(Owen, Justification. part 13)

adoption are the same grace, for the substance of them, John 1:12;
only, respect is had, in their different denomination of the same
grace, unto different effects or privileges that ensue thereon.
     But the true and genuine signification of these words is to be
determined from those in the original languages of the Scripture
which are expounded by them. In the Hebrew it is "tsadak". This the
LXX render by "Dikaion apofainoo", Job 27:5; "Dikaios anafainomai",
chap.13:18; "Dikaion krinoo", Prov.17:15;to show or declare one
righteous; to appear righteous; to judge any one righteous. And the
sense may be taken from any one of them, as Job 13:18, "Hinneh-na
'arakti mishpat yada'ti ki-'ani 'etsdak"--Behold, now I have ordered
my cause; I know that I shall be justified." The ordering of his
cause (his judgment), his cause to be judged on, is his preparation
for a sentence, either of absolution or condemnation: and hereon his
confidence was, that he should be justified; that is, absolved,
acquitted, pronounced righteous. And the sense is no less pregnant
in the other places. Commonly, they render it by "dikaio-oo",
whereof I shall speak afterwards.
     Properly, it denotes an action towards another (as justification
and to justify do) in Hiphil only; and a reciprocal action of a man
on himself in Hithpael, "hitstadak". Hereby alone is the true sense
of these words determined. And I say, that in no place, or on any
occasion, is it used in that conjugation wherein it denotes an
action towards another, in any other sense but to absolve, acquit,
esteem, declare, pronounce righteous, or to impute righteousness;
which is the forensic sense of the word we plead for,--that is its
constant use and signification, nor does it ever once signify to
make inherently righteous, much less to pardon or forgive: so vain
is the pretence of some, that justification consist only in the
pardon of sin, which is not signified by the word in any one place
of Scripture. Almost in all places this sense is absolutely
unquestionable; nor is there any more than one which will admit of
any debate, and that on so faint a pretence as cannot prejudice its
constant use and signification in all other places. Whatever,
therefore, an infusion of inherent grace may be, or however it may
be called, justification it is not, it cannot be; the word nowhere
signifying any such thing. Wherefore those of the church of Rome do
not so much oppose justification by faith through the imputation of
the righteousness of Christ, as, indeed, deny that there is any such
thing as justification: for that which they call the first
justification, consisting in the infusion of a principle of inherent
grace, is no such thing as justification: and their second
justification, which they place in the merit of works, wherein
absolution or pardon of sin has neither place nor consideration, is
inconsistent with evangelical justification; as we shall show
     This word, therefore, whether the act of God towards men, or of
men towards God, or of men among themselves, or of one towards
another, be expressed thereby, is always used in a forensic sense,
and does not denote a physical operation, transfusion, or
transmutation. 2 Sam.15:4, "If any man has a suit or cause, let him
come to me," "wehitsdaktiw", "and I will do him justice;"--"I will
justify him, judge in his cause, and pronounce for him." Dent.25:1,
"If there be a controversy among men, and they come unto judgment,
that the judges may judge them," "wehitsdiku et-hatsdik", "they
shall justify the righteous;" pronounce sentence on his side:
whereunto is opposed, "wehirshi'u et-harasha" "and they shall
condemn the wicked;" make him wicked, as the word signifies;--that
is, judge, declare, and pronounce him wicked; whereby he becomes so
judicially, and in the eye of the law, as the other is made
righteous by declaration and acquitment. He does not say, "This
shall pardon the righteous;" which to suppose would overthrow both
the antithesis and design of the place. And "hirshia" is as much to
infuse wickedness into a man, as "hitsdik" is to infuse a principle
of grace or righteousness into him. The same antithesis occurs,
Prov.17:15, "matsdik rasha umarshia tsadik"--"He that justifieth the
wicked, and condemneth the righteous." Not he that makes the wicked
inherently righteous, not he that changes him inherently from
unrighteous unto righteousness; but he that, without any ground,
reason, or foundation, acquits him in judgment, or declares him to
be righteous, "is an abomination unto the LORD." And although this
be spoken of the judgment of men, yet the judgment of God also is
according unto this truth: for although he justified the ungodly,--
those who are so in themselves,--yet he does it on the ground and
consideration of a perfect righteousness made theirs by imputation;
and by another act of his grace, that they may be meet subjects of
this righteous favour, really and inherently changes them from
unrighteousness unto holiness, by the renovation of their natures.
