Arhive pe categorii: Justification

WHEN IS A MAN RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S EYES? Curtis Pugh

WHEN IS A MAN RIGHTEOUS IN GOD’S EYES?

Curtis Pugh

Our text is this: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:9-15).
There seems to be much confusion today regarding when an individual is saved, that is, when a person is declared to be righteous in God’s eyes. Some think that only after a man is dead and resurrected in Christ’s likeness can he be righteous. In a sense this is correct, for “…when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). Then we shall be sinless in our experience. Then we shall experience righteousness, but our question in this message deals with when God views us as immaculate. Some would have us to believe that we are righteous in God’s eyes only upon our baptism. That is they teach that the waters of baptism wash away our sins and make us righteous before God. Others would have us think that only after coming to the front in a religious meeting and praying a certain prayer we are then righteous in God’s eyes. And so I raise the question and will seek to answer it from the Scriptures, “When is a man righteous in God’s eyes?” I do not refer to the eternal purpose of God where God views all His works as already accomplished, but rather refer to the experience of men in their lives.
We did not read the first part of chapter ten of Romans, but there Paul tells us about the Jews. He writes, “…they 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 to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:3,4). This is a characteristic of every man-made religion in the world today. Men think that they can, by their works, or by their religious ceremonies, by their good lives or good deeds – by something that they do – that in this way they can be righteous in God’s eyes. The Jews thought to be righteous by trying to keep God’s law. But they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God – that is, they rejected Christ who is the end of righteousness by law-keeping to everyone that believes. But around the world at this very moment there are sincere men and women in various religions, including some which claim to be Christian, who think to be righteous in God’s eyes because of something that they do or have done. They are “ignorant of God’s righteousness” and are busy “going about to establish their own righteousness.” But they have missed God’s righteousness which is in Jesus Christ and are in fact without imputed righteousness.
The famous British Baptist preacher, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in preaching on the subject of election had as his first point, “There is such a thing as election.” My first point in this message is, “There is such a thing as justification – that is, there is such a thing as being declared to be righteous in God’s eyes. In Romans chapter 4 and verses 1-8 we read of a man who experienced this justification, that is, he experienced being viewed by God as righteous. There we read these words: “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:1-8).
Notice these things regarding this imputed kind of righteousness. This righteousness is something Abraham “found” or discovered. He did not earn it nor did he qualify for it. He did not know about it, but discovered it in his experience as God dealt with him. This, then is a truth that God must reveal. It is unknown to the natural man and can only be understood from the Scriptures. Notice that this righteousness came to Abraham when he believed God. It is not, cannot be, of works because it is of grace. This righteousness comes not because of a combination of works and grace as some think, for such a combination automatically by it’s very nature negates grace. Speaking of election which is by grace unto salvation, Paul wrote, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:6). The principle is clear and is this: you cannot mix works and grace and still have grace! To add man’s works for righteousness to God’s free grace is to change the nature of grace so that it is no more grace, but rather works. If I do something which earns God’s favor, He does not give it, but pays me with His favor because I have worked for it. To preach such synergism is not to preach the Gospel of Christ! Notice this, and this is very important! This justification or righteousness before God is not just the forgiveness of past sins. Revelation 1:5 says that Jesus, “…loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” Now I ask you, what sins did Jesus wash us from? The answer is “our sins.” All our sins! For when Jesus died to pay for sins, I had committed none. All my sins were yet future when Christ paid for them and the truth of justification is that we are declared to be righteous. We are declared to be sinless. When we are justified we are viewed by God as immaculate. Proof positive is in that Paul goes on in Romans chapter four to quote David in the Psalms as saying, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:8). According to Paul and David, there is a blessed state of justification where God does not write down sin on our account sheet! He does not impute sin to His children.
Remember the story of Balaam? Most of the time we think only of Balaam’s donkey and how she spoke to the prophet. Sometimes we miss the point. Balaam was a prophet of God. The enemies of Israel wanted Balaam to curse Israel so that they could defeat them before they entered the Promised Land. Think about what Israel had been doing for forty years. The people had complained and murmured against God and Moses. They had plotted to chose a new captain and rebel against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to return to Egypt. During the very time that Moses had been on the mountain receiving the Holy Law of God, the children of Israel, along with Aaron, had made a golden calf and were worshipping it in the most licentious manner. And yet, Balaam reported that “He (God) hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel…” (Numbers 23:21). God does not behold iniquity in His children. This can only take place because of God’s free grace! Only imputed righteousness can be in view here.
So there is such a thing as being righteous in God’s eyes. Abraham found it. The next question we want to consider is this: when does it occur? Does it occur at the moment a person comes forward in a religious meeting? Does God declare a person righteous when he prays a certain prayer? Is this what is meant by “calling on the name of the Lord?” Or, as some say, does God declare a person righteous when he is baptized in water? When?
In Romans 10:14 and 15 we read: “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” Notice that (1) calling follows belief; (2) believing follows hearing; (3) hearing follows preaching; and (4) preaching follows being sent. Let us reverse the order and put it in the way we usually think. (1) First the Holy Spirit speaks to a Church and the Church is responsive and sends out a preacher. This is the New Testament pattern. No other entity in the world has authority from God to send out a preacher other than a New Testament Baptist Church. No association, community, fellowship, mission board, convention or union has this authority. Only a New Testament Church can rightly do this sending out. (2) The preacher preaches the Gospel. (3) The Gospel is believed – not just in the head, but in the heart. That means that faith has come to the individual and is exercised toward Jesus Christ. (4) Then these believers call on the name of the Lord. They do! The Bible says in verse 14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” Calling on the Lord is something that believers do! Unbelievers cannot do it! Unbelievers can mouth empty words that may be called by some people a prayer, but only believers can truly call on the Lord. Praying a prayer does not make an unbeliever into a believer. According to verse 14 only believers can and do genuinely call upon the Lord! Let me illustrate this in this way. I do not know what the modern medical practice is, but I am told that many years ago when a baby was born, it was sometimes, at least, picked up by the feet and given a swat on its bottom. Of course the baby immediately screamed! Such a procedure probably helped clear out all the mucus that might have been in the throat and nasal passages of the infant. It also provoked the baby to take in a great gulp of God’s air, thus filling its lungs to capacity. I suppose the scream tested the baby’s vocal chords. But the scream of that baby did not make it alive. The scream of that baby was evidence of it’s being alive, but did not in any sense make it alive! Now, without the swat, babies cry and scream at times. This is the natural course of events in the life of a baby. So it is with believers. They call on the Lord. Calling on the Lord does not make them a believer. Be clear on that point! Calling on the Lord does not make an unbeliever into a believer! But genuinely calling on the Lord is evidence that those who call are believers! Only believers begin and continue a lifetime of calling on the Lord in the Scriptural sense. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:22, “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Notice Paul does not say “with all them that have once upon a time called on the Lord.” The idea that you can call one time on the Lord and be saved and go on in life and never call on the Lord again is foolish. Believers call on the Lord – not once, but again and again. They do! It is a characteristic of a believer in Jesus Christ to be often calling on the Lord. The Psalmist cited this evidence in testifying to the righteousness of Samuel. He wrote, “Moses and Aaron among his priests, and SAMUEL AMONG THEM THAT CALL UPON HIS NAME…” Psalm 99:6 – Capital letters added for emphasis). What a recommendation! To be reckoned “among them that call upon his name” is to be reckoned up among the host of true believers. Believers call on the Lord! It is an evidence of spiritual life. True believers will be found calling on the Lord and confessing with their mouth regarding Christ and their faith in Him (Romans 10:9).
