(Owen, Justification. part 32)

righteousness unto us, that we may be righteous before God, are the
same), we are justified.
     His third answer, as was before observed, grants the whole of what
we plead; for it is the same which he gives unto Jer.23:6: which
place he conjoins with this, as of the same sense and importance,
giving up his whole cause in satisfaction unto them, in the words
before described, lib. 2 cap.10.
     Socinus prefaces his answer unto this testimony with an admiration
that any should make use of it, or plead it in this cause, it is so
impertinent unto the purpose. And, indeed, a pretended contempt of
the arguments of his adversaries is the principal artifice he makes
use of in all his replies and evasions; wherein I am sorry to see
that he is followed by most of them who, together with him, do
oppose the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. And so of late
the use of this testimony, which reduced Bellarmine to so great a
strait, is admired at on the only ground and reason wherewith it is
opposed by Socinus. Yet are his exceptions unto it such as that I
cannot also but a little, on the other hand, wonder that any learned
man should be troubled with them, or seduced by them; for he only
pleads, "That if Christ be said to be made righteousness unto us
because his righteousness is imputed unto us, then is he said to be
made wisdom unto us because his wisdom is so imputed, and so of his
sanctification; which none will allow: yea, he must be redeemed for
us, and his redemption be imputed unto us." But there is nothing of
force nor truth in this pretence: for it is built only on this
supposition, that Christ must be made unto us of God all these
things in the same way and manner; whereas they are of such
different natures that it is utterly impossible he should so be. For
instance, he is made sanctification unto us, in that by his Spirit
and grace we are freely sanctified; but he cannot be said to be made
redemption unto us, in that by his Spirit and grace we are freely
redeemed. And if he is said to be made righteousness unto us,
because by his Spirit and grace he works inherent righteousness in
us, then is it plainly the same with his being made sanctification
unto us. Neither does he himself believe that Christ is made all
these things unto us in the same way and manner; and therefore does
he not assign any special way whereby he is so made them all, but
clouds it in an ambiguous expression, that he becomes all these
things unto us in the providence of God. But ask him in particular,
how Christ is made sanctification unto us, and he will tell you that
it was by his doctrine and example alone, with some such general
assistance of the Spirit of God as he will allow. But now, this is
no way at all whereby Christ was made redemption unto us; which
being a thing external, and not wrought in us, Christ can be no
otherwise made redemption unto us than by the imputation unto us of
what he did that we might be redeemed, or reckoning it on our
account;--not that he was redeemed for us, as he childishly cavils,
but that he did that whereby we are redeemed. Wherefore, Christ is
made of God righteousness unto us in such a way and manner as the
nature of the thing does require. Say some, "It is because by him we
are justified." Howbeit the text says not that by him we are
justified, but that he is of God made righteousness unto us; which
is not our justification, but the ground, cause, and reason whereon
we are justified. Righteousness is one thing, and justification is
another. Wherefore we must inquire how we come to have that
righteousness whereby we are justified; and this the same apostle
tells us plainly is by imputation: "Blessed is the man unto whom the
Lord imputeth righteousness," Rom.4:6. It follows, then, that Christ
being made unto us of God righteousness, can have no other sense but
that his righteousness is imputed unto us, which is what this text
does undeniably confirm.

2 Cor.5:21. The truth pleaded for is yet more emphatically
expressed: "For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." The
paraphrase of Austin on these words gives the sense of them: "Ipse
peccatum ut nos justitia, non nostra sed Dei, non in nobis sed in
ipso; sicut ipse peccatum non suum sed nostrum, non in se, sed in
nobis constitutum", Enchirid. ad Laurent., cap.4. And the words of
Chrysostom upon this p]ace, unto the same purpose, have been cited
before at large.