And these things are singular in the actings of God, which nothing
amongst men has any resemblance unto or can represent; for the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto a person in himself
ungodly, unto his justification, or that he may be acquitted,
absolved, and declared righteous, is built on such foundations, and
proceeds on such principles of righteousness, wisdom, and
sovereignty, as have no place among the actions of men, nor can have
so; as shall afterwards be declared. And, moreover, when God does
justify the ungodly, on the account of the righteousness imputed
unto him, he does at the same instant, by the power of his grace,
make him inherently and subjectively righteous or holy; which men
cannot do one towards another. And therefore, whereas man's
justifying of the wicked is to justify them in their wicked ways,
whereby they are constantly made worse, and more obdurate in evil;
when God justifies the ungodly, their change from personal
unrighteousness and unholiness unto righteousness and holiness does
necessarily and infallibly accompany it.
     To the same purpose is the word used, Isa.5:23, "Which justify the
wicked for reward;" and chap. 50:8,9, "karov matsdiki"--"He is near
that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together:
who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord GOD
will help me; who shall condemn me?" Where we have a full
declaration of the proper sense of the word; which is, to acquit and
pronounce righteous on a trial. And the same sense is fully
expressed in the former antithesis. 1 Kings 8:31,32, "If any man
trespass against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to
cause him to swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this
house; then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants,"
"leharchi'a rasha" "to condemn the wicked," to charge his wickedness
on him, to bring his way on his head, "ulhatsdik tsadik", "and to
justify the righteous." The same words are repeated, 2
Chron.6:22,23. Ps.82:3, "ani warash hatsdiku"--"Do justice to the
afflicted and poor;" that is, justify them in their cause against
wrong and oppression. Exod.23:7, "lo-'atsdik rasha"--"I will not
justify the wicked;" absolve, acquit, or pronounce him righteous.
Job 27:5, "chalilah li im-atsdik etchem"--"Be it far from me that I
should justify you," or pronounce sentence on your side as if you
were righteous. Isa.53:11, "By his knowledge my righteous servant,"
"yatsdik", "shall justify many:" the reason whereof is added, "For
he shall bear their iniquities;" whereon they are absolved and
     Once it is used in Hithpael, wherein a reciprocal action is
denoted, that whereby a man justifies himself. Gen.44:16, "And Judah
said, What shall we say unto my lord? What shall we speaks?" "Umah-
nitstadak", "and how shall we justify ourselves? God has found out
our iniquity." They could plead nothing why they should be absolved
from guilt.
     Once the participle is used to denote the outward instrumental
cause of the justification of others; in which place alone there is
any doubt of its sense. Dan.12:3, "Umatsdikei harabim"--"And they
that justify many," namely, in the same sense that the preachers of
the gospel are said "to save themselves and others," 1 Tim.4:16; for
men may be no less the instrumental causes of the justification of
others than of their sanctification.
     Wherefore, although "tsadak" in Kal signifies "justum esse", and
sometimes "juste agere," which may relate unto inherent
righteousness, yet where any action towards another is denoted, this
word signifies nothing but to esteem, declare, pronounce, and
adjudge any one absolved, acquitted, cleared, justified: there is,
therefore, no other kind of justification once mentioned in the Old
     "Dikaio-oo" is the word used to the same purpose in the New
Testament, and that alone. Neither is this word used in any good
author whatever to signify the making of a man righteous by any
applications to produce internal righteousness in him; but either to
absolve and acquit, to judge, esteem, and pronounce righteous; or,
on the contrary, to condemn. So Suidas, "Dikaioun duo deloi, to te
koladzein, kai to dikaion nomidzein"--"It has two significations; to
punish, and to account righteous." And he confirms this sense of the
word by instances out of Herodotus, Appianus, and Josephus. And
again, "Dikaioosai, aitiatikei, katadikasai, kolasai, dikaion
nomisai" with an accusative case; that is, when it respects and
affects a subject, a person, it is either to condemn and punish, or
to esteem and declare righteous: and of this latter sense he gives
pregnant instances in the next words. Hesychius mentions only the
first signification. "Dikaioumenon, koladzomenon, dikaioosai,
kolasai". They never thought of any sense of this word but what is
forensic. And, in our language, to be justified was commonly used
formerly for to be judged and sentenced; as it is still among the
Scots. One of the articles of peace between the two nations at the
surrender of Leith, in the days of Edward VI, was, "That if any one
committed a crime, he should be justified by the law, upon his
trial." And, in general, "dikaousthai" is "jus in judicio auferre;"
and "dikaioosai" is "justum censere, declarare pronuntiare;" and how
in the Scripture it is constantly opposed unto "condemnare," we
shall see immediately.