Now we come to the question. Does justification, that is, does a man become judicially righteous in God’s eyes at the time he calls on the Lord? Does a man become judicially righteous in God’s eyes at the time he is baptized? Or does a man become judicially righteous in God’s eyes at the point of faith? What does the Scripture say? The Scripture says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3). Abraham was not righteous in God’s eyes when he prayed or was circumcised, but when he believed! This is the testimony of the New Testament. In 1 Corinthians 1:21 we read, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” God saves who? He saves them that believe! Let us take a little “tour” through the New Testament and just read what the Word of God says. In John 1:12 we read: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” Who has authority to become the sons of God – those who are baptized? Those who pray a certain kind of prayer? Or is it those who believe? In John 20:31 are these words: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” Who has this eternal life? Those who believe! In Acts 13:39 we read these clear words: “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Here it is clearly stated that justification, that is being declared to be righteous in God’s eyes, comes to “all that believe.” Again in Acts 16:31 “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” The requirement for salvation is not calling on the Lord – not praying some so-called “sinner’s prayer,” but the requirement is faith! Notice Romans 3:22 which says, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference.” The righteousness of God is by faith and is unto all and upon all them that believe! Plain words. Nothing here about being baptized for righteousness or praying or calling on the Lord or doing anything else for righteousness! In Hebrews 10:39 we find these words, “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” At what point is the soul saved? This verse is clear. It is upon believing that the soul is saved. One more Scripture should suffice. In 1 John 5:13 we read these words, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life….” Who is it that has eternal life? The answer is plain and simple. It is those who believe on the name of the Son of God! And these may “know” that they have this never-ending life! From these and other Scriptures it is clear that justification, that is being judicially declared to be righteous in God’s eyes, comes at the point of faith, not at some subsequent point in time when a person acts on that faith and confesses his faith, or prays to the Lord, or is baptized. What could be clearer to the unbiased mind?
To persuade someone to be immersed in water when he is yet in unbelief and then to tell that person that because they were baptized they are righteous in God’s eyes is to deceive them. The Bible does not teach that it is at the point of going under the water or coming up out of the water that a man is viewed by God as righteous. Imputed righteousness does not come that way! But to persuade someone to make a false calling upon the Lord, that is, to solicit and to elicit a prayer from the mouth of a man who is yet in unbelief, and then to tell him he is saved because he prayed – that is the worst kind of deception! Let me say that another way. To get someone to “come forward” in a religious meeting – a thing unknown in the New Testament – and then instruct them to pray, telling them they will be saved as a result of their prayer, gives a person a false confidence. Human nature will trust in the prayer and not in Christ! The person will have come forward as an unbeliever and will return to his seat as an unbeliever who is deceived into thinking he is saved because he prayed. He will think he is saved because of something he did – and thus the glorious gospel of the free grace of God is turned into a false gospel of works for salvation.
We have these people walking our streets. They have been deceived. They came forward in some kind of evangelistic campaign or meeting. They were sincere in wanting something, but had not repented of their sins nor received faith in Jesus Christ. But they were told to pray a certain prayer and they did it. And they returned to their place just as lost and dead in their sins as they were before they stood up from their seats. Now they are cynics. Whereas once they would at least listen to the Gospel, now they speak against it. I hear them saying, “I tried Christianity. I went forward and prayed, but nothing happened. There is no reality in Christianity. It is false. I know. I tried it and it doesn’t work.” What harm we do when we do not follow the Bible exactly! Why are we not content to follow the example of the apostles and other New Testament preachers? They simply preached the Gospel and left the results in God’s hands. There is no record that they ever told anyone to come forward or to pray a certain prayer in order to be declared righteous in God’s eyes. But the power of God was on them and men asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And what was their answer? “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:30, 31). They did not tell them to call on the Lord and by doing that they would be saved. They told them that men are righteous in God’s eyes by faith in Christ!
Now we have considered Abraham. Abraham had positive righteousness imputed to him – that is set down on his account sheet – when he believed God. That is clear. But does that have anything to do with us today? Yes it does. Consider how Paul closes chapter four of Romans. Romans 4:23-25 says, “Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” Romans chapter four was not written that we might read it and wonder at the man Abraham and marvel at how God blessed him. No! It was written for our sakes. For we shall have the same judicial, positive righteousness charged to our account upon believing! Do not marvel at Abraham and the grace given to him. Rather rejoice, believer, at the grace given you! The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8, 9, these words, “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.” The Cornilescu (Romanian language) translation may be of interest to you here. It says clearly in translation, “For through grace you were saved through faith, AND THIS (i.e. this faith – CAP) DOES NOT COME FROM YOU, but is the gift of God.” God gives “…the faith of God’s elect” (that is what the Bible calls saving faith in Titus 1:1) and at the point of faith, the time of believing, righteousness is imputed to the believer.
In closing let me ask you a question. Have you believed to the saving of your soul? I do not refer to mere intellectual or mental understanding. I do not refer to mere mental assent where in you agree in principle to the facts of the Bible or to the facts of the Gospel. I ask if in your heart, your innermost being, you have believed the Gospel in such a way that all your hope, confidence, trust, and expectation is in Jesus Christ? Do not think you shall be saved because of something you have done. The only way anyone is righteous in God’s sight is through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, a man can be righteous in God’s eyes, by grace, through faith which is the gift of God. And this righteousness is charged to your account at the point of faith in Jesus Christ. Imputed righteousness comes at the point of faith! Do not be deceived, but rejoice in the simplicity that is in Jesus Christ and salvation through faith in Him. Amen.

