Biblical Context

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Biblical context

There are many important concepts to proper interpretation of the Bible but John Wyciff gave one of the most important: understanding the context of what is written. Below is what he said about context.  The interpretation of the Bible is the most important aspect of our lives.  God has promised that the Holy Spirit will guide us and illuminate the Scriptures for us.

John Wyclif

It shall greatly helpe ye
to understande Scripture,
If thou mark
Not only what is spoken or wrytten,
But of whom,
And to whom,
With what words,
At what time,
Where,
To what intent,
With what circumstances,
Considering what goeth before
And what followeth.

There are three things we need to know about Scripture:

  • 1) Supernatural Revelation – This is the act of God whereby He reveals to special select persons what He wants to reveal. They are Holy prophets.  The word “holy” means select and special.  He did not and does not reveal His Special Revelation to just anyone.  All prophets after the institution of the Mosaic covenant were Jewish with the possible exception of Luke who wrote the book of Luke and Acts of the Apostles.  Luke was the close companion of the Apostle Paul.
  •  2) Inspiration of Scripture – This is the act of God whereby He communicates His will and words to Special select persons and causes them to accurately record in writing His will and words. The word inspiration is not the best word for this act because it implies that something is (in= spired) breathed into the person. But the Greek word is actually “theopneustos” which means divinely breathed.   The word means that all Scripture is God breathed and that it’s source is God. Inspiration is the act of God whereby He caused special select persons to receive His word and record His word without omission or error.

16 All scripture is given by inspiration (theopneustos) of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.  2 Tim 3:16-17 (KJV)

  • 3) Illumination – is the work of the Holy Spirit whereby He assists believers in understanding what has been written and record by inspiration. No person at the present time is receiving Divinely Inspired Special Revelation from God. Below is an excellent article on Illumination.

What is the biblical doctrine of illumination?

http://www.gotquestions.org/biblical-illumination.html

“What is the biblical doctrine of illumination?”

Answer: Simply put, illumination in the spiritual sense is “turning on the light” of understanding in some area. Throughout the ages, people in every culture and religion have claimed some kind of revelation or enlightenment from God (whether true or not). When that enlightenment deals with new knowledge or future things, we call it prophecy. When that enlightenment deals with understanding and applying knowledge already given, we call it illumination. Regarding illumination of the latter type, the question arises, “How does God do it?”

The most basic level of enlightenment is the knowledge of sin, and without that knowledge, everything else is pointless. Psalm 18:28 says, “You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is a song about God’s Word. In verse 130, it says “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” This verse establishes the basic method of God’s illumination. When God’s Word enters the heart of a person, it gives light and understanding to them. For this reason, we are repeatedly told to study the Word of God. Psalm 119:11 says “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Verses 98 and 99 say “Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes.”

Regular study of the Word of God will give direction and understanding in the issues of life. This is the first method of God’s illumination and the starting point for us all. In Psalm 119 we also find another type of God’s illumination. Verse 18 says, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” These are not new revelations, but things which have been written and revealed long before, and just now understood by the reader (one of those “aha!” moments). Similarly, verse 73 says, “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding to learn your commands.” The plea is for personal understanding and application of God’s laws as they are studied by the individual. Fifteen times in this psalm, God is asked to teach or give understanding regarding His laws.

One passage that sometimes stirs controversy regarding illumination is John 14:26, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Jesus was speaking to His disciples in the upper room, giving them last instructions before His death. This special group of men was to be responsible for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ to the whole world. They had spent three and a half years with Him, watching His miracles and hearing His teachings. They would relay those things to the rest of the world, and would need God’s special help remembering those things accurately. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would teach them and remind them of what had been said, so they could give it to others (including the writing of the Gospels). This verse does not teach that the Spirit will do so with all believers (though there are other verses that speak of the Spirit’s illuminating work).

What is the Holy Spirit’s illuminating work in believers? Ephesians 1:17-18 tells us that the Spirit gives wisdom and revelation concerning Jesus Christ, and opens the eyes of understanding so we can know God’s purposes in our lives. In 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, God has revealed His plans for us by His Spirit, who teaches us spiritual things. The context here points to the Word of God as that which has been revealed. The Spirit of God will always point us to the Word of God for our instruction. As Jesus told His disciples in John 16:12-15, the Spirit simply repeats what the Father and the Son have already said. This repetition helps us remember and fully hear what God has already told us. Sometimes we have to hear things several times before we actually hear them. That’s where the Spirit comes in.

One thing that is sometimes overlooked in the discussion of illumination is the purpose of it. To hear some arguments, it would seem that the whole purpose of illumination is an accurate and academic understanding of God’s Word. There is no question that God desires us to accurately understand what He has given us. Words have meaning, and we must pay attention to the details in those words. If, however, we stop there, we simply have an academic understanding of facts or philosophies, which do no one any good.

Going back to Psalm 119, we find purpose statements connected with the illumination verses. “I will meditate on your wonders” (v. 27), “I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart” (v. 34), “that I may understand your statutes” (v. 125), “that I may live” (v. 144). The illumination always points to action. Why does God help us understand His Word? So we are able to live in its light. First John 1:6 challenges us, “If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” We could paraphrase it to say, “If we say we’ve been enlightened, but still walk in the dark, we lie about understanding God’s Word.” The Spirit of God, who enlightens us to hear and understand God’s Word, then takes that knowledge and guides us in living it. Romans 8:14 says “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” The illuminating and leading work of the Holy Spirit in our lives is a confirmation that we are indeed children of God.

Check out the excellent work of J. Vernon McGee

 Guidelines for the Understanding of the Scriptures by J.   Vernon McGee    guide

02 Guide for Understanding the Scriptures Under the category 01 Christian Resources on this website.

May God bless your today and forever!

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

Only One Life

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The Carrot and the Stick

Dear friends below is a list of concepts I have added to each of my emails.   Hopefully, this might stirrup some person to seek the Lord.  Use your email to promote the things of the Lord.

You might want to attach some concepts to your email to encourage others to seek the Lord while He may be found.

Life is short, Eternity is forever!

“He that takes thought for time and takes not thought for eternity,

is wise for a moment, but a fool forever.”

“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” James 4:14

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Proverbs 27:1

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

“So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12

“Behold, now is the accepted time; Now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor 6:2

“Only one life will soon be past,  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

This last concept is very appropriate for believers.   Our lives will be evaluated by Christ at the Judgment Seat of Christ to assess what rewards we will receive for faithful service or the lack thereof.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 

15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (worthless).  2 Cor 5:10 (KJV)

The reward Christ will give to his faithful servants will be very substantial and will last for eternity. The losses that Christians will suffer for an unfaithful life will be enormous and will be for eternity.

This concept of Rewards for faithful service is taught throughout the Holy Scriptures.  I have heard some foolish Christians say, “All I want is to go to heaven, I am not interested in rewards.”

These Christians will suffer great regret at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  In Greek it is called the “Bema seat”.

The Apostle Paul prior to his death made this triumphful statement:

6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.   2 Tim 4:6-8 (KJV)

Remember this eternal life is totally free by grace and through faith alone without any works, but rewards are based on our faithful properly motivated service and good works for the Lord.

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph 2:8-10 (KJV)

You must closely study the Holy Scriptures to know what God considers good works.   We may be deceived about what we believe to be good works in the sight of God.

In an article that I plan to write I mention two ways that God motivates us:  1) the stick, and 2) the carrot.   The stick is God’s chastening which is mentioned in Hebrews 12 and the carrot is God’s reward which is mentioned in a number of places in Scripture.

5 My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  Heb 12:5-11 (KJV)

Just like a good father, God would rather use the carrot than the stick.

Positive re-enforcements are generally more productive than negative re-enforcements.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark

Why the future doesn’t need us

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From Wired Magazine, available online at:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/8.04/joy.html

Why the future doesn’t need us.
Our most powerful 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic
engineering, and nanotech – are threatening to make humans an
endangered species.

By Bill Joy

From the moment I became involved in the creation of new technologies, their ethical dimensions have concerned me, but it was only in the autumn of 1998 that I became anxiously aware of how great are the dangers facing us in the 21st century. I can date the onset of my unease to the day I met Ray Kurzweil, the deservedly famous inventor of the first reading machine for the blind and many other amazing things.

Ray and I were both speakers at George Gilder’s Telecosm conference, and I encountered him by chance in the bar of the hotel after both our sessions were over. I was sitting with John Searle, a Berkeley philosopher who studies consciousness. While we were talking, Ray approached and a conversation began, the subject of which haunts me to this day.

I had missed Ray’s talk and the subsequent panel that Ray and John had been on, and they now picked right up where they’d left off, with Ray saying that the rate of improvement of technology was going to accelerate and that we were going to become robots or fuse with robots or something like that, and John countering that this couldn’t happen, because the robots couldn’t be conscious.
While I had heard such talk before, I had always felt sentient robots were in the realm of science fiction. But now, from someone I respected, I was hearing a strong argument that they were a near-term possibility.

I was taken aback, especially given Ray’s proven ability to imagine and create the future. I already knew that new technologies like genetic engineering and nanotechnology were giving us the power to remake the world, but a realistic and imminent scenario for intelligent robots surprised me.

It’s easy to get jaded about such breakthroughs. We hear in the news almost every day of some kind of technological or scientific advance. Yet this was no ordinary prediction. In the hotel bar, Ray gave me a partial preprint of his then-forthcoming book The Age of Spiritual Machines, which outlined a utopia he foresaw – one in which humans gained near immortality by becoming one with robotic technology. On reading it, my sense of unease only intensified; I felt sure he had to be understating the dangers, understating the probability of a bad outcome along this path.

I found myself most troubled by a passage detailing adystopian
scenario:

THE NEW LUDDITE CHALLENGE

First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better than human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained.

If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can’t make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’ decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decisions for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better results than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won’t be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.

On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite – just as it is today, but with two differences.

Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consists of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone’s physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes “treatment” to cure his “problem.”

Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or make them “sublimate” their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they will most certainly not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.1

In the book, you don’t discover until you turn the page that the author of this passage is Theodore Kaczynski – the Unabomber. I am no apologist for Kaczynski. His bombs killed three people during a 17-year terror campaign and wounded many others. One of his bombs gravely injured my friend David Gelernter, one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time. Like many of my colleagues, I felt that I could easily have been the Unabomber’s next target.
Kaczynski’s actions were murderous and, in my view, criminally insane. He is clearly a Luddite, but simply saying this does not dismiss his argument; as difficult as it is for me to acknowledge, I saw some merit in the reasoning in this single passage. I felt compelled to confront it.

Kaczynski’s dystopian vision describes unintended consequences, a well-known problem with the design and use of technology, and one that is clearly related to Murphy’s law – “Anything that can go wrong,
will.” (Actually, this is Finagle’s law, which in itself shows that Finagle was right.) Our overuse of antibiotics has led to what may be the biggest such problem so far: the emergence of antibiotic-resistant and much more dangerous bacteria. Similar things happened when attempts to eliminate malarial mosquitoes using DDT caused them to acquire DDT resistance; malarial parasites likewise acquired multi-drug-resistant genes.2

The cause of many such surprises seems clear: The systems involved are complex, involving interaction among and feedback between many parts.
Any changes to such a system will cascade in ways that are difficult to predict; this is especially true when human actions are involved. I started showing friends the Kaczynski quote from The Age of Spiritual Machines; I would hand them Kurzweil’s book, let them read the quote, and then watch their reaction as they discovered who had written it.

At around the same time, I found Hans Moravec’s book Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind. Moravec is one of the leaders in robotics research, and was a founder of the world’s largest robotics research program, at Carnegie Mellon University. Robot gave me more material to try out on my friends – material surprisingly supportive of Kaczynski’s argument. For example:
The Short Run (Early 2000s)

Biological species almost never survive encounters with superior competitors. Ten million years ago, South and North America were separated by a sunken Panama isthmus. South America, like Australia today, was populated by marsupial mammals, including pouched equivalents of rats, deers, and tigers. When the isthmus connecting North and South America rose, it took only a few thousand years for the northern placental species, with slightly more effective metabolisms and reproductive and nervous systems, to displace and eliminate almost all the southern marsupials.

In a completely free marketplace, superior robots would surely affect humans as North American placentals affected South American marsupials (and as humans have affected countless species). Robotic industries would compete vigorously among themselves for matter, energy, and space, incidentally driving their price beyond human reach. Unable to afford the necessities of life, biological humans would be squeezed out of existence.

There is probably some breathing room, because we do not live in a completely free marketplace. Government coerces nonmarket behavior, especially by collecting taxes. Judiciously applied, governmental coercion could support human populations in high style on the fruits of robot labor, perhaps for a long while.
A textbook dystopia – and Moravec is just getting wound up. He goes on to discuss how our main job in the 21st century will be “ensuring continued cooperation from the robot industries” by passing laws decreeing that they be “nice,”3 and to describe how seriously dangerous a human can be “once transformed into an unbounded superintelligent robot.” Moravec’s view is that the robots will eventually succeed us – that humans clearly face extinction.

I decided it was time to talk to my friend Danny Hillis. Danny became famous as the cofounder of Thinking Machines Corporation, which built a very powerful parallel supercomputer. Despite my current job title of Chief Scientist at Sun Microsystems, I am more a computer architect than a scientist, and I respect Danny’s knowledge of the information and physical sciences more than that of any other single person I know. Danny is also a highly regarded futurist who thinks long-term – four years ago he started the Long Now Foundation, which is building a clock designed to last 10,000 years, in an attempt to draw attention to the pitifully short attention span of our society. (See “Test of Time,”Wired 8.03, page 78.)
So I flew to Los Angeles for the express purpose of having dinner with Danny and his wife, Pati. I went through my now-familiar routine, trotting out the ideas and passages that I found so disturbing. Danny’s answer – directed specifically at Kurzweil’s scenario of humans merging with robots – came swiftly, and quite surprised me. He said, simply, that the changes would come gradually, and that we would get used to them.

But I guess I wasn’t totally surprised. I had seen a quote from Danny in Kurzweil’s book in which he said, “I’m as fond of my body as anyone, but if I can be 200 with a body of silicon, I’ll take it.” It seemed that he was at peace with this process and its attendant risks, while I was not.