     But we may more distinctly consider the use of this word in the
New Testament, as we have done that of "hitsdik" in the Old. And
that which we inquire concerning is,--whether this word be used in

the New Testament in a forensic sense, to denote an act of
jurisdiction; or in a physical sense, to express an internal change
or mutation,--the infusion of a habit of righteousness, and the
denomination of the person to be justified thereon; or whether it
signifies not pardon of sin. But this we may lay aside: for surely
no man was ever yet so fond as to pretend that "dikaio-oo" did
signify to pardon sin, yet is it the only word applied to express
our justification in the New Testament; for if it be taken only in
the former sense, then that which is pleaded for by those of the
Roman church under the name of justification, whatever it be,
however good, useful, and necessary, yet justification it is not,
nor can be so called, seeing it is a thing quite of another or
nature than what alone is signified by that word. Matt.11:19,
"Edikaioothe he Sofia",--"Wisdom is justified of her children;" not
made just, but approved and declared. Chap.12:37, "E, toon logoon
sou dikaioothesei"--"By thy words thou shalt be justified;" not made
just by them, but judged according to them, as is manifested in the
antithesis, "kai ek toon logoon sou katadikasthesei"--"and by thy
words thou shalt be condemned." Luke 7:29, "Edikaioosan ton Theon"--
"They justified God;" not, surely, by making him righteous in
himself, but by owning, avowing, and declaring his righteousness.
Chap.10:29, "Ho de theloon dikaioun heauton"--"He, willing to
justify himself;" to declare and maintain his own righteous ness. To
the same purpose, chap.16:15, "Hemeis este hoi dikaiountes heautous
enoopion toon enthroopoon"--"Ye are they which justify yourselves
before men;" they did not make themselves internally righteous, but
approved of their own condition, as our Saviour declares in the
place, chap.18:14, the publican went down "dedikaioomenos"
(justified) unto his house; that is, acquitted, absolved, pardoned,
upon the confession of his sin, and supplication for remission. Acts
13:38,39, with Rom.2:13, "Hoi poietai tou nomou dikaioothesontai"--
"The doers of the law shall be justified." The place declares
directly the nature of our justification before God, and puts the
signification of the word out of question; for justification ensues
as the whole effect of inherent righteousness according unto the
law: and, therefore, it is not the making of us righteous, which is
irrefragable. It is spoken of God, Rom.3:4, "Hopoos an dikaiootheis
en tois logois sou"--"That thou mightest be justified in thy
sayings;" where to ascribe any other sense to the word is blasphemy.
In like manner the same word is used, and in the same signification,
1 Cor.4:4; 1 Tim.3:16; Rom.3:20,26,28,30; 4:2,5; 5:1,9; 6:7; 8:30;
Gal.2:16,17; 3:11,24; 5:4; Tit.3:7; James 2:21,24,25; and in no one
of these instances can it admit of any other signification, or
denote the making of any man righteous by the infusion of a habit or
principle of righteousness, or any internal mutation whatever.
     It is not, therefore, in many places of Scripture, as Bellarmine
grants, that the words we have insisted on do signify the
declaration or juridical pronunciation of any one to be righteous;
but, in all places where they are used, they are capable of no other
but a forensic sense; especially is this evident where mention is
made of justification before God. And because, in my judgment, this
one consideration does sufficiently defeat all the pretences of
those of the Roman church about the nature of justification, I shall
consider what is excepted against the observation insisted on, and
remove it out of our way.
