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flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Therefore, certainly, since all mankind is thus corrupted, it must needs follow, that no man can be justified and acquitted before God, by those Works, which he can pretend to do, answerable to the Law of God; for the Law rather binds us over to death, in that the only effect thereof is to shew us our sins and to convince us of it, and thereby to lay us open to the wrath of God.
III. 21. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
But now, if any man would know how he may come to stand righteous before God, the case is fully cleared : there is an Evangelical Righteousness, which consists not in the Works of the Law; which is confirmed by the testimony of God's Spirit, both in the Law and the Prophets ;
III. 22. Even the righteousness of God which is by ith Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference :
Even the Righteousness, both given and accepted of God, which is by Faith in Jesus Christ; which Faith is that effectual instrument, whereby we receive, apprehend, apply Christ, who is true and perfect Righteousness unto all them that believe, whether Jews or Gentiles ; for, herein God maketh no difference at all:
III. 23. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
For, both all men have sinned, and come short of that perfect obedience whereby they should glorify God, and of that justice which God accounts only and truly glorious; and therefore have need of a Saviour:
III. 24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.
And, being in this case, have no way to be justified, but by his gracious and free acceptation and acquittal, wrought and obtained by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ:
III. 25. Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Whom God the Father hath ordained and set forth, to be that Mediator, who should make a full atonement for mankind, through Faith in his blood; and who should make known and apply that his all-sufficient satisfaction, for the remission, even of those sins, which were committed before his coming in the flesh; the expiation whereof could not be made by any legal sacrifices, but only by his oblation and death, which was prefigured thereby: this was the means to do away those sins,
which God, in his mercy, would not take speedy revenge of, but graciously reserved them to be purged by the blood of his Son.
III. 26. To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness : that, he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
And not only to make known this mercy to those that are gone and past, but also, to declare unto us at this time, and to all that shall come after us unto the end of the world, what is the only means of our standing righteous before God, even Faith in Christ; that thus he might be approved, to be both most just in himself in accepting of none but those that are righteous, and also a justifier of every one (and him alone) that believeth in his Son Jesus.
III. 27. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law ? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
What cause of boasting then can any of us have in ourselves, whether Jews or Gentiles? if Gentiles, in our civil justice; and if Jews, in our just works? Surely, none at all. All boasting is utterly excluded: but how, or upon what ground, is our boasting excluded ? Surely, not upon the ground of our Works: for, if by our Works we could fulfil the Law, we should have cause of boasting in ourselves; but, upon the ground of Faith, for now that we are justified thereby, upon the free acceptation of God, we have no cause at all to boast in ourselves, but in him alone.
III. 28. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Let this conclusion therefore be firmly set down, That a man is justified, not by the Works of the Law, but by Faith only.
III. 29, 30. Is he the God of the Jews only? Is he not also of the Gentiles ? Yes, of the Gentiles also : Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
Neither is this Justification proper and peculiar to one nation only, but is common to the believers of all nations through the world: never think therefore, that this mercy is confined to the Jews only: no; the grace of God is not limited to them only: God is not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one and the same God, whose goodness extendeth and enlargeth itself to all; and makes no more difference betwixt Jews and Gentiles, but that he justifies the Jews by Faith, and through Faith the Gentiles, which as they are all one in effect, so his merciful act of Justification is one and the same in both.
III. 31. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
Do we then, because we teach that men are justified by Faith, and not by the Works of the Law, make void the Law through Faith, as if therefore it were of no use, because we can obtain no perfect Righteousness by it? God forbid; yea, rather, our Faith establisheth the Law, in that it obtaineth that grace, whereby the Law is fulfilled; forsomuch as the Spirit of God, which dwells in our hearts by Faith, enableth us to walk according to the Law.
IV. 1. What shall we then say that Abraham, our father as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
There is but one way of Justification: as it was with Abraham, who was our father according to the flesh, so it is with us; and how will you then say, that the case stood with Abraham? had he no benefit by his Works?
IV. 2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Surely, I must needs yield the case alike in all; and, as for Abraham, therefore if he were justified by the merit of his Works, he had cause to glory in himself, and not in God; but he never sought to glory in himself, but in God only; and therefore he was justified not by Works, but by Faith.
