(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 5)

God's Righteousness Vindicated Against Fallen Man
Lord's Day 4
    Psalter No. 12 st. 1, 2, 3
    Read Rom. 1:16-32
    Psalter No. 244 st. 3, 4
    Psalter No. 338 st. 1, 2
    Psalter No. 83 st. 1, 2, 3
    In the saving conviction wrought by the Holy Spirit, knowledge
of God and the knowledge of self go together to humble the people of
God before the Lord. There is also a common working of the Spirit,
but that does not rest upon the reconciliation by Christ's
sacrifice, and it lacks the characteristic of humility; the sinner
remains in the state of misery in which he willfully cast himself in
his covenant head Adam. Cain, who could not deny his guilt anymore,
hardened himself, and lacking humility of soul and the refuge in the
blood that speaketh better things than that of Abel, cried out, "My
punishment is greater than I can bear." Esau found no place of
repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears, having tears
of bitterness but not humbled by his guilt. Judas acknowledged, "I
have sinned, betraying innocent blood," but in despair he went out
and hanged himself. There are common convictions of sin in the
reprobate and in the elect before their conversion which many take
for saving convictions, but these convictions never cause a man to
come to God as a poor lost sinner with true contrition to seek
deliverance in Christ, even though some of them may, as Orpah, have
a degree of respect and love to God's people. The true knowledge of
God and of self is lacking however, and it is very necessary,
especially in these days, to give our attention to this matter, lest
we deceive ourselves for an all-decisive eternity.
    True conviction summons us before the judgment seat of God and
works in us a deep humiliation, so that we know ourselves to be
guilty of all God's commandments. It cuts off all hope of
improvement by showing us our deep fall in our covenant head Adam,
by which we became incapable of doing any good and inclined to all
evil. It causes us to acknowledge God's justice even though it would
condemn us forever. This true humiliation causes us to seek refuge
in God and to beseech Him for mercy. The deeper the discovering work
of the Holy Spirit is, the more the soul justifies the Lord, and
discards all excuses. This our instructor shows us according to
God's Word in the 4th Lord's Day of the Heidelberg Catechism.
    Lord's Day 4
Q. 9. Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him
    in his law, that which he cannot perform?
A. Not at all; for God made man capable of performing it; but man,
    by the instigation of the devil, and his own willful
    disobedience, deprived himself and all his posterity of those
    divine gifts.
Q. 10: Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go
A. By no means; but is terribly displeased with our original as well
    as actual sins; and will punish them in his just judgment
    temporally and eternally as he has declared, "Cursed is every
    one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the
    book of the law, to do them."
Q. 11: Is not God then also merciful?
A. God is indeed merciful, but also just; therefore his justice
    requires that sin which is committed against the most high
    majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with
    everlasting punishment of body and soul.
    In this Lord's Day God's righteousness is vindicated against
fallen man.
      I Notwithstanding his inability to fulfill the law's demand;
     II In the outpouring of God's terrible wrath;
    III In perfect agreement with God's mercy.
    As he uncovered the source of our misery, the breach of the
covenant by Adam, the instructor has cut off all hope of man's
improvement. Our nature is so corrupt that we are incapable of doing
any good, and inclined to all wickedness. Fallen man shall never be
able to perform any good in the sight of God. "There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all
gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is
none that does good, no, not one." Neither the morality of the
ancient heathens, estranged from the Word of God, which has been
revived from age to age in newer forms, and even in our days has
been reintroduced under the name of Christian humanism, nor the
ethical moralist brought to baptized crowds for their conversion,
that is, for their improvement, shows the way out of the state of
man's misery. "We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that
they are all under sin," said the Apostle. Whether Jew or Gentile,
we are, in Adam, guilty before God, children of wrath, dead in
trespasses and sins.
    Nevertheless, God's justice continues to demand perfect
obedience from guilty men who are entirely incapable of doing any
good, but able only to bear fruit unto death. "Does not God then do
injustice to man?"
