صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

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 meetness 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 hath no aptitude nor meetness 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 consists 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 be completely fulfilled, or there is no appearing for us as righteous before God; and withal shews them, how this is done, and where alone it is to be sought after. For 'Christ,' saith he, ‘is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ;' ver. 4. We need not trouble ourselves to inquire, in what various senses Christ may be said to be tłoc vóuov, the end,' the complement, the perfection of the law.' The apostle sufficiently determineth his intention, in affirming not absolutely that he is the end of the law, but he is so eis dikatosúvny for righteousness' unto every one that believeth. 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 issueth 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 hath done for us, and so is the end of the law for righteousness unto every one that believeth.

The law demandeth 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 doth 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 meetness, for the attaining of a righteousDess, 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 for ever desire to fix my soul, and herein to acquiesce; namely, that. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that doth believe. And I do suppose, that all they who understand aright, what it is that the law of God doth 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, betake themselves unto the same refuge and rest.

The next place I shall consider in the epistle of this apostle is,

1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.'

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 ver. 26—29. do declare. And we have all these things by virtue of our insition or implantation in him; Ę avrov, ' 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, engrafted 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. "Ος εγενήθη ημίν από θεού, where årò, denotes the efficient cause, as Ę 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 ; ver. 29. 31. Now there is such a righteousness, or such a way of being righteous, whereon we may have somewhat to glory, Rom. iv. 2. and which doth not exclude boasting, chap. iii. 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 confesseth 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 metonomy 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 hath 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 metonomy 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;

« السابقةمتابعة »