While talking and thinking about Kurzweil, Kaczynski, and Moravec, I suddenly remembered a novel I had read almost 20 years ago -The White Plague, by Frank Herbert – in which a molecular biologist is driven insane by the senseless murder of his family. To seek revenge he constructs and disseminates a new and highly contagious plague that kills widely but selectively. (We’re lucky Kaczynski was a mathematician, not a molecular biologist.) I was also reminded of the Borg of Star Trek, a hive of partly biological, partly robotic creatures with a strong destructive streak. Borg-like disasters are a staple of science fiction, so why hadn’t I been more concerned about such robotic dystopias earlier? Why weren’t other people more concerned about these nightmarish scenarios?

Part of the answer certainly lies in our attitude toward the new – in our bias toward instant familiarity and unquestioning acceptance.
Accustomed to living with almost routine scientific breakthroughs, we have yet to come to terms with the fact that the most compelling 21st-century technologies – robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology – pose a different threat than the technologies that have come before. Specifically, robots, engineered organisms, and nanobots share a dangerous amplifying factor: They can self-replicate.

A bomb is blown up only once – but one bot can become many, and quickly get out of control. Much of my work over the past 25 years has been on computer networking, where the sending and receiving of messages creates the opportunity for out-of-control replication. But while replication in a computer or a computer network can be a nuisance, at worst it disables a machine or takes down a network or network service. Uncontrolled self-replication in these newer technologies runs a much greater risk: a risk of substantial damage in the physical world.
Each of these technologies also offers untold promise: The vision of near immortality that Kurzweil sees in his robot dreams drives us forward; genetic engineering may soon provide treatments, if not outright cures, for most diseases; and nanotechnology and nanomedicine can address yet more ills. Together they could significantly extend our average life span and improve the quality of our lives. Yet, with each of these technologies, a sequence of small, individually sensible advances leads to an accumulation of great power and, concomitantly, great danger.

What was different in the 20th century? Certainly, the technologies underlying the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) – nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) – were powerful, and the weapons an enormous threat. But building nuclear weapons required, at least for a time, access to both rare – indeed, effectively unavailable – raw materials and highly protected information; biological and chemical weapons programs also tended to require large-scale activities.

The 21st-century technologies – genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR) – are so powerful that they can spawn whole new classes of accidents and abuses. Most dangerously, for the first time, these accidents and abuses are widely within the reach of individuals or small groups. They will not require large facilities or rare raw materials. Knowledge alone will enable the use of them.
Thus we have the possibility not just of weapons of mass destruction but of knowledge-enabled mass destruction (KMD), this destructiveness hugely amplified by the power of self-replication.

I think it is no exaggeration to say we are on the cusp of the further perfection of extreme evil, an evil whose possibility spreads well beyond that which weapons of mass destruction bequeathed to the nation-states, on to a surprising and terrible empowerment of extreme individuals.
Nothing about the way I got involved with computers suggested to me that I was going to be facing these kinds of issues.

My life has been driven by a deep need to ask questions and find answers. When I was 3, I was already reading, so my father took me to the elementary school, where I sat on the principal’s lap and read him a story. I started school early, later skipped a grade, and escaped into books – I was incredibly motivated to learn. I asked lots of questions, often driving adults to distraction.

As a teenager I was very interested in science and technology. I wanted to be a ham radio operator but didn’t have the money to buy the equipment. Ham radio was the Internet of its time: very addictive, and quite solitary. Money issues aside, my mother put her foot down – I was not to be a ham; I was antisocial enough already.
I may not have had many close friends, but I was awash in ideas. By high school, I had discovered the great science fiction writers. I remember especially Heinlein’s Have Spacesuit Will Travel and Asimov’s I, Robot, with its Three Laws of Robotics. I was enchanted by the descriptions of space travel, and wanted to have a telescope to look at the stars; since I had no money to buy or make one, I checked books on telescope-making out of the library and read about making them instead. I soared in my imagination.

Thursday nights my parents went bowling, and we kids stayed home alone. It was the night of Gene Roddenberry’s original Star Trek, and the program made a big impression on me. I came to accept its notion that humans had a future in space, Western-style, with big heroes and adventures. Roddenberry’s vision of the centuries to come was one with strong moral values, embodied in codes like the Prime Directive: to not interfere in the development of less technologically advanced civilizations. This had an incredible appeal to me; ethical humans, not robots, dominated this future, and I took Roddenberry’s dream as part of my own.
I excelled in mathematics in high school, and when I went to the University of Michigan as an undergraduate engineering student I took the advanced curriculum of the mathematics majors. Solving math problems was an exciting challenge, but when I discovered computers I found something much more interesting: a machine into which you could put a program that attempted to solve a problem, after which the machine quickly checked the solution. The computer had a clear notion of correct and incorrect, true and false. Were my ideas correct? The machine could tell me. This was very seductive.

I was lucky enough to get a job programming early supercomputers and discovered the amazing power of large machines to numerically simulate advanced designs. When I went to graduate school at UC Berkeley in the mid-1970s, I started staying up late, often all night, inventing new worlds inside the machines. Solving problems. Writing the code that argued so strongly to be written.
In The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone’s biographical novel of Michelangelo, Stone described vividly how Michelangelo released the statues from the stone, “breaking the marble spell,” carving from the images in his mind.4 In my most ecstatic moments, the software in the computer emerged in the same way. Once I had imagined it in my mind I felt that it was already there in the machine, waiting to be released. Staying up all night seemed a small price to pay to free it – to give the ideas concrete form.

After a few years at Berkeley I started to send out some of the software I had written – an instructional Pascal system, Unix utilities, and a text editor called vi (which is still, to my surprise, widely used more than 20 years later) – to others who had similar small PDP-11 and VAX minicomputers. These adventures in software eventually turned into the Berkeley version of the Unix operating system, which became a personal “success disaster” – so many people wanted it that I never finished my PhD. Instead I got a job working for Darpa putting Berkeley Unix on the Internet and fixing it to be reliable and to run large research applications well. This was all great fun and very rewarding. And, frankly, I saw no robots here, or anywhere near.

Still, by the early 1980s, I was drowning. The Unix releases were very successful, and my little project of one soon had money and some staff, but the problem at Berkeley was always office space rather than money – there wasn’t room for the help the project needed, so when the other founders of Sun Microsystems showed up I jumped at the chance to join them. At Sun, the long hours continued into the early days of workstations and personal computers, and I have enjoyed participating in the creation of advanced microprocessor technologies and Internet technologies such as Java and Jini.

From all this, I trust it is clear that I am not a Luddite. I have always, rather, had a strong belief in the value of the scientific search for truth and in the ability of great engineering to bring material progress. The Industrial Revolution has immeasurably improved everyone’s life over the last couple hundred years, and I always expected my career to involve the building of worthwhile solutions to real problems, one problem at a time.

I have not been disappointed. My work has had more impact than I had ever hoped for and has been more widely used than I could have reasonably expected. I have spent the last 20 years still trying to figure out how to make computers as reliable as I want them to be (they are not nearly there yet) and how to make them simple to use (a goal that has met with even less relative success). Despite some
progress, the problems that remain seem even more daunting. But while I was aware of the moral dilemmas surrounding technology’s consequences in fields like weapons research, I did not expect that I would confront such issues in my own field, or at least not so soon.

Perhaps it is always hard to see the bigger impact while you are in the vortex of a change. Failing to understand the consequences of our inventions while we are in the rapture of discovery and innovation seems to be a common fault of scientists and technologists; we have long been driven by the overarching desire to know that is the nature of science’s quest, not stopping to notice that the progress to newer and more powerful technologies can take on a life of its own.

I have long realized that the big advances in information technology come not from the work of computer scientists, computer architects, or electrical engineers, but from that of physical scientists. The physicists Stephen Wolfram and Brosl Hasslacher introduced me, in the early 1980s, to chaos theory and nonlinear systems. In the 1990s, I learned about complex systems from conversations with Danny Hillis, the biologist Stuart Kauffman, the Nobel-laureate physicist Murray Gell-Mann, and others. Most recently, Hasslacher and the electrical engineer and device physicist Mark Reed have been giving me insight into the incredible possibilities of molecular electronics.

In my own work, as codesigner of three microprocessor architectures – SPARC, picoJava, and MAJC – and as the designer of several implementations thereof, I’ve been afforded a deep and firsthand acquaintance with Moore’s law. For decades, Moore’s law has correctly predicted the exponential rate of improvement of semiconductor technology. Until last year I believed that the rate of advances predicted by Moore’s law might continue only until roughly 2010, when some physical limits would begin to be reached. It was not obvious to me that a new technology would arrive in time to keep performance advancing smoothly.
But because of the recent rapid and radical progress in molecular electronics – where individual atoms and molecules replace lithographically drawn transistors – and related nanoscale technologies, we should be able to meet or exceed the Moore’s law rate of progress for another 30 years. By 2030, we are likely to be able to build machines, in quantity, a million times as powerful as the personal computers of today – sufficient to implement the dreams of Kurzweil and Moravec.
As this enormous computing power is combined with the manipulative advances of the physical sciences and the new, deep understandings in genetics, enormous transformative power is being unleashed. These combinations open up the opportunity to completely redesign the world, for better or worse: The replicating and evolving processes that have been confined to the natural world are about to become realms of human endeavor.

In designing software and microprocessors, I have never had the feeling that I was designing an intelligent machine. The software and hardware is so fragile and the capabilities of the machine to “think” so clearly absent that, even as a possibility, this has always seemed very far in the future.
But now, with the prospect of human-level computing power in about 30 years, a new idea suggests itself: that I may be working to create tools which will enable the construction of the technology that may replace our species. How do I feel about this? Very uncomfortable.

Having struggled my entire career to build reliable software systems, it seems to me more than likely that this future will not work out as well as some people may imagine. My personal experience suggests we tend to overestimate our design abilities.

Given the incredible power of these new technologies, shouldn’t we be asking how we can best coexist with them? And if our own extinction is a likely, or even possible, outcome of our technological development, shouldn’t we proceed with great caution?

The dream of robotics is, first, that intelligent machines can do our work for us, allowing us lives of leisure, restoring us to Eden. Yet in his history of such ideas, Darwin Among the Machines, George Dyson warns: “In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.” As we have seen, Moravec agrees, believing we may well not survive the encounter with the superior robot species.
How soon could such an intelligent robot be built? The coming advances in computing power seem to make it possible by 2030. And once an intelligent robot exists, it is only a small step to a robot species – to an intelligent robot that can make evolved copies of itself.

A second dream of robotics is that we will gradually replace ourselves with our robotic technology, achieving near immortality by downloading our consciousnesses; it is this process that Danny Hillis thinks we will gradually get used to and that Ray Kurzweil elegantly details in The Age of Spiritual Machines. (We are beginning to see intimations of this in the implantation of computer devices into the human body, as illustrated on the cover of Wired 8.02.)
But if we are downloaded into our technology, what are the chances that we will thereafter be ourselves or even human? It seems to me far more likely that a robotic existence would not be like a human one in any sense that we understand, that the robots would in no sense be our children, that on this path our humanity may well be lost.

Genetic engineering promises to revolutionize agriculture by increasing crop yields while reducing the use of pesticides; to create tens of thousands of novel species of bacteria, plants, viruses, and animals; to replace reproduction, or supplement it, with cloning; to create cures for many diseases, increasing our life span and our quality of life; and much, much more. We now know with certainty that these profound changes in the biological sciences are imminent and will challenge all our notions of what life is.

Technologies such as human cloning have in particular raised our awareness of the profound ethical and moral issues we face. If, for example, we were to reengineer ourselves into several separate and unequal species using the power of genetic engineering, then we would threaten the notion of equality that is the very cornerstone of our democracy.

Given the incredible power of genetic engineering, it’s no surprise that there are significant safety issues in its use. My friend Amory Lovins recently cowrote, along with Hunter Lovins, an editorial that provides an ecological view of some of these dangers. Among their concerns: that “the new botany aligns the development of plants with their economic, not evolutionary, success.” (See “A Tale of Two Botanies,” page 247.) Amory’s long career has been focused on energy and resource efficiency by taking a whole-system view of human-made systems; such a whole-system view often finds simple, smart solutions to otherwise seemingly difficult problems, and is usefully applied here as well.

After reading the Lovins’ editorial, I saw an op-ed by Gregg Easterbrook in The New York Times (November 19, 1999) about genetically engineered crops, under the headline: “Food for the Future: Someday, rice will have built-in vitamin A. Unless the Luddites win.”

Are Amory and Hunter Lovins Luddites? Certainly not. I believe we all would agree that golden rice, with its built-in vitamin A, is probably a good thing, if developed with proper care and respect for the likely dangers in moving genes across species boundaries.

Awareness of the dangers inherent in genetic engineering is beginning to grow, as reflected in the Lovins’ editorial. The general public is aware of, and uneasy about, genetically modified foods, and seems to be rejecting the notion that such foods should be permitted to be unlabeled.

But genetic engineering technology is already very far along. As the Lovins note, the USDA has already approved about 50 genetically engineered crops for unlimited release; more than half of the world’s soybeans and a third of its cornnow contain genes spliced in from other forms of life.

While there are many important issues here, my own major concern with genetic engineering is narrower: that it gives the power – whether militarily, accidentally, or in a deliberate terrorist act – to create a White Plague.
The many wonders of nanotechnology were first imagined by the Nobel-laureate physicist Richard Feynman in a speech he gave in 1959, subsequently published under the title “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom.” The book that made a big impression on me, in the mid-’80s, was Eric Drexler’s Engines of Creation, in which he described beautifully how manipulation of matter at the atomic level could create a utopian future of abundance, where just about everything could be made cheaply, and almost any imaginable disease or physical problem could be solved using nanotechnology and artificial intelligences.

A subsequent book, Unbounding the Future: The Nanotechnology Revolution, which Drexler cowrote, imagines some of the changes that might take place in a world where we had molecular-level “assemblers.”
Assemblers could make possible incredibly low-cost solar power, cures for cancer and the common cold by augmentation of the human immune system, essentially complete cleanup of the environment, incredibly inexpensive pocket supercomputers – in fact, any product would be manufacturable by assemblers at a cost no greater than that of wood – spaceflight more accessible than transoceanic travel today, and restoration of extinct species.

I remember feeling good about nanotechnology after reading Engines of Creation. As a technologist, it gave me a sense of calm – that is, nanotechnology showed us that incredible progress was possible, and indeed perhaps inevitable. If nanotechnology was our future, then I didn’t feel pressed to solve so many problems in the present. I would get to Drexler’s utopian future in due time; I might as well enjoy life more in the here and now. It didn’t make sense, given his vision, to stay up all night, all the time.