    "Yes, that is unjust," cries the Pelagian. Pelagius was a
British monk who lived around the year 450 A. D., and denied not
only the perfect creation after the image of God, but also our fall
in Adam. "Man is not incapable of doing any spiritual good; after
the fall man has a free will; if he wishes, he can do good; the fall
in Adam did not corrupt him, and if God demands obedience, man must
be able to render it; God does not demand the impossible, that would
be unjust." Thus Pelagius taught, and hundreds in our day agree with
him, all that ascribe a free will to man: the Armenians, the Roman
Catholics, and Modernists; all walk in the ways of Pelagius, yea,
the inclination to it lies in all our hearts. We challenge God's
right to demand what we cannot render. To our mind it is an
unsolvable problem: to be lost because of our own sin, but to be
saved by free grace. Preach that men must pray and then God will
give it, that we must knock, and then God will open to us, then we
will work and God will fulfill His promises. Do not say man is
entirely incapable of doing any good, for then you take away all his
hope; then, they cry, there is no comfort in all your preaching for
the unconverted; then we remain in our impotency. What does our
church attendance, our prayers, all our religion avail us? But,
beloved, is salvation then of works or of grace? If it is of grace,
all our works fall away entirely. Do you not feel that this entire
presentation as if God shall fulfill His promises, if we pray for
it, on condition that we knock, etc., does away with sovereign
grace? And yet many, even under the name of Reformed, present it
this way, in order as they aver, to hold the true doctrine high, and
to maintain man's responsibility. Nevertheless they do not see that
in this way natural man, however religious he may be, is lulled to
sleep and is set upon a sandy foundation. No, and no again, we do
not pray, seek, or knock. We are unwilling and unable to do so.
Shall we then just say nothing about man's responsibility? Shall we
hide behind our inability? Oh, my beloved, if we had any
understanding of the doctrine concerning the origin of our fall, we
would know that we are guilty, because the hardening of our heart
even under the richest presentation of the gospel that offers free
salvation without our works, is our own fault; because refusing to
be saved by grace, in spite of the offer of Christ in the gospel,
shall increase our condemnation. No, indeed, God did not publish a
new law under the new covenant, a kind of law in which he demands
faith, conversion, prayer, seeking and knocking; but He still
demands perfect obedience to the law which was inscribed in Adam's
heart and proclaimed from Mount Sinai. We show our enmity to God's
justice by the false pretenses of saying that God gave His promises
to all and we baptized people are all taken up in His covenant of
grace, and that by His promises He is obliged to give us salvation,
if we render to Him covenant obedience, and believe and convert
ourselves. We demand a reward for our church attendance, for our
prayers, for our religion, although we say that it is all of grace.
But it is and remains as the catechism says: "God does not do man an
injustice by requiring perfect obedience to the broken law, which we
cannot give because we are incapable of doing any good, and inclined
to all wickedness.
    Do we by this doctrine minimize at all the responsibility of
man? In no wise! One day each person shall be judged according to
his deeds, and his hardness in respect to the calling of the gospel
which God's faithful ministers urge upon him with holy solemnity,
shall increase his condemnation in that great day. Not being willing
to have that man reign over us, increases our sins as we have more
knowledge of God's Word and still live out the fall of Adam. Despise
the warnings, callings, impressions of conscience, but know thou,
that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. Return,
beloved, go back to Paradise, to our creation, which was so perfect
that we could keep God's law perfectly. God does man no injustice
when he requires from him in his law that which he cannot perform.
    This we learn to acknowledge by the saving operation of the Holy
Spirit. Then our eyes are opened for the fact that God's demand is
just, and we are condemnable before Him. Our father was an Amorite,
and our mother a Hittite, and because of the loathing of our soul we
were cast out upon the open field. In a moment, by the lightning of
God's omniscience, all our sins are then set before us; all the
mercy God has shown, all the callings of the gospel and then, yes,
then, but then only shall we acknowledge that we bear the full
responsibility, and we shall not lay the blame upon God. God's
people learn to cry, pray, and knock because of their agony of soul,
and yet they know themselves to be lost, more and more. God demands
in His law what we cannot perform. Not a penny of the debt is to be
canceled. Not only the gross sins we have committed, but also our
best works render us guilty before God. Why do men speak of pleading
upon God's promises, who are total strangers of it? The uncovered
sinner is placed before the inexorable demand of God's justice, his
breach of the covenant is shown to him, and although the riches of
grace break his heart when the promises are opened to him, either
under the reading or the preaching of God's Word, yet he lacks the
power of application. The promises are for God's people, and he is
far from applying them to himself, although he has a glimpse of
their riches. God's justice must be satisfied. That justice demands
perfect obedience to the law which he has broken. Thus more and more
it becomes a lost case with him. The publican would not lift up so
much as his eyes to heaven. Such souls learn to pray, to knock and
to cry. Finally the prayer, the supplication of those who
acknowledge God's justice in His perfect demand becomes, "God be
merciful to me, a sinner." Grace only can save him from death; grace
that blots out guilt and sin.
