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JUSTIFICATION BY AN IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS ;
NO WAY TO HEAVEN BUT BY JESUS CHRIST.
USTIFICATION is to be Jeroboam, but “ took no heed to walk in the law
I might hence also shew you that a man may 1. Sometimes it is taken be justified even then when his action is confor the justification of demned ; also that a man may be in a state of persons.
condemnation when his action may be justified. 2. Sometimes for the But with these distinctions I will not take up
justification of actions. | time, my intention being to treat of justification,
Searbo 3. And sometimes for as it sets a man free or quit from sin, the curse the justification of the person and action too. and condemnation of the law in the sight of God,
It is taken for the justification of persons, and in order to eternal salvation. that,
And that I may with the more clearness handle (1.) As to justification with God; or,
this point before you, I will lay down and speak (2.) As to justification with men.
to this propositionAs to justification with God—that is, when a
That there is no other way for sinners to be man stands clear, quit, free, or in a saved condition before him in the approbation of his holy
justified from the curse of the law in the
sight of God than by the imputation of As to justification with men—that is, when a
that righteousness long ago performed by, man stands clear and quit from just ground of
and still residing with, the person of Jesus reprehension with them.
Christ. Justification also is to be taken with reference The terms of this proposition are easy ; yet if it to actions; and that may be when they are will help, I will speak a word or two forexplication. considered,
(1.) By a sinner, I mean one that has trans1. As flowing from true faith; or,
gressed the law; for “ sin is the transgression of 2. Because the act done fulfils some transient the law,” i John, iii. 4. law.
(2.) By the curse of the law, I mean that sen(1.) As actions flow from faith, so they are tence, judgment, or condemnation which the law justified, because done before God in, and made pronounceth against the transgressor, Gal. iii. 10. complete through, the perfections of Jesus Christ, (3.) By justifying righteousness, I mean that 1 Pet. ii. 5; Heb. xiii. 15; Rev. viii, 1–4. which stands in the doing and suffering of Christ
(2.) As by the doing of the act some transient when he was in the world, Rom. v. 19. law is fulfilled; as when Jehu executed judg. (4.) By the residing of this righteousness in ment upon the house of Ahab—“Thou hast done Christ's person, I mean it still abides with him as well,” said God to him, “ in executing that to the action, though the benefit is bestowed upon which is righteous in mine eyes, and hast done to those that are his. the house of Ahab all that was in mine heart," (5.) By the imputation of it to us, I mean 2 Kings, x. 30.
God's making of it ours by an act of his grace, As to such acts, God may or may not look at that we by it might be secured from the curse of the qual fication of those that do them; and it is the law. clear that he had not respect to any good that (6.) When I say there is no other way to be was in Jehu in the justifying of this action ; nor justified, I cast away to that end the law, and all could be, for Jehu stuck close yet to the sins of the works of the law as done by us.
Thus I have opened the terms of the pro- / ing that nowhere else could peace or safety be position.
had. Now the two first-to wit, What sin and the And indeed this is one of the greatest mys. curse is, stand clear in all men's sight, unless teries in the world-namely, that a righteousness they be atheists, or desperately heretical. I that resides with a person in heaven should jusshall therefore in few words clear the other tify me, a sinner, on earth. four. .
Fourthly, Therefore the law and the works First, Therefore justifying righteousness is the thereof as to this must by us be cast away ; not doing and suffering of Christ when he was in the only because they here are useless, but also they world. This is clear, because we are said to be being retained are a hindrance. That they are “ justified by his obedience,” Rom. v. 19; by his useless is evident, for that salvation comes by obedience to the law. Hence he is said again to another name, Acts, iv. 12. And that they are be the end of the law for that very thing- a hindrance, it is clear, for the very adhering to “ Christ is the end of the law for righteousness," the law, though it be but a little, or in a little &c., Rom. x. 4. The end, what is that? Why, part, prevents justification by the righteousness the requirement or demand of the law. But what of Christ, Rom. ix. 31, 32. are they? Why, righteousness, perfect righte- What shall I say? As to this, the moral law ousness, Gal. iii. 10. Perfect righteousness, what is rejected, the ceremonial law is rejected, and to do? That the soul concerned might stand man's righteousness is rejected, for that they are spotless in the sight of God, Rev. i. 5. Now here both weak and unprofitable, Rom. viii. 2,3; this lies only in the doings and sufferings of Gal. iii. 21; Heb. x. 1-12. Christ; for “ by his obedience many are made Now if all these and their works as to our jusrighteous ;" wherefore as to this Christ is the tification are rejected, where but in Christ is end of the law, that being found in that obe- righteousness to be found ? dience, that becomes to us sufficient for our justi Thus much, therefore, for the explication of fication. Hence we are said to be made righteous the proposition--namely, that there is no other by his obedience ; yea, and to be washed, purged, way for sinners to be justified from the curse of and justified by his blood, Heb. ix. 14; Romans, the law in the sight of God than by the imputav. 18, 19.