Drexler’s vision also led to a lot of good fun. I would occasionally get to describe the wonders of nanotechnology to others who had not heard of it. After teasing them with all the things Drexler described I would give a homework assignment of my own: “Use nanotechnology to create a vampire; for extra credit create an antidote.”

With these wonders came clear dangers, of which I was acutely aware.
As I said at a nanotechnology conference in 1989, “We can’t simply do our science and not worry about these ethical issues.”5 But my subsequent conversations with physicists convinced me that nanotechnology might not even work – or, at least, it wouldn’t work anytime soon. Shortly thereafter I moved to Colorado, to a skunk works I had set up, and the focus of my work shifted to software for the Internet, specifically on ideas that became Java and Jini.

Then, last summer, Brosl Hasslacher told me that nanoscale molecular electronics was now practical. This was new news, at least to me, and I think to many people – and it radically changed my opinion about nanotechnology. It sent me back to Engines of Creation. Rereading Drexler’s work after more than 10 years, I was dismayed to realize how little I had remembered of its lengthy section called “Dangers and Hopes,” including a discussion of how nanotechnologies can become “engines of destruction.” Indeed, in my rereading of this cautionary material today, I am struck by how naive some of Drexler’s safeguard proposals seem, and how much greater I judge the dangers to be now than even he seemed to then. (Having anticipated and described many technical and political problems with nanotechnology, Drexler started the Foresight Institute in the late 1980s “to help prepare society for anticipated advanced technologies” – most important, nanotechnology.)

The enabling breakthrough to assemblers seems quite likely within the next 20 years. Molecular electronics – the new subfield of nanotechnology where individual molecules are circuit elements – should mature quickly and become enormously lucrative within this decade, causing a large incremental investment in all nanotechnologies.

Unfortunately, as with nuclear technology, it is far easier to create destructive uses for nanotechnology than constructive ones. Nanotechnology has clear military and terrorist uses, and you need not be suicidal to release a massively destructive nanotechnological device – such devices can be built to be selectively destructive, affecting, for example, only a certain geographical area or a group of
people who are genetically distinct.

An immediate consequence of the Faustian bargain in obtaining the great power of nanotechnology is that we run a grave risk – the risk that we might destroy the biosphere on which all life depends.

As Drexler explained:
“Plants” with “leaves” no more efficient than today’s solar cells could out-compete real plants, crowding the biosphere with an inedible foliage. Tough omnivorous “bacteria” could out-compete real bacteria:
They could spread like blowing pollen, replicate swiftly, and reduce the biosphere to dust in a matter of days. Dangerous replicators could easily be too tough, small, and rapidly spreading to stop – at least if we make no preparation. We have trouble enough controlling viruses and fruit flies.

Among the cognoscenti of nanotechnology, this threat has become known as the “gray goo problem.” Though masses of uncontrolled replicators need not be gray or gooey, the term “gray goo” emphasizes that replicators able to obliterate life might be less inspiring than a single species of crabgrass. They might be superior in an evolutionary sense, but this need not make them valuable.
The gray goo threat makes one thing perfectly clear: We cannot afford certain kinds of accidents with replicating assemblers. Gray goo would surely be a depressing ending to our human adventure on Earth, far worse than mere fire or ice, and one that could stem from a simple laboratory accident.6 Oops.
It is most of all the power of destructive self-replication in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR) that should give us pause. Self-replication is the modus operandi of genetic engineering, which uses the machinery of the cell to replicate its designs, and the prime danger underlying gray goo in nanotechnology. Stories of run-amok robots like the Borg, replicating or mutating to escape from the ethical constraints imposed on them by their creators, are well established in our science fiction books and movies. It is even possible that self-replication may be more fundamental than we thought, and hence harder – or even impossible – to control. A recent article by Stuart Kauffman in Nature titled “Self-Replication: Even Peptides Do It” discusses the discovery that a 32-amino-acid peptide can “autocatalyse its own synthesis.” We don’t know how widespread this ability is, but Kauffman notes that it may hint at “a route to self-reproducing molecular systems on a basis far wider than Watson-Crick base-pairing.”7

In truth, we have had in hand for years clear warnings of the dangers inherent in widespread knowledge of GNR technologies – of the possibility of knowledge alone enabling mass destruction. But these warnings haven’t been widely publicized; the public discussions have been clearly inadequate. There is no profit in publicizing the dangers.

The nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) technologies used in 20th-century weapons of mass destruction were and are largely military, developed in government laboratories. In sharp contrast, the 21st-century GNR technologies have clear commercial uses and are being developed almost exclusively by corporate enterprises. In this age of triumphant commercialism, technology – with science as its handmaiden – is delivering a series of almost magical inventions that are the most phenomenally lucrative ever seen. We are aggressively pursuing the promises of these new technologies within the now-unchallenged system of global capitalism and its manifold financial incentives and competitive pressures.
This is the first moment in the history of our planet when any species, by its own voluntary actions, has become a danger to itself – as well as to vast numbers of others.

It might be a familiar progression, transpiring on many worlds – a planet, newly formed, placidly revolves around its star; life slowly forms; a kaleidoscopic procession of creatures evolves; intelligence emerges which, at least up to a point, confers enormous survival value; and then technology is invented. It dawns on them that there are such things as laws of Nature, that these laws can be revealed by experiment, and that knowledge of these laws can be made both to save and to take lives, both on unprecedented scales. Science, they recognize, grants immense powers. In a flash, they create world-altering contrivances. Some planetary civilizations see their way through, place limits on what may and what must not be done, and safely pass through the time of perils. Others, not so lucky or so prudent, perish.

That is Carl Sagan, writing in 1994, in Pale Blue Dot, a book describing his vision of the human future in space. I am only now realizing how deep his insight was, and how sorely I miss, and will miss, his voice. For all its eloquence, Sagan’s contribution was not least that of simple common sense – an attribute that, along with humility, many of the leading advocates of the 21st-century technologies seem to lack.

I remember from my childhood that my grandmother was strongly against the overuse of antibiotics. She had worked since before the first World War as a nurse and had a commonsense attitude that taking antibiotics, unless they were absolutely necessary, was bad for you.

It is not that she was an enemy of progress. She saw much progress in an almost 70-year nursing career; my grandfather, a diabetic, benefited greatly from the improved treatments that became available in his lifetime. But she, like many levelheaded people, would probably think it greatly arrogant for us, now, to be designing a robotic “replacement species,” when we obviously have so much trouble making relatively simple things work, and so much trouble managing – or even understanding – ourselves.

I realize now that she had an awareness of the nature of the order of life, and of the necessity of living with and respecting that order.

With this respect comes a necessary humility that we, with our early-21st-century chutzpah, lack at our peril. The commonsense view, grounded in this respect, is often right, in advance of the scientific evidence. The clear fragility and inefficiencies of the human-made systems we have built should give us all pause; the fragility of the systems I have worked on certainly humbles me.

We should have learned a lesson from the making of the first atomic bomb and the resulting arms race. We didn’t do well then, and the parallels to our current situation are troubling.

The effort to build the first atomic bomb was led by the brilliant physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was not naturally interested in politics but became painfully aware of what he perceived as the grave threat to Western civilization from the Third Reich, a threat surely grave because of the possibility that Hitler might obtain nuclear weapons. Energized by this concern, he brought his strong intellect, passion for physics, and charismatic leadership skills to Los Alamos and led a rapid and successful effort by an incredible collection of great minds to quickly invent the bomb.

What is striking is how this effort continued so naturally after the initial impetus was removed. In a meeting shortly after V-E Day with some physicists who felt that perhaps the effort should stop, Oppenheimer argued to continue. His stated reason seems a bit strange: not because of the fear of large casualties from an invasion of Japan, but because the United Nations, which was soon to be formed, should have foreknowledge of atomic weapons. A more likely reason the project continued is the momentum that had built up – the first atomic test, Trinity, was nearly at hand.

We know that in preparing this first atomic test the physicists proceeded despite a large number of possible dangers. They were initially worried, based on a calculation by Edward Teller, that an atomic explosion might set fire to the atmosphere. A revised calculation reduced the danger of destroying the world to a three-in-a-million chance. (Teller says he was later able to dismiss the prospect of atmospheric ignition entirely.) Oppenheimer, though, was sufficiently concerned about the result of Trinity that he arranged for a possible evacuation of the southwest part of the state of New Mexico. And, of course, there was the clear danger of starting a nuclear arms race.

Within a month of that first, successful test, two atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Some scientists had suggested that the bomb simply be demonstrated, rather than dropped on Japanese cities – saying that this would greatly improve the chances for arms control after the war – but to no avail. With the tragedy of Pearl Harbor still fresh in Americans’ minds, it would have been very difficult for President Truman to order a demonstration of the weapons rather than use them as he did – the desire to quickly end the war and save the lives that would have been lost in any invasion of Japan was very strong. Yet the overriding truth was probably very simple: As the physicist Freeman Dyson later said, “The reason that it was dropped was just that nobody had the courage or the foresight to say no.”

It’s important to realize how shocked the physicists were in the aftermath of the bombing of Hiroshima, on August 6, 1945. They describe a series of waves of emotion: first, a sense of fulfillment that the bomb worked, then horror at all the people that had been killed, and then a convincing feeling that on no account should another bomb be dropped. Yet of course another bomb was dropped, on Nagasaki, only three days after the bombing of Hiroshima.

In November 1945, three months after the atomic bombings, Oppenheimer stood firmly behind the scientific attitude, saying, “It is not possible to be a scientist unless you believe that the knowledge of the world, and the power which this gives, is a thing which is of intrinsic value to humanity, and that you are using it to help in the spread of knowledge and are willing to take the consequences.”
Oppenheimer went on to work, with others, on the Acheson-Lilienthal report, which, as Richard Rhodes says in his recent book Visions of Technology, “found a way to prevent a clandestine nuclear arms race without resorting to armed world government”; their suggestion was a form of relinquishment of nuclear weapons work by nation-states to an international agency.

This proposal led to the Baruch Plan, which was submitted to the United Nations in June 1946 but never adopted (perhaps because, as Rhodes suggests, Bernard Baruch had “insisted on burdening the plan with conventional sanctions,” thereby inevitably dooming it, even though it would “almost certainly have been rejected by Stalinist Russia anyway”). Other efforts to promote sensible steps toward internationalizing nuclear power to prevent an arms race ran afoul either of US politics and internal distrust, or distrust by the Soviets. The opportunity to avoid the arms race was lost, and very quickly.

Two years later, in 1948, Oppenheimer seemed to have reached another stage in his thinking, saying, “In some sort of crude sense which no vulgarity, no humor, no overstatement can quite extinguish, the physicists have known sin; and this is a knowledge they cannot lose.”

In 1949, the Soviets exploded an atom bomb. By 1955, both the US and the Soviet Union had tested hydrogen bombs suitable for delivery by aircraft. And so the nuclear arms race began.

Nearly 20 years ago, in the documentary The Day After Trinity, Freeman Dyson summarized the scientific attitudes that brought us to the nuclear precipice:
“I have felt it myself. The glitter of nuclear weapons. It is irresistible if you come to them as a scientist. To feel it’s there in your hands, to release this energy that fuels the stars, to let it do your bidding. To perform these miracles , to lift a million tons of rock into the sky. It is something that gives people an illusion of illimitable power, and it is, in some ways, responsible for all our troubles – this, what you might call technical arrogance, that overcomes people when they see what they can do with their minds.”8

Now, as then, we are creators of new technologies and stars of the imagined future, driven – this time by great financial rewards and global competition – despite the clear dangers, hardly evaluating what it may be like to try to live in a world that is the realistic outcome of what we are creating and imagining.
In 1947, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists began putting a Doomsday Clock on its cover. For more than 50 years, it has shown an estimate of the relative nuclear danger we have faced, reflecting the changing international conditions. The hands on the clock have moved 15 times and today, standing at nine minutes to midnight, reflect continuing and real danger from nuclear weapons. The recent addition of India and Pakistan to the list of nuclear powers has increased the threat of failure of the nonproliferation goal, and this danger was reflected by moving the hands closer to midnight in 1998.
In our time, how much danger do we face, not just from nuclear weapons, but from all of these technologies? How high are the extinction risks?
The philosopher John Leslie has studied this question and concluded that the risk of human extinction is at least 30 percent,9 while Ray Kurzweil believes we have “a better than even chance of making it through,” with the caveat that he has “always been accused of being an optimist.” Not only are these estimates not encouraging, but they do not include the probability of many horrid outcomes that lie short of extinction.

Faced with such assessments, some serious people are already suggesting that we simply move beyond Earth as quickly as possible. We would colonize the galaxy using von Neumann probes, which hop from star system to star system, replicating as they go. This step will almost certainly be necessary 5 billion years from now (or sooner if our solar system is disastrously impacted by the impending collision of our galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy within the next 3 billion years), but if we take Kurzweil and Moravec at their word it might be necessary by the middle of this century.

by the Reagan What are the moral implications here? If we must move beyond Earth this quickly in order for the species to survive, who accepts the responsibility for the fate of those (most of us, after all) who are left behind? And even if we scatter to the stars, isn’t it likely that we may take our problems with us or find, later, that they have followed us? The fate of our species on Earth and our fate in the galaxy seem inextricably linked.

Another idea is to erect a series of shields to defend against each of the dangerous technologies. The Strategic Defense Initiative, proposed administration, was an attempt to design such a shield against the threat of a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. But as Arthur C. Clarke, who was privy to discussions about the project, observed: “Though it might be possible, at vast expense, to construct local defense systems that would ‘only’ let through a few percent of ballistic missiles, the much touted idea of a national umbrella was nonsense. Luis Alvarez, perhaps the greatest experimental physicist of this century, remarked to me that the advocates of such schemes were ‘very bright guys with no common sense.'”
Clarke continued: “Looking into my often cloudy crystal ball, I suspect that a total defense might indeed be possible in a century or so. But the technology involved would produce, as a by-product, weapons so terrible that no one would bother with as primitive as ballistic missiles.”10

In Engines of Creation, Eric Drexler proposed that we build an active nanotechnological shield – a form of immune system for the biosphere -to defend against dangerous replicators of all kinds that might escape from laboratories or otherwise be maliciously created. But the shield he proposed would itself be extremely dangerous – nothing could prevent it from developing autoimmune problems and attacking the biosphere itself. 11

These possibilities are all thus either undesirable or unachievable or both. The only realistic alternative I see is relinquishment: to limit development of the technologies that are too dangerous, by limiting our pursuit of certain kinds of knowledge.

