(Owen, Justification. part 31)

     Hereby many are made righteous. How? By the imputation of that
obedience unto them. For so, and no otherwise, are men made sinners
by the imputation of the disobedience of Adam. And this is that
which gives us a right and title unto eternal life, as the apostle
declares, verse 21, "That as sin reigned unto death, even so might
grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life." This
righteousness is no other but the "obedience of one",--that is, of
Christ,--as it is called, verse 10. And it is said to "come" upon
us,--that is, to be imputed unto us; for "Blessed is the man unto
whom God imputeth righteousness." And hereby we have not only
deliverance from that death and condemnation whereunto we were
liable by the sin of Adam, but the pardon of many offenses,--that
is, of all our personal sins,--and a right unto life eternal through
the grace of God; for we are "justified freely by his grace, through
the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
     And these things are thus plainly and fully delivered by the
apostle; unto whose sense and expressions also (so far as may be) it
is our duty to accommodate ours. What is offered in opposition
hereunto is so made up of exceptions, evasions, and perplexed
disputes, and leads us so far off from the plain words of the
Scripture, that the conscience of a convinced sinner knows not what
to fix upon to give it rest and satisfaction, nor what it is that is
to be believed unto justification.
     Piscatory, in his scholia on this chapter and elsewhere, insists
much on a specious argument against the imputation of the obedience
of Christ unto our justification; but it proceeds evidently on an
open mistake and false supposition, as well as it is contradictory
unto the plain words of the text. It is true, which he observes and
proves, that our redemption, reconciliation, pardon of sin, and
justification, are often ascribed unto the death and blood of Christ
in a signal manner. The reasons of it have partly been intimated
before; and a farther account of them shall be given immediately.
But it does not thence follow that the obedience of his life,
wherein he fulfilled the whole law, being made under it for us, is
excluded from any causality therein, or is not imputed unto us. But
in opposition hereunto he thus argues:--
     "Si obedientia vitae Christi nobis ad justitiam imputaretur, non
fuit opus Christum pro nobis mori; mori enim necesse fuit pro nobis
injustus", 1 Pet.3:18. "Quod si ergo justi effecti sumus per vitam
illius, causa nulla relicta fuit cur pro nobis moreretur; quia
justitia Dei non patitur ut puniat justos. At punivit nos in
Christo, seu quod idem valet punivit Christum pro nobis, et loco
nostri, posteaquam ille sancte vixisset, ut certum est e Scriptura.
Ergo non sumus justi effecti per sanctam vitam Christi. .Item,
Christus mortuus est ut justitiam illam Dei nobis acquireret", 2
Cor.5:21. "Non igitur illam acquisiverat ante mortem".
     But this whole argument, I say, proceeds upon an evident mistake;
for it supposes such an order of things as that the obedience of
Christ, or his righteousness in fulfilling the law, is first imputed
unto us, and then the righteousness of his death is afterwards to
take place, or to be imputed unto us; which, on that supposition, he
says, would be of no use. But no such order or divine constitution
is pleaded or pretended in our justification. It is true, the life
of Christ and his obedience unto the law did precede his sufferings,
and undergoing the curse thereof,--neither could it otherwise be,
for this order of these things between themselves was made necessary
from the law of nature,--but it does not thence follow that it must
be observed in the imputation or application of them unto us. For
this is an effect of sovereign wisdom and grace, not respecting the
natural order of Christ's obedience and suffering, but the moral
order of the things whereunto they are appointed. And although we
need not assert, nor do I so do, different acts of the imputation of
the obedience of Christ unto the justification of life, or a right
and title unto life eternal, and of the suffering of Christ unto the
pardon of our sins and freedom from condemnation,--but by both we
have both, according unto the ordinance of God, that Christ may be
all in all,--yet as unto the effects themselves, in the method of
God's bringing sinners unto the justification of life, the
application of the death of Christ unto them, unto the pardon of sin
and freedom from condemnation, is, in order of nature, and in the
exercise of faith, antecedent unto the application of his obedience
unto us for a right and title unto life eternal.