     To set out the greatness of the grace of God in our reconciliation
by Christ, he describes him by that paraphrases, "ton me gnonta
hamartian",--"who knew no sin," or "who knew not sin." He knew sin
in the notion or understanding of its nature, and he knew it
experimentally in the effects which he underwent and suffered; but
he knew it not,--that is, was most remote from it,--as to its
commission or guilt. So that "he knew no sin," is absolutely no more
but "he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth," as it is
expressed, 1 Pet.2:22; or that he was "holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners," Heb.7:26. Howbeit, there is an emphasis in
the expression, which is not to be neglected: for as it is observed
by Chrysostom, as containing an auxesis ("ouchi ton me hamartanonta
monon legei alle ton mede gnonta hamartian"), and by sundry learned
persons after him; so those who desire to learn the excellency of
the grace of God herein, will have an impression of a sense of it on
their minds from this emphatical expression, which the Holy Ghost
chose to make use of unto that end; and the observation of it is not
to be despised.
     "He has made him to be sin;" "That is," say many expositors, "a
sacrifice for sin." "Quemadmodum oblatus est pro peccatis, non
immerito peccatum factus dicitur, quia et bestia in lege quae pro
peccatis offerabatur, peccatum nuncupatur", Ambrose. in locum. So
the sin and trespass-offering are often expressed by "chattat" and
"'asham",--"the sin" and "trespass," or "guilt." And I shall not
contend about this exposition, because that signified in it is
according unto the truth. But there is another more proper
signification of the word: "hamartia" being put for "hamartoolos",--
"sin," for a "sinner," (that is, passively, not actively; not by
inhesion, but imputation); for this the phrase of speech and force
of the antithesis seem to require. Speaking of another sense, Estius
himself on the place adds, as that which he approves: "Hic
intellectus explicandus est per commentarium Graecorum Chrysostomi
et caeterorum; quia peccatum emphatic 'hoos' interpretantur magnum
peccatorem; ac si dicat apostolus, nostri causa tractavit eum
tanquam ipsum peccatum, ipsum scelus, id est, tanquam hominem
insigniter sceleratum, ut in quo posuerit iniquitates omnium
nostrum". And if this be the interpretation of the Greek scholiasts,
as indeed it is, Luther was not the first who affirmed that Christ
was made the greatest sinner,--namely, by imputation. But we shall
allow the former exposition, provided that the true notion of a
sin-offering, or expiatory sacrifice, be admitted: for although this
neither was nor could consist in the transfusion of the inherent sin
of the person into the sacrifice, yet did it so in the translation
of the guilt of the sinner unto it; as is fully declared,
Lev.16:20,21. Only I must say, that I grant this signification of
the word to avoid contention; for whereas some say that "hamartia"
signifies sin, and a sacrifice for sin, it cannot be allowed.
"Chata'", in Kal, signifies "to err, to sin, to transgress the law
of God." In Piel it has a contrary signification,--namely, "to
cleanse from sin," or "to make expiation of sin." Hence "chattat" is
most frequently used with respect unto its derivation from the first
conjugation, and signifies "sin," "transgression," and "guilt;" but
sometimes with respect unto the second, and then it signifies "a
sacrifice for sin, to make expiation of it." And so it is rendered
by the LXX, sometimes by "hilasmos", Ezek.44:27, sometimes
"exilasmos", Exod.30:10, Ezek.43:22, a "propitiation," a
"propitiatory sacrifice;" sometimes by "hagnisma", Num.19:19, and
"hagnismos", "purification," or "cleansing." But "hamartia",
absolutely, does nowhere, in any good author, nor in the Scripture,
signify a sacrifice for sin, unless it may be allowed to do so in
this one place alone. For whereas the LXX do render "chattat"
constantly by "hamartia", where it signifies sin; where it denotes
an offering for sin, and they retain that word, they do it by "peri
hamartias", an elliptical expression, which they invented for that
which they knew "hamartia" of itself neither did nor could signify,
Lev.4:3,14,32,35; 5:6-11; 6:30; 8:2. And they never omit the
preposition unless they name the sacrifice; as "moschos tes
hamartias". This is observed also by the apostle in the New
Testament; for twice, expressing the sin-offering by this word, he
uses that phrase "peri hamartias", Rom.8:3, Heb.10:6; but nowhere
uses "hamartia" to that purpose. If it be, therefore, of that
signification in this place, it is so here alone. And whereas some
think that it answers "piaculum" in the Latin, it is also a mistake;
for the first signification of "hamartia" is confessed to be sin,
and they would have it supposed that thence it is abused to signify
a sacrifice for sin. But "piaculum" is properly a sacrifice, or any
thing whereby sin is expiated, or satisfaction is made for it. And
very rarely it is abused to denote such a sin or crime as deserves
pubic expiation, and is not otherwise to be pardoned; so Virgil,--
     "Distulit in seram commissa piacula mortem".--AEn.6,569.