Yes, I know, know

Similar difficulties apply to the construction of shields against robotics and genetic engineering. These technologies are too powerful to be shielded against in the time frame of interest; even if it were possible to implement defensive shields, the side effects of their development would be at least as dangerous as the technologies we are trying to protect against.

Knowledge is good, as is the search for new truths. We have been seeking knowledge since ancient times. Aristotle opened his Metaphysics with the simple statement: “All men by nature desire to know.” We have, as a bedrock value in our society, long agreed on the value of open access to information, and recognize the problems that arise with attempts to restrict access to and development of knowledge. In recent times, we have come to revere scientific knowledge.
But despite the strong historical precedents, if open access to and unlimited development of knowledge henceforth puts us all in clear danger of extinction, then common sense demands that we reexamine even these basic, long-held beliefs.

It was Nietzsche who warned us, at the end of the 19th century, not only that God is dead but that “faith in science, which after all exists undeniably, cannot owe its origin to a calculus of utility; it must have originated in spite of the fact that the disutility and dangerousness of the ‘will to truth,’ of ‘truth at any price’ is proved to it constantly.” It is this further danger that we now fully face – the consequences of our truth-seeking. The truth that science seeks can certainly be considered a dangerous substitute for God if it is likely to lead to our extinction.

If we could agree, as a species, what we wanted, where we were headed, and why, then we would make our future much less dangerous – then we might understand what we can and should relinquish. Otherwise, we can easily imagine an arms race developing over GNR technologies, as it did with the NBC technologies in the 20th century. This is perhaps the greatest risk, for once such a race begins, it’s very hard to end it.

This time – unlike during the Manhattan Project – we aren’t in a war, facing an implacable enemy that is threatening our civilization; we are driven, instead, by our habits, our desires, our economic system, and our competitive need to know.
I believe that we all wish our course could be determined by our collective values, ethics, and morals. If we had gained more collective wisdom over the past few thousand years, then a dialogue to this end would be more practical, and the incredible powers we are about to unleash would not be nearly so troubling.
One would think we might be driven to such a dialogue by our instinct for self-preservation. Individuals clearly have this desire, yet as a species our behavior seems to be not in our favor. In dealing with the nuclear threat, we often spoke dishonestly to ourselves and to each other, thereby greatly increasing the risks. Whether this was politically motivated, or because we chose not to think ahead, or because when faced with such grave threats we acted irrationally out of fear, I do not know, but it does not bode well.

The new Pandora’s boxes of genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics are almost open, yet we seem hardly to have noticed. Ideas can’t be put back in a box; unlike uranium or plutonium, they don’t need to be mined and refined, and they can be freely copied. Once they are out, they are out. Churchill remarked, in a famous left-handed compliment, that the American people and their leaders “invariably do the right thing, after they have examined every other alternative.” In this case, however, we must act more presciently, as to do the right thing only at last may be to lose the chance to do it at all.

As Thoreau said, “We do not ride on the railroad; it rides upon us”; and this is what we must fight, in our time. The question is, indeed, Which is to be master? Will we survive our technologies?

We are being propelled into this new century with no plan, no control, no brakes. Have we already gone too far down the path to alter course?

And yet I believe we do have a strong and solid basis for hope. Our attempts to deal with weapons of mass destruction in the last century provide a shining example of relinquishment for us to consider: the unilateral US abandonment, without preconditions, of the developmentof biological weapons. This relinquishment stemmed from the realization that while it would take an enormous effort to create these terrible weapons, they could from then on easily be duplicated and fall into the hands of rogue nations or terrorist groups.

The clear conclusion was that we would create additional threats to ourselves by pursuing these weapons, and that we would be more secure if we did not pursue them. We have embodied our relinquishment of biological and chemical weapons in the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC).12

As for the continuing sizable threat from nuclear weapons, which we have lived with now for more than 50 years, the US Senate’s recent rejection of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty makes it clear relinquishing nuclear weapons will not be politically easy. But we have a unique opportunity, with the end of the Cold War, to avert a multipolar arms race. Building on the BWC and CWC relinquishments, successful abolition of nuclear weapons could help us build toward a habit of relinquishing dangerous technologies. (Actually, by getting rid of all but 100 nuclear weapons worldwide – roughly the total destructive power of World War II and a considerably easier task – we could eliminate this extinction threat. 13)

Verifying relinquishment will be a difficult problem, but not an unsolvable one. We are fortunate to have already done a lot of relevant work in the context of the BWC and other treaties. Our major task will be to apply this to technologies that are naturally much more commercial than military. The substantial need here is for transparency, as difficulty of verification is directly proportional to the difficulty of distinguishing relinquished from legitimate activities.

I frankly believe that the situation in 1945 was simpler than the one we now face: The nuclear technologies were reasonably separable into commercial and military uses, and monitoring was aided by the nature of atomic tests and the ease with which radioactivity could be measured. Research on military applications could be performed at national laboratories such as Los Alamos, with the results kept secret as long as possible.

The GNR technologies do not divide clearly into commercial and military uses; given their potential in the market, it’s hard to imagine pursuing them only in national laboratories. With their widespread commercial pursuit, enforcing relinquishment will require a verification regime similar to that for biological weapons, but on an unprecedented scale. This, inevitably, will raise tensions between our individual privacy and desire for proprietary information, and the need for verification to protect us all. We will undoubtedly encounter strong resistance to this loss of privacy and freedom of action.

Verifying the relinquishment of certain GNR technologies will have to occur in cyberspace as well as at physical facilities. The critical issue ably by providing new forms of protection for intellectual property.

Verifying compliance will also require that scientists and engineers adopt a strong code of ethical conduct, resembling the Hippocratic oath, and that they have the courage to whistleblow as necessary, even at high personal cost. This would answer the call – 50 years after Hiroshima – by the Nobel laureate Hans Bethe, one of the most senior of the surviving members of the Manhattan Project, that all scientists “cease and desist from work creating, developing, improving, and manufacturing nuclear weapons and other weapons of potential mass destruction.”14 In the 21st century, this requires vigilance and personal responsibility by those who would work on both NBC and GNR technologies to avoid implementing weapons of mass destruction and knowledge-enabled mass destruction.

Thoreau also said that we will be “rich in proportion to the number of things which we can afford to let alone.” We each seek to be happy, but it would seem worthwhile to question whether we need to take such a high risk of total destruction to gain yet more knowledge and yet more things; common sense says that there is a limit to our material needs – and that certain knowledge is too dangerous and is best forgone.

Neither should we pursue near immortality without considering the costs, without considering the commensurate increase in the risk of extinction. Immortality, while perhaps the original, is certainly not the only possible utopian dream.
I recently had the good fortune to meet the distinguished author and scholar Jacques Attali, whose book Lignes d’horizons (Millennium, in the English translation) helped inspire the Java and Jini approach to the coming age of pervasive computing, as previously described in this magazine. In his new book Fraternites, Attali describes how our dreams of utopia have changed over time:
“At the dawn of societies, men saw their passage on Earth as nothing more than a labyrinth of pain, at the end of which stood a door leading, via their death, to the company of gods and to Eternity. With the Hebrews and then the Greeks, some men dared free themselves from theological demands and dream of an ideal City where Liberty would flourish. Others, noting the evolution of the market society, understood that the liberty of some would entail the alienation of others, and they sought Equality.”

Jacques helped me understand how these three different utopian goals exist in tension in our society today. He goes on to describe a fourth utopia, Fraternity, whose foundation is altruism. Fraternity alone associates individual happiness with the happiness of others, affording the promise of self-sustainment.
This crystallized for me my problem with Kurzweil’s dream. A technological approach to Eternity – near immortality through robotics- may not be the most desirable utopia, and its pursuit brings clear dangers. Maybe we should rethink our utopian choices.

Where can we look for a new ethical basis to set our curse? I have found the ideas in the book Ethics for the New Millennium, by the Dalai Lama, to be very helpful. As is perhaps well known but little to conduct our lives with love and compassion for others, and that our societies need to develop a stronger notion of universal responsibility and of our interdependency; he proposes a standard of positive ethical conduct for individuals and societies that seems consonant with Attali’s Fraternity utopia.

The Dalai Lama further argues that we must understand what it is that makes people happy, and acknowledge the strong evidence that neither material progress nor the pursuit of the power of knowledge is the key- that there are limits to what science and the scientific pursuit alone can do. Our Western notion of happiness seems to come from the Greeks, who defined it as “the exercise of vital powers along lines of excellence in a life affording them scope.” 15

Clearly, we need to find meaningful challenges and sufficient scope in our lives if we are to be happy in whatever is to come. But I believe we must find alternative outlets for our creative forces, beyond the culture of perpetual economic growth; this growth has largely been a blessing for several hundred years, but it has not brought us unalloyed happiness, and we must now choose between the pursuit of unrestricted and undirected growth through science and technology and the clear accompanying dangers.

It is now more than a year since my first encounter with Ray Kurzweil and John Searle. I see around me cause for hope in the voices for caution and relinquishment and in those people I have discovered who are as concerned as I am about our current predicament. I feel, too, a deepened sense of personal responsibility – not for the work I have already done, but for the work that I might yet do, at the confluence of the sciences.

But many other people who know about the dangers still seem strangely silent. When pressed, they trot out the “this is nothing new” riposte- as if awareness of what could happen is response enough. They tell me, There are universities filled with bioethicists who study this stuff all day long. They say, All this has been written about before, and by experts. They complain, Your worries and your arguments are already old hat.

I don’t know where these people hide their fear. As an architect of complex systems I enter this arena as a generalist. But should this diminish my concerns? I am aware of how much has been written about, talked about, and lectured about so authoritatively. But does this mean it has reached people? Does this mean we can discount the dangers before us?

Knowing is not a rationale for not acting. Can we doubt that knowledge has become a weapon we wield against ourselves?

The experiences of the atomic scientists clearly show the need to take personal responsibility, the danger that things will move too fast, and the way in which a process can take on a life of its own. We can, as they did, create insurmountable problems in almost no time flat. We must do more thinking up front if we are not to be similarly surprised and shocked by the consequences of our inventions.

My continuing professional work is on improving the reliability of software. Software is a tool, and as a tool builder I must struggle with the uses to which the tools I make are put. I have always believed that making software more reliable, given its many uses, will make the world a safer and better place; if I were to come to believe the

This all leaves me not angry but at least a bit melancholic. Henceforth, for me, progress will be somewhat bittersweet. Do you remember the beautiful penultimate scene in Manhattan where Woody Allen is lying on his couch and talking into a tape recorder? He is writing a short story about people who are creating unnecessary, neurotic problems for themselves, because it keeps them from dealing with more unsolvable, terrifying problems about the universe.
He leads himself to the question, “Why is life worth living?” and to consider what makes it worthwhile for him: Groucho Marx, Willie Mays, the second movement of the Jupiter Symphony, Louis Armstrong’s recording of “Potato Head Blues,” Swedish movies, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, the apples and pears by Cezanne, the crabs at Sam Wo’s, and, finally, the showstopper: his love Tracy’s face.

Each of us has our precious things, and as we care for them we locate the essence of our humanity. In the end, it is because of our great capacity for caring that I remain optimistic we will confront the dangerous issues now before us.
My immediate hope is to participate in a much larger discussion of the issues raised here, with people from many different backgrounds, in settings not predisposed to fear or favor technology for its own sake.

As a start, I have twice raised many of these issues at events sponsored by the Aspen Institute and have separately proposed that the American Academy of Arts and Sciences take them up as an extension of its work with the Pugwash Conferences. (These have been held since 1957 to discuss arms control, especially of nuclear weapons, and to formulate workable policies.)

It’s unfortunate that the Pugwash meetings started only well after the nuclear genie was out of the bottle – roughly 15 years too late. We are also getting a belated start on seriously addressing the issues around 21st-century technologies – the prevention of knowledge-enabled mass destruction – and further delay seems unacceptable.

