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with great diligence, and let them compare the first with the last, yea, let them compare Paul wholly and fully with himself; then shall they find it to be true, that Christian righteousness consisteth in these two things, namely, in faith which giveth glory unto God, and in God's imputation. For faith is weak, as I have said, and therefore God's imputation must needs be joined withal ; that is to say, that God will not lay to our charge the remnant of sin; that he will not punish it nor condemn us for it; but will cover it and freely forgive it, as though it were nothing at all; not for our sake, nor for our worthiness and works, but for Jesus Christ's sake in whom we believe.
Thus a Christian man is both righteous and a sinner, holy and profane, an enemy of God and yet a child of God. These contraries no sophister will admit, for they know not the true manner of justification. And this was the cause why they constrained men to work well so long, until they should feel in themselves no sin at all. Wherehy they gave occasion to many (which striving with all their endeavour to be perfectly righteous could not attain thereunto,) to become stark mad. Yea, an infinite number also of those which were the authors of this devilish opinion, at the hour of death, were driven to desperation. Which thing had happened unto me also, if Christ had not mercifully looked upon me and delivered me out of this terror.
Contrariwise, we teach and comfort the afflicted sinner after this manner. Brother, it is not possible for thee to become so righteous in this life, that thou shouldst feel no sin at all, that thy body should be clear like the sun without spot or blemish, but thou hast yet wrinkles and spots, and yet art thou holy notwithstanding. But thou wilt say, how can I be holy when I have and feel sin in me? I answer: in that thou dost feel and acknowledge thy sin, it is a good token; give thanks to God, and despair not. It is one step of health, when the sick man doth acknowledge and confess his infirmity. But how shall I be delivered from sin ? Run to Christ the physician, which healeth them that are broken in heart, and saveth sinners. Follow not the judgment of reason, which telleth thee that he is angry with sinners, but kill reason and believe in Christ. If thou believe, thou art righteous; because thou givest glory to God, that he is almighty, merciful, true, &c. and thou justifiest and praisest God. To be brief, thou yieldest unto him his divinity, and whatsoever else belongeth unto him. And the sin which remaineth in thee is not laid to thy charge, but is pardoned for Christ's sake in whom thou believest; who is perfectly just, whose righteousness is thy righteousness, and thy sin his sin.
Here we see, that every Christian is an high-priest. For first, he offereth up and killeth his own reason and the wisdom of the flesh. Then, he giveth glory to God, that he is righteous, true, patient, pitiful, and merciful. And this is that daily sacritice of the New Testament, which must be offered evening and morning. The evening sacrifice, is to kill reason : the morning sacrifice, is to glorify God. Thus a Christian daily and continually is occupied in this double sacrifice, and in the exercise thereof. And no man is able to set forth sufficiently, the excellency and dignity of this Christian Sacrifice.
This is therefore a strange and wonderful definition of Christian righteousness :--that it is the imputation of God for righteousness, or unto righteousness, because of our faith in Christ, or for Christ's sake. When the popish schoolmen hear this definition, they laugh at it. For they imagine, that righteousness is a certain quality poured into the soul, and afterwards spread into all the parts of man. They cannot put away the vain imaginations of reason; which teacheth, that a right judgment and a good will, or a good intent, is true righteousness. This unspeakable gift, therefore, excelleth all reason ;-that God doth account and acknowledge him for righteous, without works, which embraceth his Son by faith alone, who was sent into the world, was born, suffered, and was crucified for us.
This matter, as touching the words, is easy ; (to wit, that righteousness is not essentially in us as the papists reason out of Aristotle, but without us in the grace of God only and in his imputation; and that, there is no essential substance of righteousness in us besides that weak faith or first-fruits of faith, whereby we have begun to apprehend Christ, and yet sin in the mean time verily remaineth in us;) but, in very deed, it is no small or light matter, but weighty and of great importance. For Christ, which was given for us, and whom we apprehend by faith, hath done no small thing for us, but, as Paul said before, “ He hath loved us and given himself in very deed for us." He was made accursed for us, (Gal. ii. 10. iii. 13.) And this is no vain speculation, that Christ was delivered for my sins, and was accursed for me that I might be delivered from everlasting death. Therefore, to apprehend that Son by faith, and with the heart to believe him given unto us (Isaiah ix. 6,) and for us of God, causeth that God doth account that faith, although it be imperfect, for perfect righteousness.