tion of that righteousness long ago performed by, Secondly, That this righteousness still resides and still residing with, the person of Jesus in and with the person of Christ, even then when Christ. we stand just before God thereby, is clear, for Now, from this proposition I draw these two that we are said when justified to be justified “in positionshinı"_" In the Lord shall all the seed of Israel First, Tbat men are justified from the curse be justified.” And again ; “Surely, shall one of the law before God while sinners in themsay, in the Lord have I righteousness,” &c. selves. And again ; “For him are ye in Christ Jesus, Secondly, That this can be done by no other who is made unto us of God righteousness," righteousness than that long ago performed by, Isa. xlv. 24, 25; 1 Cor. i. 30.
and residing with, the person of Jesus Christ. Mark, the righteousness is still "in him," ! Let us, then, now enter into the consideration not " in us,” even then when we are made par- | of the first of these--namely, That men are justakers of the benefit of it, even as the wing and tified from the curse of the law before God while feathers still abide in the hen when the chickens sinners in themselves. are covered, kept, and warmed thereby.
This I shall manifest, For as my doings, though my children are fed 1. By touching upon the mysterious acts of and clothed thereby, are still my doings, not our redemption. theirs, so the righteousness wherewith we stand 2. By giving of you plain texts which discover just before God from the curse still resides in it; and, Christ, not in us. Our sins when laid upon 3. By reasons drawn from the texts. Christ were yet personally ours, not his; so his! For the first of these ; to wit, the mysterious righteousness when put upon us is yet personally act of our redemption : and that I shall speak to his, not ours. What is it, then ? Why, “he was under these two headsmade to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we 1. I shall shew you what that is; and, might be made the righteousness of God in him," 2. How we were concerned therein. 2 Cor. v. 21.
That which I call, and that rightly, the mysThirdly, It is therefore of a justifying virtue terious act of our redemption, is Christ's sufferonly by imputation, or as God reckoneth it to us; ings as a common, though a particular person even as our sins made the Lord Jesus a sinner and as a sinner, though always completely nay, sin, by God's reckoning of them to him. righteous.
It is absolutely necessary that this be known That he suffered as a common person is true. of us; for if the understanding be muddy as to By common, I mean a public person, or one that this, it is impossible that such should be sound in presents the body of mankind in himself. This the faith; also in temptation, that man will be at a a multitude of scriptures bear witness to, espeloss that looketh for a righteousness for justifica- cially that fifth chapter to the Romans, where by tion in himself, when it is to be found nowhere the apostle he is set before us as the head of all but in Jesus Christ.
the elect, even as Adam was once head of all The apostle, who was his craftsmaster as to the world. Thus he lived, and thus he died ; this, was always " looking to Jesus," that he and this was a mysterious act. “ might be found in him," (Phil. iii. 6-8,) know. And that he should die as a sinner, when yet himself did “no sin, nor had any guile found in client is said to do, when it is the lawyer only his mouth," made this act more mysterious, i Pet. that does ; and to overcome by doing, when it is i. 19; ii. 22; iii. 18. That he died as a sinner the lawyer that overcomes; the reason is, because is plain-" He hath made him to be sin. And the lawyer does in the client's name. How much the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all." more then may it be said we do, when only Christ Isaiah, liii. That, then, as to his own person does; since he does what he does, not in our name he was completely sinless is also as truly mani. only, but in our nature too; " for the law of the fest, and that by a multitude of scriptures. spirit of life in Christ (not in me) has set me
Now, I say, that Christ Jesus should be thus free from the law of sin and death,” Rom. viii. considered, and thus die, was the great mystery 1-3; he doing in his common flesh what could of God. Hence Paul tells us, that when he not be done in my particular person, that so I preached “Christ crucified," he preached not might have the righteousness of the law fulfilled only the “ wisdom of God," but the “wisdom of in me, my flesh assumed by Christ; though imGoá in a mystery,” even his " hidden wisdom," possible to be done, because of the weakness of for, indeed, this wisdom is hidden, and kept close my person. from the “ fowls of the air," I Cor. i. 23 ; ii. 7,8; The reason of all this is because we are said Job, xxviii. 20, 21.