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The Doctrine Of Imputed Righteousness Without Works Asserted And Proved. ROMANS 4:6 by John Gill

The Doctrine Of Imputed
Righteousness Without Works
Asserted And Proved.
ROMANS 4:6
by John Gill
(London: n.p., 1784)
Thou hast given a standard to them that fear thee;
that it may be displayed because of the truth
— Psalm 60:4
SERMON 38
The Works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have
Pleasure therein.

Psalm 111:2.

ROMANS 4:6.
Even as David also describeth the Blessedness of the Man unto
whom God imputeth Righteousness without Works.
THIS Epistle is written on purpose to state, explain, and vindicate, the
doctrine of a sinner’s justification before God, by the imputed righteousness
of Jesus Christ. In order to which, the Apostle takes up his two first
chapters, and part of the third, in proving, that both Jews and Gentiles are
under sin, that they have by sinning broke the law of God, and so are
become liable to its curses and condemnation, and therefore cannot be
justified in the sight of God, by their obedience to it; and then strongly and
justly concludes, that a man is justified by faith, in the imputed
righteousness of Christ, without the deeds of the law. This doctrine he
confirms in the beginning of this chapter, by instances of two of the
greatest men, for religion and godliness, that ever were in the Jewish
nation. The one is Abraham, who was the friend of God, and the father of
the faithful, and yet he was not justified before God by his works; for what
saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him
for righteousness, in verse 3. The other is David, a man after God’s own
heart, raised up by the Lord to fulfill all his will. Who yet was so far from
trusting to, or depending upon his own righteousness, for justification, that
he wholly places the happiness of men, and so unquestionably his own, in a
righteousness imputed to him by God, without works, as in the words I
have read unto you. In speaking to which, I shall,
I. Enquire what that righteousness is, which God imputes to his people
for justification..3
II. What is meant by an imputation of it.
III. The manner in which it is imputed to them without works.
IV. The blessedness of those persons, who have it thus imputed to
them.
I. I Shall inquire what this righteousness is which God imputes to his
people for justification; and also endeavor to shew, what it is not, and then
what it is.
First; What it is not. And
1. It is not man’s obedience to a law of works, because this at belt is
imperfect, and therefore cannot justify. Those persons who have most
eagerly pursued after righteousness by the works of the law, and have
made the greatest advances towards it this way, yet have fell abundantly
short of it, as the people of Israel in general, and in particular the
pharisees, whose righteousness made the greatest pretences to a justifying
one, of any people at the time in which they lived, and yet our Lord says of
it,