But we shall not contend about words, whilst we can agree about what
is intended.
     The only inquiry is, how God did make him to be sin? "He has made
him to be sin;" so that an act of God is intended. And this is
elsewhere expressed by his "laying all our iniquities upon him," or
causing them to meet on him, Isa.53:6. And this was by the
imputation of our sins unto him, as the sins of the people were put
on the head of the goat, that they should be no more theirs, but
his, so as that he was to carry them away from them. Take sin in
either sense before mentioned, either of a sacrifice for sin, or a
sinner, and the imputation of the guilt of sin antecedently unto the
punishment of it, and in order whereunto, must be understood. For in
every sacrifice for sin there was an imposition of sin on the beast
to be offered, antecedent unto the sacrificing of it, and therein
its suffering by death. Therefore, in every offering for sin, he
that brought it was to "put his hand on the head of it," Lev.1:4.
And that the transferring of the guilt of sin unto the offering was
thereby signified, is expressly declared, Lev.16:21. Wherefore, if
God made the Lord Christ a sin-offering for us, it was by the
imputation of the guilt of sin unto him antecedently unto his
suffering. Nor could any offering be made for sin, without a typical
translation of the guilt of sin unto it. And, therefore, when an
offering was made for the expiation of the guilt of an uncertain
murder, those who were to make it by the law, namely, the elders of
the city that was next unto the place where the man was slain,--were
not to offer a sacrifice, because there was none to confess guilt
over it, or to lay guilt upon it; but whereas the neck of a heifer
was to be stricken off, to declare the punishment due unto blood,
they were to wash their hands over it to testify their own
innocence, Deut.21:1-8. But a sacrifice for sin without the
imputation of guilt there could not be. And if the word be taken in
the second sense,--namely, for a sinner, that is, by imputation, and
in God's esteem,--it must be by the imputation of guilt; for none

can, in any sense, be denominated a sinner from mere suffering.
None, indeed, do say that Christ was made sin by the imputation of
punishment unto him, which has no proper sense; but they say sin was
imputed unto him as unto punishment: which is indeed to say that the
guilt of sin was imputed unto him; for the guilt of sin is its
respect unto punishment, or the obligation unto punishment which
attends it. And that any one should be punished for sin without the
imputation of the guilt of it unto him, is impossible; and, were it
possible, would be unjust: for it is not possible that any one
should be punished for sin properly, and yet that sin be none of
his. And if it be not his by inhesion, it can be his no other way
but by imputation. One may suffer on the occasion of the sin of
another that is no way made his, but he cannot be punished for it;
for punishment is the recompense of sin on the account of its guilt.
And were it possible, where is the righteousness of punishing any
one for that which no way belongs unto him? Besides, imputation of
sin, and punishing, are distinct acts, the one preceding the other;
and therefore the former is only of the guilt of sin: wherefore, the
Lord Christ was made sin for us, by the imputation of the guilt of
our sins unto him.
     But it is said, that if "the guilt of sin were imputed unto
Christ, he is excluded from all possibility of merit, for he
suffered but what was his due; and so the whole work of Christ's
satisfaction is subverted. This must be so, if God in judgment did
reckon him guilty and a sinner." But there is an ambiguity in these
expressions. If it be meant that God in judgment did reckon him
guilty and a sinner inherently in his own person, no such thing is
intended. But God laid all our sins on him, and in judgment spared
him not, as unto what was due unto them. And so he suffered not what
was his due upon his own account, but what was due unto our sin:
which it is impiety to deny; for if it were not so, he died in vain,
and we are still in our sins. And as his satisfaction consists
herein, nor could be without it, so does it not in the least
derogate from his merit. For supposing the infinite dignity of his
person, and his voluntary susception of our sin to answer for it,
which altered not his state and condition, his obedience therein was
highly meritorious.