to be in him in his doing, in him by our flesh, It is also so mysterious, that it goes beyond and also by the election of God. So, then, as all the reach of all men, except those to whom an men sinned when Adam fell, so all the elect did understanding is given of God to apprehend it, righteousness when Christ wrought and fulfilled 1 John, v. 20.
the law; for “as in Adam all die, even so in That one particular man should represent all Christ shall all be made alive." the elect in himself, and that the most righteous . Secondly, As we are said to do by Christ, so should die as a sinner, yea, as a sinner by the we are said to suffer by him, to suffer with him. hand of a just and holy God, is a mystery of the “I am crucified with Christ," said Paul. And greatest depth.
again ; “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered Secondly, And now I come to shew you how for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the elect are concerned therein; that is, in this the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the mysterious act of this most blessed One ; and this | flesh hath ceased from sin," i Pet. iv. 1, 2. Mark will make this act yet more mysterious to you. how the apostle seems to change the person. First
Now, then, we will speak of this first, as to how he says, it is Christ that suffered ; and that is Christ prepared himself thus mysteriously to act. true ; but then he insinuates that it is us that suf
1. He took hold of our nature. I say, he took fered, for the exhortation is to believers, to “walk hold of us by taking upon him flesh and blood. in newness of life;" and the argument is, beThe Son of God, therefore, took not upon him a cause they have suffered in the flesh: “ For he particular person, though he took to him a that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from human body and soul; but that which he took sin ; that he no longer should live the rest of his was, as I may call it, a lump of the common time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the nature of man, and by that, hold of the whole will of God," Gal. ii. 20. elect seed of Abraham ; Heb. ii. 16, “ For verily | We then suffered, when Christ suffered ; we he took not on him the nature of angels, but he then suffered in his flesh, and also our “old man took on him the seed of Abraham."
was crucified with him, Rom. vi. 6; that is, in Hence he, in a mystery, became us, and was his crucifixion ; for when he hanged on the cross, counted as all the men that were or should be all the elect hanged there in their common flesh saved. And this is the reason why we are said which he assumed, and because he suffered there to do, when only Jesus Christ did do. As for as a public man. instance
Thirdly, As we are said to suffer with him, so First, When Jesus Christ fulfilled the righteous- we are said to die, to be dead with him; with ness of the law, it is said it was fulfilled in us, him, that is, by the dying of his body : “Now if we because indeed fulfilled in our nature: "For what be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall the law could not do, in that it was weak through also live with him," Rom. vi. 8. the flesh; God sending his own Son in the like | Wherefore he saith in other places, “ Brethren, ness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin ye are become dead to the law by the body of in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law Christ;" for indeed we died then to it by him. might be fulfilled in us," &c. But because none To the law-that is, the law now has nothing to should appropriate this unto themselves that have do with us; for that it has already executed its not had passed upon them a work of conversion, curse to the full upon us by its slaying of the therefore he adds, “ Who walk not after the body of Christ ; for the body of Christ was our flesh, but after the Spirit." For there being a flesh, upon it also was laid our sin. The law, union between head and members, though things too, spent that curse that was due to us upon may be done by the head, and that for the mem- him when it condemned, killed, and cast him bers, the things are counted to the members, as | into the grave. Wherefore, it having thus spent if not done only by the head. The “righteous- | its whole curse upon him as standing in our stead, ness of the law is fulfilled in us ;" and that truly, we are exempted from its curse for ever; we are because fulfilled in that common nature which become dead to it by that body, Rom. vii. 4; it the Son of God took of the Virgin. Wherefore, has done with us as to justifying righteousness. in this sense we are said to do what only was Nor need we fear its damning threats any more; done by him ; even as the client doth by his for by the death of this body we are freed from lawyer, when his lawyer personates him; the it, and are for ever now coupled to a living Christ.
Fourthly, As we are said thus to be dead, so! Having forgiven you all trespasses. For neceswe are said also to rise again by him-" Thy dead sity so required ; because else how was it posmen” (saith he to the Father) “shall live, toge- sible that the pains of death should be loosed in ther with my dead body shall they arise.” And order to his rising, so long as one sin stood still again ; “ After two days he will revive us, and charged to him, as that for the commission of in the third day we shall live in his sight,” Isaiah, which God had not received a plenary satisfacxxvi, 19; Hos. vi. 2.
