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Rom. v. 9. "Much more then being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."
From these texts it is seen that Christ was delivered to death for men's offences, raised again for their justification, was made the propitiation through faith in his blood for the remission of sins, and, through the forbearance and grace of God, are made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. How is man to be "justified from all things," and " freely" by the blood of Christ, did not the justification mentioned in the above texts, and all others where salvation is to be succeeded by such justification, include a remission of, and perfect purification from all sin? Is it possible that we can be made heirs to the hope of eternal life, or saved from wrath, while our sins are cleaving fast to us? By what other act, or name, can the pardon of a sinner be known, or described, than justification? It is most certain "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God "," and, therefore, man cannot be made perfectly just and righteous except by pardon, no act of faith, or work will wipe away, or obliterate his sins, but forgiveness, and that freely from God's grace" through the blood or death
Rom. iii. 23.
h That it is God who is to justify every sinner is so plain
Such must be the obvious meaning
of the word justification in Scripture, where it relates to, or is connected with the judgment, or salvation of man; but there is another sense in which it must be understood, when it relates, or is applied to a particular act, which the following text will shew:
Psalm li. 4. "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight; that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest."
The justification here stated must refer to the quality of the act, that the person doing, or the act done will be approved, or is right; and in common language we say of all rightful acts, that those who do them are justified, or free from guilt, or even of any charge, and in such cases pardon is not wanting: but how different with fallen man! in his case there must be remission of sins, and it is certain St. Paul has in many instances used the word with this latter meaning, yet it is clear he has used it to express the quality of the act, or that no charge could be sustained by the act, as is seen by the following
and certain, that authorities are deemed unnecessary, but those who wish may examine the following texts: Exod. xxiii. 7. 1 Kings viii. 32. Isai. 1. 8. Rom. iii. 26. 30. iv. 5. viii. 30.
33. Gal. iii. 8.
text, which seems to have the same meaning as the last text from the Psalms:
Rom. iii. 4. "God forbid ; yea let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
Here neither pardon, nor remission of sins could have any relation to the word “ justified,” which must mean, that God's sayings, or word, were true, and so they would appear when examined; which is strongly expressed by the words, “when thou art judged ;” but nothing can be more different than the justification which is intended only to shew the quality of the act, that it is good, or that the person is free from any charge of blame on account of it; and justification in the sight of God, when man is to be cleansed from all his impurities, and to be made perfectly just and righteous, which must take place before he can be admitted into the mansions of eternal glory. The word justify, not only in common use but in Scripture, very frequently means to defend or excuse; as in Job ix. 20. Luke x. 29. with many other places. Upon this last construction in the manner the word has been used, it is conceived, many have been led into error, and to suppose or conclude that our acts are to justify us, and that the free gift, which God hath bestowed upon man by the sacrifice of his Son,
had placed him in that state, whereby he may obtain justification personally as from himself, and as a right through faith, and not from grace; but a greater error cannot be conceived; justification is to be by God, freely from his grace; and like all other blessings, which man enjoys, not from merit or deserving, but freely from grace through the riches of his goodness and mercy, and from the great love, wherewith he loved us, and gave his only begotten Son, that we should not perish, but have everlasting life. It has been held by some that the word justify in Scripture means a purifying from vice, or freedom from the habit of sinning only; but a freedom from sinning, and an absolution, or pardon of sins, are as different from each other as the light and heat of the sun, though produced from the same cause; and it is impossible to conclude that St. Paul, in many places where he uses the word justify, could mean any thing short of remission of sins, and acceptance of the man by God as perfectly just and righteous, from stating the cause, means, or instrument whereby justification is obtained, and concluding with salvation as the consequence, or effect.
It is very certain the word justify has been used in different senses, not only by St. Paul, but other writers in Scripture and by some persons it has been understood to mean when it
is said, man is justified, that he is in a justified state, and which will finally end in justification; this, together with the present and past tenses being sometimes used, and at other times the future tense, have caused great difficulty to authors in their endeavours to reconcile different statements in Scripture, and particularly in St. Paul's epistles; to obviate and surmount this difficulty the idea that there are two justifications, one on earth, and another at the day of judgment, has been propagated by some writers on the subject of justification: in the New Testament we meet with the same word in the original language translated justification, and also righteousness: upon a supposition that the translators have misapplied these words in the translation, may not one of the greatest difficulties which theologians have had in the interpretation of Scripture, and in their endeavours to reconcile those parts which were apparently inconsistent with other parts, be greatly removed? Upon this supposition the word justified will be the same as to be made, or become righteous: we will examine and see what the objections may be to this supposition, and not, by an attempt to clear up one difficulty, introduce a much greater, of which all writers should be most careful. That man is born in a sinful and fallen state is so clear and certain, that it must be unhesitatingly ad