Matthew 5:20.
Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the
scribes and pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of
heaven.
If it should be said there men were a parcel of hypocrites, and therefore
their righteousness is not to be mentioned, with the righteousness of real
and sincere Christians, it is easily replied, in the words of the wise man,

Ecclesiastes 7:11.
There is not a just man in the earth,
who doeth good and sinneth not.
The most holy men that ever lived on the earth, have been always ready to
to acknowlege the imperfections of their obedience and righteousness. Job,
was very early convinced of this, and very ingenuous in his confession of it,
when he says,

Job 9:30, 31.
If I wash myself with snow water and make my hands never so
clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own cloaths
shall abhor me..4
Or, as the words may be rendered, shall cause me to be abhorred; or will
discover me to be abominable; that is, my garments of righteousness which
I have took so much pains with to work out, make and keep clean, will be
so far from rendering me grateful, in the sight of my Judge, that they will
rather discover the abominable filthiness of my nature, and so make me the
object of his abhorrence.
It is upon this account, and with the same view, that David desired,

Psalm 143:2.
That God would not enter into judgement with him, because that in
his sight, no flesh living could be justified;
that is, by their own righteousness. And so the Church in Isaiah’s time,
Chap.

64:6 acknowledges, that all her Righteousness were as filthy
rags, and therefore could not be justifying. Besides this can never be the
righteousness intended in my text. Because this is a righteousness of
works. Whereas the righteousness God is here said to impute, is a
righteousness without works. Moreover man’s obedience to the law of
works is his own righteousness. Whereas the righteousness here mentioned
must be anothers, because it is an imputed one. A man’s own
righteousness, inherent in him, needs no imputation of it to him. Add to
this, that the blessedness of a man, does not consist in, or result from, his
own righteousness; for salvation, which is the whole of a man’s happiness,
as to spiritual things, is not by works of righteousness done by men, but
springs from, and is brought about, by the grace, mercy, and love of God
through Christ; for if man’s happiness consisted in, or was procured by his
own righteousness, the grace, mercy, and love of God in man’s salvation,
would be greatly obscured and lessened, his wisdom, in the tuition of his
Son, would be liable to be impeached and arraigned, his mission would
appear needless, as well as his death, as the Apostle,

Galatians 2:21
argues, if righteousness comes by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Which argument deserves special notice.
2. This righteousness is not man’s obedience to the gospel as a new and
milder law. The scheme of some persons, if I apprehend it right, is this, that
Christ came into this world, to relax the old law of works, and to mitigate
and abate the severities of it, and to introduce a new law, a gospel law, a
law of milder terms, a remedial law, the terms and conditions of which, are
faith, repentance, and sincere obedience, which though imperfect, is
through Christ and for his sake accepted of, in the room of a perfect.5
righteousness. The whole of which scheme is entirely false. For, in the first
place, Christ came not into the world, either to destroy, or relax the law of
God, but to fulfill it, which he did completely, by his active and passive
obedience to it. He fulfilled every jot and tittle of the preceptive part of the
law, which required a holy nature and perfect obedience, both which were
found in him. He bore the whole penalty of the law, in the room and stead
of his people, all its exactions, requirements and demands were answered
by him; all its severities were executed on him; he was not spared or abated
any thing, and hereby he magnified the law, and made it honorable. He
indeed freed his people from the curse and condemnation of it; but has not
either abolished or relaxed it, but keeps it in his own hands as a rule of life
and conversation to them, and has left it in its full mandatory, cursing and
damning power over others without the least mitigation, relaxation, or
infringment of it. Moreover the gospel is no new law, it: is no law at all,
there is nothing in it that looks like a law, it is called,

Acts 20:24.
The gospel of the grace of God;
because it is a discovery of the exceeding riches of God’s grace in his
kindness to lost man, through Jesus Christ It is called the gospel of our
salvation, because it reveals the Savior, it gives an account of his person,
office, and grace, and of the great salvation he has wrought out; and points
out the persons who shall share in it, and be everlasting possessors of it, as
the word euggelion itself translated, gospel, signifies good news, or glad
tidings. Now what is there either in the name, or thing, that looks like a
law. The gospel is no other than a pure promise, a free declaration of peace
and pardon, righteousness, life, and salvation to poor sinners by Jesus
Christ. The sum and substance of it is,
that this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that
Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,