tion. As therefore we suffered, died, and rose Both these scriptures speak of the resurrection again by him; so, in order to his so rising, he, of Christ, of the resurrection of his body on the as presenting of us in his person and suffering, third day; but behold, as we were said before to received for us remission of all our trespasses. A suffer and be dead with him, so now we are said full discharge therefore was, in and by Christ, also to rise and live in God's sight by the resur- received of God of all our sins afore he arose rection of his body; for, as was said, the flesh from the dead; as his resurrection truly dewas ours; he took part of our flesh when he clared; for “ he was delivered for our offences, came into the world; and in it he “suffered, and was raised again for our justification," Rom. died, and rose again,” Heb. ii. 14. We also were iv. 25. . therefore counted by God in that God-man when | This therefore is one of the privileges we rehe did this; yea, he suffered, died, and rose as a ceive by the rising again of our Lord, for that common head.
we were in his flesh considered, yea, and in his Hence also the New Testament is full of this, | death and suffering too. saying, “If ye be dead with Christ.” “If ye 1 2. By this means also we have now escaped be risen with Christ.” And again ; “He hath death.'" Knowing that Christ being raised from quickened us together with him," Col. ii. 20; the dead dieth no more ; death hath no more iii. 1, and ii. 13.
dominion over him. For in that he died, he died "We are quickened together with him.” unto (or, for) sin once: but in that he liveth, he “Quickened," and "quickened together with liveth unto God," Rom. vi. 9, 10. him." The apostle hath words that cannot easily Now in all this, considering what has been said be shifted or evaded. Christ then was quick before, we that are of the elect are privileged, ened when he was raised from the dead. Nor is for that we also are raised up by the rising of the it proper to say that he was ever quickened either body of Christ from the dead. And thus the before or since. This text also concludes that apostle bids us reckon—“ Likewise reckon also we—to wit, the whole body of God's elect, were yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive also quickened then, and made to live with him unto God through Jesus Christ,” Rom. vi. 11. together. True, we also are quickened person. Hence Christ says, “ he is the resurrection ally by grace the day in the which we are born and the life,” for that all his are safe in him, unto God by the gospel; yet afore that we are suffering, dying, and rising. He is the life, our quickened in our head ; quickened when he was life; yea, so our life that by him the elect do raised from the dead ; quickened together with live before God, even then when as to themselves him.
they yet are dead in their sins. Wherefore, Fifthly, Nor are we thus considered to wit, hence it is that in time they partake of quickenas dying and rising, and so left ; but the apostle ing grace from this their head, to the making pursues his argument, and tells us that we also | of them also live by faith, in order to their reap by him, as being considered in him, the bene- living hereafter with him in glory; for if Christ fit which Christ received, both in order to his lives, they cannot die that were sharers with resurrection, and the blessed effect thereof. him in his resurrection. Hence they are said to
1. We received, by our thus being counted in “ live," being “ quickened together with him." him, that benefit which did precede his rising Also, as sure as at his resurrection they lived from the dead; and what was that but the for “ by him," so sure at his coming shall they be giveness of sins? For this stands clear to rea gathered “ to him ;” nay, from that day to this son, that if Christ had our sins charged upon all that, as aforesaid, were in him at his death him at his death, he then must be discharged of and resurrection, are already, in the “ fulness of them in order to his resurrection. Now, though the dispensation of time," daily“ gathering to it is not proper to say they were forgiven to him." For this he hath purposed, wherefore him, because they were purged from him by none can disannul it-" In the fulness of the merit; yet they may be said to be forgiven us, dispensation of time, to gather together in one because we receive this benefit by grace.
all things in Christ, both which are in heaven And this, I say, was done precedent to his re | and which are in earth; even in him," Ephes. surrection from the dead : “ He hath quickened i. 9, 10. us together with him, having forgiven us all tres 3. To secure this the more to our faith that passes." He could not be "quickened” till we believe, as we are said to be “ raised up together were “discharged;" because it was not for him- with him," so we are said " to be made to sit toself, but for us, that he died. Hence we are said gether in heavenly places in Christ Jesus," Eph. to be at that time, as to our own personal estate, ii. 6. We died by him, we rose by him, and are dead in our sins, even when we are “ quickened together, even all the elect set down together together with him,” Col. ii. 13.
in “heavenly places in Christ Jesus ;" for still Therefore both the “quickening” and “for. | even now he is on the right hand of God, he is giveness" too, so far as we are in this text con- to be considered as our public man, our head, cerned, is to him, as we are considered in him or and so one in whom is concluded all the elect of to him, with respect to us.
| God. We then are by him already in heaven;
in heaven, I say, by him; yea, set down there prove the truth of this our great position. And in our places of glory by him. Hence the apostle, speaking of us again, saith, That as we are pre- L . By giving of you plain texts that discover destinate, we are called, justified, and glorified; it, and that consequently prove our point. called, justified, glorified, all is done, already 2. And after that, by giving of you reasons done, as thus considered in Christ, Rom. vii. 30. drawn from the texts. For that in his public work there is nothing yet For the first of these. to do as to this. Is not he called ? Is not he 1. First. “ Speak not in thine heart,” (no, not justified? Is not he glorified? And are we not in thine heart,) " after that the Lord thy God in him, in him, even as so considered ?
