Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

cluded; for “ they, as a great man well observes, rather transcend the predica

ments of the Ten Commandments, than are parts of the righteousness of the “ law: they were proofs of his divinity, and the signs and badges, rather " than the duties of his office. He, indeed, by them, shewed himself to be " the only Mediator, but he did not act the Mediator in them; and he did “ them that men might believe in his righteousness, but they were no in“ gredients in that righteousness on which they were to believe”.” But by the righteousness of Christ, I mean that which consists of what is commonly called his active and passive obedience; by the former, is meant the conformity of his life to the precepts of the law, and is, strictly speaking, that obedience of his, by which we are made righteous; and by the latter, is meant his sufferings and death, which, in scripture, are expressed by his blood. This distinction, though taken from the schools, is not very accurate. Passive obedience is a contradiction in terms ; nor can Christ's sufferings and death be properly ; called obedience. Obedience belongs to the predicament, or class of action, and sufferings and death to that of passion. Besides, Christ's sufferings and death flow from his obedience; they are the effects of it, they are in consequence of his subjection and submission to his Father's will. What looks most likely to prove Christ's sufferings and death to be an obedience, is the text in Phil. ii. 8. where Christ is said to be obedient unto deaih. But this will fall short of doing it; for as a judicious divine observes, it may as well be inferred, because Peter and Paul confeffed Christ unto death, therefore their confession and death were one and the same. The true sense of the words is, that Christ was obedient to his Father, from the cradle to the cross, during the whole course of his life, even to the very moment of his death. It will be allowed, that Christ was, in some sense, active in his sufferings, he being God, as well as man. Hence, he is said to lay down his life of himselfo; to pour out his soul unto death; to give himself an offering and sacrifice ; yea, through the eternal Spirit, to offer up bimself to God; and it will be as readily granted that Christ's sufferings and death, which are commonly called his passive obedience, are requisite unto, and are imputed to us for our justification. Hence we are said to have healing by his stripes", to be justified by his blood, and to be reconciled to God by his death; but then this is not to be understood as exclusive of the imputation of his active obedience, nor of the holiness of his human nature. There are some divines that exclude Christ's active obedience from

being e Dr Goodwin's Works, vol. III. par. 3. p. 336.

a Vid. Maccov. Loc. Commune c. 69. p. 613. & Colleg. Theolog p. 141. & Theolog. Polem. c. 15. Quæst. 2. p. 133. o Maccov, ibid.

John x. 18. Ilai. liii. 12. Ephes. v. 2,

Ephes. v. 2. Heb ix, 14. d llai. liii. v.

• Vid. Wendelin. Theolog. Christian. 1, 1. C. 250 thes. 7. p. 492. Of this opinion were Pifcator, Forbes, and others.

X 2

Rom. v.

9, 10.

3

being any part of the righteousness by which we are justified: they allow, that it is a condition requisite in him, as Mediator, which qualifies him for his office, and that without it his death would not have been effectual and meritorious. But they deny that this obedience, strictly and properly speaking, is the matter of our justification, or that it is imputed to us, or reckoned to us, as ours; they suppose that Christ was obliged to this obedience as a creature for himself, and that it was unnecessary to us, because his sufferings and death were sufficient for our justification. On the other hand, I firmly believe, that not only the active obedience of Christ, with his sufferings and death, but also that the holiness of his human nature is imputed to us for justification. The law requires an holy nature, and perfect obedience, and, in case of disobedience, enjoins punishment. Through sin, our nature is become unholy, our obedience imperfect, and so we are liable to punishment. Christ has assumed an holy human nature, and in it performed perfect obedience to the law, and suffered the penalty of it; all which he did not for himself, but for us; and unto us it is all imputed for our justification. He is of God, made unto us, that is, by imputation, wisdom, righteousness, sanElification, and redemption'. Wifdom may stand in general for justification, because there is in it such a manifest display of the wisdom of God; and the other three may be considered as so many parts of it. San£tification may intend the holiness of his human nature; which is that law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, wh.ch frees from the law of fin and death. Rigbteousness may signify his active obedience, by which many are made righteous; and Redemption may express his sufferings and death, whereby sin was condemned in t e flesh, and so the whole righteousness of the law ts fulfilled in us. I fall now very briefly give some reasons why, I think, Christ's active obedience, in particular, as well as his sufferings and death, is imputed for justification.

