regarded as dealing with men rather by the ideal standard of what they may be than by the actual standard of what they are. What this means is, that when a man makes a great change, such as that which the first Christians made when they embraced Christianity, he is allowed to start on his career with a clean record ; his sin-stained past is not reckoned against him. The change is the great thing; it is that at which God looks. As with the prodigal son in the parable, the breakdown of his pride and rebellion in the one cry, “Father, I have sinned,” is enough. The father does not wait to be gracious. He does not put him upon a long term of probation, but reinstates him at once in the full privilege of sonship. The justifying verdict is nothing more than the “best robe " and the "ring” and the "fatted calf” of the parable (Luke xv. 22 f.).* -Sanday and Headlam On the Romans, p. 36.

important to dwell on this, because it shows that the real antithesis in the Article (as in Scripture) is not between faith and works, but between the merit and work of our Saviour and human merit and work, i.e. between receiving salvation as God's free gift, and earning it by our own efforts. That the meritorious cause of justification is the merit and atoning work of our Saviour, is recognised as fully and frankly by the Church of Rome as it is by the Church of England; and indeed it is hard to see how it can be questioned theoretically by any except those who would deny altogether the need of the Atonement. And yet there can be no doubt that practically the medieval system did tend to make men rely on their own merits as the cause of their justification, and led to the notion that they could earn it by what they did ; while in the opposite quarter there are traces of the same error among some of the Anabaptists. This error, it is to be hoped, has entirely passed away at the present day; and we may therefore proceed at once to the next subject that demands consideration.

III. The Instrument or formal Cause of Justification.

This the Article asserts to be faith.

We are

So in the Article “Of Rites and Ceremonies," in the Ten Articles of 1536 after an enumeration of a number of "laudable customs, rites, and ceremonies not to be condemned and cast away, but to be used and continued,” it was felt to be necessary to add the reminder, that “none of these ceremonies have power to remit sin, but only to stir and lift up our minds unto God, by whom only our sins are forgiven.”—Formularies of Faith, p. 16.

*They (the Anabaptists] boste themselues to be ryghtuous and to please God, not purely and absolutely for Christes sake, but for theyr owne mortification of themselues, for theyr owne good workes and persecucion, if they suffre any."—Hermann's Consultation, fol. cxlii. (English translation of 1548), quoted in Hardwick, p. 99.


by1 faith (per fidem).

• •

accounted righteous. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only (sola fide) is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

There are several matters here which require elucidation

(a) The meaning of "faith."

(b) The meaning of the expression "we are justified by faith only."

(c) The reason why faith is the instrument of justification.

(a) The meaning of "faith."-There is no Hebrew word exactly answering to our term "faith." The verb signifying to believe, to trust, is N, which the LXX. habitually render by TOTEúev, from the important passage, Gen. xv. 6, onwards: "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness (LXX. καὶ ἐπίστευσεν ̓Αβραὰμ τῷ Θεῷ καὶ ἐλογίσθη αὐτῷ εἰς δικαιοσύνην). This is one of the two great passages on which S. Paul bases his doctrine of justification by faith. But there is in Hebrew no substantive meaning faith as an active principle, i.e. trustfulness, or the frame of mind which relies upon another. The nearest approach is found in , firmness or constancy, which is variously rendered by the LXX. åλýðeiα, πίστις, or by an adjective, ἀληθινός, πιστός, ἀξιόπιστος. The word, however, is rather passive than active, signifying trustworthiness, or the frame of mind that can be relied on; although in Hab. ii. 4 (S. Paul's other great text) it seems to have a double or transitional"


[ocr errors]

1 "By" in old English is ordinarily equivalent to "through." Cf. Lightfoot On Revision, p. 119: "Where in common language we now say 'by' and 'through' (i.e. by means of) respectively, our translators, following the diction of their age, generally use ‘of' and 'by' respectively; 'of' denoting the agent (vzó), and 'by' the instrument or means (diá).”

« ПредишнаНапред »