     Lud. de Blanc, in his reconciliatory endeavors on this article of
justification, ("Thes. de Usu et Acceptatione Vocis, Justificandi,")
grants unto the Papists that the word "dikaio-oo" does, in sundry
places of the New Testament, signify to renew, to sanctify, to
infuse a habit of holiness or righteousness, according as they
plead. And there is no reason to think but he has grounded that
concession on those instances which are most pertinent unto that
purpose; neither is it to be expected that a better countenance will
be given by any unto this concession than is given it by him. I
shall therefore examine all the instances which he insists upon unto
this purpose, and leave the determination of the difference unto the
judgment of the reader. Only, I shall premise that which I judge not
an unreasonable demand,--namely, that if the signification of the
word, in any or all the places which he mentions, should seem
doubtful unto any (as it does not unto me), that the uncertainty of
a very few places should not make us question the proper
signification of a word whose sense is determined in so many wherein
it is clear and unquestionable. The first place he mentions is that
of the apostle Paul himself, Rom.8:30, "moreover, whom he did
predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also
justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified". The
reason whereby he pleads that by "justified" in this place, an
internal work of inherent holiness in them that are predestinated is
designed, is this, and no other: "It is not," says he, "likely that
the holy apostle, in this enumeration of gracious privileges, would
omit the mention of our sanctification, by which we are freed from
the service of sin, and adorned with true internal holiness and
righteousness. But this is utterly omitted, if it be not comprised
under the name and title of being justified; for it is absurd with
some to refer it unto the head of glorification."
     Ans. 1. The grace of sanctification, whereby our natures are
spiritually washed, purified, and endowed with a principle of life,
holiness, and obedience unto God, is a privilege unquestionably
great and excellent, and without which none can be saved; of the
same nature, also, is our redemption by the blood of Christ; and
both these does this apostles in other places without number,
declare, commend, and insist upon: but that he ought to have
introduced the mention of them or either of them in this place,
seeing he has not done so, I dare not judge.
     2. If our sanctification be included or intended in any of the
privileges here expressed, there is none of them, predestination
only excepted, but it is more probably to be reduced unto, than unto
that of being justified. Indeed, in vocation it seems to be included
expressly. For whereas it is effectual vocation that is intended,
wherein a holy principle of spiritual life, or faith itself, is
communicated unto us, our sanctification radically, and as the
effect in it adequate immediate cause, is contained in it. Hence, we
are said to "be called to be saints," Rom.1:7; which is the same
with being "sanctified in Christ Jesus," 1 Cor.1:2. And in many
other places is sanctification included in vocation.
     3. Whereas our sanctification, in the infusion of a principle of
spiritual life, and the acting of it unto an increase in duties of
holiness, righteousness, and obedience, is that whereby we are made
meet for glory, and is of the same nature essentially with glory
itself, whence its advances in us are said to be from "glory to
glory," 2 Cor.3:18; and glory itself is called the "grace of life,"
l Pet.3:7: it is much more properly expressed by our being gloried
than by being justified, which is a privilege quite of another
nature. However, it is evident that there is no reason why we should
depart from the general use and signification of the word, no
circumstance in the text compelling us so to do.
     The next place that he gives up unto this signification is l
Cor.6:11, "Such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are
sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and
by the Spirit of our God." That by justification here, the infusion
of an inherent principle of grace, making us inherently righteous,
is intended, he endeavours to prove by three reasons:--1. "Because
justification is here ascribed unto the Holy Ghost: 'Ye are
justified by the Spirit of our God' But to renew us is the proper
work of the Holy Spirit." 2. "It is manifest," he says, "that by
justification the apostle does signify some change in the
Corinthians, whereby they ceased to be what they were before. For
they were fornicators and drunkards, such at could not inherit the
kingdom of God; but now were changed: which proves a real inherent
work of grace to be intended." 3. "If justification here signify
nothing but to be absolved from the punishment of sin, then the
reasoning of the apostle will be infirm and frigid: for after he has
said that which is greater, as heightening of it, he adds the less;
for it is more to be washed than merely to be freed from the
punishment of sin."