So I’m still searching; there are many more things to learn. Whether we are to succeed or fail, to survive or fall victim to these technologies, is not yet decided. I’m up late again – it’s almost 6 am. I’m trying to imagine some better answers, to break the spell and free them from the stone.
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1 The passage Kurzweil quotes is from Kaczynski’s Unabomber Manifesto, which was published jointly, under duress, by The New York Times and The Washington Post to attempt to bring his campaign of terror to an end. I agree with David Gelernter, who said about their decision:
“It was a tough call for the newspapers. To say yes would be giving in to terrorism, and for all they knew he was lying anyway. On the other hand, to say yes might stop the killing. There was also a chance that someone would read the tract and get a hunch about the author; and that is exactly what happened. The suspect’s brother read it, and it rang a bell.
“I would have told them not to publish. I’m glad they didn’t ask me. I guess.”
(Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber. Free Press, 1997: 120.)
2 Garrett, Laurie.The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in aWorld Out of Balance. Penguin, 1994: 47-52, 414, 419, 452.
3 Isaac Asimov described what became the most famous view of ethical rules for robot behavior in his bookI, Robot in 1950, in his Three or Second Law.
4 Michelangelo wrote a sonnet that begins:
Non ha l’ ottimo artista alcun concetto Ch’ un marmo solo in se non circonscriva Col suo soverchio; e solo a quello arriva La man che ubbidisce all’ intelleto.
Stone translates this as:
The best of artists hath no thought to show which the rough stone in its superfluous shell doth not include; to break the marble spell is all the hand that serves the brain can do.
Stone describes the process: “He was not working from his drawings or clay models; they had all been put away. He was carving from the images in his mind. His eyes and hands knew where every line, curve, mass must emerge, and at what depth in the heart of the stone to create the low relief.”
(The Agony and the Ecstasy. Doubleday, 1961: 6, 144.)
5 First Foresight Conference on Nanotechnology in October 1989, a talk titled “The Future of Computation.” Published in Crandall, B. C. and James Lewis, editors.Nanotechnology: Research and Perspectives. MIT
Press, 1992: 269. See Also http://www.foresight.org/Conferences/MNT01/Nano1.html.
6 In his 1963 novelCat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut imagined a gray-goo-like accident where a form of ice called ice-nine, which becomes solid at a much higher temperature, freezes the oceans.
7 Kauffman, Stuart. “Self-replication: Even Peptides Do It.” Nature,
382, August 8, 1996: 496.
See http://www.santafe.edu/sfi/People/kauffman/sak-peptides.html.
8 Else, Jon.The Day After Trinity: J. Robert Oppenheimer and The
Atomic Bomb (available at http://www.pyramiddirect.com).
9 This estimate is in Leslie’s book The End of the World: The Science and Ethics of Human Extinction, where he notes that the probability of extinction is substantially higher if we accept Brandon Carter’s Doomsday Argument, which is, briefly, that “we ought to have some reluctance to believe that we are very exceptionally early, for instance in the earliest 0.001 percent, among all humans who will ever have lived. This would be some reason for thinking that humankind will not survive for many more centuries, let alone colonize the galaxy.
Carter’s doomsday argument doesn’t generate any risk estimates just by itself. It is an argument for revising the estimates which we generate when we consider various possible dangers.” (Routledge, 1996: 1, 3, 145.)
10 Clarke, Arthur C. “Presidents, Experts, and Asteroids.”Science, June 5, 1998. Reprinted as “Science and Society” inGreetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds! Collected Essays, 1934-1998. St. Martin’s Press, 1999: 526. liability as an alternative to regulation it would be impossible for any developer to internalize the cost of the risk (destruction of the biosphere , so theoretically the activity of developing nanotechnology should never be undertaken.” Forrest’s analysis leaves us with only government regulation to protect us – not a comforting thought.
12 Meselson, Matthew. “The Problem of Biological Weapons.”
Presentation to the 1,818th Stated Meeting of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, January 13,1999. (minerva.amacad.org/archive/bulletin4.htm)
13 Doty, Paul. “The Forgotten Menace: Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles Still Represent the Biggest Threat to Civilization.”Nature, 402, December 9, 1999: 583.
14 See also Hans Bethe’s 1997 letter to President Clinton, at
http://www.fas.org/bethecr.htm.
15 Hamilton, Edith.The Greek Way. W. W. Norton & Co., 1942: 35.
———————————————————————-
Bill Joy, cofounder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems, was co-chair of the presidential commission on the future of IT research, and is co-author of The Java Language Specification. His work on the Jini pervasive computing technology was featured in Wired 6.08.
Copyright (C) 1993-99 The Conde Nast Publications Inc. All rights reserved.

Michael the Archangel is the Restrainer

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This article is based on Robert Van Kampen’s information from his book “The Sign”.    This is a central key to interpreting who the restrainer of 2 Thes. 2:6-7 is.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 (KJV)
6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

Antichrist Revealed – chapter 11

pps 231-233

TECHNICAL NOTES

1. See Strong’s, #5975 which, along with the

KJV, gives the definition of ‘amad as “stand up.”

On the other hand, Rashi, one of Israel’s greatest

scholars, understood “stand up” to literally mean

“stand still” (Judah J. Slotki, Daniel, Ezra,

Nehemiah [London: Soncino, 1978], p. 101). For

this reason, the Midrash, commenting on this

verse, says, “The holy one, Blessed be He, said

to Michael, ‘You are silent? You do not defend

my children'” (Ruth Rabbah I). See other NASB

texts where the same Hebrew word is used: 1

Sam. 9:27 (“remain standing”); 2 Sam. 2:28

(“halted”); 2 Kings 4:6 (“stopped”); Judg. 7:21

(“stood in his place”). See also Theological

Wordbook of the Old Testament, ‘amad (#1637),

“stand, remain, endure”; and Hebrew and English

Lexicon of the Old Testament, 764a.2a. Cf.

“stand still, stop, cease moving” (Josh. 10:13;

Hab. 3:11; 1 Sam. 9:27; 2 Sam. 2:28; Nah. 2:9);

“stop flowing” (2 Kings 4:6), p. 764a, 2d “stop,

cease doing” (Gen. 26:35; 30:9; 2 Kings 13:18;

Jonah 1:15), p. 764c, 6a.

The verb ‘amad in Daniel 12:1 is ordinarily

rendered as “will arise,” “will stand up,” or the

like. But such a rendering makes little sense in

the context of what immediately follows in that

verse: “And there will be a time of distress such

as never occurred since there was a nation until

that time; and at that time your people,

everyone who is found written in the book, will

be rescued.”

In the grammatical order of the Hebrew text,

as reflected in most English versions, “the time

of distress” (Dan. 12:lb) occurs between

Michael’s “arising”(v. la) and the rescue of the

people from this great time of distress (v. 2a). In

other words, first Michael arises or stands still,

next comes an unparalleled time of distress for

God’s people (in this case, Israel, because of its

Old Testament setting), and then His people are

rescued. But why, one wonders, would the “great

prince who stands guard over” Israel arise

before his people are about to be persecuted,

not raising a hand to help them until much later?

The angel who speaks to Daniel in this vision

has already told the prophet, “There is no one

who stands firmly with me against these forces

[the demonic "prince" who empowered Persia]

except Michael your prince” (Dan. 10:21; cf. v.

13). In the New Testament we are told that

“there was war in heaven, Michael and his

angels waging war with the dragon” (Rev. 12:7).

These passages describe the ministry of Michael

as a ministry, in part, of restraint. The Hebrew

phrase translated “stands firmly . . . against” has

the basic meaning of being strong, holding fast,

and restraining. In other words, it is Michael

who restrains the demonic forces in their

unrelenting attacks against Israel. What, then,

would be the point of calling attention to

Michael’s arising if all he did was to look down

on God’s people being tormented?

As demonstrated at the beginning of this note,

what most translators translate “will arise” for

this particular passage can equally be

translated “stand still.” In Joshua 10:13 that

same root term is twice translated “stopped” in

both the New American Standard Bible and the

New International Version—”So the sun stood

still, and the moon stopped, until the nation

avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not

written in the book of Jashar? And the sun

stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not

hasten to go down for about a whole day” (NASB,

emphasis added).

In complete agreement with the noted

Jewish rabbi Rashi, this writer takes the

position that “stand still” is the correct

translation instead of “stand up,” as it seems

to be the most appropriate translation for

Daniel 12:1. In other words, Michael will not

stand up, or arise, in order to defend Israel

during the terrible time of persecution that

follows immediately, but rather he will “stand

still” or “stop” doing what he normally does,

which is to stop his activity of restraining the

demonic forces of Satan, thereby allowing

Antichrist to reveal his true identity to the

world and to vent his full fury on God’s people.

As soon as Michael stops his work of restraint,

the “time of distress such as never occurred

since there was a nation” will begin. This is

why this precise period of time is called the

wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12).

In light of that translation and interpretation

of Daniel 12:1, Paul’s meaning in a remarkably

similar passage in 2 Thessalonians becomes

much clearer: “And you know what restrains

him now, so that in his time he may be

revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already

at work; only he who now restrains will

do so until he is taken out of the way” (2:6, 7).

From the context, we know that the “him”

referred to in verse 6 refers back to

Antichrist, “the man of lawlessness . .. the son

of destruction” (v. 3). Thus, the restrainer in 2

Thessalonians 2:7 (“he who restrains”) must

certainly be Michael, the same restrainer

Daniel refers to in 10:21 and 12:1.

Daniel’s reference to a “time of distress

such as never occurred since there was a

nation until that time” is almost identical to

Jesus’ description of the “great tribulation,

such as has not occurred since the beginning

of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matt.

24:21), placing the timing of both of these

passages at the midpoint of the seventieth

week. The Old Testament passage is written

for “the woman,” faithful Israel, the New

Testament passage, the church, the “rest of

her offspring who keep the commandments of

God and to the testimony of Jesus.”

Thus, the restrainer will be removed just prior

to the revealing of Antichrist, when he “exalts

himself above every so-called god or object of

worship, so that he takes his seat in the

temple of God . . .” (2 Thess. 2:4), something

he could never do on his own unless the restrainer

is first removed.

 

The Blood Moons Theory Debunked

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The Blood Moon Theory DEBUNKED (2014-2015)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–kA2-5z2zI#t=423

 

Even though the Blood Moon theory may not be valid, this doesn’t mean that these Blood Moons are of no significance.   The passage in Revelation 6:12-13 is the final warning to the Jewish People and the World. 

Revelation 6:12-13 (KJV)
12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Since we are probably in the end of this age these Blood Moons may have some significance.

The Debunking of the Blood Moon theory was logical and fact oriented.

****************************************************************************************

BPT – The Blood Moon Theory Debunked and More

http://bibleprophecytalk.com/bpt-blood-moon-theory-debunked-and-more/

Posted by Chris on Tuesday, December 3, 2013 · Leave a Comment 

Download MP3
I discuss some recent projects and play the audio from a new video that critically reviews the Blood Moon Theory of 2014-2015, which is being promoted by John Hagee and Mark Biltz.

Show Notes:
Daniel Commentary:
Paperback: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Commentary-Chris-White/dp/0991232909/ref=la_B00F9EGXFI_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385598079&sr=1-2

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Daniel-Commentary-Chris-White-ebook/dp/B00GPWHZIW/ref=la_B00F9EGXFI_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1385598595&sr=1-5

Four Blood Moons Review

There’s been a lot of attention recently about the so-called Blood Moon theory, originally conceived by Mark Biltz of El Shaddai Ministries. In fact, as we speak John Hagee’s book, Four Blood Moons, which is basically a retelling of Biltz’s theory, sits on top of Amazon’s bestseller list.

Let me first explain what this theory is for those of you that haven’t heard it yet.

Joel 2:31 says:

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.

Mark Biltz wondered if this verse could simply be referring to a lunar and solar eclipse.  Following his curiosity, he went to the NASA eclipse website[1], which has a compiled list of all lunar and solar eclipses dating from 2000 BC to 3000 AD.  Using the NASA site, Biltz saw that there were a number of solar and lunar eclipses in the future. The ones he focused in on were the lunar tetrads. This means a series of four lunar eclipses within a space of about two years.

Biltz then compared the dates of these tetrads against the Jewish calendar.  He discovered that many of these tetrads–as well as other solar eclipses–fall on Jewish feast days.

Biltz wondered if such occurrences had happened in the past. He found six occasions in history that the lunar eclipse tetrads have coincided with Jewish feast days.  Cross-referencing these dates with Jewish historical events, Biltz claimed the following connections between these tetrads and significant events in Jewish history:

  • Nov. 1, 1478 AD – July 15, 1834 AD – The Spanish Crown, in conjunction with the Papacy, imposed the Spanish Inquisition[2], expelling Jews from Spain if they would not convert to Catholicism.

A tetrad occurred April 2 & September 25, 1493 AD – March 22 &   September 15, 1494 AD.

  • May 15, 1948 AD – March 10, 1949 AD– Israel gained recognition from the U.N. (Dec. 1948) and won the War of Independence.

A tetrad occurred April 13 & October 7, 1949 AD – April 2 & September 25, 1950 AD.

  • June 5 – 10, 1967 AD – Israel fought and won the Six-Day War[3], regaining Jerusalem, the capitol of ancient Israel.

A tetrad occurred April 24 & October 18, 1967 AD – April 13 & October 6, 1968 AD.

Biltz and John Hagee suggest that because (according to this model) significant events in Jewish history have transpired around the time of Blood Moon tetrads, the upcoming Blood Moon tetrad of 2014 and 2015 will herald significant events related to biblical prophecy, citing that these eclipses are fulfilling the sun, moon, and star signs in the Bible.

The question is how does this theory bear up against biblical scrutiny and common sense?  The answer is: Not very good.

And the following are just a few reasons why.

The first thing we need to critique is that what is being described by Biltz and Hagee is the same thing as what the Bible describes. The Bible speaks of the so-called sun, moon, and star signs several times. Here is an example from Revelation 6:12-13:

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

Also, from Matthew 24:29:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Examining the full texts about this event show that in addition to the sun and the moon going dark, the stars also go dark.

The Bible describes this sign as a global darkness that covers the whole planet. Whatever this is, it will not simply make the sun and moon go dark, but also the stars in the sky. This is obviously something more than an eclipse. If I were to guess, it would have to be something in the atmosphere that blocks out the entire sky altogether, or it could be a supernatural event that causes this universal darkness.

The only way that Biltz and Hagee seem to get around this is by quoting Joel 2:31 most often, because in that verse only the sun and moon are mentioned. However, if you look 21 verses before this you will see that Joel also intended his readers to know that the stars would go dim as a result of this event as well. Joel 2:10 says

The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining

It is also made crystal clear by God in Ezekiel 32:7-8 that universal darkness is what is meant here. It says:

And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.

So, unless Biltz and Hagee want to try to explain how theses eclipses will make all the stars and every other light in the sky dark at the same time, then they should admit that what they’re talking about is not the same thing as what the Bible is predicting.

We also see from the other mentions of this event that it includes an earthquake. And as we’ve seen, John called it “a great earthquake.” Joel said, “the earth shall quake before them.” This is the same problem. This great earthquake is an integral part of the so-called sun, moon, and star sign. There is nothing about an eclipse, even four of them, that would cause an earthquake.

In addition, it should be obvious to anyone reading the verses that we have quoted that these events occur simultaneously—on the same day and at the same time—and it’s literally impossible for a solar eclipse and a lunar eclipse to occur simultaneously. All you have to do is look at why and how these eclipses occur and you’ll see that that is not a possibility.

So, this theory in no way fulfills the biblical sun, moon, and star sign, but perhaps it’s just a means of God to warn Israel of coming events.  In other words, perhaps because (according to Biltz and Hagee) the last time these tetrads occurred near Jewish holidays significant things happened to Israel, perhaps significant things will happen again in 2014-15.

So, we are setting aside the idea that this has Biblical significance and looking only to see if we should expect this tetrad to be a warning to Israel of some kind, even though it’s not about prophecy.

The first point:

When reviewing the historical accuracy of Biltz’s claim that Jewish history seems to converge with lunar eclipse tetrads that fall on Jewish feast days, we find that it’s not very accurate at all.

So, the first thing that we need to do is examine Hagee and Biltz’s assertion that these tetrads actually lined up with significant events at all. So often we simply take for granted that this is true, and as we will see, that would be a huge mistake.

Did you know that there were actually two other tetrad events that fell on Jewish holidays that Biltz found in the NASA computers? Well, he did, but he doesn’t like to say much about those because, even according to him, nothing significant happened on those two occasions.

Right there, that should give us pause.