     The state of the person to be justified is a state of sin and
wrath, wherein he is liable unto death and condemnation. This is
that which a convinced sinner is sensible of, and which alone, in
the first place, he seeks for deliverance from: "What shall we do to
be saved?" This, in the first place, is represented unto him in the
doctrine and promise of the gospel; which is the rule and instrument
of its application. And this is [by] the death of Christ. Without
this no actual righteousness imputed unto him, not the obedience of
Christ himself, will give him relief; for he is sensible that he has
sinned, and thereby come short of the glory of God, and under the
sentence condemnatory of the law. Until he receives a deliverance
from hence, it is to no purpose to propose that unto him which
should give him right unto life eternal. But upon a supposition
hereof, he is no less concerned in what shall yet farther give him
title whereunto, that he may reign in life through righteousness.
Herein, I say, in its order, conscience is no less concerned than in
deliverance from condemnation. And this order is expressed in the
declaration of the fruit and effects of the mediation of Christ,
Dan.9:24, "To make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in
everlasting righteousness." Neither is there any force in the
objection against it, that actually the obedience of Christ did
precede his suffering: for the method of their application is not
prescribed thereby; and the state of sinners to be justified, with
the nature of their justification, requires it should be otherwise,
as God also has ordained. But because the obedience and sufferings
of Christ were concomitant from first to last, both equally
belonging unto his state of exinanition, and cannot in any act or
instance be separated, but only in notion or imagination, seeing he
suffered in all his obedience and obeyed in all his sufferings,
Heb.5:8; and neither part of our justification, in freedom from
condemnation and right unto life eternal, can be supposed to be or
exist without the other, according unto the ordinance and
constitution of God; the whole effect is jointly to be ascribed unto
the whole mediation of Christ, so far as he acted towards God in our
behalf, wherein he fulfilled the whole law, both as to the penalty
exacted of sinners and the righteousness it requires unto life as an
eternal reward. And there are many reasons why our justification is,
in the Scripture, by way of eminency, ascribed unto the death and
blood-shedding of Christ.
     For,--1. The grace and love of God, the principal, efficient cause
of our justification, are therein made most eminent and conspicuous;
for this is most frequently in the Scripture proposed unto us as the
highest instance and undeniable demonstration of divine love and
grace. And this is that which principally we are to consider in our
justification, the glory of them being the end of God therein. He
"made us accepted in the Beloved, to the praise of the glory of his
grace," Eph.1:6. Wherefore, this being the fountain, spring, and
sole cause, both of the obedience of Christ and of the imputation
thereof unto us, with the pardon of sin and righteousness thereby,
it is everywhere in the Scripture proposed as the prime object of
our faith in our justification, and opposed directly unto all our
own works whatever. The whole of God's design herein is, that "grace
may reign through righteousness unto eternal life." Whereas,
therefore, this is made most evident and conspicuous in the death of
Christ, our justification is in a peculiar manner assigned
     2. The love of Christ himself and his grace are peculiarly exalted
in our justification: "That all men may honour the Son even as they
honour the Father." Frequently are they expressed unto this purpose,
2 Cor.8:9; Gal.2:20; Phil.2:6,7; Rev.1:5,6. And those also are most
eminently exalted in his death, so as that all the effects and
fruits of them are ascribed thereunto in a peculiar manner; as
nothing is more ordinary than, among many things that concur to the
same effect, to ascribe it unto that which is most eminent among
them, especially if it cannot be conceived as separated from the
     3. This is the clearest testimony that what the Lord Christ did
and suffered was for us, and not for himself; for without the
consideration hereof, all the obedience which he yielded unto the
law might be looked on as due only on his own account, and himself
to have been such a Saviour as the Socinians imagine, who should do
all with us from God, and nothing with God for us. But the suffering
of the curse of the law by him who was not only an innocent man, but
also the Son of God, openly testifies that what he did and suffered
was for us, and not for himself. It is no wonder, therefore, if our
faith as unto justification be in the first place, and principally,
directed unto his death and blood-shedding.