1 Timothy
1:15.
Again; faith and repentance are not the conditions of the new covenant, or
terms of any new law, as duties incumbent on us, they belong to the moral
law, or law of works, which obliges us to obedience to every thing God
does or shall reveal as his will. As graces bestowed upon us by God, they
are parts, they are blessings of the new covenant of grace, and not
conditions of it. Besides, if they were terms or conditions of this new law,
or gospel law talked of, which indeed is a contradiction in terms, they
would not be more easy than the terms of the law of works were to Adam.6
in innocence. Nay it was much more easy for Adam to have kept the whole
law of works, than it is for any of his fallen posterity to repent and believe
of themselves. And how does this appear to be a remedial law, or a law of
milder terms, as it is called.
Once more, it is not consistent either with the truth or justice of God, to
accept, of an imperfect righteousness, though ever so sincere, in the room
of a perfect one. It is not consistent with his truth. He whose judgement is
according to truth, can never account that a perfect righteousness, which is
imperfect. It is not consistent with his justice, he who is the judge of all the
earth will do right, and therefore he will by no means clear the guilty,
without a full satisfaction to, and a reparation of his broken law. This is the
true reason why he set forth Christ to be the propitiation for sin. Namely,
that he might appear to be just whilst he was the justifier of him that
believes in Jesus. Whereas, was he to justify persons upon the foot of an
imperfect Righteousness, he would neither appear just to himself, or to his
law, which requires a perfect and complete obedience.
3. This righteousness is not a man’s profession of religion, or his
submission to the ordinances of the gospel, for men may draw near to God
with their mouths, and honor him with their lips, and yet their hearts be
removed far from him, and their fear of him be only taught by the precepts
of men; they may seek the Lord daily, and seemingly delight to know his
ways, as a nation that did righteousness and forsook not the ordinances of
their God; they may ask of him the ordinances of justice, and in an outward
shew take delight in approaching to him; they may appear to be outwardly
righteous before men, and yet be inwardly full of all manner of impurity.
May have a name to live and yet be dead; they may have the form of
godliness, and yet deny the power thereof; they may submit to the
ordinance of baptism, and constantly attend the Lord’s supper, and yet be
destitute of a justifying righteousness. Yea, even a real and genuine
profession of religion, and an hearty submission to gospel ordinances, from
right principles to right ends, is not a man’s righteousness before God.
4. Neither is sincerity in any religion, no not in the best religion, this
righteousness; for it is possible that a man may be sincerely wrong, as well
as sincerely right. There may be a sincere Pagan, or a sincere Papist, or a
sincere Mahometan, as well as a sincere Christian. Nay it’s possible for a
man to be a sincere persecutor of the true religion, as well as a sincere
professor of it. The apostle Paul, was sincere in persecuting the gospel, as.7
well as he afterwards was, in preaching that faith he once destroyed. For he
thought with himself,

Acts 26:9 that he ought, in conscience, for the
glory of God, and the advancement of religion, to do many things contrary
to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And our Lord tells his disciples,

John
16:2 that the time was coming, that whosoever killed them would think
that he did God service. So that sincerity is not a man’s righteousness
before God. And indeed take sincerity as a distinct grace of the Spirit of
God, and it belongs to sanctification, and not to justification, though it
seems rather to be what runs through every other grace, than to be distinct
from them; and is what makes our faith unfeigned, our love without
dissimulation, and our hope without hypocrisy.
5. Nor is the whole real work of grace and sanctification upon the soul its
justifying righteousness, for this would be to confound justification and
sanctification together; which two blessings of grace, though they meet in
one and the same subject, and come out of one and the same hand, yet are
they in themselves distinct. Sanctification is a work of grace within us,
justification is an act of grace upon us. Sanctification is a gradual and
progressive work; it is signified,

2 Peter 3:18 by a growing in grace and
in the knowledge of Jesus Christ; and it is a work that is but begun, yet is
not yet finished, and is carried on by degrees. Justification is done simul et
semel, it is a complete act at once; it is expressed,

Colossians 2:10 by
the saints being complete in Christ, and perfected by his one sacrifice.
6. If the whole work of sanctification, is not our justifying righteousness
before God, then certainly the to credere, or act of believing, which is only
a part of this work, cannot be it. There are indeed some scriptures in this
chapter wherein is my text, which are by some thought to favor this notion,
as when it is said in verse 3. Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to
him for righteousness; and in verse 5, his faith is counted for
righteousness; and in verse 9, for we say that faith was reckoned to
Abraham for righteousness; in all which places, not the act of faith, but the
object of faith is intended, as will appear from this single consideration,
namely, that this it, or faith, which was imputed to Abraham, is said to be
imputed to others also, as is evident From verse 22, 23, 24, and therefore it
was imputed unto him for righteousness. Now if it was not written for his
sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it, the very
self same it, shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our
Lord from the dead. Now, whatever reason persons may think they have to
conclude, that Abraham’s act of faith was imputed to himself, as his.8
justifying righteousness; yet it cannot with any reason be concluded, that
his act of faith should be imputed to others also as such. The plain meaning
is, that object, which Abraham’s faith respected and was reckoned to him
for his righteousness, is also imputed for righteousness to all others who
believe in Christ. Besides, it ought to be observed, that the apostle does not
use the preposition anti but eiv; he does not say that faith was imputed
anti dikaiosunhv instead of righteousness, but eiv zkiaosunhn, unto
righteousness, and the meaning of the phrase is the same, with the meaning
of the words in

Romans 10:10. For with the heart man believeth unto
righteousness ; and is expressive of the great doctrine of justification by
faith in the imputed righteousness of Christ. That the to credere, or act of
believing, is not the righteousness intended in my text, may appear yet
more manifest, from the following considerations.
1st. Faith as a duty performed, or as a grace exercised by the believer,
is his own; hence we read in scripture of my faith, and thy faith, and his
faith; the just man is said to live by his faith, Hebrews 17:5. And says
our Lord to the woman of Canaan, O woman, great is thy faith, be it
unto thee even as thou wilt,