Okay, so, how do we know that this upcoming tetrad in 2014 -15 won’t be another dud like the other two that they don’t like to mention? Based on these numbers, so far almost half–almost 50%–of these tetrads on Jewish Holidays don’t mean a thing, even by their own admission!

Another point is that the dates of the historical events for which these tetrads supposedly correlate do not seem to correlate very well at all to the dates of the tetrads themselves. 

For example, the Spanish inquisition actually started some 15 years before the 1493 –94 tetrad, and ended roughly 350 years later.  They try to give this some credibility by saying that what the tetrad is really connected with is the so-called Alhambra Decree issued on the 31st of March, 1492, which officially expelled the Jews from Spain; but even then, the first eclipse didn’t occur until over a year later, and the last eclipse over two years later. So, unless you call being off by a year God’s way of predicting something, then this isn’t a match.

The next so called match is supposed to be when Israel declared its independence in 1948, and won the War for Independence the same year. The dates of the 1949 -1950 tetrad, again, did not occur until over a year later, and didn’t fall on any of the dates of Israel’s victories, or on the day that the U.N. recognized them as a state, or any other significant date. Trust me, if there was any significance to the actual dates of these tetrads, you would have heard about it; but the best they can do is, as we will see in the next one, coming within ten months of an event.

So, yeah, the last one they say occurred in conjunction with the Six-Day War, but in reality it didn’t start until ten months after the war ended. And the last eclipse didn’t occur until a full year after that.

Again, these three obvious non-matches look even worse when you consider that they have already thrown two sets of historical tetrads in the trash, because they couldn’t find any historical events to match them with. So, these three represent the best of the best, and that is pretty sad.

So, within two years is close enough for them. And nowadays, apparently, close counts not just with horseshoes and hand grenades, but also Blood Moon theories.

If Biltz and Hagee are really suggesting that God uses these tetrads as a means of communicating to Israel about coming events, where were the warnings about the far greater and far worse events the Jewish people have faced?

  • Why didn’t God warn them about the Holocaust[4], or 70 AD, or the expulsion from Rome, or the following persecution? What’s more interesting to me is what you have to leave out in order to believe this theory. Why did God pick the Spanish Inquisition to warn them about and nothing else? And if this was a warning, why did it come a year too late for anyone to do anything about it?
  • Furthermore, why are some of the tetrads denoting good events, while others bad events?   The Spanish Inquisition right next to the victory of the Six-Day War? There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it.

The next point:

Israel uses a lunar calendar, and they base their feast days upon the phases of the moon.  Logic would dictate that because of this fact alone, lunar eclipses will fall on Jewish feast days with some regularity.

  •  In an article published by Answers in Genesis[5] regarding Biltz’s Blood Moon Theory, they commented on the rarity of total lunar eclipses falling on Passover and Sukkot in this way:

“No, it’s really not that unusual. Remember, a lunar eclipse happens only at full moon. We don’t follow a strictly lunar calendar today, but most ancient people, including the Hebrews, did. Their months began with the first appearance of the crescent of the new moon, which is a day or so after our modern definition of a new moon (when the moon and sun are in longitudinal conjunction). Reckoning from this point, fourteen days later, or the fifteenth of the month, always coincides with full moon.

The article then discusses the frequency in which lunar eclipses fell on Passover and Sukkot, the same feast days as in the Blood Moon theory. They start off here by mentioning that so far in the 20th century this has happened 37 times:

“…we can say that all 37 of these lunar eclipses coincided with Passover or Sukkot. This is about one-sixth (37/230) of the twentieth-century lunar eclipses, which is what we would expect because Passover and Sukkot happen in two of the 12 months. The relatively high frequency is a result of definition of the fifteenth day of the month on a lunar calendar. Therefore, again, the coincidence of lunar eclipses with these two observances is more common than Biltz realizes.”

So, do you understand what they’re saying?

They’re saying that lunar eclipses are so common on these particular Jewish holidays that it’s occurred 37 times just in the 20th century. They are so common that Biltz and Hagee have had to essentially say, “Okay, yeah, eclipses on these Jewish holidays do happen all the time, but how about two eclipses within two years of one another? Oh, that’s common, too. Well, how about four eclipses within two years of each other? Oh, that’s common, too. Well, how about we throw two of those away, and only look at the other three, and twist those a bit, and then we’ll have something to write a book about?”

On the whole, the Blood Moon theory proposed by Mark Biltz and John Hagee falls short of the biblical standards required for the sun, moon, star, and earthquake sign that’s supposed to herald the beginning of the Day of the Lord.  It fails to demonstrate any real and lasting correlation with Israel’s past, and it seems little more than fluff and hype.

In conclusion, I actually agree that significant events are on the horizon for Israel, and even possibly of Biblical proportions, but to suggest that any significant events which might occur in the next couple years are in any way related to the tetrad eclipses of 2014-15 would be akin to me saying that my team won the Super Bowl because I wore my lucky Jersey.

Thanks for your time.

[1] http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six-Day_War

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Holocaust

[5] http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2013/07/12/lunar-eclipses-cause-blood-moons

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

 

 

The Solid Foundation

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The Solid Foundation is the Verbally inspired Word of God.  Without this Foundation we could know literally nothing about God.  All Christian teaching and doctrine is based on the Verbal, Plenary, Inspired  Word of God.

This is the reason that theological liberals so rabidly attack the Holy Scriptures.  Since the beginning of time, Satan has attempted to pervert the Word of God.   In his temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden he pervert what God had said to Eve.  

If you are going to be a sound and strong Biblical Christian you must know the Word of God.   The Devil does everything he can to get you to doubt the full authority of the Word of God.

Jesus had memorized the Word of God and used it in his quotations of it to the Devil as his defense.  I believe that every Christian should memorize key passages and verses of Scripture to fortify themselves for the battle with the World, the Flesh, and the Devil.  1 John 2:15-17

1 John 2:15-17 (KJV)
15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Scripture Memory Fellowship is a good organization to help you memorize the Scriptures.      http://scripturememoryfellowship.org/

Numbers 6:24-26 (KJV)

24  The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25  The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26  The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil, 3:14

Essential Christianity

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  1. Essential Christianity

http://www.truthnet.org/Christianity/Cults/Essentialchristianity1/

Looking at a survey of world religions, most fix the population of the Christian faith at two Billion.  The two-billion Christians include about 1 billion Protestants and 1 billion Catholics.  This number includes every sort and variety of “Christian”. Many who would not even call themselves Christian. How can we define Christianity?

            In order to answer just what is a Christian we need to understand the essentials of Christianity.  First, Christianity is based around a person.  The person is Jesus Christ; Christ is Greek equivalent of Messiah.  To discover just what is essential Christianity we need to see what Jesus and his disciples taught and wrote. How did they define a follower of Jesus the Christ?

            The foundation of Christianity is based the writings of the prophets of the Hebrew Bible.  Jesus of Nazareth was the fulfillment of prophecies regarding the coming of a Messiah who would redeem man from their sins and restore man to a relationship with God, the creator of the universe.  The Jewish nation rejected Jesus as Messiah, and the Romans crucified him on a Cross, as a false prophet and blasphemer at the request of the High-priest. His rejection by Israel was foretold 730 years before the event in the book of Isaiah (Isaiah 52:12-53:13); the concept of the Messiah suffering was not understood by the nation of Israel. 

            The Jewish nation looked for the coming of King Messiah, from the line of David who would rule over the nations.  The rejection and death Jesus, a descendent of David, was foretold by the prophets. His return to judge the world of its sins and to establish his kingdom is foretold also.  The responsibility of delivering the Gospel (Good News) of the forgiveness of sins (Redemption) by faith in Jesus Christ has been given to the church. 

            The church is composed of both Jews and Gentiles who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, who have received the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing their redemption.  The message delivered to the Apostles (Luke 6:13) was to be delivered to the world at large and not to just Israel, following Pentecost.

            At Pentecost (Acts 2:1, Leviticus 23:15) the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles and they began to speak in languages of different nations, proclaiming the wonders of God’s works.

From Jerusalem, the Church spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond.  

With the “Inspired” writings of the Apostles and the Hebrew Prophets before them, the Gospel (Good News) of redemption reached the Pagan cities outside of Jerusalem.  These groups of believers formed into local church bodies.  These local church bodies were then built up by the Apostles during their lifetime and their disciples after their death. 

            The teachings and writing of Jesus and his Apostles formed the essence of Christianity.  Their words recorded and broadcast  via the transmission of the written word. The New Testament is written in Greek and the Old Testament[1] in Hebrew and Aramaic.  The inspired writings of the Prophets and Apostles are the scripture for the Church.  The Old Testament cannon was closed during the 5th century BC, the last book Malachi being written about 425 BC.  The collection of New Testament documents was complete by 90 AD with the book of Revelation near the reign of Domitian (96 AD).  Apostolic and scriptural authority was the foundation of the early church’s authority.

Doctrine of Authority

The children of Israel at Mt. Sinai pleaded with Moses to speak to them for God because they were afraid of God speaking directly to them.  God responded, “What they have spoken is good. 18I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.” (Deuteronomy 18:17b-18).  God would speak through individuals who would represent Him to the people. 

            The authority of the Hebrew Bible (The Old Testament) is God Himself who revealed Himself through prophets who wrote God’s word to the people.  This authority of Scripture continued with the New Testament as the church is built on the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles (Ephesians 2:19-20). 

 Protestants…The historic protestant church hold that scripture alone (66 Books of the Old and New Testament) is the sole authority “Sola Scriptura” Scripture alone.

Eastern Orthodox… Eastern Orthodox also holds to the same 66 Books, but add church tradition as authoritve.

Roman Catholic…Catholics accept the 66 books, but also see the Apocrypha as inspired by God. They also view Church tradition as authoritative.

The Authority of Scripture

1
29 “Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’
30 “And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’
31 “But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ “Luke 16:29-31

 

The words Moses and the prophets are more effective than a dead man coming to life
2 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” Luke 24:44 Jesus confirmed the inspiration of  the Old Testament
3
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

        2  Peter 1:20-21

Scripture is God revelation through chosen men
4
20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

       Isaiah 8:20

God’s revelation of Truth is “Light” anything contrary is darkness
5
39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.John 5:39

 

The Old Testament speaks of Jesus
6
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

  2 Timothy 3:16-17

Scripture is a guide for the person of God.
7
29 Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.  
31 “But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying,
       

Matthew 22:29,31

Without the scripture, God revelation of truth we are mistaken
8
25 So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers,

   Acts 28:25

The Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets who wrote the words

Doctrine of God

The doctrine of God is the same in all three branches of Christianity.  The Westminster Shorter Catechism (Question 6) reads, “There are three persons in the Godhead; The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.”[2]

The Athenasian Creed

………We worship one God in Trinity, and
Trinity in Unity; (4) Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.
(5) For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the
Holy Spirit. (6) But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal………

The word “Trinity” does not appear in the scripture, but is demonstrated in both the Old and New Testaments.  The Trinity is merely a word to describe God’s revelation of Himself in the scripture.  By reading both the Old and New Testament we see Three Distinct revelations of the One God. God is revealed as Father, Son and Spirit, with each being in substance God but having distinctness.  The word “Trinity” describes this revelation. 

The Deity of Christ

1 6     For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,      Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 The Messiah will be called Mighty God 

Everlasting Father

 

Wonderful

2 13    “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man,      Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.

14    Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting     dominion,Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.  Daniel 7:13-14

The Son of Man will be served (Worshipped) by the people of the Earth 

Worship is for God Only.

 

3 “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.  Zechariah 12:10 Zechariah wrote 550 years before Christ. God is speaking first person. Then God says.. “They shall look on Me”…The Me being Jesus who was killed at His “First Coming”.
5
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 He was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  John 1:1-3

 

The Word was …At the Beginning Jesus already existed as God with God the Father.Jesus is creator of All

All made things came through the Word.

All includes everything.. emphasized by  “Nothing”

6 “But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”-then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”  Matthew 9:6 Jesus was able to forgive sins…Only the possessor  of  the sin can forgive Sins….By forgiving sins, Jesus is claiming deity.
7
22 “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,
23 “that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.  John 5:22-23

 

Judgment is God’s prerogative 

Jesus is claiming equal honor to the Father

8
6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,
7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.

Philippians 2:6-8

Jesus in Heaven was GodJesus came in Human form to die for the sins of mankind.
9 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”  John 8:58 Jesus by saying “I AM” was calling Himself by the name of God.

The Holy Spirit

  The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters Genesis 1:2 The Holy Spirit was involved in Creation
1
8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9 “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; John 16:8-9

 

The Holy Spirit will convict the world of SinThe  Holy Spirit will point people to Jesus
2 16Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.I Corinthians 3:16 The Holy Spirit will dwell inside the believer 

The body becomes the Temple because the HS is God dwelling inside human flesh

3 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30 The HS can be grieved by our actions
4
6 And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. Judges 14:6

 

The HS empowered and inspired in the Old Testament as in the New
5 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? Acts 5:13 The HS can be lied to
6 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. Acts 7:51 The HS can be resisted
7
31 “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.
32 “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Matthew 12:31-32

You can blaspheme the HS meaning the HS is God

 Doctrine of the Church

1 10that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, £both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.22And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Ephesians 1:10,22,23

Jesus Christ is head of the Church.The Church is the body which all the saved in the fullness of time are gathered.
2 23For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 27that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 32This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:23,27,32 Marriage irepresents the relationship between Christ and the Church. 

Christ seeks a righteous and sinless Church, made sinless by Christ’s sacrifice.

3 18And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.                         Colossians 1:18 Christ is head of the Body
4 2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:I Corinthians 1:2 The church is made of sanctified believers (Saints)
5 19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.Ephesians 2:19-22 All believers are citizens of the household of God.The Church is built on the foundation of the Apostles and prophets.

Members of the Church are part of the Temple of God.

6 19Go £therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” £Amen. Matthew 28:19-20 The Church is made of all nations
7 11And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;Ephesians 4:11-13 The Church body  has Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to edify the body
8 12“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13“I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, £which thing I hate. 16Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

Revelation 2:13-17

Satan attacks the Church with by attempting to introduce false doctrines (Cults). 

Jesus purifies his Church through judgment.