     In answer hereunto, and by virtue hereof, we are made "the
righteousness of God in him." This was the end of his being made sin
for us. And by whom are we so made? It is by God himself: for "it is
God that justifieth," Rom.8:33; it is God who "imputeth
righteousness," chap.4:6. Wherefore it is the act of God in our
justification that is intended; and to be made the righteousness of
God is to be made righteous before God, though emphatically
expressed by the abstract for the concrete, to answer what was said
before of Christ being made sin for us. To be made the righteousness
of God is to be justified; and to be made so in him, as he was made
sin for us, is to be justified by the imputation of his
righteousness unto us, as our sin was imputed unto him.
     No man can assign any other way whereby he was made sin,
especially his being made so by God, but by God's laying all our
iniquities upon him,--that is, imputing our sin unto him. How, then,
are we made the righteousness of God in him? "By the infusion of a
habit of grace," say the Papists generally. Then, by the rule of
antithesis, he must be made sin for us by the infusion of a habit of
sin; which would be a blasphemous imagination. "By his meriting,
procuring, and purchasing righteousness for us," say others. So,
possibly, we might be made righteous by him; but so we cannot be
made righteous in him. This can only be by his righteousness as we
are in him, or united unto him. To be righteous in him is to be
righteous with his righteousness, as we are one mystical person with
him. Wherefore,--
     To be made the righteousness of God in Christ, as he was made sin
for us, and because he was so, can be no other but to be made
righteous by the imputation of his righteousness unto us, as we are
in him or united unto him. All other expositions of these words are
both jejune and forced, leading the mind from the first, plain,
obvious sense of them.
     Bellarmine excepts unto this interpretation, and it is his first
argument against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ,
lib.2 cap.7, De Justificatione, "Quinto refellitur quoniam si vere
nobis imputetur justitia Christi ut per eam justi habeamur ac
censeremur, ac si proprie nostra esset intrinseca formalisque
justitia, profecto non minus justi haberi et censeri deberemus quam
ipse Christus: proinde deberemus dici atque haberi redemptores, et
salvatores mundi, quod est absurdissimum". So full an answer has
been returned hereunto, and that so frequently, by Protestant
divines, as that I would not have mentioned it, but that divers
among ourselves are pleased to borrow it from him and make use of
it. "For," say they, "if the righteousness of Christ be imputed unto
us so as thereby to be made ours, then are we as righteous as Christ
himself, because we are righteous with his righteousness." Ans. 1.
These things are plainly affirmed in the Scripture, that, as unto
ourselves and in ourselves, "we are all as an unclean thing, and all
our righteousnesses are as filthy rags," Isa.64:6, on the one hand;
and that "in the LORD we have righteousness and strength; in the
LORD we are justified and do glory," Isa.45:24,25, on the other;--
that "if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves:" and yet we
are "the righteousness of God in Christ." Wherefore these things are
consistent, whatever cavils the wit of men can raise against them;
and so they must be esteemed, unless we will comply with Socinus's
rule of interpretation,--namely, that where any thing seems
repugnant unto our reason, though it be never so expressly affirmed
in the Scripture, we are not to admit of it, but find out some
interpretation, though never so forced, to bring the sense of the
words unto our reason. Wherefore,--2. Notwithstanding the imputation
of the righteousness of Christ unto us, and our being made righteous
therewith, we are sinners in ourselves (the Lord knows greatly so,
the best of us); and so cannot be said to be as righteous as Christ,
but only to be made righteous in him who are sinners in ourselves.
3. To say that we are as righteous as Christ, is to make a
comparison between the personal righteousness of Christ and our
personal righteousness,--if the comparison be of things of the same
kind. But this is foolish and impious: for, notwithstanding all our
personal righteousness, we are sinful; he knew no sin. And if the
comparison be between Christ's personal, inherent righteousness, and
righteousness imputed unto us, inhesion and imputation being things
of diverse kinds, it is fond and of no consequence. Christ was
actively righteous; we are passively so. When our sin was imputed
unto him, he did not thereby become a sinner as we are, actively and
inherently a sinner; but passively only, and in God's estimation. As
he was made sin, yet knew no sin; so we are made righteous, yet are
sinful in ourselves. 4. The righteousness of Christ, as it was his
personally, was the righteousness of the Son of God, in which
respect it had in itself an infinite perfection and value; but it is
imputed unto us only with respect unto our personal want,--not as it
was satisfactory for all, but as our souls stand in need of it, and
are made partakers of it. There is, therefore, no ground for any
such comparison. 5. As unto what is added by Bellarmine, that we may
hereon be said to be redeemers and saviours of the world, the
absurdity of the assertion falls upon himself; we are not concerned
in it. For he affirms directly, lib.1, De Purgator., cap.14, that "a
man may be rightly called his own redeemer and saviour;" which he
endeavours to prove from Dan.4. And some of his church affirm that
the saints may be called the redeemers of others, though improperly.