Matthew 5:28. And says the apostle,

James 2:28 shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew
thee my faith by my works. But now the righteousness by which a man
is justified before God, is not his own, but another’s, and therefore
imputed to him. Hence the apostle Paul desired to be found in Christ,
not having on, says he, mine own righteousness, which is of the law,

Philippians 3:9. Whereas if faith had been his righteousness, he
should have desired to have on his own righteousness, and not
another’s.
2d. Faith as such is a work of the law, as it is the gift of God, and a
grace bestowed upon us; it is a part of the covenant of grace, as has
been already observed, but as it is a duty required of us, and performed
by us, it belongs to the laws and is done in obedience to it. It is called
the commandment of God. This is his commandment, that ye believe on
the name of his Son Jesus Christ,

1 John 3:23. It is called the work
of God,

John 6:28, 29 not only because it is wrought in us by God,
but also because it is required of us by him; every command and all
duty belongs to the law, as every promise and all grace does to the
gospel. Now if faith, as an act of ours, is our justifying righteousness,
then we are justified by a work of the law, whereas the scripture says,

Romans 3:20:.9
By the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.
3d. Faith is imperfect in the best of saints; our Lord frequently called
his own disciples, men of little faith; and so conscious were they
themselves of the imperfection of it, that they prayed to him, saying,

Luke 17:5 Lord increase our faith. There are ta userhmata thv
pisewv, some deficiences, something lacking, in the faith of the best of
God’s people. Every one has reason to say, more or less, as the poor
man in the gospel did,

Mark 9:24.
Lord I believe, help thou mine unbelief.
And for this reason faith cannot be our justifying righteousness, for that
ought to be perfect. Besides, was it perfect, it is but a part of the law. It
is indeed one of the weightier matters of the law, as in

Matthew
23:23, but then it is not the whole of the law. Now the scripture says,

Galatians 3:10
Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are
written in the book of the law, to do them.
And God whose judgement is according to truth, cannot reckon that a
perfect conformity to the law, which is only a partial one.
4th. Faith is manifestly distinguished from righteousness,

Romans
10:10, when a man is said to believe unto righteousness, when the
righteousness of God is said to be revealed from faith to faith, and
when it is said to be through the faith of Christ, and is called the
righteousness of God by faith. Now then, if faith and righteousness are
two different things, then faith is not our justifying righteousness, and
so not the righteousness mentioned in my text.
5th. Something else is represented, as the righteousness by which a
sinner is justified before God. The people of God, are said to be
justified freely by the grace of God, through the redemption that is in
Christ Jesus, and some times by the blood of Christ, and at other times
by the one man’s obedience,

Romans 2:24 and

Romans 6:9-19.
Now, faith is not the redemption in Christ Jesus, nor is it the blood of
Christ, nor is it his obedience either active or passive, and therefore is
not that which is imputed for justification..10
Nevertheless, faith must be allowed to have a very great concern in the
business of justification. Hence we are said to be justified by faith,

Romans 5:1 not by faith either as a work performed by us, or as a grace
wrought in us, but we are justified by it relatively or objectively, as it
respects, apprehends, and lays hold on Christ and his righteousness for
justification; or we are justified by it organically, as it is a recipient of this
blessing, for faith is the hand which receives the blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of our salvation. Faith is that grace to
which this righteousness is revealed, and by which the soul first spies it.
When beholding its glory, sufficiency and suitableness, it approves of it,
and renounces its own righteousness. It is that grace by which a soul puts
on Christ’s righteousness as its garment, and rejoices therein, by which all
boasting in a man’s own works is excluded, and by which all the glory of
justification is given to Christ. But I proceed,
Secondly, To shew, what is this righteousness intended in my text, which
God imputes unto his people, and that is, the righteousness of our Lord
Jesus Christ. By which I mean not his essential righteousness as God, as
Osiander dreamed. For though he who is our Righteousness is Jehovah,

Jeremiah 23:6, yet that righteousness of his by which he is Jehovah, is
not our justifying righteousness but that which results from his active and
passive obedience as Mediator,

Romans 5:1. For by one man’s
obedience many are made righteous, or is, that righteousness of Christ,
which consists of the holiness of his nature, the conformity of his life and
actions to the law of God, and his sustaining the whole penalty of that law,
in the room and stead of his people. In the commendation of which
righteousness, many things might be said; let these few following suffice at
present.
1. It is a law honoring, and a justice satisfying righteousness, and therefore
God is well pleased with it,