 Doctrine of Man

1
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:26-27

Mankind is made in the image of God.
2
1 The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him:

Zechariah 12:1

Our spirit is created at conception
3 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgmentHebrews 9:27 Man will be judged after deathMan only has one life
4
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:18

 

Man is under a general condemnation without ChristChrist came to save man

 Doctrine of Salvation

1 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”  John 3:3 Those who come to Christ must be born again of the Holy Spirit.
2 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in Him should £not perish but have eternal life. 16For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.18“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.John 3:14-18 Salvation belongs to those believe. 

The world was condemned before Jesus came into the world.

 

Faith in Jesus Christ the only begotten Son, is the only way of salvation

3 28Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”John 6:28-29 God only requires one work for salvation, faith in Christ.
4
13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14

The Holy Spirit seals those who accept  Christ, guaranteeing redemption.
5
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Salvation is from faith and not works..
6
5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:5

 

The Holy Spirit dwelling inside us makes us new  (Born Again)
7
2 1 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
22 “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Luke 7:21-23 

 

Salvation is dependent on having a relationship with the Lord. 

Religious works are not enough to save.

 

Works can be done in Jesus name without a relationship but they are meaningless.

 [1]Most of  the Old Testament is Hebrew The parts written in Aramaic are: Daniel 2:4-7:28, Ezra 4:48-6:18, 7:11-26, Jeremiah   10:11, Genesis 31:47 (2 words) http://www.truthnet.org/Christianity/Apologetics/IsthebiblefromGod7/

[2] Handbook of Today’s Religion, Josh McDowell, Pg. 27,  Campus Crusade for Christ, 1996

The Apostles’ Creed

The Creed

  I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
  And in Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, our Lord;
  Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary;
  Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell;
  The third day He rose again from the dead;
  He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
  From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
  I believe in the Holy Spirit.
  I believe a holy catholic[1] Church, the communion of saints;
  The forgiveness of sins;
  The resurrection of the body;
  And the life everlasting. Amen.

 THE NICENE CREED

The Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of
all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the
Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God;
begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things
were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was
incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was
crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the
third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory,
to judge the living and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life; who proceedeth
from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is
worshipped and glorified; who spake by the prophets.

And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one
baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and
the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Athanasian Creed

Introduction

The Creed

(1) Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the
catholic faith; (2) Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled,
without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

(3) And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and
Trinity in Unity; (4) Neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.
(5) For there is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the
Holy Spirit. (6) But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal. (7) Such as the Father is, such
is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit. (8) The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate,
and the Holy Spirit uncreate. (9) The Father incomprehensible, the Son
incomprehensible, the Holy Spirit incomprehensible. (10) The Father eternal, the
Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal. (11) And yet they are not three eternals,
but one uncreated and one incomprehensible. (13) So likewise the Father is
almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Spirit almighty; (14) And yet they are
not three almighties, but one almighty. (15) So the Father is God, the Son is God,
and the Holy Spirit is God; (16) And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
(17) So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Spirit Lord; (20)
So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say: There are three Gods or three
Lords. (21) The Father is made of none, neither created nor begotten. (23) The
Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor
begotten, but proceeding. (24) So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son,
not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits. (25) And in this Trinity
none is afore, or after another; none is greater, or less than another. (26) But the
whole three persons are co-eternal, and co-equal. (27) So that in all things, as
aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. (28)
He therefore that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

(29) Furthermore is it necessary to everlasting salvation than he also believe
rightly the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. (30) For the right faith is that we
believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man.
(31) God of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of
the substance of His mother, born in the world. (32) Perfect God and perfect
man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. (33) Equal to the Father as
touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood. (34)
Who, although He is God and man, yet He is not two, but one Christ. (35) One,
not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the manhood into
God. (36) One altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
(37) For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one
Christ; (38) Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the
third day from the dead; (39) He ascended into heaven, He sitteth on the right
hand of the Father, God Almighty; (40) From thence He shall come to judge the
living and the dead. (41) At whose coming all men shall rise again with their
bodies; (42) And shall give account of their own works. (43) And they that have
done good shall go into life everlasting, and they that have done evil into
everlasting fire.

(44) This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he
cannot be saved.

[1] Catholic:  Etymology: Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French catholique, from Late Latin catholicus, from Greek katholikos universal, general, from katholou in general, from kata by + holos whole— more at cata-, safe Date: 14th century   1 a often capitalized : of, relating to, or forming the church universal b often capitalized : of, relating to,or forming the ancient undivided Christian church or a church claiming historical continuity from it c capitalized

Three ways to illustrate biblical concepts of God.

1. Can you occupy two places at the same time?  

2. Can you enter a fishbowl ?

 All of me can’t enter the bowl…I am bigger then the bowl, The fish could not comprehend me. But my hand or a finger could enter the bowl and the fish could comprehend.  This position is illustrated in Isaiah 53:1, we read  “To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed”  In Isaiah 59:16

He saw that there was no man, And wondered that there was no intercessor; Therefore His own arm brought salvation for Him; And His own righteousness, it sustained Him. Isaiah 59:16

 God entered the world of man as a man, to intercede on our behalf as Isaiah foretold.

 

The Seven Prophetic Jewish Feasts

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Graphic of the seven prophetic Jewish feasts
Image
This graphic was taken from another website.

The author’s description of the first four feasts was correct, but explanation of the Feast of Trumpets was wrong. In fact, almost all Christian interpretation of the Feast of Trumpets is wrong. All of the seven feasts are applicable to National Israel. They have no direct reference to the Church. Most Christian scholars and teachers believe that the Feast of Trumpets is prophetic of the Rapture of the Church. However, how well intended they are, they are wrong. The Feast of Trumpets is prophetic of the National regathering of Israel to their homeland which occurred in 1948.

The Day of Atonement is the Feast that is prophetic of National Israel’s repentance and recognition of Jesus as their Messiah. As far as I can determine this will take place sometime during Daniel’s Seventieth Week. Probably in the second 3 ½ years when Anti-Christ begins to persecute both Jews and Christians. Maybe sometime after the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish witnesses in Rev. 7.

Capital Controls

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Capital Controls are coming to America!

What are Capital controls? 

Several days ago I ran into the words “capital controls”.  These words were included in the below article and explained in the paragraph which I have underlined.  I am posting this entire article for your reading.  You may want to research this matter further as it may have a major impact of your and my future.  In my prior post I discussed how this may relate to Revelation 13:17,18 where we are forbidden to buy or sell unless we have “the mark of the beast or the number of his name.”  No financial transactions will be allowed without the “mark of the beast”.   This article will be moved to the Economic and Finance section of our website after a few days.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

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Fed Employees Rollout A Bold Idea To Trap The Entire Country’s Wealth

http://www.wealthreporter.com/sa/fed-employees-trap-c.html?prcode=PPSIQ500

3.24.2014    BY KELLY BROWN

Free market economists are not going to be happy about this…

A major financial news source just published shocking details about a research report by two employees at the Federal Reserve Bank. The 36-page report applauds the use of “capital controls” in global markets.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term “capital controls,” it’s probably because we tend to avoid them in the United States in favor of a free market economy.

Capital controls are simply laws that regulate and restrict what you are allowed to do with your money by regulating the flow of cash in and out of a national economy. The laws define such things as where you can invest your cash and how you can allocate your assets.

If you take a look around the globe, you’ll see several recent examples—almost always from countries experiencing a currency crisis:

•In Cyprus…some citizens cannot withdraw or write checks for more than €300 per day from their own accounts. These controls were put in place after the Greek debt crisis of 2012 and are set to continue until year-end.

•In Iceland…capital controls imposed in 2008 have blockaded offshore investors from selling $7.2 billion in assets.

•In Argentina…citizens must pay an extra tax on vacations abroad.

•In the Ukraine…recent tensions sparked a series of capital controls. Ukrainians must wait six working days before making any type of foreign currency purchases. In addition, they cannot exchange more than the equivalent of $5,800 USD within a given time period.

You might be wondering… how are these draconian laws “a useful tool for managing financial stability” as the recent Fed paper says?

Well, the Fed research claims that capital controls would protect the U.S. dollar from the effects of rapid cash movements…

Of course, the only countries that are worried about capital controls are those deeply worried about a currency crisis.

According to Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, “Capital controls signal that a country is very worried about preserving its foreign exchange….That means bad things are in the wind.”

SEE ALSO: Is your state as broke as these places?

For more than 50 years, Americans have never really thought twice about the value of our currency.

But times are rapidly changing. For example, the U.S. government has plans to strong-arm some of the largest financial institutions in the world by imposing a 30% withholding tax on all transactions concerning U.S. securities.

Most Americans don’t realize that the greatest weapon in our nation’s arsenal is not our military might or our education system, but the simple fact that the U.S. dollar is the world’s “reserve currency.” As such, our money forms the basis of the global financial system. And banks around the world hold our dollars in reserve against their loans.

That’s why, for the past few decades, we have been able to print and borrow trillions of dollars, with no real negative impact.

We are the only country in the world that does not have to pay for imports in a foreign currency. We can rack up enormous debts and then print more money.

But this exorbitant privilege could soon expire, because many of the most powerful countries around the world (including China and Russia) are looking for a new world reserve currency.

And when the U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency… when we can no longer print money and borrow absurd sums without consequence– we are in trouble.

One financial guru, Porter Stansberry, believes this currency collapse in America is actually going to happen much sooner than most people think. He says that’s how currency collapses happen… gradually… slowly… then all of a sudden. And Mr. Stansberry has an uncanny track record of predicting some of the biggest moves in the economy over the past decade. In 2006 he announced GM would go bankrupt and in 2007 he predicted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would also soon go bankrupt. Both of his predictions came to fruition.

WATCH: Learn more from Porter Stansberry, here.

Now Stansberry says the next big collapse could be America’s currency. And even though most Americans think this could never happen… not here…Stansberry believes new laws set to go in place on July 1st 2014 will dramatically accelerate this process. What is this law that was secretly passed by the Obama Administration… and how will it affect you, your money, and the U.S. dollar?

Stansberry and his Baltimore-based research team have put together a free slide presentation that explains everything you need to know. Get the facts and protect yourself here.

SEE ALSO: The catastrophic events planned for July 1, 2014

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World Food Crisis

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World Food Crisis Part 1 (Global Food Crisis Special Report With Steve Shenk)

World Food Crisis Part 2 (Secrets Of The Food Industry Special Special Report With Steve Shenk)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8gBm-IaZ5I

Be Prepared for food shortage – Ron Paul

 The Wheat Disease UG 99

Precise Mapping of Ug99 Resistance in Wheat

80% Crop Failure? UG99 Fungus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2SOUF4s9n8

The third Seal of Revelation 6 indicates that there will be a major monetary inflation in the price of food.

Revelation 6:5-6 (KJV)
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

The consequences of the opened Seal are continuous.  The first two seals effects continue into the third and fourth Seals.  The third Seal indicates that a quart of Wheat will cost approximately $80.00.  The word translated “measure” is approximately a quart in modern measurements.  And the word “Penny” is the Greek word Denarii which was the wages of an average day laborer.  At today’s $10.00 per hr. in a 8 hr. day and laborer would earn $80.00  About 10 years ago I was able to purchase wheat for $.06 a quart.   Barley is always cheaper than wheat.

Monetary inflation and coming disease will raise the cost of all food products.

The fourth Seal is the consequences of the first three seals.  The fifth Seal apparently will be the beginning of persecution of all Christians and Jewish persons.

The Sixth Seal will be God’s warning to the World of His coming Wrath on all the World of Unbelieving sinners.   And in the Seventh Seal God will pour out His wrath on all unbelievers.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

 

What is HR 2847?

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Video HR 2847

How should the Christian assess this new Law?   How does this relate to Revelation 13:17-18?  There has to be a world wide economic collapse before all finances can be controlled.   Some people call HR 2847 a bill that will create “Capital Control”.  That is, it will control all monetary issues.  All of the world has the United States currency as it’s Reserve currency.   If that changes that will create instant poverty for many Americans.  This change of the United States currency as the reserve currency will have major world-wide consequences.

I have downloaded a copy of HR 2847 but have not read it all.   I have not seen all the provisions of this law.   Therefore,  I am not recommending that you be overly concerned about this law until I or someone else shows in the law the dangerous provisions.  If someone viewing this website has additional information regarding this matter please email it to me.


15  And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
16  And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18  Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six. Revelation 13:15-18 (KJV)

I believe that 666 is related to the Western European Union Recommendation 666 which was posted on  the WEU website in June 5, 2000.   Also, this is all related to the Barcelona Declaration which was signed by 27 nations on November 27-28, 1995.  Israel was the first to sign this agreement.

The E.U. was recently United under the Treaty of Lisbon and now is the United States of Europe.   According to biblical prophecy the Anti-Christ will be from the Roman Empire.

USD COLLAPSE – Where Not To Be When The U.S. DOLLAR

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56m8bKct75s#t=206

Peter Schiff – Market Crash 2014 | London Real

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause H

http://www.ask.com/youtube?q=what+is+hr+2847&v=w-1Z2XLupZo&qsrc=472

The United States does not appear anywhere in the Bible regarding End-Time prophecy.   That could mean one of two things.   First it may mean that the United States has lost all significance and recognition.   Or the United States has become a extension of the E.U. and Europe.    I believe that the last will probably be true.  Our country has always had strong ties with Europe.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark

 

The Family is Irreplaceable

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Irreplaceable

https://focusonthefamily.webconnex.com/co-gen3

What is Irreplaceable About?
Every member of the human race has the desire for significance—a desire to belong. And the family is where those deepest longings are fulfilled.
Unfortunately, the word “family” has all but lost its meaning in our modern cultural landscape. And the fallout has been significant. Divorce. Crime. Poverty. Addictions. Abuse. Our attempts to redefine and reimagine the family only make these problems worse, not better. When the family is weakened, society suffers. But strong families make the world a better place!
The Series
Irreplaceable is the first in a series of feature-length documentaries that will approach the concept of the family from a number of different angles. The goal of each documentary is to recover, renew and reclaim the cultural conversation about the family.
The Movement
Celebrate the family by attending a screening of Irreplaceable during the theatrical one night event on May 6. Sign up for e-mail updates here. And be sure to tell your friends and family members about the Irreplaceable screening so that they can take part, too.
But the documentary is just the beginning. You can make a commitment to building your own family on a solid foundation that will span the generations by making the Gen3 promise. What is the Gen3 Promise? It is a commitment to have a thriving marriage and family for the next 3 generations. It starts with a promise to daily invest in your own family knowing that a healthy family will impact generations to come. So, make the Gen3 promise and start living the Gen3 life now!

