(Owen, Justification. part 15.txt)

is pleadable before God, and ought to be pleaded unto that purpose.
So, then, the inquiry is,--
     What it is that, when a justified person is guilty of sin (as
guilty he is more or less every day), and his conscience is pressed
with a sense thereof, as that only thing which can endanger or
intercept his justified estate, his favour with God, and title unto
glory, he retakes himself unto, or ought so to do, for the
continuance of his state and pardon of his sins, what he pleads unto
that purpose, and what is available thereunto? That this is not his
own obedience, his personal righteousness, or fulfilling the
condition of the new covenant, is evident, from,--1st. The
experience of believers themselves; 2dly. The testimony of
Scripture; and, 3dly. The example of them whose cases are recorded
     1st. Let the experience of them that do believe be inquired into;
for their consciences are continually exercised herein. What is it
that they retake themselves unto, what is it that they plead with
God for the continuance of the pardon of their sins, and the
acceptance of their persons before him? Is it any thing but
sovereign grace and mercy, through the blood of Christ? Are not all
the arguments which they plead unto this end taken from the topics
of the name of God, his mercy, grace, faithfulness, tender
compassion, covenant, and promises,--all manifested and exercised in
and through the Lord Christ and his mediation alone? Do they not
herein place their only trust and confidence, for this end, that
their sins may be pardoned, and their persons, though every way
unworthy in themselves, be accepted with God? Does any other thought
enter into their hearts? Do they plead their own righteousness,
obedience, and duties to this purpose? Do they leave the prayer of
the publican, and retake themselves unto that of the Pharisee? And
is it not of faith alone which is that grace whereby they apply
themselves unto the mercy or grace of God through the mediation of
Christ. It is true that faith herein works and acts itself in and by
godly sorrow, repentance, humiliation, self judging and abhorrence,
fervency in prayer and supplications, with a humble waiting for an
answer of peace from God, with engagements unto renewed obedience:
but it is faith alone that makes applications unto grace in the
blood of Christ for the continuation or our justified estate,
expressing itself in those other ways and effects mentioned; from
none of which a believing soul does expect the mercy aimed at.
     3dly. The Scripture expressly does declare this to be the only way
of the continuation of our justification, 1 John 3:1,2, "These
things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we
have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: and he
is the propitiation for our sins." It is required of those that are
justified that they sin not,--it is their duty not to sin; but yet
it is not so required of them, as that if in any thing they fail of
their duty, they should immediately lose the privilege of their
justification. Wherefore, on a supposition of sin, if any man sin
(as there is no man that lives and sins not), what way is prescribed
for such persons to take, what are they to apply themselves unto
that their sin may be pardoned, and their acceptance with God
continued; that is, for the continuation of their justification? The
course in this case directed unto by the apostle is none other but
the application of our souls by faith unto the Lord Christ, as our
advocate with the Father, on the account of the propitiation that he
has made for our sins. Under the consideration of this double act of
his sacerdotal office, his oblation and intercession, he is the
object of our faith in our absolute justification; and so he is as
unto the continuation of it. So our whole progress in our justified
estate, in all the degrees of it, is ascribed unto faith alone.
     It is no part of our inquiry, what God requires of them that are
justified. There is no grace, no duty, for the substance of them,
nor for the manner of their performance, that are required, either
by the law or the gospel, but they are obliged unto them. Where they
are omitted, we acknowledge that the guilt of sin is contracted, and
that attended with such aggravations as some will not own or allow
to be confessed unto God himself. Hence, in particular, the faith
and grace of believers, [who] do constantly and deeply exercise
themselves in godly sorrow, repentance, humiliation for sin, and
confession of it before God, upon their apprehensions of its guilt.