    Indeed, so it is. God demands perfect obedience from fallen man
and in so doing God does not do man an injustice, "for God made man
capable of performing it, but man, by the instigation of the devil,
and his own willful disobedience, deprived himself and all his
posterity of those divine gifts." We have heard in the previous
Lord's Day that God created man good, and after His own image in
true knowledge, righteousness and holiness. God granted to man all
the powers and gifts to obey perfectly that law which God had
inscribed in their hearts and set forth as a condition of the
Covenant of Works to receive life eternal. In the state of rectitude
that was all his desire, for the love of God constrained them to
dedicate themselves to God. His mind meditated with holy joy and
admiration the thoughts of God revealed to him. It was his will to
do perfectly what God commanded. His affections were entirely set
upon being pleasing to God. Without any especially added grace, man
was capable because of his creation to do all that God commanded.
Oh, in what a glorious state did God create man! Was God unjust,
then, when He demanded perfect obedience? And is it unjust that God
still demands that obedience also after man has wasted all those
gifts and powers in the fall? No, for "man, by the instigation of
the devil and his own willful disobedience, deprived himself and all
his posterity of those divine gifts."
    God's Word does not tell us how long Adam and Eve stayed in that
state of rectitude. We know that on the sixth day "God saw
everything that He had made, and, behold, it was very good." Hence
before the sixth day neither angel nor man had fallen. And on the
seventh day God rested from all His works, that is, God rejoiced in
them. It is hard then to set the fall on the seventh day, as Luther
did. Van Maastricht was of the opinion that Adam and Eve persevered
in that state at least a few days, yes, for a week. Although God's
Word does not tell the duration of life in Paradise, our theologians
feel it was but a short time. However, it is indisputable that "man
by the instigation of the devil and his own willful disobedience
deprived himself and all his posterity of the divine gifts"
necessary to keep God's law.
    By his own doing he fell out of the glorious state of rectitude
into the slavery of Satan and of sin. But the demand of God's
righteousness was not thereby removed. God demands that man shall
fulfill that for which He created him and gave him his ability. The
fault of our inability to keep God's law does not lie in God, but in
ourselves. By our willful disobedience we have sold ourselves to do
evil. Would God then relinquish His right? He would then deny
Himself and cease to be God. And this does not refer only to Adam
and Eve. We were included in Adam. Do not believe that one of us
would have refused to lend our ears to the words of Satan and to eat
of the forbidden tree. Do not think that one person would have done
better than Adam, for our human nature could not have been more
perfect than that of Adam. In Adam's fall our nature also was
corrupted. As we have already heard, his sin is imputed to us
because of our covenant relationship. By his fall we have become
debtors to God's justice, subject to the sentence of death, and
corrupt, leprous from the crown of our head to the sole of our feet.
By His righteous judgment God withdraws His image from the soul as
it enters the body. Therefore because of the imputation of Adam's
sin, we are born in such a state of misery that we cannot keep God's
law, not even one commandment for one moment. Our guilt is here
placed before our eyes in the light of God's righteousness. And if
it shall be well with us, our guilt must become our guilt by the
discovering work of the Holy Spirit, and not by the superficial
confession and admission that we are sinners.
    If this happens in truth, God's people must give up all hope in
themselves, they must justify the demand of God; their best works
become filthy rags and all our commissions and omissions become
glaring sins. And still God's law must be obeyed perfectly; God's
demand also rests upon the distressed soul as long as he has not
found peace in the blood of the Lamb although, Christ has fulfilled
the law for all His people. He can not withdraw himself from that
demand, but drawn by the love of God, and by the bands of loving
kindness, he agrees with that demand and justifies the Lord. God
does no injustice to man when he requires from him that which he can
no more perform. But man is therefore subject to temporal and
eternal punishment. God's justice toward fallen man is maintained,
as we now shall hear,
    in the pouring out of God's dreadful wrath.