And here, we are altogether in another world far from reason; where we dispute, not what we ought to do, or with what grace we may deserve grace and forgiveness of sins, but we are in a matter of most high and heavenly divinity, where we do hear this Gospel or glad tidings,--that Christ died for us, and that we, believing this, are accounted righteous, though sins notwithstanding do remain in us, and that great sins. So our Saviour Christ also detineth the righteousness of faith ; “ The Father (saith he) loveth you.” Wherefore doth he love you? Not because ye were Pharisees unreprovable in the righteousness of the law, circumcised, doing good works, fasting, &c.; but, because I have chosen you out of the world, and ye have done nothing but that ye have loved me, and believed that I am come out from the Father. This object (I) being sent from the Father, pleased you. And because you have apprehended and embraced this object, therefore, the Father loveth
you, and therefore ye please him. And yet notwithstanding, in another place, he calleth them evil
, and commandeth them to ask for the forgiveness of their sins. These two things are quite contrary; to wit, that a Christian is righteous and beloved of God, and yet, notwithstanding, he is a sinner. For God cannot deny his own nature; that is, he must needs hate sin, and sinners; and this he doth of necessity, for otherwise, he should be uprighteous and love sin. How then can these two contradictions stand together? I am a sinner and most worthy of God's wrath and indignation : and yet the Father loveth me? Here nothing cometh between, but only Christ the Mediator. The Father (saith he) doth not therefore love you, because ye are worthy of love, but because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from him.
Thus a Christian man abideth in true humility, feeling sin in him effectually, and confessing himself to be worthy of wrath, of the judgment of God, and of everlasting death for the same, that he may be humbled in this life. And yet, notwithstanding, he continueth still in his pride, in the which he turneth unto Christ, and in him, he lifteth up himself against this feeling of God's wrath and judgment, and believeth, that not only the remnants of sin are not imputed unto him, but that also he is loved of the Father, not for his own sake, but for Christ's sake whom the Father loveth.
Hereby now we may see, how faith justifieth without works; and yet, notwithstanding, how imputation of righteousness is also necessary. Sins do remain in us which God utterly hateth. Therefore, it is necessary that we should have imputation of righteousness, which we obtain through Christ, and for his sake who is given unto us and received of us by faith. In the mean time, as long as we live here, we are carried and nourished in the bosom of the mercy and long-sufferance of God, until the body of sin be abolished, and we raised up as new creatures in that great day. Then shall there be new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness shall dwell. In the mean while, under this heaven, sin and wicked men do dwell, and the godly also bave sin dwelling in them. For this cause, Paul, (Rom. vii.,) complaincth of sin which remaineth in the saints; yet notwithstanding, he saith afterwards in the eighth chapter, “That there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesu.” Now, how shall these things, so contrary and repugnant, be reconciled together ;-that sin in us, is no sin ? that he which is damnable, shall not be condemned ? that he which is rejected, shall not be rejected ? that he which is worthy of the wrath of God and everlasting damnation, shall not be punished? The only reconciler hereof is the Mediator between God and man, even Jesus Christ; as Paul saith, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesu."
NATURE AND EXPECTATION OF FAITH AND HOPE, AND THEIR DIFFERENCE.
GALATLANS V. 5. For we in spirit wait for the hope of righteousness through faith.
Paul here knitteth up the matter with a notable conclusion ; saying, Ye will be justified by the law, by circumcision, and by works; but we seek not to be justified by this means, lest Christ should be made utterly unprofitable unto us, and we become debtors to perform the whole law, and so finally fall away from grace; “but we wait in spirit through faith for the hope of righteouness." Every word is here diligently to be noted, for they are pithy and full of power. He doth not only say, as he is woni, we are justified by faith, or in spirit by faith, but moreover addeth, “we wait for the hope of righteousness," including hope also that he may comprehend the whole matter of faith.
Hope, after the manner of the scriptures, is taken two ways; namely, for the thing that is hoped for, and for the affection of him that hopeth. For the thing that is hoped for, it is taken in the first chapter to the Colossians, “ For the hope's sake which is laid up for