And these duties are so far necessary unto the continuation at our
justification, as that a justified estate cannot consist with the
sins and vices that are opposite unto then; so the apostle affirms
that "if we live after the flesh, we shall die," Rom.8:13. He that
does not carefully avoid falling into the fire or water, or other
things immediately destructive of life natural, cannot live. But
these are not the things whereon life does depend. Nor have the best
of our duties any other respect unto the continuation of our
justification, but only as in them we are preserved from those
things which are contrary unto it, and destructive of it. But the
sole question is, upon what the continuation of our justification
does depend, not concerning what duties are required of us in the
way of our obedience. If this be that which is intended in this
position, that the continuation of our justification depends on our
own obedience and good works, or that our own obedience and good
works are the condition of the continuation of our justification,--
namely, that God does indispensably require good works and obedience
in all that are justified, so that a justified estate is
inconsistent with the neglect of them,--it is readily granted, and I
shall never contend with any about the way whereby they choose to
express the conceptions of their minds. But if it be inquired what
it is whereby we immediately concur in a way of duty unto the
continuation of our justified estate,--that is, the pardon of our
sins and acceptance with God,--we say it is faith alone; for "The
just shall live by faith," Rom.1:17. And as the apostle applies this
divine testimony to prove our first or absolute justification to be
by faith alone; so does be also apply it unto the continuation of
our justification, as that which is by the same means only,
Heb.10:38,39, "Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw
back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them
that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the
saving of the soul". The drawing back to perdition includes the loss
of a justified estate, really so or in profession. In opposition
whereunto the apostle places "believing unto the saving of the
soul;" that is, unto the continuation of justification unto the end.
And herein it is that the "just live by faith; " and the loss of
this life can only be by unbelief: so the "life which we now live in
the flesh we live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved us, and
gave himself for us," Gal.2:20. The life which we now lead in the
flesh is the continuation of our justification, a life of
righteousness and acceptation with God; in opposition unto a life by
the works of the law, as the next words declare, verse 21, "I do not
frustrate the grace of God; for if righteousness come by the law,
then is Christ dead in vain." And this life is by faith in Christ,
as "he loved us, and gave himself for us;" that is, as he was a
propitiation for our sins. This, then, is the only way, means, and
cause, on our part, of the preservation of this life, of the
continuance of our justification; and herein are we "kept by the
power of God through faith unto salvation." Again; if the
continuation of our justification depends on our own works of
obedience, then is the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us only
with respect unto our justification at first, or our first
justification, as some speak. And this, indeed, is the doctrine of
the Roman school. They teach that the righteousness of Christ is so
far imputed unto us, that on the account thereof God gives unto us
justifying grace, and thereby the remission of sin, in their sense;
whence they allow it [to be] the meritorious cause of our
justification. But so a supposition thereof, or the reception of
that grace, we are continued to be justified before God by the works
we perform by virtue of that grace received. And though some of them
rise so high as to affirm that this grace and the works of it need
no farther respect unto the righteousness of Christ, to deserve our
second justification and life eternal, as does Vasquez expressly, in
1, 2, q. 114, disp. 222, cap. 3; yet many of them affirm that it is
still from the consideration of the merit of Christ that they are so
meritorious. And the same, for the substance of it, is the judgment
of some of them who affirm the continuation of our justification to
depend on our own works, setting aside that ambiguous term of merit;
for it is on the account of the righteousness of Christ, they say,
that our own works, or imperfect obedience, is so accepted with God,
that the continuation of our justification depends thereon. But the
apostle gives us another account hereof, Rom.5:1-3; for he
distinguishes three things:--1. Our access into the grace of God. 2.
Our standing in that grace. 3. Our glorying in that station against
all opposition. By the first he expresses our absolute
justification; by the second, our continuation in the state
whereinto we are admitted thereby; and by the third, the assurance
of that continuation, notwithstanding all the oppositions we meet
withal. And all these he ascribes equally unto faith, without the
intermixture of any other cause or condition; and other places
express to the same purpose might be pleaded.
     3dly. The examples of them that did believe, and were justified,
which are recorded in the Scripture, do all bear witness unto the
same truth. The continuation of the justification of Abraham before
God is declared to have been by faith only, Rom.4:3; for the
instance of his justification, given by the apostle from Gen.15:6,
was long after he was justified absolutely. And if our first
justification, and the continuation of it, did not depend absolutely
on the same cause, the instance of the one could not be produced for
a proof of the way and means of the other, as here they are. And
David, when a justified believer, not only places the blessedness of
man in the free remission of sins, in opposition unto his own works
in general, Rom.4:6,7, but, in his own particular case, ascribes the
continuation of his justification and acceptation before God unto
grace, mercy, and forgiveness alone; which are no otherwise received
but by faith, Ps.130:3-5; 143:2. All other works and duties of
obedience do accompany faith in the continuation of our justified
estate, as necessary effects and fruits of it, but not as causes,
means, or conditions, whereon that effect is suspended. It is
patient waiting by faith that brings in the full accomplishment of
the promises, Heb.6:12,15. Wherefore, there is but one
justification, and that of one kind only, wherein we are concerned
in this disputation,--the Scripture makes mention of no more; and
that is the justification of an ungodly person by faith. Nor shall
we admit of the consideration of any other. For if there be a second
justification, it must be of the same kind with the first, or of
another;--if it be of the same kind, then the same person is often
justified with the same kind of justification, or at least more than
once; and so on just reason ought to be often baptized;--if it be
not of the same kind, then the same person is justified before God
with two sorts of justification; of both which the Scripture is
utterly silent. And [so] the continuation of our justification
depends solely on the same causes with our justification itself.