IV. 3. For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
For what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God in his promises, and that Faith of his apprehending Christ, which was promised, was accounted unto him by God for Righteousness; so as Abraham, upon his belief, was reputed no less righteous, than if he had fulfilled the Law.
IV. 4. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Now, this reputing Just must needs be an act of favour and grace; whereas, to him, that earneth ought by Working, the recompence is given, not out of grace and favour, but as of due debt.
IV. 6, 7. 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.
And David also, whose authority is justly sacred amongst you, so describes our Righteousness, as one that meant to exclude Works from the power of Justifying; for, when he would set forth the blessedness of a man justified before God, he describes him by the imputing of Righteousness without Works; Saying, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; and not, Blessed are they whose good works are many an! great.
IV. 9. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision
only, or upon the uncircumcision also ? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.
That ye may well see this righteousness, and blessedness, is not by Works, but by Faith ; consider, that circumcision is the first work that is required under the Law, and that this blessedness belonged to Abraham not upon his circumcision but before, even in his uncircumcision: for we say, that Abraham's Faith was accounted to him for righteousness.
IV. 10. How was it then reckoned ? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.
But when, and in what estate, was it so accounted to him? when he was circumcised, or while he was uncircumcised? Ye are easily able to satisfy yourselves in this; and know, that it was not when he was circumcised, but long before, even when he was uncircumcised.
IV. 11, 12. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised : that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised ; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also : And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.
And he received this outward mark and sign of the Sacrament of Circumcision, as a seal and full confirmation of that Faith which he had before, while he was uncircumcised: God would therefore have him justified by Faith before he was circumcised, that he might be the Father of all that are Faithful, though uncircumcised; that his example might shew, that righteousness is and may be so imputed unto them also, without any outward circumcision: And that he might be the Father of the Circumcised, of those, I mean, which are not only outwardly and formally circumcised, but truly and inwardly; and who live the life of that Faith, which Abraham had, being yet uncircumcised.
IV. 13. For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
For the promise that was made to Abraham, of the inheritance of the land of Canaan, by which a better inheritance was figured, was not made to Abraham, because had merited it by keeping the Law; but because he had believed God, and had obtained the Righteousness of Faith.
IV. 14. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect :
For if they, which trust to the fulfilling of the Law, be heirs of the spiritual blessings of God, and so the inheritance come by Works, then Faith is to no purpose; neither is there any use of it: and so those promises, which are made to the believer, are vain and useless; neither could any heart find comfort or assurance in itself, forasmuch as it should be convinced in itself of an impossibility of keeping the Law, and thereby of attaining eternal life :
IV. 15. Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
Because, howsoever to those, which are upright and perfect, the Law might and would shew the true way of life ; yet to those, that are sinful and corrupt, as now all mankind is, it doth nothing, but aggravate their evil condition: for, while it shews them what they ought to do, and gives them not strength to do it, it impleads them guilty before the Judgment Seat of God; since that, having the knowledge of our duty, and not performing it, we run into greater condemnation; for, if that man sin, which is not acquainted with the written Law of God, his sin must needs be much less than his, who doth knowingly and wilfully offend.
IV. 16, 17. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, ( As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
Therefore, since if the inheritance were by Works Faith were of no use and the promises to no purpose, I do justly conclude, that it is of Faith, that it might be of God's grace, and not of our earning; and that the promise might stand in full force to all the seed of faithful Abraham, not only to the Jews, which stand upon the privilege of the Law, but to all those of Jews and Gentiles, which follow the Faith of Abraham, who is the Father of all us Believers, in what nation soever; as it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations: the father, I say, of us all, not natural but spiritual; not in respect of flesh, but in respect of that interest in that God in whom he believed, confidently relying upon the promise of that God, who, he well knew, was able to quicken the dead, and, by his mighty word, is able to make those things to be which are not.
IV. 18. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
Who, when there was no cause or reason at all, in nature, why he should hope, yea, when all things seemed to cross the possibility of any hope, yet even then believed that he should have the honour of being the father of many nations, according