But we are not concerned in these things; seeing from the imputation
of the righteousness of Christ, it follows only that those unto whom
it is imputed are redeemed and saved, not at all that they are
redeemers and saviours. It belongs also unto the vindication of this
testimony to show the vanity of his seventh argument in the same
case, because that also is made use of by some among ourselves; and
it is this: "If by the righteousness of Christ imputed unto us, we
may be truly said to be righteous, and the sons of God; then may
Christ, by the imputation of our unrighteousness, be said to be a
sinner, and a child of the devil." Ans. 1. That which the Scripture
affirms concerning the imputation of our sins unto Christ is, that
"he was made sin for us." This the Greek expositors, Chrysostom,
Theophylact, and Oecumenius, with many others, take for "a sinner."
But all affirm that denomination to be taken from imputation only:
he had sin imputed unto him, and underwent the punishment due unto
it; as we have righteousness imputed unto us, and enjoy the benefit
of it. 2. The imputation of sin unto Christ did not carry along with
it any thing of the pollution or filth of sin, to be communicated
unto him by transfusion,--a thing impossible; so that no
denomination can thence arise which should include in it any respect
unto them. A thought hereof is impious, and dishonourable unto the
Son of God. But his being made sin through the imputation of the
guilt of sin, is his honour and glory. 3. The imputation of the sin
of fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, etc., such as the Corinthians
were before their conversion unto Christ, does not on any ground
bring him under a denomination from those sins. For they were so in
themselves actively, inherently, subjectively; and thence were so
called. But that he who knew no sin, voluntarily taking on him to
answer for the guilt of those sins,--which in him was an act of
righteousness, and the highest obedience unto God,--should be said
to be an idolater, etc., is a fond imagination. The denomination of
a sinner from sin inherent, actually committed, defiling the soul,
is a reproach, and significative of the utmost unworthiness; but
even the denomination of a sinner by the imputation of sin, without
the least personal guilt or defilement being undergone by him unto
whom it is imputed, in an act of the highest obedience, and tending
unto the greatest glory of God, is highly honorable and glorious
But,--4. The imputation of sin unto Christ was antecedent unto any
real union between him and sinners, whereon he took their sin on him
as he would, and for what ends he would; but the imputation of his
righteousness unto believers is consequential in order of nature
unto their union with him, whereby it becomes theirs in a peculiar
manner: so as that there is not a parity of reason that he should be
esteemed a sinner, as that they should be accounted righteous. And,-
-5. We acquiesce in this, that on the imputation of sin unto Christ,
it is said that "God made him to be sin for us," which he could not
be, but thereby,--and he was so by an act transient in its effects,
for a time only, that time wherein he underwent the punishment due
unto it; but on the imputation of his righteousness unto us, we are
"made the righteousness of God," with an everlasting righteousness,
that abides ours always. 6. To be a child of the devil by sin, is to
do the works of the devil, John 8:44; but the Lord Christ, in taking
our sins upon him, when imputed unto him, did the work of God in the
highest act of holy obedience, evidencing himself to be the God of
God thereby, and destroying the work of the devil. So foolish and
impious is it to conceive that any absolute change of state or
relation in him did ensue thereon.