VI. Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it--
Final judgment, and its respect unto justification

Evangelical personal righteousness; the nature and use of it--
Whether there be an angelical justification on our evangelical
righteousness, inquired into--How this is by some affirmed and
applauded--Evangelical personal righteousness asserted as the
condition of our righteousness, or the pardon of sin--Opinion of the
Socinians--Personal righteousness required in the gospel--Believers
hence denominated righteous--Not with respect unto righteousness
habitual, but actual only--Inherent righteousness the same with
sanctification, or holiness--In what sense we may be said to be
justified by inherent righteousness--No evangelical justification on
our personal righteousness--The imputation of the righteousness of
Christ does not depend thereon--None have this righteousness, but
they are antecedently justified--A charge before God, in all
justification before God--The instrument of this charge, the law or
the gospel--From neither of them can we be justified by this
personal righteousness--The justification pretended needless and
useless--It has not the nature of any justification mentioned in the
Scripture, but is contrary to all that is so called--Other arguments
to the same purpose--Sentential justification at the last day--
Nature of the last judgement--Who shall be then justified --A
declaration of righteousness, and an actual admission into glory,
the whole of justification at the last day--The argument that we are
justified in this life in the same manner, and on the same grounds,
as we shall be judged at the last day, that judgement being
according unto works, answered; and the impertinency of it declared

The things which we have discoursed concerning the first and second
justification, and concerning the continuation of justification,
have no other design but only to clear the principal subject whereof
we treat from what does not necessarily belong unto it. For until
all things that are either really heterogeneous or otherwise
superfluous are separated from it, we cannot understand aright the
true state of the question about the nature and causes of our
justification before God. For we intend one justification only,--
namely, that whereby God at once freely by his grace justifies a
convinced sinner through faith in the blood of Christ. Whatever else
any will be pleased to call justification, we are not concerned in
it, nor are the consciences of them that believe. To the same
purpose we must, therefore, briefly also consider what is usually
disputed about our own personal righteousness, with a justification
thereon; as also what is called sentential justification at the day
of judgment. And I shall treat no farther of them in this place, but
only as it is necessary to free the principal subject under
consideration from being intermixed with them, as really it is not
concerned in them. For what influence our own personal righteousness
has into our justification before God will be afterwards
particularly examined. Here we shall only consider such a notion of
it as seems to interfere with it, and disturb the right
understanding of it. But yet I say concerning this also, that it
rather belongs unto the difference that will be among us in the
expression of our conceptions about spiritual things whilst we know
but in part, than unto the substance of the doctrine itself. And on
such differences no breach of charity can ensue, whilst there is a
mutual grant of that liberty of mind without which it will not be
preserved one moment.
     It is, therefore, by some apprehended that there is an evangelical
justification upon our evangelical personal righteousness. This they
distinguish from that justification which is by faith through the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ, in the sense wherein they
do allow it; for the righteousness of Christ is our legal
righteousness, whereby we have pardon of sin, and acquitment from
the sentence of the law, on the account of his satisfaction and
merit. But, moreover, they say that as there is a personal, inherent
righteousness required of us, so there is a justification by the
gospel thereon. For by our faith, and the plea of it, we are
justified from the charge of unbelief; by our sincerity, and the
plea of it, we are justified from the charge of hypocrisy; and so by
all other graces and duties from the charge of the contrary sins in
commission or omission, so far as such sins are inconsistent with
the terms of the covenant of grace. How this differs from the second
justification before God, which some say we have by works, on the
supposition of the pardon of sin for the satisfaction of Christ, and
the infusion of a habit of grace enabling us to perform those works,
is declared by those who so express themselves.