Q. 10: Will God suffer such disobedience and rebellion to go
A. By no means.

    Let the Socinian prattle about God's forgiving sin without
having received satisfaction in Christ, the answer of our instructor
cuts off all excuses. Briefly and to the point he answers, "By no
means." Faustus Socinus, born in 1539, held that righteousness does
not belong to the essence and nature of God, but to His will; which
again is not an immutable attribute of God by which God can will the
glorification of all His perfections, but an arbitrary and
changeable will. Punishment and forgiveness would then be decided by
an arbitrary will in God. If He forgives sin, He demands no
satisfaction. Does not remission preclude satisfaction? But Socinus
does not know the God of the Scriptures. His justice does not rest
upon arbitrariness, but belongs to His unchangeable nature. He
punishes sin in His only begotten Son and forgives them in His
people, who cannot pay a penny. But in thus forgiving sin God does
not subtract the least bit of His justice.
    The Son of God was never the object of His wrath. Even when He
was in the form of a servant, the Father spoke both at His baptism
and on the mount of Transfiguration, "This is My beloved Son."
Therefore He was never the object, but He was the bearer of the
wrath of God. Thus the Father maintaining the righteousness of God,
showed in the highest degree that He is terribly displeased with our
original and actual sins, and will punish them in His just judgment
temporally and eternally. He has not spared His own Son when He gave
Himself into judgment, to render satisfaction for the sins of the
elect. His justice demanded vengeance upon sin. If the pleasure of
the Lord shall prosper, sin must be punished and God's holy wrath
must be poured out, even upon His own beloved Son in Whom He is
well-pleased. If He could not relinquish His right when His own Son
stepped in as Surety for His elect, how then could He relinquish His
right when it concerned man, who tried to rob Him of His royal power
and glory? No, indeed, God will not let sin go unpunished; but He is
terribly displeased with our original and actual sins. The wrath of
God is holy, the perfect abhorrence of, and vengeance upon sin.
"Thou art," cries Habakkuk, "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and
can't not look on iniquity." "For Thou art not a God that has
pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with Thee. The
foolish shall not stand in Thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of
iniquity." (Ps. 5) And God's wrath is upon original as well as
actual sins, hence upon our original sins and those that we commit
with thoughts, words and deeds. Sinless children are not born. All
are conceived and born in sin, except Christ, Who was conceived of
the Holy Ghost. God's wrath rests upon us from the time we enter
this world, and day by day, heartbeat by heartbeat we increase our
guilt and provoke God to wrath. No sins are remissible in
themselves, as Rome teaches. Every sin provokes God's wrath: "Cursed
is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in
the book of the law to do them." Even the sins of God's people
deserve punishment, when viewed in themselves. Their punishment is
taken away only by the satisfaction of Christ. God does not punish
His people, although He chastises them for their sins. However this
does not alter the fact that the Lord is terribly displeased with
all sins and will certainly punish them. The wages of sin is death.
    God's people learn to know something of the wrath of God. This
brings the sorrows of death upon them. They cry out with the
Psalmist, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell
got hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow." They testify that the
punishments of God are all righteous, both in and after this life.
For also in this life God punishes sin, although He is merciful and
slow to anger. His judgments are sent over the whole world; the
seals are opened, the trumpets sound, the vials are poured out. Both
in the lives of individuals, and in the nation at large, God shows
that He hates and punishes sin. Moreover He punishes sin eternally
in both soul and body in hell, where there shall be weeping and
gnashing of teeth, and where the smoke of their torment goes up for
ever and ever. And that sentence is passed "in His just judgment."
In that judgment the sins are placed before His bar and God as judge
passes judgment accordingly. One day, on the judgment day, the books
shall be opened and then it shall be evident that God does no
injustice. Let the wicked cry, "We call the proud happy; yea, they
that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even
delivered;" the Lord hears it, and the day of just recompence shall
come. Certainly, that day shall come, and he whose soul is not hid
in Christ, shall not be able to stand in the judgment. All excuses
shall fall away. Many shall claim that they have done signs and
wonders in the Lord's Name, and they shall be condemned, because God
demands a perfect obedience, that removes the guilt and sins which
was rendered by Christ alone. The revelation of God's righteousness
must lead us to know ourselves as lost before God, condemnable,
unable to expect anything but the righteous sentence of death, that
Zion may be redeemed by judgment. God postpones the righteous
judgment according to His pleasure, but He shall never abstain from
performing it. He is sovereign in the exercise of His justice, but
they shall be ashamed who say, "Every one that does evil is good in
the sight of the Lord, and He delighteth in them; or, Where is the
God of judgment?" The whole world is becoming ripe for the righteous
judgment, according to which God shall certainly punish the sinner,
both in time and in eternity. The righteous judgment, and that is
our third main thought for which we now ask your attention briefly,
in complete accord with God's mercy.