     4. All the obedience of Christ had still respect unto the
sacrifice of himself which was to ensue, wherein it received its
accomplishment, and whereon its efficacy unto our justification did
depend: for as no imputation of actual obedience would justify
sinners from the condemnation that was passed on them for the sin of
Adam; so, although the obedience of Christ was not a mere
preparation or qualification of his person for his suffering, yet
its efficacy unto our justification did depend on his suffering that
was to ensue, when his soul was made an offering for sin.
     5. As was before observed, reconciliation and the pardon of sin
through the blood of Christ do directly, in the first place, respect
our relief from the state and condition whereinto we were cast by
the sin of Adam,--in the loss of the favour of God, and liableness
unto death. This, therefore, is that which principally, and in the
first place, a lost convinced sinner, such as Christ calls unto
himself, does look after. And therefore justification is eminently
and frequently proposed as the effect of the blood-shedding and
death of Christ, which are the direct cause of our reconciliation
and pardon of sin. But yet from none of these considerations does it
follow that the obedience of the one man, Christ Jesus, is not
imputed unto us, whereby grace might reign through righteousness
unto eternal life.
     The same truth is fully asserted and confirmed, Rom.8:1-4. But
this place has been of late so explained and so vindicated by
another, in his learned and judicious exposition of it (namely, Dr
Jacomb), as that nothing remains of weight to be added unto what has
been pleaded and argued by him, part 1 verse 4, p.587, and onwards.
And indeed the answers which he subjoins (to the arguments whereby
he confirms the truth) to the most usual and important objections
against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, are
sufficient to give just satisfaction unto the minds of unprejudiced,
unengaged persons. I shall therefore pass over this testimony, as
that which has been so lately pleaded and vindicated, and not press
the same things, it may be (as is not unusual) unto their
     Rom.10:3,4. "For they" (the Jews, who had a zeal for God, but not
according to knowledge), "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and
going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted
themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of
the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth."
     What is here determined, the apostle enters upon the proposition
and declaration of, chap.9:30. And because what he had to propose
was somewhat strange, and unsuited unto the common apprehensions of
men, he introduces it with that prefatory interrogation, "Ti oun
eroumen;" (which he uses on the like occasions, chap.3:5; 6:1; 7:7;
9:14)--"What shall we say then?" that is, "Is there in this matter
'unrighteousness with God?'" as verse 14; or, "What shall we say
unto these things?" or, "This is that which is to be said herein."
That which hereon he asserts is, "That the Gentiles, which followed
not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the
righteousness which is of faith; but Israel, which followed after
the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of
righteousness;" that is, unto righteousness itself before God.
     Nothing seems to be more contrary unto reason than what is here
made manifest by the event. The Gentiles, who lived in sin and
pleasures, not once endeavouring to attain unto any righteousness
before God, yet attained unto it upon the preaching of the gospel.
Israel, on the other hand, which followed after righteousness
diligently in all the works of the law, and duties of obedience unto
God thereby, came short of it, attained not unto it. All
preparations, all dispositions, all merit, as unto righteousness and
justification, are excluded from the Gentiles; for in all of them
there is more or less a following after righteousness, which is
denied of them all. Only by faith in him who justifieth the ungodly,
they attain righteousness, or they attained the righteousness of
faith. For to attain righteousness by faith, and to attain the
righteousness which is of faith, are the same. Wherefore, all things
that are comprised any way in following after righteousness, such as
are all our duties and works, are excluded from any influence into
our justification. And this is expressed to declare the sovereignty
and freedom of the grace of God herein,--name]y, that we are
justified freely by his grace,--and that on our part all boasting is
excluded. Let men pretend what they will, and dispute. what they
please, those who attain unto righteousness and justification before
God, when they follow not after righteousness, they do it by the
gratuitous imputation of the righteousness of another unto them.