     That by "the righteousness of God," in this place, our own faith
and obedience according to the gospel, as some would have it, are
intended, is so alien from the scope of the place and sense of the
words, as that I shall not particularly examine it. The
righteousness of God is revealed to faith, and received by faith;
and is not therefore faith itself. And the force of the antithesis
is quite perverted by this conceit; for where is it in this,--that
he was made sin by the imputation of our sin unto him, and we are
made righteousness by the imputation of our own faith and obedience
unto ourselves? But as Christ had no concern in sin but as God made
him sin,--it was never in him inherently; so have we no interest in
this righteousness,--it is not in us inherently, but only is imputed
unto us. Besides, the act of God in making us righteous is his
justifying of us. But this is not by the infusion of the habit of
faith and obedience, as we have proved. And what act of God is
intended by them who affirm that the righteousness of God which we
are made is our own righteousness, I know not. The constitution of
the gospel law it cannot be; for that makes no man righteous. And
the persons of believers are the object of this act of God, and that
as they are considered in Christ.

Gal.2:16. The epistle of the same apostle unto the Galatians is
wholly designed unto the vindication of the doctrine of
justification by Christ, without the works of the law, with the use
and means of its improvement. The sum of his whole design is laid
down in the repetition of his words unto the apostle Peter, on the
occasion of his failure, there related, chap.2:16, "Knowing that a
man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of
Jesus Christy even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might
be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the
law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
     That which he does here assert, was such a known, such a
fundamental principle of truth among all believers, that their
conviction and knowledge of it was the ground and occasion of their
transition and passing over from Judaism unto the gospel, and faith
in Jesus Christ thereby.
     And in the words, the apostle determines that great inquiry, how
or by what means a man is or may be justified before God? The
subject spoken of is expressed indefinitely: "A man," that is, any
man, a Jew, or a Gentile; a believer, or an unbeliever; the apostle
that spoke, and they to whom he spoke,--the Galatians to whom he
wrote, who also for some time had believed and made profession of
the gospel.
     The answer given unto the question is both negative and positive,
both asserted with the highest assurance, and as the common faith of
all Christians, but only those who had been carried aside from it by
seducers. He asserts that this is not, this cannot be, "by the works
of the law." What is intended by "the law," in these disputations of
the apostle, has been before declared and evinced. The law of Moses
is sometimes signally intended,--not absolutely, but as it was the
present instance of men's cleaving unto the law of righteousness,
and not submitting themselves thereon unto the righteousness of God.
But that the consideration of the moral law, and the duties of it,
is in this argument anywhere excepted by him, is a weak imagination,
yea, it would except the ceremonial law itself; for the observation
of it, whilst it was in force, was a duty of the moral law.
     And the works of the law are the works and duties of obedience
which this law of God requires, performed in the manner that it
prescribes,--namely, in faith, and out of love unto God above all;
as has been proved. To say that the apostle excludeth only works
absolutely perfect, which none ever did or could perform since the
entrance of sin, is to suppose him to dispute, with great
earnestness and many arguments, against that which no man asserted,
and which he does not once mention in all his discourse. Nor can he
be said to exclude only works that are looked on as meritorious,
seeing he excludes all works, that there may be no place for merit
in our justification; as has also been proved. Nor did these
Galatians, whom he writes unto, and convinces them of their error,
look for justification from any works but such as they performed
then, when they were believers. So that all sorts of works are
excluded from any interest in our justification. And so much weight
does the apostle lay on this exclusion of works from our
justification, as that he affirms that the admittance of it
overthrows the whole gospel, verse 21: "For," says he, "if
righteousness be by the law, then Christ is dead in vain;" and it is
dangerous venturing on so sharp a fence.
     Not this or that sort of works; not this or that manner of the
performance of them; not this or that kind of interest in our
justification; but all works, of what sort soever, and however
performed, are excluded from any kind of consideration in our
justification, as our works or duties of obedience. For these

Galatians, whom the apostle reproves, desired no more but that, in
the justification of a believer, works of the law, or duties of
obedience, might be admitted into a conjunction or copartnership
with faith in Christ Jesus; for that they would exclude faith in
him, and assign justification unto works without it, nothing is
intimated, and it is a foolish imagination. In opposition hereunto
he positively ascribes our justification unto faith in Christ alone.