     Some add, that this inherent, personal, evangelical righteousness,
is the condition on our part of our legal righteousness, or of the
imputation of the righteousness of Christ unto our justification, or
the pardon of sin. And those by whom the satisfaction and merit of
Christ are denied, make it the only and whole condition of our
absolute justification before God. So speak all the Socinians
constantly; for they deny our obedience unto Christ to be either
the meritorious or efficient cause of our justification; only they
say it is the condition of it, without which God has decreed that we
shall not be made partakers of the benefit thereof. So does Socinus
himself, De Justificat. p. 17, "Sunt opera nostra, id est, ut dictum
fuit, obedientia quam Christo praestamus, licet nec efficiens nec
meritoria, tamen causa est (ut vocant) sine qua non, justificationis
coram Deo, tque aeternae nostrae". Again, p. 14, inter Opuscul, "Ut
cavendum est ne vitae sanctitatem atque innocentiam effectum
justificationis nostrae coram Deo esse credamus, neque illam nostrae
coram Deo justificationis causam efficientem aut impulsivam esse
affirmemus; set tantummodo causam sine qua eam justificationem nobis
non contingere decrevit Deus". And in all their discourses to this
purpose they assert our personal righteousness and holiness, or our
obedience unto the commands of Christ, which they make to be the
form and essence of faith, to be the condition whereon we obtain
justification, or the remission of sins. And indeed, considering
what their opinion is concerning the person of Christ, with their
denial of his satisfaction and merit, it is impossible they should
frame any other idea of justification in their minds. But what some
among ourselves intend by a compliance with them herein, who are not
necessitated thereunto by a prepossession with their opinions about
the person and mediation of Christ, I know not. For as for them, all
their notions about grace, conversion to God, justification, and the
like articles of our religion, they are nothing but what they are
necessarily cast upon by their hypothesis about the person of
     At present I shall only inquire into that peculiar evangelical
justification which is asserted to be the effect of our own personal
righteousness, or to be granted us thereon. And hereunto we may
     1. That God does require in and by the gospel a sincere obedience
of all that do believe, to be performed in and by their own persons,
though through the aids of grace supplied unto them by Jesus Christ.
He requires, indeed, obedience, duties, and works of righteousness,
in and of all persons whatever; but the consideration of them which
are performed before believing is excluded by all from any causality
or interest in our justification before God: at least, whatever any
may discourse of the necessity of such works in a way of preparation
unto believing (whereunto we have spoken before), none bring them
into the verge of works evangelical, or obedience of faith; which
would imply a contradiction. But that the works inquired after are
necessary unto all believers, is granted by all; on what grounds,
and unto what ends, we shall inquire afterwards. They are declared,
     2. It is likewise granted that believers, from the performance of
this obedience, or these works of righteousness, are denominated
righteous in the Scripture, and are personally and internally
righteous, Luke 1:6; John 3:7. But yet this denomination is nowhere
given unto them with respect unto grace habitually inherent, but
unto the effect of it in duties of obedience; as in the places
mentioned: "They were both righteous before God, walking in all the
commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless;"the latter words
give the reason of the former, or their being esteemed righteous
before God. And, "He that does righteousness is righteous;"--the
denomination is from doing. And Bellarmine, endeavouring to prove
that it is habitual, not actual righteousness, which is, as he
speaks, the formal cause of our justification before God, could not
produce one testimony of Scripture wherein any one is denominated
righteous from habitual righteousness, (De Justificat., lib. 2 cap.
15); but is forced to attempt the proof of it with this absurd
argument,--namely, that "we are justified by the sacraments, which
do not work in us actual, but habitual righteousness". And this is
sufficient to discover the insufficiency of all pretence for any
interest of our own righteousness from this denomination of being
righteous thereby, seeing it has not respect unto that which is the
principal part thereof.
     3. This inherent righteousness, taking it for that which is
habitual and actual, is the same with our sanctification; neither is
there any difference between them, only they are diverse names of
the same thing. For our sanctification is the inherent renovation of
our natures exerting and acting itself in newness of life, or
obedience unto God in Christ and works of righteousness. But
sanctification and justification are in the Scripture perpetually
distinguished, whatever respect of causality the one of them may
have unto the other. And those who do confound them, as the Papists
do, do not so much dispute about the nature of justification, as
endeavour to prove that indeed there is no such thing as
justification at all; for that which would serve most to enforce it,-
-namely, the pardon of sin,--they place in the exclusion and
extinction of it, by the infusions of inherent grace, which does not
belong unto justification.