     It may be it will be said: "It is true in the time of their
heathenism they did not at all follow after righteousness, but when
the truth of the gospel was revealed unto them, then they followed
after righteousness, and did attain it." But,--1. This is directly
to contradict the apostle, in that it says that they attained not
righteousness but only as they followed after righteousness; whereas
he affirms the direct contrary. 2. It takes away the distinction
which he puts between them and Israel,--namely, that the one
followed after righteousness, and the other did not. 3. To follow
after righteousness, in this place, is to follow after a
righteousness of our own: "To establish their own righteousness,"
chap.10:3. But this is so far from being a means of attaining
righteousness, as that it is the most effectual obstruction thereof.
     If, therefore, those who have no righteousness of their own, who
are so far from it that they never endeavoured to attain it, do yet
by faith receive that righteousness wherewith they are justified
before God, they do so by the imputation of the righteousness of
Christ unto them; or let some other way be assigned.
     In the other side of the instance, concerning Israel, some must
hear, whether they will or not, that wherewith they are not pleased.
     Three things are expressed of them:--1. Their attempt. 2 Their
success. 3. The reason of it.
     1. Their attempt or endeavour was in this, that they "followed
after the law of righteousness." "Diookoo", the word whereby their
endeavour is expressed, signifies that which is earnest, diligent,
and sincere. By it does the apostle declare what his [endeavour]
was, and what ours ought to be, in the duties and exercise of gospel
obedience, Phil.3:12. They were not in diligent in this matter, but
"instantly served God day and night." Nor were they hypocritical;
for the apostle bears them record in this matter, that "they had a
zeal of God," Rom.10:2. And that which they thus endeavoured after
was "nomos dikaiosunes",--"the law of righteousness," that law which
prescribed a perfect personal righteousness before God; "the things
which if a man do them, he shall live in them," chap.10:5.
Wherefore, the apostle has no other respect unto the ceremonial law
in this place but only as it was branched out from the moral law by
the will of God, and as the obedience unto it belonged thereunto.
When he speaks of it separately, he calls it "the law of
commandments contained in ordinances;" but it is nowhere called "the
law of righteousness," the law whose righteousness is fulfilled in
us, chap.8:9a. Wherefore, the following after this law of

righteousness was their diligence in the performance of all duties
of obedience, according unto the directions and precepts of the
moral law.
     2. The issue of this attempt is, that they "attained not unto the
law of righteousness," "eis nomon dikaiosunes ouk efthase",--that
is, they attained not unto a righteousness before God hereby. Though
this was the end of the law, namely, a righteousness before God,
wherein a man might live, yet could they never attain it.
     3. An account is given of the reason of their failing in attaining
that which they so earnestly endeavoured after. And this was in a
double mistake that they were under;--first, In the means of
attaining it; secondly, In the righteousness itself that was to be
sought after. The first is declared, chap.9:32, "Because not by
faith, but as it were by the works of the law." Faith and works are
the two only ways whereby righteousness may be attained, and they
are opposite and inconsistent; so that none does or can seek after
righteousness by them both. They will not be mixed and made one
entire means of attaining righteousness. They are opposed as grace
and works; what is of the one is not of the other, chap.11:6. Every
composition of them in this matter is, "Male sarta gratia nequicquam
coit et rescinditur". And the reason is, because the righteousness
which faith seeks after, or which is attainable by faith, is that
which is given to us, imputed unto us, which faith does only
receive. It receives "the abundance of grace, and the gift of
righteousness." But that which is attainable by works is our own,
inherent in us, wrought out by us, and not imputed unto us; for it
is nothing but those works themselves, with respect unto the law of
     And if righteousness before God be to be obtained alone by faith,
and that in contradiction unto all works,--which if a man do them,
according unto the law, "he shall even live in them," then is it by
faith alone that we are justified before God, or, nothing else on
our part is required thereunto. And of what nature this
righteousness must be is evident.