Q. 11: Is not God then also merciful?
    There, that is the last evasion that arises out of our
rebellious heart against the righteousness of God and that which the
enemy of the true doctrine of man's guilt casts up. All those that
hold to the free will of man are asking this question, and
particularly the Socinian in whom, as Comrie writes, is all the
poison of hell; for he teaches that God forgives sin without having
received satisfaction for His righteousness. Remember also all
Pelagians and Semi-Pelagians, which last ones were followers of
Cassianus (Cassianus was a disciple of Chrysostom, his disciples
were called Semi Pelagians or Massilians because he was abbot of
Massiliae), who hold that the image of God and man's free will were
only weakened. The Roman Catholic Church especially holds this
Semi-Pelagian view: God is merciful, and we need only helping grace.
Arminius uttered his heresy very clearly when he said that to save a
sinner, God descents from His justice and ascends His throne of
mercy, as if God God could deny Himself.
    How carefully and faithfully the Instructor gives the answer,
"God is indeed merciful, but also just." God's mercy is praised in
Scripture continually. God's heart burns with eternal love to
glorify Himself in the salvation of His elect. His mercies have been
ever of old. (Ps. 25) His mercies are a multitude (Ps. 51). His
mercies are great. (2 Sam. 24:14) God is rich in mercy. (Eph. 2:4)
Yes, indeed, God is merciful. This He shows in the Son of His good
pleasure. In Him He forgives the sins of His people and casts them
in the sea of eternal forgetfulness. Mercy is one of the perfect
attributes of God in which His entire being lies. If God were not
merciful, no child of Adam could be saved; all would be cast in the
pool of fire and brimstone. And those mercies are not aroused by
viewing man's misery. God does not become merciful by seeing man's
pitiable state. He is the merciful One, as He revealed Himself to
Moses, when He went before Him, when not Moses, (let us all notice
that) but God Himself proclaimed, "The Lord God, merciful and
gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth." (Exod.
34:6) By sovereign mercy God's people are saved from eternal
perdition. Thus they are saved only by grace, according to the
Father's good pleasure. He crowns them with mercy. Being saved then
becomes an indescribable wonder, a wonder of God's mercy.
    But that mercy does not violate God's justice. "His justice
requires that sin which is committed against the most high majesty
of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting
punishment of body and soul." The mercy of God is glorified in
executing His righteousness. Therefore He gave His only begotten
Son, who in our human nature was made under the law and bore the
wrath of God. On the cross He cried out, "It is finished." He paid
the last penny to God's justice, and in His resurrection from the
dead, the Father as Judge declared that His justice was satisfied.
Only thus can the mercy of God run its course and be glorified in
sinners. Zion shall be redeemed with judgment.
    God's people learn to know this by experience. They learn to
know themselves guilty under God's justice, as transgressors of all
God's laws. There is no escape. They are subject to death and
damnation. False Christianity may appeal to their baptism,
confession and covenant, without any true soul's experience of their
guilt; the almost Christian may be satisfied with an outward change
or with qualms of conscience; God's elect are placed before God's
justice, which He cannot relinquish. The love, the mercy of God
obtains an opening only in the satisfaction of His righteousness.
God requires satisfaction, while we have no penny to pay and
increase our debts with more debts. Thus, not only is all hope of
being saved by our works cut off, but it is impossible because of
God's righteousness. O beloved, being saved becomes a wonder of God,
glorified in satisfying the justice of the Lord that is violated by
our sins, but gratified only in Christ Jesus. God does a short work
in us. We must lose our life to find it, and thus this verse from
Psalm 119 becomes the language of God's dear people, and we shall
sing it now as found in Psalter No. 338 st. 1, 2.