     4. By this inherent, personal righteousness we may be said several
ways to be justified. As,--(1.) In our own consciences, inasmuch at
it is an evidence in us and unto us of our participation of the
grace of God in Christ Jesus, and of our acceptance with him; which
has no small influence into our peace. So speaks the apostle, "Our
rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in
simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the
grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world," 2
Cor.1:12: who yet disclaims any confidence therein as unto his
justification before God; for says he, "Although I know nothing by
myself, yet am I not hereby justified," 1 Cor.4:4. (2.) Hereby may
we be said to be justified before men; that is, acquitted of evils
laid unto our charge, and approved as righteous and unblamable; for
the state of things is so in the world, as that the professors of
the gospel ever were, and ever will be, evil spoken of, as evil
doers. The rule given them to acquit themselves, so as that at
length they may be acquitted and justified by all that are not
absolutely blinded and hardened in wickedness, is that of a holy and
fruitful walking, in abounding in good works, 1 Pet.2:12; 3:16. And
so is it with respect unto the church, that we be not judged dead,
barren professors, but such as have been made partakers of the like
precious faith with others: "Show me thy faith by thy works", James
2. Wherefore, (3.) This righteousness is pleadable unto our
justification against all the charges of Satan, who is the great
accuser of the brethren,--of all that believe. Whether he manage his
charge privately in our consciences (which is as it were before
God), as he charged Job; or by his instruments, in all manner of
reproaches and calumnies (whereof some in this age have had
experience in an eminent manner), this righteousness is pleadable
unto our justification.
     On a supposition of these things, wherein our personal
righteousness is allowed its proper place and use (as shall
afterward be more fully declared), I do not understand that there is
an evangelical justification whereby believers are, by and on the
account of this personal, inherent righteousness, justified in the
sight of God; nor does the imputation of the righteousness of Christ
unto our absolute justification before him depend thereon. For,--
     1. None have this personal righteousness but they are antecedently
justified in the sight of God. It is wholly the obedience of faith,
proceeding from true and saving faith in God by Jesus Christ: for,
as it was said before, works before faith, are, as by general
consent, excluded from any interest in our justification, and we
have proved that they are neither conditions of it, dispositions
unto it, nor preparations for it, properly so called; but every true
believer is immediately justified on his believing. Nor is there any
moment of time wherein a man is a true believer, according as faith
is required in the gospel, and yet not justified; for as he is
thereby united unto Christ, which is the foundation of our
justification by him, so the whole Scripture testifies that he that
believes is justified, or that there is an infallible connection in
the ordination of God between true faith and justification.
Wherefore this personal righteousness cannot be the condition of our
justification before God, seeing it is consequential thereunto. What
may be pleaded in exception hereunto from the supposition of a
second justification, or differing causes of the beginning and
continuation of justification, has been already disproved
     2. Justification before God is a freedom and absolution from a
charge before God, at least it is contained therein; and the
instrument of this charge must either be the law or the gospel. But
neither the law nor the gospel do before God, or in the sight of
God, charge true believers with unbelief, hypocrisy, or the like;
for "who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect," who are
once justified before him? Such a charge may be laid against them by
Satan, by the church sometimes on mistake, by the world, as it was
in the case of Job; against which this righteousness is pleadable.
But what is charged immediately before God is charged by God himself
either by the law of the gospel; and the judgement of God is
according unto truth. If this charge be by the law, by the law we
must be justified. But the plea of sincere obedience will not
justify us by the law. That admits of none in satisfaction unto its
demands but that which is complete and perfect. And where the gospel
lays any thing unto the charge of any persons before God, there can
be no justification before God, unless we shall allow the gospel to
be the instrument of a false charge; for what should justify him
whom the gospel condemns? And if it be a justification by the gospel
from the charge of the law, it renders the death of Christ of no
effect; and a justification without a charge is not to be supposed.
     3. Such a justification as that pretended is altogether needless
and senseless. This may easily be evinced from what the Scripture
asserts unto our justification in the sight of God by faith in the
blood of Christ; but this has been spoken to before on another
occasion. Let that be considered, and it will quickly appear that
there is no place nor use for this new justification upon our
personal righteousness, whether it be supposed antecedent and
subordinate thereunto, or consequential and perfective thereof.
     4. This pretended evangelical justification has not the nature of
any justification that is mentioned in the Scripture,--that is,
neither that by the law, nor that provided in the gospel.
Justification by the law is this,--The man that does the works of it
shall live in them. This it does not pretend unto. And as unto
evangelical justification, it is every way contrary unto it. For
therein the charge against the person to be justified is true,--
namely, that he has sinned, and is come short of the glory of God;
[but] in this it is false,--namely, that a believer is an
unbeliever; a sincere person, a hypocrite; one fruitful in good
works, altogether barren: and this false charge is supposed to be
exhibited in the name of God, and before him. Our acquitment, in
true, evangelical justification, is by absolution or pardon of sin;
here, by a vindication of our own righteousness. There, the plea of
the person to be justified is, Guilty; all the world is become
guilty before God: but here, the plea of the person on his trial is,
Not guilty, whereon the proofs and evidences of innocence and
righteousness do ensue; but this is a plea which the law will not
admit, and which the gospel disclaims.