1. Because all that must be imputed for our justification, which the law requires, and without which it cannot be satisfied. Now, let it be observed, that the law, before man had sinned, only obliged him to obedience; since his fall, it obliges him both to obedience and punishment; and, unless his precepts are perfectly obeyed, and its whole penalty endured, it cannot be satisfied; and unless it is satisfied, there can be no justification by it. If Jesus Christ, therefore, engages, as a surety, to make satisfaction to the law, in the room and stead of his people, he must both obey the precept of the law, and suffer the penalty of it; his submitting to the one, without conforming to the other, is not sufficient; one debt is not paid by another; his paying off the debt of punishment did not exempt from obedience, as the paying off the debt of

obedience

f, Cor. i. 30.

obdience, did not exempt from punishment. Christ did not satisfy the whole law by either of them separately, but by both conjunctly; by his sufferings and death he fatisfied the threatnings of the law, but not the precepts of it ; and, by his active obedience, he satisfied the preceptive part of the law, but not the penal part; but, by both, he satisfied the whole law, and magnified it, and made it honourable, and therefore both must be imputed for our justification.

2. Because we are justified by a righteousness, and that is the righteousness of Christ. Now righteousness, strictly speaking, consists in actual obedience; it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments, Deut. vi. 25. Christ's righteousness lay in doing, not in suffering. “ All righteousness is “ either an habit, or an act; but sufferings are neither, and therefore not

righteousness : no man is righteous because he is punished; if so, the devils «. and damned in hell would be righteous, in proportion to their punishment; “ the more severe their puuishment, and the more grievous their torments, the

greater their righteousness must be; if there is any righteousness in punish

ment, it must be in the punisher, not in the punished.” If then we are justified by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, it must be by his active obedience, and not merely by his sufferings and death; because these, though they free us from death, yet they do not, strictly speaking, make us righteous.

3. Because we are expressly said to be made righteous by the obedience of one", which is Christ. Now by obedience, in this place, cannot be meant the sufferings and death of Chrift; because, strictly speaking, they are not his obedience, but Aow from it, as has been observed. Besides, the antithesis, in the text, determines the sense of the words; for if, by one's man actual dirobedience many were made finners, so, by the rule of opposition, by one man's actual obedience, many are made righteous.

4. Because the reward of life. is promised not to suffering, but to doing ; the law. says, Do this and live ; it promises life not to him that suffers the penalty, but to him that obeys the precept.

6. There never was a law, as an « excellent divine observes', even among men, either promising or declaring “ a reward due to the criminal, because he had undergone the punishment of “. his crimes.” Christ's sufferings and death being satisfactory to the comminatory, or threatning part of the law, are imputed to us for justification, that so we may be freed and discharged from the curse, and hell, and wrath. But these, as they do not constitute us righteous, do not, properly speaking, entitle us to eternal life; but the active obedience, or righteousness of Christ, being

imputed 6 Molinæus contra Tilen. in Maccov. Loc. Commun. c. 69. p. 613.

• Dr Goodwin's works, vol. III. par. 3. of Christ the Mediator, pag. 338.

> Rom. v. 19.

imputed to us, is our justification of life, or what gives us the title to eternal life.

5. Because Christ's active obedience was performed for us, in our room and stead, and therefore must be imputed to us for justification. If it should be said, that Christ, as a creature, being made of a woman, and made under the law, was obliged to yield obedience to that law for himself; I answer, that he assumed human nature, became a creature, subjected himself to the law, and: obliged himself to yield obedience to it, were not for himself, but for us; not upon his own, but our account ; to or for us a Child is born, a Son is given"; and if Christ only in his sufferings, and not in his obedience, is given to us, we should not have a whole Christ given us, only a suffering Christ, not an obeying one.