Romans 5:9; is well pleased for his
righteousness sake, because he hath magnified the law and made it
honorable. The law is made more honorable by Christ’s obedience to it,
than it is by the obedience of all the angels in heaven, or than it could be by
all God’s people on earth, supposing their obedience was never so perfect.
The reason is because of the greatness of his person, he being God as well
as man, who obeyed and wrought out a righteousness, which is also such
an one, as justice can find no fault with, but is entirely satisfied with, and in
which God’s people appear even in the eye of justice, unblameable, and
irreproveable. —.11
2. It is perfect and complete, and acquits from all sin and condemnation,
those who are interested it in, are perfectly comely thro’ the comeliness
which is put upon them; they are complete in Christ, the head of all
principality and power; they are justified by this righteousness, from all
things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses; they are
freed from all guilt of sin, are not under obligation to punishment, and shall
not enter into condemnation; their sins are now covered and hid from the
eye of divine justice, and when they are sought for hereafter shall not be
found.
3. It is the righteousness of God, and so serves for many; if it had been
only by the righteousness of a creatures, it could have been of no use and
service, but to the creature who was the author of it; but it being the
righteousness of God, it is to all and upon all that believe; many are made
righteous by it, even all the elect of God and seed of Christ. For in him
shall all the seed of Israel be justified and shall glory. It is a garment down
to the foot, and covers every member, even the meanest and lowest in
Christ’s mystical body.
4. It is an everlasting righteousness. Our righteousness is both imperfect
and of a short continuance. Like Ephraim’s goodness, it is as the morning
cloud and the early dew. But Christ’s righteousness will abide for ever, it is
a garment that will never wear out, or wax old, it is a righteousness that
will last our lives, be of service at death, appear fresh at judgement, and
will answer for us in a time to come, and give us an abundant entrance into
the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
5. It is a better righteousness than Adam had in innocence, or the angels
now have in heaven. Adam’s righteousness was the righteousness of a
creature, but this the righteousness of God. That was looseable and was
actually lost,

Ecclesiastes 7:9, for God made man upright, but he sought
out many inventions, in seeking which he lost his righteousness; but
Christ’s righteousness can never be lost, it abides for ever. The same may
be said of the righteousness of Angels, which at best is but a creature
righteousness, and might be lost, as it was by a large number of them, and
might have been by the rest, had it not been for confirming grace from
Christ. Christ’s righteousness may well be called,

Luke 15:22, the best
robe, for it is such an one as Adam never had to his back in innocence, or
the angels now have in glory. But I go on,.12
II. To enquire what is meant by the imputation of this righteousness;
which is the way in which it becomes ours and indeed is the only way in
which it can become ours. The Hebrew word bçj use in

Genesis 15:6
and the Greek word logizwmai used by the apostle here, signifies to
estimate, reckon, impute, or place something to the account of another. So
the righteousness of Christ is estimated, reckoned, and imputed to be his
people’s, and is placed to their account as such by God the Father, and
looked upon as much by him as their justifying righteousness or as though
it had been wrought by them, in their own persons. That this righteousness
becomes ours this way, is manifest. For in the same way that Adam’s sin
became ours, the same way the righteousness of Christ becomes ours; or
the same way we are made sinners by the disobedience of Adam, are we
made righteous by the obedience of Christ.

Romans 5:19.
For as by one man’s disobedience, many were made sinners. So by
the obedience of one, shall many be made righteous.
Now Adam’s sin became ours, or we were made sinners, through his sin; by
imputation, it was reckoned, it was placed to the account of all his
posterity. So Christ’s righteousness becomes ours, or we are made
righteous, through that righteousness of his; by the imputation of it to us, it
is reckoned, it is placed to our account. Again, the same way our sins
became Christ’s, Christ’s righteousness becomes ours, as appears from

1
Corinthians 5:21. He who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might
be made the righteousness of God in him. Now the way in which Christ
was made sin for us, was by imputation; he never had any sin inherent in
him, though he had it transferred unto him and laid upon him. So the way
in which we are made the righteousness of God, must be by the imputation
of Christ’s righteousness, and indeed we cannot be made righteous any
other way, than by imputation. For the objects of justification are ungodly
persons in themselves; for God justifies the ungodly, as in the verse
preceding my text. Now if they are ungodly in themselves, then they are
not justified by a righteousness of their own, it must be by the
righteousness of another. And if they are justified by the righteousness of
another, that other’s righteousness must be some way or other made their’s,
it must be placed to their account, and reckoned as their own, which is only
done by an imputation of it to them. But,
III. I shall now consider the manner in which this righteousness is thus
imputed, and that is, without works. That this righteousness is imputed.13
without works, is manifest from the character the persons bear, whom God
justifies, which is that of ungodly ones, as has been just now observed. If
they are ungodly, they are without works; good works, or works of
righteousness. If God therefore will justify such, as he certainly does, he
must justify them by imputing a righteousness to them, without any
consideration of works done by them. And, indeed, if God did not impute
righteousness for justification in this manner, justification would not be an
act of free grace, as it is always represented to be. We may argue about
justification, as the Apostle does about election, when he says,

Romans
11:6, and if of grace, then it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no
more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace, otherwise work
is no more work. We are said,

Titus 3:7, to be justified, not only by the
grace of God, but freely by his grace, to express the abundance and
freeness of divine grace, in the free gift of righteousness unto justification
of life. Besides, if righteousness was not imputed without works, boasting
would not be excluded, as it is in God’s way of justifying sinners, by
Christ’s righteousness, without any consideration of them. And, indeed,
works are not causes of any sort in the affair of justification, they are not
the moving cause of it. For that is the free grace of God; nor are they the
material cause of it, for that is the obedience and righteousness of Christ.
Nor are they the instrumental cause, for that is faith, nor are they the causa
a sine qua non, or causes without which persons are justified, who never
performed good works. And indeed those that are justified, are justified, if
not without the presence of them, yet without the efficiency of them, or
any consideration of them as having any casual influence on justification;
for with reference hereunto, they are not to be admitted into the lowest
class or range of causes. It may perhaps be said, how then can the
Apostles, Paul and James, be reconciled in this matter, seeing the one
positively affirms,