     Again: if faith and works are opposed as contrary and
inconsistent, when considered as the means of attaining
righteousness or justification before God, as plainly they are, then
is it impossible we should be justified before God by them in the
same sense, way, and manner. Wherefore, when the apostle James
affirms that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only, he
cannot intend our justification before God, where it is impossible
they should both concur; for not only are they declared inconsistent
by the apostle in this place, but it would introduce several sorts
of righteousness into justification, that are inconsistent and
destructive of each other. This was the first mistake of the Jews,
whence this miscarriage ensued,--they sought not after righteousness
by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.
     Their second mistake was as unto the righteousness itself whereon
a man might be justified before God; for this they judged was to be
their own righteousness, chap.10:3. Their own personal
righteousness, consisting in their own duties of obedience, they
looked on as the only righteousness whereon they might be justified
before God. This, therefore, they went about to establish, as the
Pharisee did, Luke 18:11,12: and this mistake, with their design
thereon, "to establish their own righteousness," was the principal
cause that made them reject the righteousness of God; as it is with
many at this day.
     Whatever is done in us, or performed by us, as obedience unto God,
is our own righteousness. Though it be done in faith, and by the
aids of God's grace, yet is it subjectively ours, and, so far as it
is a righteousness, it is our own. But all righteousness whatever,
which is our own, is so far diverse from the righteousness by which
we are to be justified before God, as that the most earnest
endeavour to establish it,--that is, to render it such as by which
we may be justified,--is an effectual means to cause us to refuse a
submission unto, and an acceptance of, that whereby alone we may be
     This ruined the Jews, and will be the ruin of all that shall
follow their example in seeking after justification; yet is it not
easy for men to take any other way, or to be taken off from this. So
the apostle intimates in that expression, "They submitted not
themselves unto the righteousness of God." This righteousness of God
is of that nature that the proud mind of man is altogether unwilling
to bow and submit itself unto; yet can it no otherwise be attained,
but by such a submission or subjection of mind as contains in it a
total renunciation of any righteousness of our own. And those who
reproach others for affirming that men endeavouring after morality,
or moral righteousness, and resting therein, are in no good way for
the participation of the grace of God by Jesus Christ, do expressly
deride the doctrine of the apostle; that is, of the Holy Ghost
     Wherefore, the plain design of the apostle is, to declare that not
only faith and the righteousness of it, and a righteousness of our
own by works, are inconsistent, that is, as unto our justification
before God; but also, that the intermixture of our own works, in
seeking after righteousness, as the means thereof, does wholly
divert us from the acceptance of or submission unto the
righteousness of God. For the righteousness which is of faith is not
our own; it is the righteousness of God,--that which he imputes unto
us. But the righteousness of works is our own,--that which is
wrought in us and by us. And as works have no aptitude nor meekness
in themselves to attain or receive a righteousness which, because it
is not our own, is imputed unto us, but are repugnant unto it, as
that which will cast them down from their legal dignity of being our
righteousness; so faith has no aptitude nor meekness in itself to be
an inherent righteousness, or so to be esteemed, or as such to be
imputed unto us, seeing its principal faculty and efficacy consist
in fixing all the trust, confidence, and expectation of the soul,
for righteousness and acceptation with God, upon another.
     Here was the ruin of those Jews: they judged it a better, a more
probable, yea, a more righteous and holy way for them, constantly to
endeavour after a righteousness of their own, by duties of obedience
unto the law of God, than to imagine that they could come to
acceptance with God by faith in another. For tell them, and such as
they, what you please, if they have not a righteousness of their
own, that they can set upon its legs, and make to stand before God,
the law will not have its accomplishment, and so will condemn them.
     To demolish this last sort of unbelief, the apostle grants that
the law must have its end, and he completely fulfilled, or there is
no appearing for us as righteous before God; and withal shows them
how this is done, and where alone it is to be sought after: for
"Christ," says he, "is the end of the law for righteousness to every
one that believeth," Rom.10:4. We need not trouble ourselves to
inquire in what various senses Christ may be said to be "telos
nomou",--"the end," the complement, the perfection, "of the law."