     Ans. 1. All these reasons prove not that it is the same to be
sanctified and to be justified; which must be, if that be the sense
of the latter which is here pleaded for. But the apostle makes an
express distinction between them, and, as this author observes,
proceeds from one to another, by an ascent from the lesser to the
greater. And the infusion of a habit or principle of grace, or
righteousness evangelical, whereby we are inherently righteous, by
which he explains our being justified in this place, is our
sanctification, and nothing else. Yea, and sanctification is here
distinguished from washing,--"But ye are washed, but ye are
sanctified;" so as that it peculiarly in this place denotes positive
habits of grace and holiness: neither can he declare the nature of
it any way different from what he would have expressed by being
     2. Justification is ascribed unto the Spirit of God, as the
principal efficient cause of the application of the grace of God and
blood of Christ, whereby we are justified, unto our souls and
consciences; and he is so also of the operation of that faith
whereby we are justified: whence, although we are said to be
justified by him, yet it does not follow that our justification
consists in the renovation of our natures.
     3. The change and mutation that was made in these Corinthians, so
far as it was physical, in effects inherent (as such there was), the
apostle expressly ascribes unto their washing and sanctification; so
that there is no need to suppose this change to be expressed by
their being justified. And in the real change asserted--that is, in
the renovation of our natures--consists the true entire work and
nature of our sanctification. But whereas, by reason of the vicious
habits and practices mentioned, they were in a state of
condemnation, and such as had no right unto the kingdom of heaven,
they were by their justification changed and transferred out of that
state into another, wherein they had peace with God, and right unto
life eternal.
     4. The third reason proceeds upon a mistake,--namely, that to be
justified is only to be "freed from the punishment due unto sin;"
for it comprises both the non-imputation of sin and the imputation
of righteousness, with the privilege of adoption, and right unto the
heavenly inheritance, which are inseparable from it. And although it
does not appear that the apostle, in the enumeration of these
privileges, did intend a process from the lesser unto the greater;
nor is it safe for us to compare the unutterable effects of the
grace of God by Christ Jesus, such as sanctification and
justification are, and to determine which is greatest and which is
least; yet, following the conduct of the Scripture, and the due
consideration of the things themselves, we may say that in this life
we can be made partakers of no greater mercy or privilege than what
consists in our justification. And the reader may see from hence how
impossible it is to produce any one place wherein the words
"justification", and "to justify", dos signify a real internal work
and physical operation, in that this learned man, a person of more
than ordinary perspicacity, candour, and judgment, designing to
prove it, insisted on such instances as give so little countenance
unto what he pretended. He adds, Tit.3:5-7, "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he
saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our
Saviour; that, being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs
according to the hope of eternal life." The argument which he alone
insists upon to prove that by justification here, an infusion of
internal grace is intended, is this:--that the apostle affirming
first, that "God saved us, according unto his mercy, by the washing
of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," and afterwards
affirming that we are "justified by his grace," he supposes it
necessary that we should be regenerate and renewed, that we may be
justified; and if so, then our justification contains and comprises
our sanctification also.
     Ans. The plain truth is, the apostle speaks not one word of the
necessity of our sanctification, or regeneration, or renovation by
the Holy Ghost, antecedently unto our justification; a supposition
whereof contains the whole force of this argument. Indeed he assigns
our regeneration, renovation, and justification, all the means of
our salvation, all equally unto grace and mercy, in opposition unto
any works of our own; which we shall afterwards make use of. Nor is
there intimated by him any order of precedency or connection between
the things that he mentions, but only between justification and
adoption, justification having the priority in order of nature:
"That, being justified by his grace, we should be heirs according to
the hope of eternal life." All the things he mentions are
inseparable. No man is regenerate or renewed by the Holy Ghost, but
withal he is justified;--no man is justified, but withal he is
renewed by the Holy Ghost. And they are all of them equally of
sovereign grace in God, in opposition unto any works of
righteousness that we have wrought. And we plead for the freedom of
God's grace in sanctification no less than in justification. But
that it is necessary that we should be sanctified, that we may be
justified before God, who justifies the ungodly, the apostle says
not in this place, nor any thing to that purpose; neither yet, if he
did so, would it at all prove that the signification of that
expression "to be justified," is "to be sanctified," or to have
inherent holiness and righteousness wrought in us: and these
testimonies would not have been produced to prove it, wherein these
things are so expressly distinguished, but that there are none to be
found of more force or evidence.