"Not by works, but by faith," is by faith alone. That the particles
"ean me" are not exceptive but adversative, has not only been
undeniably proved by Protestant divines, but is acknowledged by
those of the Roman church who pretend unto any modesty in this
controversy. The words of Estius on this place deserve to be
transcribed: "Nisi per fidem Jesu Christi; sententiam reddit
obscuram particula nisi" (so the Vulgar Latin renders "ean me",
instead of "sed" or "sed tantum") "quae si proprie ut Latinis
auribus sonat accipiatur, exceptionem facit ab eo quod praecedit, ut
sensus sit hominem non justificari ex operibus Legis nisi fidees in
Christum ad ea opera accedat, quae si accesserit justificari eum per
legis opera. Sed cum hic sensus justificationem dividat, partim eam
tribuens operibus legis, partim fidei Christi, quod est contra
definitam et absolutam apostoli sententiam, manifestum est, inter
pretationem illam tanquam apostolico sensui et scopo contrariam
omnino repudiandam esse. Verum constat voculam 'nisi' frequenter in
Scripturis adversative sumi, utidem valeat quod 'sed tantum'". So he
according to his usual candour and ingenuity.
     It is not probable that we shall have an end of contending in this
world, when men will not acquiesce in such plain determinations of
controversies given by the Holy Ghost himself.
     The interpretation of this place, given as the meaning of the
apostle, that men cannot be justified by those works which they
cannot perform, that is, works absolutely perfect; but may be so,
and are so, by those which they can and do perform, if not in their
own strength, yet by the aid of grace; and that faith in Christ
Jesus, which the apostle opposes absolutely unto all works whatever,
does include in it all those works which he excludes, and that with
respect unto that end or effect with respect whereunto they are
excluded; cannot well be supposed to be suitable unto the mind of
the Holy Ghost.

Eph.2:8-10. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not
of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man
should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk
in them."
     Unless it had seemed good unto the Holy Ghost to have expressed
beforehand all the evasions and subterfuges which the wit of man in
after ages could invent, to pervert the doctrine of our
justification before God, and to have rejected them, it is
impossible they could have been more plainly prevented than they are
in this context. If we may take a little unprejudiced consideration
of it, I suppose what is affirmed will be evident.
     It cannot be denied but that the design of the apostle, from the
beginning of this chapter unto the end of verse 11, is to declare
the way whereby lost and condemned sinners come to be delivered, and
translated out of that condition into an estate of acceptance with
God, and eternal salvation thereon. And therefore, in the first
place, he fully describes their natural state, with their being
obnoxious unto the wrath of God thereby; for such was the method of
this apostle,--unto the declaration of the grace of God in any kind,
he did usually, yea, constantly, premise the consideration of our
sin, misery, and ruin. Others, now, like not this method so well.
Howbeit this hinders not but that it was his. Unto this purpose he
declares unto the Ephesians that they "were dead in trespasses and
sins," expressing the power that sin had on their souls as unto
spiritual life, and all the actions of it; but withal, that they
lived and walked in sin, and on all accounts were the "children of
wrath," or subject and liable unto eternal condemnation, verses 1-3.
What such persons can do towards their own deliverance, there are
many terms found out to express, all passing my understanding,
seeing the entire design of the apostle is to prove that they can do
nothing at all. But another cause, or other causes of it, he finds
out, and that in direct, express opposition unto any thing that may
be done by ourselves unto that end: "Ho de Theos plousios oon en ele-
ei", verse 4. It is not a work for us to undertake; it is not what
we can contribute any thing unto: "But God, who is rich in mercy."
The adversative includes an opposition unto every thing on our part,
and encloses the whole work to God. Would men have rested on this
divine revelation, the church of God had been free from many of
those perverse opinions and wrangling disputes which it has been
pestered withal. But they will not so easily part with thoughts of
some kind of interest in being the authors of their own happiness.
Wherefore, two things we may observe in the apostle's assignation of
the causes of our deliverance from a state of sin, and [of our]
acceptance with God:--
     1. That he assigns the whole of this work absolutely unto grace,
love, and mercy, and that with an exclusion of the consideration of
any thing on our part; as we shall see immediately, verses 5,8.
     2. He magnifies this grace in a marvelous manner. For,--First, He
expresses it by all names and titles whereby it is signified; as
"eleos", "agape", "charis", "chrestotes",--"mercy," "love," "grace,"
and "kindness:" for he would have us to look only unto grace herein.

(continued in part 33...)

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