The apostle sufficiently determines his intention, in affirming not
absolutely that he is the end of the law, but he is so "eis
dikaiosunen", "for righteousness," unto every one that believes. The
matter in question is a righteousness unto justification before God.
And this is acknowledged to be the righteousness which the law
requires. God looks for no righteousness from us but what is
prescribed in the law. The law is nothing but the rule of
righteousness,--God's prescription of a righteousness, and all the
duties of it, unto us. That we should be righteous herewith before
God was the first, original end of the law. Its other ends at
present, of the conviction of sin, and judging or condemning for it,
were accidental unto its primitive constitution. This righteousness
which the law requires, which is all and only that righteousness
which God requires of us, the accomplishment of this end of the law,
the Jews sought after by their own personal performance of the works
and duties of it. But hereby, in the utmost of their endeavours,
they could never fulfil this righteousness, nor attain this end of
the law; which yet if men do not they must perish for ever.
     Wherefore, the apostle declares, that all this is done another
way; that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled, and its end, as
unto a righteousness before God, attained; and that is in and by
Christ. For what the law required, that he accomplished; which is
accounted unto every one that believes.
     Herein the apostle issues the whole disquisition about a
righteousness wherewith we may be justified before God, and, in
particular, how satisfaction is given unto the demands of the law.
That which we could not do,--that which the law could not effect in
us, in that it was weak through the flesh,--that which we could not
attain by the works and duties of it,--that Christ has done for us;
and so is "the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that
     The law demands a righteousness of us; the accomplishment of this
righteousness is the end which it aims at, and which is necessary
unto our justification before God. This is not to be attained by any
works of our own, by any righteousness of our own. But the Lord
Christ is this for us, and unto us; which, how he is or can be but
by the imputation of his obedience and righteousness in the
accomplishment of the law, I cannot understand; I am sure the
apostle does not declare.
     The way whereby we attain unto this end of the law, which we
cannot do by our utmost endeavours to establish our own
righteousness, is by faith alone, for "Christ is the end of the law
for righteousness unto every one that believeth." To mix any thing
with faith herein, as it is repugnant unto the nature of faith and
works, with respect unto their aptitude and meekness for the
attaining of a righteousness, so it is as directly contradictory
unto the express design and words of the apostle as any thing that
can be invented.
     Let men please themselves with their distinctions, which I
understand not (and yet, perhaps, should be ashamed to say so, but
that I am persuaded they understand them not themselves by whom they
are used), or with cavils, objections, feigned consequences, which I
value not; here I shall forever desire to fix my soul, and herein to
acquiesce,--namely, that "Christ is the end of the law for

righteousness to every one that does believe." And I do suppose,
that all they who understand aright what it is that the law of God
does require of them, how needful it is that it be complied withal,
and that the end of it be accomplished, with the utter insufficiency
of their own endeavours unto those ends, will, at least when the
time of disputing is over, retake themselves unto the same refuge
and rest.