Let it further be observed, that Christ's active obedience to the law for us, and in our room and stead, does not exempt us from personal obedience to it, any more than his sufferings and death exempt us from a corporal death, or suffering for his fake. It is true, indeed, we do not suffer and die in the sense he did, to satisfy justice, and atone for sin; so neither do we yield obedience to the law, in order to obtain eternal life by it. By Christ's obedience for us, we are exempted from obedience to the law in this sense, but not from obedience to it, as a rule of walk and conversation, by which we may glorify God, and express our thankfulness to him, for his abundant mercies. Well then, it is what is commonly called Christ's active and passive obedience, together with the holiness of his nature, from whence all his obedience Aows, which is the matter of our justification before God. Many things might be said in commendation of this glorious righteousness of the Mediator. The nature and excellency of it may be collected from the several names, or appellations, by which it is called in scripture.

1. It is called, the righteousness of God'; and that not only because it stands opposed to the righteousness of man, but because it was wrought out by one that is God, as well as man; and is greatly approved and graciously accepted of by God, and by him freely imputed to all his people, who are justified from all things by it in his fight.

2. It is called, the righteousness of one"; that is, of one of the Persons of the Trinity; it is not the righteousness of the Father, nor of the Spirit, but of the Son, who though he is a partaker of two natures, yet is but one Person; it is the righteousness of one, who is a common head to all his feed, aš Adami was to his. It may, indeed, be called the righteousnefs of many, even of all the saints, because it is imputed to them, and they all have an equal right to

[ocr errors]

it;

* Ifai. ix, 6.

i Rom. i. 17. and iïi, 22.

Chap. v. 18.

it ; but yet the Author is but one; and therefore we are not justified, partly by our own righteousness, and partly by Christ's ; for then we should be justified by the righteousness of two, and not of one only.

3. It is called, the righteousness of the law"; for though righteousness does not come by our obedience to the law, yet it does by Christ's obedience to it; though, by the deeds of the law, as performed by man, no Aesh living can be justified, yet, by the deeds of the law, as performed by Christ, all the elect are justified. Christ's righteousness may be truly called a legal righteousness; it is what the law requires and demands, and is every way commensurate to it ; it is a compleat conformity to all its precepts; by it the law is magnified and made honourable. It is true, indeed, it makes no discovery of it, for it is manifested without the law, though witnessed to both by law and prophets; it is the gospel that is the ministration of it; for therein it is revealed from faith to faith.

4. It is called, the righteousness of faith;°; not that faith is our righteousness, either in whole, or in part; it is not the matter of our justification, as has been before observed ; it has no manner of causal influence on it, nor is it imputed to us for it; but Christ's righteousness is called so, because faith receives it, puts it on, rejoices in it, and boasts of it.

5. It is called, the gift of righteousness', and a free gift, and a gift by grace; because it is freely wro ight out by Christ, and freely imputed by God the Father, and faith is freely given to lay hold on it, and embrace it.

6. It is called, the best robe, or, as in the Greek text, the first robe?; for though Adam's robe of righteousness, in innocence, was first in wear, this was first provided in the covenant of grace; this was first in designation, though that was first in use : and it may well be called the best robe, because it is a better robe than ever sinful fallen man had; his being imperfect, and polluted, and infufficient to justify him before God, or skreen him from divine justice, or secure him from divine wrath; yea, it is a better robe than ever Adam had in Eden, or the angels have in heaven; for the righteousness of either of these, is but the righteousness of a creature, whereas this is the righteousness of God; besides, the righteousness of Adam was a righteousness that might be loft, and which was actually loft; for God made man upright, and be fought out many inventions, whereby he lost his righteousness; so that now there is none of Adam's posterity righteous in and of themselves; no, not one; and as for the righteousness of the angels, it is plain, it was a loseable righteousness, for many of

them a Rom. viii. 4. . Rom. iv. 13.

p Rom. v. 15–17. 9 Luke xv. 22. The common the apótny, ftolam primam, Vulgat. Lat. Arias Montan. See Hufley's Glory of Christ unveiled, p. 741—744, &c.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »