(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...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: ownjs-32.txt .