    But if it is so that man can never satisfy the requirements of
God's law, what value does it have to preach that law? To the
Pelagian who might ask this question we answer: in preaching God's
demand to keep His law perfectly, God's righteousness is maintained
to His glory; He glorifies Himself in the judgment He passes over
the wicked according to His holy law, and by the preaching He wants
to convince His people of guilt and sin, that they may justify Him
and acknowledge the necessity of rendering satisfaction to God's
righteousness. Do cast away all Pelagian and Socinian thoughts as if
God's mercy without complete satisfaction to God's justice can save
us. Even the devils tremble at the realization that there is a God.
Would we then not fear? God requires of you and me as descendants of
Adam perfect obedience to his law, and then also bearing the
punishment threatened upon sin. The maintaining of His justice flows
forth from His perfect, divine nature, and obliges us to perfect
satisfaction, because He had created us so that we could keep the
law completely. Oh, my unconverted hearer, what else can you expect
but the eternal sentence of damnation when you shall soon appear
before the judgment seat of God? And who can say how soon this shall
be? There is but a hand breadth between us and death. Do you never
think about it that you shall soon be judged by your Judge? Can you
live on in your deadly carelessness? Must you not admit that your
confession, as orthodox as it may be, shall fall away at death?
Whether you are old or young, I would bind the seriousness of life
upon your heart. We must all appear before the judgment seat of
Christ, and as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in
Christ's stead, by ye reconciled to God. You are yet in the day of
grace; the door of salvation is not yet closed for you. The Lord
still works in your soul; He calls you by His Word; He shows you the
way of life. What could the Lord have done more to His vineyard that
He had done in it? Does not your own conscience testify that you
will be lost, yea, are lost, because of your own guilt? How much
more shall every excuse disappear before God's judgment seat. Oh,
that the righteousness of God were bound upon your heart, and that
you would find no rest until you know by faith that this
righteousness is perfectly satisfied for you. Do not trust your
immortal soul upon any ground other than the glorification of this
righteousness. Your baptism, your orthodox creed, your troubled
conscience, the psalms that come to your mind, all these things are
but a garment that will not cover you before God. God's justice
requires perfect satisfaction and that satisfaction is only in
Christ. For your soul you need that Surety, Who has satisfied God's
righteousness and in Whom God's mercy is glorified.
    But is not this doctrine much too sharp? Does not such preaching
take away all hope of being saved? Does it not hurt the concerned
people of God, the little ones in grace? No, my beloved, no! It
takes away all hope that man builds upon his own strength and work,
all hope upon God's mercy without the glorification of His
righteousness. It casts us down into the judgment of death. Why do
you speak of the little ones in grace? Are they not those who with
their whole heart agree that God is righteous, even though he should
condemn them eternally?
    Perhaps there are some among us who, burdened by their guilt,
see their ground fall away with all their comforts when the
righteousness of God is bound upon their heart time and again. Their
tears, their supplications, their groans, their encouragements and
comforts, all, all are found wanting in the balances of God's
righteousness. Their soul has no rest. Even their looking upon
Christ as the way of life, their walk by faith with Him Who is their
heavenly Advocate, causes them to know themselves as guilty, as
lost; their debt to God's justice is still unpaid, and that troubles
them, and causes them to yearn for the peace of God that passes all
understanding. Oh that everything that is outside of Christ might be
cut off. God is indeed merciful, but also righteous. He requires His
image again, and payment for the debt we made. The Lord keep us from
building each other up in frames, no matter how gladdening and
comforting they are, but give that we shall maintain the justice of
God in teaching and preaching. God does no injustice to man by
requiring from him in His law that which he cannot perform. May He
cause us to bow under that justice, that Christ may become
indispensable, and we may be found in Him not having our
righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through faith
of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith. God does a
short work upon earth and those people are happy who may know of it
in consciousness of soul. The Lord guide us, may He cause us to know
His justice, to justify, yea, love His judgment, even more than our
salvation, so that mercy may rejoice against a well-merited
judgment. The Lord to that end takes away all false grounds and
encourages His seeking people, and causes us to glory in Him Who was
announced by Jeremiah with the well-known words, "In his days Judah
shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name
whereby He shall be called, 'The Lord Our Righteousness'." In Him
may God's mercy be upon you from eternity to eternity. Amen.

(continued in part 6...)

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