     The last place wherein he grants this signification of the word
"dikaio-oo", is Rev.22:11, "Ho dikaios dikaioothetoo eti"--"Qui
justus est, justificetur adhuc"; which place is pleaded by all the
Romanists. And our author says they are but few among the
Protestants who do not acknowledge that the word cannot be here used
in a forensic sense, but that to be justified, is to go on and
increase in piety and righteousness.
     Ans. But,--(1.) There is a great objection lies in the way of any
argument from these words,--namely, from the various reading of the
place; for many ancient copies read, not "Ho dikaios dikaioothetoo
eti", which the Vulgar renders "Justificetur adhuc;" but,
"Dikaiosunen poiesatoo eti"--"Let him that is righteous work
righteousness still," as does the printed copy which now lies before
me. So it was in the copy of the Complutensian edition, which
Stephens commends above all others, and in one more ancient copy
that he used. So it is in the Syrian and Arabic published by
Hutterus, and in our own Polyglot. So Cyprian reads the words, "De
bono patientiae; justus autem adhuc justior faciat, similiter et qui
sanctus sanctiora". And I doubt not but that it is the true reading
of the place, "dikaioothetoo" being supplied by some to comply with
"hagiasthetoo" that ensues. And this phrase of "dikaiosunen poiein"
is peculiar unto this apostle, being nowhere used in the New
Testament (nor, it may be, in any other author) but by him. And he
uses it expressly, 1 Epist.2, 29, and chap.3, 7, where these words,
"Ho poioon dikaiosunen, dikaios esti", do plainly contain what is
here expressed. (2.) To be justified, as the word is rendered by the
Vulgar, "Let him be justified more" (as it must be rendered, if the
word "dikaioothetoo" be retained), respects an act of God, which
neither in its beginning nor continuation is prescribed unto us as a
duty, nor is capable of increase in degrees; as we shall show
afterwards. (3.) Men are said to be "dikaioi" generally from
inherent righteousness; and if the apostle had intended
justification in this place, he would not have said "ho dikaios",
but "ho dikaiootheis". All which things prefer the Complutensian,
Syrian, and Arabic, before the Vulgar reading of this place. If the
Vulgar reading be retained, no more can be intended but that he who
is righteous should so proceed in working righteousness as to secure
his justified estate unto himself, and to manifest it before God and
the world.
     Now, whereas the words "dikaio-oo" and "dikaioumai" are used
thirty-six times in the New Testament, these are all the places
whereunto any exception is put in against their forensic
signification; and how ineffectual these exceptions are, is evident
unto any impartial judge.
     Some other considerations may yet be made use of, and pleaded to
the same purpose. Such is the opposition that is made between
justification and condemnation. So is it, Isa.50:8,9; Prov.17:15;
Rom.5:16,18; 8:33,34; and in sundry other places, as may be observed
in the preceding enumeration of them. Wherefore, as condemnation is
not the infusing of a habit of wickedness into him that is
condemned, nor the making of him to be inherently wicked who was
before righteous, but the passing a sentence upon a man with respect
unto his wickedness; no more is justification the change of a person
from inherent unrighteousness unto righteousness, by the infusion of
a principle of grace, but a sentential declarations of him to be
     Moreover, the thing intended is frequently declared in the
Scripture by other equivalent terms, which are absolutely exclusive
of any such sense as the infusion of a habit of righteousness; so
the apostle expresses it by the "imputation of righteousness without
works," Rom.4:6,11; and calls it the "blessedness" which we have by
the "pardon of sin" and the "covering of iniquity," in the same
place. So it is called "reconciliation with God," Rom.5:9,10. To be
"justified by the blood of Christ" is the same with being
"reconciled by his death". "Being now justified by his blood, we
shall be saved from wrath by him. For if, when we were enemies, we
were reconciled to God by the death of his Son; much more, being
reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." See 2 Cor.5:20,21.