     5. If we are justified before God on our own personal
righteousness, and pronounced righteous by him on the account
thereof, then God enters into judgement with us on something in
ourselves, and acquits us thereon; for justification is a juridical
act, in and of that Judgment of God which is according unto truth.
But that God should enter into judgment with us, and justify us with
respect unto what he judges on, or our personal righteousness, the
psalmist does not believe, Ps.130:2,3; 143:2; nor did the publican,
Luke 18.
     6. This personal righteousness of ours cannot be said to be a
subordinate righteousness, and subservient unto our justification by
faith in the blood of Christ: for therein God justifies the ungodly,
and imputes righteousness unto him that works not; and, besides, it
is expressly excluded from any consideration in our justification,
     7. This personal, inherent righteousness, wherewith we are said to
be justified with this evangelical justification, is our own
righteousness. Personal righteousness, and our own righteousness,
are expressions equivalent; but our own righteousness is not the
material cause of any justification before God. For,--(1.) It is
unmeet so to be, Isa.64:6. (2.) It is directly opposed unto that
righteousness whereby we are justified, as inconsistent with it unto
that end, Phil.3:9; Rom.10:3,4.
     It will be said that our own righteousness is the righteousness of
the law, but this personal righteousness is evangelical. But,--(1.)
It will be hard to prove that our personal righteousness is any
other but our own righteousness; and our own righteousness is
expressly rejected from any interest in our justification in the
places quoted. (2.) That righteousness which is evangelical in
respect of its efficient cause, its motives and some especial ends,
is legal in respect of the formal reason of it and our obligation
unto it; for there is no instance of duty belonging unto it, but, in
general, we are obliged unto its performance by virtue of the first
commandment, to "take the LORD for our God." Acknowledging therein
his essential verity and sovereign authority, we are obliged to
believe all that he shall reveal, and to obey in all that he shall
command. (3.) The good works rejected from any interest in our
justification, are those whereunto we are "created in Christ Jesus",
Eph.2:8~10; the "works of righteousness which we have done,"
Tit.3:5, wherein the Gentiles are concerned, who never sought for
righteousness by the works of the law, Rom.9:30. But it will yet be
said, that these things are evident in themselves. God does require
an evangelical righteousness in all that do believe; this Christ is
not, nor is it the righteousness of Christ. He may be said to be our
legal righteousness, but our evangelical righteousness he is not;
and, so far as we are righteous with any righteousness, so far we
are justified by it. For according unto this evangelical
righteousness we must be tried; if we have it we shall be acquitted,
and if we have it not we shall be condemned. There is, therefore, a
justification according unto it.
     I answer,--1. According to some authors or maintainers of this
opinion, I see not but that the Lord Christ is as much our
evangelical righteousness as he is our legal. For our legal
righteousness he is not, in their judgement, by a proper imputation
of his righteousness unto us, but by the communication of the fruits
of what he did and suffered for us. And so he is our evangelical
righteousness also; for our sanctification is an effect or fruit of
what he did and suffered for us, Eph.5:26,27; Tit.2:14.
     2. None have this evangelical righteousness but those who are, in
order of nature at least, justified before they actually have it;
for it is that which is required of all that do believe, and are
justified thereon. And we need not much inquire how a man is
justified after he is justified.
     3. God has not appointed this personal righteousness in order unto
our justification before him in this life, though he have appointed
it to evidence our justification before others, and even in his
sight; as shall be declared. He accepts of it, approves of it, upon
the account of the free justification of the person in and by whom
it is wrought: so he had "respect unto Abel and his offering". But
we are not acquitted by it from any real charge in the sight of God,
nor do receive remission of sins on the account of it. And those who
place the whole of justification in the remission of sins, making
this personal righteousness the condition of it, as the Socinians
do, leave not any place for the righteousness of Christ in our
     4. If we are in any sense justified hereby in the sight of God, we
have whereof to boast before him. We may not have so absolutely, and
with respect unto merit; yet we have so comparatively, and in
respect of others who cannot make the same plea for their
justification. But all boasting is excluded; and it will not

(continued in part 16...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-15.txt