Romans 3:28 that a man is justified by faith, without
the works of the law; and the other,

James 2:21, 24, 25 as positively
asserts that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. To which I
answer, there are two things, which when observed, will rectify and quickly
remove the seeming difficulty, and reconcile the Apostles to each other,
which are,
1. They speak of two different things. The Apostle Paul speaks of the
justification of a man’s person before God, and this he truly asserts to be,
by a righteousness imputed without works. The Apostle James speaks of a
justification of a man’s faith, or of his cause before men, which he also truly.14
asserts to be by works, for wisdom is justified of her children,

Matthew
11:19. True and undefiled religion is discovered and bore witness to by
good works. Faith is shewn forth, made known, and evidentially perfected
by them; in justification by imputed righteousness, a man has not whereof
to boast before God. In justification of a man’s cause by works, a man has
whereof to boast before men, and in some cases with a becoming modesty
may say with Samuel,

1 Samuel 12:3: Whose ox have I taken? whose
ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded?
2. They speak to two different sort of persons. The apostle Paul had to do
with self Justiciaries, who fought for righteousness not by faith, but as it
were by the works of the law, who being ignorant of God’s righteousness,
went about to establish their own righteousness, and so submitted not to
the righteousness of Christ. The apostle James had to do with a set of men
called Gnosticks, who boasted of their knowledge, from whence they took
their name. These were the Libertines and Antinomians of that day, who
trusting to their speculative notions and historical faith, despised the law,
and disregarded and neglected the performance of good works, accounting
their knowledge sufficient unto salvation. And this also occasioned those
different modes of expression in these Apostles, who otherwise were
agreed in the same truths. I go on,
IV. To consider the blessedness of those persons who have this
righteousness imputed to them.
1. They are freed from all sin and condemnation, not from the being of sin,
but from the guilt of it, and all obligation to punishment,

Romans 8:1.
For there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, to them who
are made the righteousness of God, in him, they may say as the apostle did,

Romans 8:33, 34. Who shall say any thing to the charge of God’s elect?
it is God that justifies, who shall condemn; it is Christ that died. And
therefore they must be happy persons, for blessed is the man whose
iniquities are forgiven, and whose sin is covered; blessed is the man to
whom the Lord will not impute sin, with which words David,

Psalm
32:1, describeth the blessedness of the persons interested in this
righteousness —
2. Their persons and services are both acceptable to God, he is well
pleased with both, for Christ’s righteousness sake. Christ’s garments smell
of myrrh, aloes and cassia, with which his people being clad, the Lord.15
smells a sweet smell in them, as the smell of a field which the Lord hath
blessed; their persons come up with acceptance before him, and their
sacrifices both of prayer and praise are grateful to him, through the person,
blood, righteousness and mediation of Christ’s righteousness which is
imputed to them, shall never be taken away from them, is one of those
blessings he will never reverse, and one of those gifts of his which are
without repentance. —
4. It shall go well with these persons in life, at death, and at judgment,

Isaiah 3:10. Say ye to the Righteous it shall go well with him. It shall go
well with him in life, for all things work together for his good. It shall go
well with him at death. For the righteous hath hope in his death, founded
upon this righteousness imputed to him. It shall go well with him at
judgment, for this righteousness will answer for him at that time, and bring
him off clear at God’s bars and introduce him into his kingdom and glory.

5. Such persons are heirs of glory, and shall everlastingly enjoy it, for being
justified by grace, they are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Justification and glorification are closely connected together. For whom
God justified, them he also glorified,

Romans 8:30. Justified persons
may comfortably argue, from their justification, to their glorification, and
strongly conclude with the apostle,

Romans 5:9. That if they are
justified by the blood of Christ, they shall be saved from wrath through
him. I shall add no more, but some short improvement of what has been
said, and
1. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, for without a
righteousness there will be no admittance into heaven, and such an one
it must be, as is commensurate to all the demands of God’s righteous
law, for no other will be satisfactory to divine justice. —
2. Go to Christ for such an one, in whom only it is to be had, who is
the end of the law for righteousness, to every one that believes,

Romans 10:4, it may be had in him, it cannot be had in any other.
For surely, or only, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and
strength,

Isaiah 45:24.
3. Admire the grace of God, in imputing this righteousness to you, and
rejoice therein; it is grace in Christ: to procure, and grace in the Father.16
to impute it, and grace in the Spirit to apply it. Admire the grace of
each person herein, and ascribe the glory of your justification to it.
4. Miserable will those persons be, who will be found at the last day
without this righteousness, for such shall not inherit the kingdom of
God, they will not be admitted into the wedding chamber, not having
on the wedding garment, but orders will be given to bind them hand
and feet, and cast them into outer darkness, where will be weeping,
wailing and gnashing of teeth.
THIS SERMON WAS NEVER BEFORE PRINTED.
F I N I S.

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