Reconciliation is not the infusion of a habit of grace, but the
effecting of peace and love, by the removal of all enmity and causes
of offense. To "save," and "salvation," are used to the same
purpose. "He shall save his people from their sins," Matt.1:21, is
the same with "By him all that believe are justified from all
things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses,"
Acts 13:39. That of Gal.2:16, "We have believed, that we might be
justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law,"
is the same with Acts 15:11, "But we believe that, through the grace
of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
Eph.2:8,9, "By grace are ye saved through faith;....and not of
works," is so to be justified. So it is expressed by pardon, or the
"remission of sins," which is the effect of it, Rom.4:5,6; by
"receiving the atonement," chap.5:1l; not "coming into judgment" or
"condemnation," John 5:24; "blotting out sins and iniquities,"
Isa.43:26; Ps.51:9; Isa.44:22; Jer.18:23; Acts 3:19; "casting them
into the bottom of the sea," Micah 7:19; and sundry other
expressions of an alike importance. The apostle declaring it by its
effects, says, "Dikaioi katastathesontai hoi polloi"--"Many shall be
made righteous," Rom.5:19. "Dikaios kathistatai", [he is made
righteous] who on a juridical trial in open court, is absolved and
declared righteous.
     And so it may be observed that all things concerning justification
are proposed in the Scripture under a juridical scheme, or forensic
trial and sentence. As,--(1.) A judgment is supposed in it,
concerning which the psalmist prays that it may not proceed on the
terms of the law, Ps.143:2. (2.) The judge is God himself,
Isa.50:7,8; Rom.8:33. (3.) The tribunal whereon God sits in
judgment, is the "throne of grace," Heb.4:16. "Therefore will the
LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he
be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you; for the LORD is a God
of judgment," Isa.30:18. (4.) A guilty person. This is the sinner,
who is "hupodikos tooi Theooi",--so guilty of sin as to be obnoxious
to the judgment of God; "tooi dikaioomati tou Theou", Rom.3:19;
1:32,--whose mouth is stopped by conviction. (5.) Accusers are ready
to propose and promote the charge against the guilty person;--these
are the law, John 5:45; and conscience, Rom.2:15; and Satan also,
Zech.3:1; Rev.12:10. (6.) The charge is admitted and drawn up in a
handwriting in form of Law, and is laid before the tribunal of the
Judge, in bar, to the deliverance of the offender, Col.2:14. (7.) A
plea is prepared in the gospel for the guilty person; and this is
grace, through the blood of Christ, the ransom paid, the atonement
made the eternal righteousness brought in by the surety of the
covenant, Rom.3:23-25; Dan.9:24; Eph.1:7. (8.) Hereunto alone the
sinner retakes himself, renouncing all other apologies or
defensatives whatever, Ps.130:2,3; 143:2; Job 9:2,3; 42:5-7; Luke
18:13; Rom.3:24,25; 5:11,16-19; 8:1-3,32,33; Isa.53:5,6; Heb.
9:13-15; 10:1-13; 1 Pet.2:24; 1 John 1:7. Other plea for a sinner
before God there is none. He who knows God and himself will not
provide or retake himself unto any other. Nor will he, as I suppose,
trust unto any other defense, were he sure of all the angels in
heaven to plead for him. (9.) To make this plea effectual, we have
an advocate with the Father, and he pleads his own propitiation for
us, 1 John 2:1,2. (10.) The sentence hereon is absolution, on the
account of the ransom, blood, or sacrifice and righteousness of
Christ; with acceptation into favour, as persons approved of God,
Job 33:24; Ps.32:1,2; Rom.3:23-25; 8:1,33,34; 2 Cor.5:21;
     Of what use the declaration of this process in the justification
of a sinner may be, has been in some measure before declared. And if
many did seriously consider that all these things do concur, and are
required, unto the justification of every one that shall be saved,
it may be they would not have such slight thoughts of sin, and the
way of deliverance from the guilt of it, as they seem to have. From
this consideration did the apostle learn that "terror of the Lord,"
which made him so earnest with men to seek after reconciliation, 2
     I had not so long insisted on the signification of the words in
the Scripture, but that a right understanding of it does not only
exclude the pretences of the Romanists about the infusion of a habit
of charity from being the formal cause of our justification before
God, but may also give occasion unto some to take advice, into what
place or consideration they can dispose their own personal, inherent
righteousness in their justification before him.

(continued in part 14...)

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