The next place I shall consider in the epistles of this apostle is,-
     1 Cor.1:30. "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made
unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and
     The design of the apostle in these words is to manifest, that
whatever is wanting unto us on any account that we may please God,
live unto him, and come to the enjoyment of him, that we have in
and, by Jesus Christ; and this on the part of God from mere free and
sovereign grace, as verses 26-29 do declare. And we have all these
things by virtue of our insition or implantation in him: "ex autou",-
     "from," "of," or "by him." He by his grace is the principal,
efficient cause hereof. And the effect is, that we are "in Christ
Jesus," that is, ingrafted in him, or united unto him, as members of
his mystical body; which is the constant sense of that expression in
the Scripture. And the benefits which we receive hereby are
enumerated in the following words. But, first, the way whereby we
are made partakers of them, or they are communicated unto us, is
declared: "Who of God is made unto us." It is so ordained of God,
that he himself shall be made or become all this unto us: "Hos
egenethe hemin apo Theou", where "apo" denotes the efficient cause,
as "ex" did before. But how is Christ thus made unto us of God, or
what act of God is it that is intended thereby? Socinus says it is
"a general act of the providence of God, whence it is come to pass,
or is so fallen out, that one way or other the Lord Christ should be
said to be all this unto us." But it is an especial ordinance and
institution of God's sovereign grace and wisdom, designing Christ to
be all this unto us and for us, with actual imputation thereon, and
nothing else, that is intended. Whatever interest, therefore, we
have in Christ, and whatever benefit we have by him, it all depends
on the sovereign grace and constitution of God, and not on any thing
in ourselves. Whereas, then, we have no righteousness of our own, he
is appointed of God to be our "righteousness," and is made so unto
us: which can be no otherwise, but that his righteousness is made
ours; for he is made it unto us (as he is likewise the other things
mentioned) so as that all boasting, that is in ourselves, should be
utterly excluded,and that "he that glorieth should glory in the
Lord," verses 29-31. Now, there is such a righteousness, or such a
way of being righteous, whereon we may have somewhat to glory,
Rom.4:2, and which does not exclude boasting, chap.3:27. And this
cannot possibly be but when our righteousness is inherent in us; for
that, however it may be procured, or purchased, or wrought in us, is
yet our own, so far as any thing can be our own whilst we are
creatures. This kind of righteousness, therefore, is here excluded.
And the Lord Christ being so made righteousness unto us of God as
that all boasting and glorying on our part, or in ourselves, may be
excluded,--yea, being made so for this very end, that so it should
be,--it can be no otherwise but by the imputation of his
righteousness unto us; for thereby is the grace of God, the honour
of his person and mediation exalted, and all occasion of glorying in
ourselves utterly prescinded. We desire no more from this testimony,
but that whereas we are in ourselves destitute of all righteousness
in the sight of God, Christ is, by a gracious act of divine
imputation, made of God righteousness unto us, in such a way as that
all our glorying ought to be in the grace of God, and the
righteousness of Christ himself. Bellarmine attempts three answers
unto this testimony, the two first whereof are coincident; and, in
the third, being on the rack of light and truth, he confesses, and
grants all that we plead for. 1. He says, "That Christ is said to be
our righteousness, because he is the efficient cause of it, as God
is said to be our strength; and so there is in the words a metonymy
of the effect for the cause." And I say it is true, that the Lord
Christ by his Spirit is the efficient cause of our personal,
inherent righteousness. By his grace it is effected and wrought in
us; he renews our natures into the image of God, and without him we
can do nothing: so that our habitual and actual righteousness is
from him. But this personal righteousness is our sanctification, and
nothing else. And although the same internal habit of inherent
grace, with operations suitable thereunto, be sometimes called our
sanctification, and sometimes our righteousness, with respect unto
those operations, yet is it never distinguished into our
sanctification and our righteousness. But his being made
righteousness unto us in this place is absolutely distinct from his
being made sanctification unto us; which is that inherent
righteousness which is wrought in us by the Spirit and grace of
Christ. And his working personal righteousness in us, which is our
sanctification, and the imputation of his righteousness unto us,
whereby we are made righteous before God, are not only consistent,
but the one of them cannot be without the other.
     2. He pleads, "That Christ is said to be made righteousness unto
us, as he is made redemption. Now, he is our redemption, because he
has redeemed us. So is he said to be made righteousness unto us,
because by him we become righteous;" or, as another speaks, "because
by him alone we are justified." This is the same plea with the
former,--namely, that there is a metonymy of the effect for the
cause in all these expressions; yet what cause they intend it to be
who expound the words, "By him alone we are justified," I do not
understand. But Bellarmine is approaching yet nearer the truth: for
as Christ is said to be made of God redemption unto us, because by
his blood we are redeemed, or freed from sin, death, and hell, by
the ransom he paid for us, or have redemption through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins; so he is said to be made righteousness
unto us, because through his righteousness granted unto us of God
(as God's making him to be righteousness unto us, and our becoming
the righteousness of God in him, and the imputation of his

(continued in part 32...)

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