hath cast out thine enemies before thee, saying, Nor doth this doctrine hinder or forestal the For my righteousness do I possess the land :doctrine of regeneration or conversion ; nay, it not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness lays a foundation for it; for by this doctrine we of thine heart, dost thou go in to possess the land. gather assurance that Christ will have his own; -Understand, therefore, that the Lord thy God for if already they live in their head, what is that giveth thee not this good land to possess it for but a pledge that they shall live in their persons thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked with him ? and, consequently, that to that end they people,” Deut. ix. 4–6. shall, in the times allotted for that end, be called In these words, very pat for our purpose, two to a state of faith, which God has ordained shall things are worthy our consideration. precede and go before their personal enjoyment 1. The people here spoken to were the people of glory.
of God; and so by God himself are they here Nor doth this hinder their partaking of the twice acknowledged to be-" The Lord thy God, symbol of regeneration, and of their other privi- the Lord thy God.” So, then, the righteousness leges to which they are called in the day of grace; here intended is not the righteousness that is in yea, it lays a foundation for all these things; for the world, but that which the people of God perif I am dead with Christ, let me be like one dead form. with him, even to all things to which Christ died 2. The righteousness here intended is not when he hanged on the tree; and then he died some, but all, and every whit of that the church to sin, to the law, and to the rudiments of this performs to God: " Say not in thine heart, after world, Rom. vi. 10; vii. 4; Col. ii. 20.
the Lord hath brought thee in, It was for my And if I be risen with Christ, let me live, like righteousness." No, all thy righteousness, from one born from the dead, in newness of life, and Egypt to Canaan, will not purchase Canaan for having my mind and affections on the things thee. where Christ now sitteth on the right hand of That this is true is evident, because it is thrice God. And indeed he professes in vain that rejected—“ Not for thy righteousness, not for talketh of these things, and careth not to have thy righteousness, not for thy righteousness, dost them also answered in himself. This was the thou possess the land.” Now if the righteousapostle's way-namely, “ To covet to know him, ness of the people of God of old could not merit and the power of his resurrection, and the fel for them Canaan, which was but a type of hea. lowship of his sufferings, being made couform ven, how can the righteousness of the world now able to his death,” Phil. iii. 9-13.
obtain heaven itself? I say again, And when we are thus, that thing is true both If goodly men, as these were, could not by in him and us. Then as is the heavenly, such their works purchase the type of heaven, then are they that are heavenly ; for he that saith must the ungodly be justified, if ever they be he is in him, and by being in him a partaker of | justified from the curse and sentence of the law, these privileges by him, " ought himself so to while sinners in themselves. The argument is walk even as he walked," 1 Cor. xv. 48; 1 John, clear; for if good men by what they do cannot ii. 6, 8.
merit the less, bad men by what they do cannot But to pass this digression, and to come to my merit more. argument-namely, that men are justified from Secondly, “ Remember me, O my God, for the curse of the law before God while sinners this; and wipe not out my good deeds that I in themselves.
have done,” Neh. xiii. 14. This is evident by what hath already been ! These words were spoken by holy Nehemiah, said ; for if the justification of their persons is and that at the end of all the good that we read by, in, and through Christ; then it is not by, in, he did in the world. Also, the deeds here spoken and through their own doings. Nor was Christ of were deeds done for God, for his people, for engaged in this work but of necessity, even be- his house, and for the offices thereof. cause else there had not been salvation for the Yet godly Nehemiah durst not stand before elect.“ Father, (saith he,) if it be possible, let God in these, nor yet suffer them to stand to his this cup pass from me,” Matt. xxvi. 39. If what judgment by the law; but prays to God to be be possible? Why, that my elect may be saved, merciful both to him and them, and to spare him and I not spill my blood. Wherefore he saith “ according to the multitude of his mercy,” again, Christ ought to suffer. Christ must needs ver. 22. have suffered ; for without shedding of blood is God blots out no good but for the sake of sin; po remission of sin, Luke, xxiv. 26; Acts, xvii. 3; and forasmuch as this man prays God would not Heb. ix. 22.
blot out his, it is evident that he was conscious 2. We will now come to the present state and to himself that in his good works were sin. condition of those that are justified; I mean Now, I say, if a good man's works are in danger with respect to their own qualifications, and so of being overthrown because there is in them a