King James debate

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KJV Bibles

The Real Story of King James – Phil Stringer

King James Only Debate

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2011

James White debates Jack Moorman on whether the KJV is superior to modern translations due to the manuscripts used. As I said in the title, this debate was very informative and actually persuaded me to change my mind on the subject. I won’t reveal my personal opinion so that you the viewer can decide for yourself based on the evidence that is presented. Glad to see a friendly, well presented debate on the subject to help educate God’s people on such issues.

I believe that the Greek Text behind the King James version is the best text.   The Revision of Westcott-Hort was faulty and based on only two corrupt Alexandrian manuscript.

I also believe that the KJV is the best to memorize.  If you would like to read a critique of the New King James Bible and if you would like a copy of the KJV Bible with all the archaic language updated check out the information from:

Chris Sherburne

kj07 3-30-09.pdf  The KJV Bible updated KJ07-1611

ENOUGH$21$21.pdf  a critique of the NKJV & other modern versions

© 2004 Chris Sherburne

Third printing, January 2012

(928) 927-5217

e-mail: armoredsheep7@yahoo.com

web: http://www.armoredsheep.com

Rev. Thomas L. Clark

10 The Blood Moons & the Darken Sun

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Blood moon eclipse on April 15 is a special event

The Blood Moons and darkening of the Sun

Below is another presentation of the Blood Moons

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 I believe that these Blood Moons may indeed be prophetic signs in relation to Israel.
Not only did John Hagee talk about these occurrences, but Marvin Rosenthal wrote about them when he connected them with the Day of the LORD in many passages in the Scriptures.

He clearly explained from Scripture that the Day of the LORD is not the total 7 years of Daniel’s Seventieth week, but is the Seventh Seal in which all the Wrath of God is contained.

Joel 2:30,31 predicts that the Blood Moon and the darkening of the Sun will take place before the Day of the LORD. In Rev. 6:12-17 the Sixth Seal has the Blood Moon and the darken sun and at the end of Rev. 6:16,17 It says “the wrath of God is come.”
Joel 2:30-32 (KJV)

30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This Joel passage is also mentioned on the day of Pentacost.

Acts 2:18-21 (KJV)

18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Rev. 6:12-17 is the fulfillment of all the other predictions regarding the Day of the LORD which is the Day of God’s wrath. This time takes place in the Seventh Seal and begins in the Eighth chapter of Revelation with the Trumpet and the Bowl Judgments.
Revelation 6:12-17 (KJV)

12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

In the Seventh chapter of Revelation there is the sealing of the 144,000 Jewish Witnesses and the great multitude of Gentiles that are saved. Then comes chapter 8 in which there is at first a great silence and then the pouring out of God’s Wrath on all the unbelieving world.

Marven Rosenthal in his book The Prewrath Rapture of the Church believes that the Church will be Raptured sometime before the Wrath of God is poured out.

Here is a website that attempts to Debunk to Blood Moon interpretation of John Hagee.

Hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark

Battle for the Bible

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Harold Lindsell dies at 84; authored ‘Battle for the Bible’
By Art Toalston
Jan 22, 1998

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=1838

LAGUNA HILLS, Calif. (BP)–Harold Lindsell, a former
editor of Christianity Today magazine whose 1976 book, “The
Battle for the Bible,” told of a coming upheaval over the
issue of biblical authority, died Jan. 15 at a retirement
village in Laguna Hills, Calif. He was 84.

Lindsell died of flu complications, family members
indicated. He was diagnosed in 1991 with a rare disease of
the nervous system, called polyneuropathy, and had become
wheelchair-bound.

In the preface to the Zondervan-published “Battle for
the Bible,” Lindsell wrote, “I regard the subject of this
book, biblical inerrancy, to be the most important
theological topic of this age.

“A great battle rages about it among people called
evangelicals. I did not start the battle and wish it were
not essential to discuss it. The only way to avoid it would
be to remain silent. And silence on this matter would be a
grave sin.”

Evangelist Billy Graham, in a letter to Lindsell’s
wife, Marion, wrote that Lindsell’s “stand on the authority
of Scripture is one of his lasting legacies. His writings
will be used of God for many years to come to help hold the
church to the Scriptures.”

Graham also wrote that his wife, Ruth, “credits him
with being used by God to save her doubting faith while a
student at Wheaton (College).” Graham also credited Lindsell
with filling the void at Christianity Today after its
founding editor, Carl F.H. Henry, moved on to other
pursuits.

Lindsell was Christianity Today’s editor from 1968-78
and had authored more than 20 books, including another
volume on the issue of biblical authority, “The Bible in the
Balance,” 1979, and several study Bibles.

Lindsell held membership in Southern Baptist churches
throughout his career — most recently at El Toro Baptist
Church, Lake Forest, Calif., and earlier at Glenfield
Baptist Church, Glen Ellyn, Ill., and First Baptist Church,
Alexandria, Va. He was ordained in 1944 at First Baptist
Church, Columbia, S.C., where he was a professor of church
history and missions at Columbia Bible College.

One of the chapters in Lindsell’s “Battle for the
Bible” was devoted to the Southern Baptist Convention,
which, he wrote, “has numbers of people in it who deny
biblical infallibility. They are challenging the historic
position of the denomination and constitute a threat to its
future. Not only so, but it will be shown that some who have
abandoned biblical inerrancy have also abandoned other
cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith so that in any
historic sense they have ceased to be Baptists as understood
traditionally.”

In the chapter, Lindsell took issue with several
individual Baptists and Baptist institutions over their
stances on biblical authority.

“Southern Baptists will have to act with dispatch in
the next few years. If they fail to do so, the infection
will spread and the time must come when there will be a
showdown,” Lindsell wrote at the end of the chapter. “And
the longer the Southern Baptists wait, the rougher the
battle will be, the more traumatic the consequences, and the
less obvious the outcome in favor of historic Christianity.”

He added, “At this moment in history the great bulk of
the Southern Baptists are theologically orthodox and do
believe that the Word of God is inerrant. At this moment
there is no reason for those who support infallibility to
give up on the denomination.”

Lindsell wrote in the preface of “The Battle for the
Bible,” “The book itself could be expanded almost
indefinitely, for there is no end to the available material.
The data I have used comprise only a small part of what I
have personally collected for ten years. … But I have
tried to represent matters fairly and objectively. … I
hope that I have not misquoted or misinterpreted anyone
whose words appear in this book. There is sufficient
material available that makes it unnecessary to do this.”

Born in New York City on Dec. 22, 1913, Lindsell
graduated from Wheaton College in 1938, then earned a
master’s degree in history from the University of California
at Berkeley and a Ph.D. in history from New York University.

In 1947, Lindsell and six other men founded Fuller
Theological Seminary, Pasadena, Calif. At Fuller until 1964,
Lindsell served as registrar, then dean of the faculty and
then vice president.

Leaving Fuller, he moved to Washington to work as an
associate editor at Christianity Today. In 1968, he became
editor, moving to Wheaton when the magazine relocated there.

In addition to his wife, Lindsell is survived by three
grown daughters and a son; 11 grandchildren; and one great-
grandchild.

A memorial service was held Jan. 18 at St. Andrew’s
Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, Calif.

Copyright (c) 2014 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press
901 Commerce Street
Nashville, TN 37203
Tel: 615.244.2355
Fax: 615.782.8736
email: bpress@sbc.net

 

The Roles of Church and State

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The Roles of Church and State

What are the roles of government and Church. Government is to have the role of promoting and providing Justice tempered with mercy. The Church is to have the role of promoting mercy tempered with justice. While we believe in the separation of Church and State we believe that our government and country has misunderstood this conception. When the framers of our United States constitution wanted to separate the powers of Church and Government, they actual meant the independence of Church and State. They were opposed to the situation in Europe where most of them had come from. Europe was for a long time totally Roman Catholic and had extreme political power as well as religious power. This uniting of Church and State started sometime prior to Augustine. While the Roman Catholic claim to be the one true Church and considered every other religious group heretics, after the fall of the official Roman Government, the Roman Catholic Church essentially took over the power of the State.

However, there were many religious Christian groups that did not recognize the Roman Catholic Church as the only one true Church. Almost all of these groups were persecuted and many times hunted down and killed. Anyone who did not belong to the Roman Catholic Church and obey it commands and laws were considered heretics. The Bible does talk about the one true Church but it is not the Roman Catholic Church. The one true Church is the body of Christ which is a universal Church which at present never meets. Every person who is a “born-again believer”(regenerate) is a member of this universal Church.

You may want to read my article on the Visible Professing Church which is my view of the biblical local church. www.jxministries.wordpress.com  A local church has authority only as it is a pillar and ground of the Truth. The local church must hold to sound doctrine to be a true local church.

The universal Church will only and finally meet in Heaven when Jesus Christ returns at his second advent. But the local church is different. Most of the mentions of the word “church” in the Bible are references to local churches. In the early church there were customarily one local church per town or city. Most of the Epistles (letters) in the New Testament were written to specific local churches in each city. The book of Romans is an exception. Apparently, the believers in Roman were little local groups that met together but did not have one church for the city of Roman.

The city of Roman was the center of the civilized world at that time and so the Apostle Paul was anxious to visit them. Since they apparently had not have an official visit from an Apostle, Paul was desirous to get them established on a firm Biblical foundation. This is one of Paul’s purposes of writing the book of Romans. The book of Romans is the book “par excellence” in doctrinal theology of the Bible. It is the Systemic Theology of the New Testament and Christianity.

In the United States a real local church is automatically tax exempt because our constitution recognizes the separation (independence is a better word). A church does not even have to ask for tax exempt status according to IRS tax rules. The design of our Constitution was that neither the Church nor the State has power over the other. The concept of separation (independence) of Church and State is very much a Baptist concept. All of most of the other denominations had State churches at one time. In the early years of our country every State in the United States had a State church. But if you didn’t like the church in your state you could move to a State that had a church in which you believed. The concept of independence of Church and State was a Federal concept. The founders of our country did not want a Church for our total country like that which existed in Europe – The Roman Catholic Church.

Since approximately 1948 the Supreme Court has been making rulings on their misunderstanding of the United States Constitution.

Even though I am a Baptist by theology, I agree with the Reform view (Presbyterian) of Sphere Law.

The concept of Sphere Law is the idea that God rules over all aspects of life and has given authority to different areas of life. There is three or more specific areas of Sphere Law. There is the Sphere of State or Government. Roman 13 speaks about how a Christian should act in relation to government. But the State does not have absolute authority. There are some things that we do not have to obey even if the government commands us. As Christians we do not have to break the laws of God. If the government commands to break the Laws of God we must refuse and be willing to take the consequences. The three Hebrew children in the book of Daniel are a perfect example. Nebuchadnezzar commanded everyone in his Kingdom to bow down and worship the great image he had erected, but these three Jewish persons refused because they would not worship and Idol.

If the government requested that you deny Jesus Christ as LORD, you must refuse just as the early Christians did.

There is also the Sphere of the Church or religion. However, when the United States Constitution was written, they did not believe in just any religion. When they spoke in terms of religion they believed that the one true religion was Christianity, not Islam, Buddhism, any other non-Christian religion. Our country basically had a Judaeo-Christian World-view. Even the people who were not Christians held to the basic concepts of a Judaeo-Christian World-view. The Bible and religion was taught in all of the early schools. There was even a law passed in Massachusetts called “the Old Deluders Law” which required every person to be schooled in the correct principles of Religion and Government.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_School_Laws

All of these schools would be considered essentially Protestant. That is why the Roman Catholics set up private schools so that they could teach their own religion.
Many of our good laws were extracts from biblical concepts.

There are at least two other Spheres of authority: 1) the Family, and 2) the school. Remember the concept of Sphere Law teaches that all legitimate authority comes from God. Therefore all areas of life and those who rule them will someday give account to God for how they have ruled.

Why do you believe that the Judges in England and the United States wear the robes that they do. Those robes were typical of the Clergy’s robes. The answer is that the Judges are considered servants of God that rule in terms of State Justice. Some day they will give account to God for their rulings.

My favorite biblical verses and concept in this matter is:

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalm 24:1 (KJV

The Family was God’s first Sphere of authority. Parents are responsible for the education and teaching of their children. The public school was only a parent substitute. In fact there is a word that applies to school teachers which parents need to know and understand.

“The Latin phrase “In loco parentis” “Latin for “in the place of a parent”[1] refers to the legal responsibility of a person or organization to take on some of the functions and responsibilities of a parent” ”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_loco_parentis

The Bible speaks regarding all areas of authority so read your Bible and memorize Psalms 24:1 .

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

 

Healthy diet for Healthy Life

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Watch Dr. Joel Fuhrman on Youtube.   He says almost all of our modern diseases is because we do not get enough micronutrients in our American diet.   I agree.

Check out his website http://www.joelfuhrman.com

The above Video is a recipe for diabetic people and over weight people.   Our bodies as Christians are the Temple of the Holy Spirit and we do not provide very good housing for the Holy Spirit sometimes.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (KJV)
19  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
20  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Ultimate Guide to Smoothies 

 

Essentials of Christianity

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In Essentials Unity,

In Non-Essentials liberty,

In All things Charity (Love)

While the above motto is good, we must first know what the Essentials are.

While this author did an excellent job of explaining the essentials of the Christian Faith, I think he left out the most important and primary one – The Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.  Without the Holy Scriptures we would know very little, if anything about the Christian Faith.  I am sure the author assumed the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, but nevertheless it needs to be mentioned and explained.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

What are the essentials of the Christian faith?

http://www.gotquestions.org/essentials-Christian-faith.html

Question: “What are the essentials of the Christian faith?”

Answer: The Bible itself reveals what is important and essential to the Christian faith. These essentials are the deity of Christ, salvation by God’s grace and not by works, salvation through Jesus Christ alone, the resurrection of Christ, the Gospel, monotheism and the Holy Trinity. These are the main “essentials” that we should understand and believe if we are followers of Jesus Christ. Let’s look at all of these in a little more detail.

The deity of Christ. Quite simply, Jesus is God. While Jesus never directly says, “I am God” in the Scriptures, He makes it very clear to those around Him, especially the Pharisees and Sadducees, that He is God. John 10:30 says, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus was claiming deity, and, interestingly enough, He did not deny that He was God. Another example is John 20:28, when Thomas says, “My Lord and my God!” Again, Jesus does not correct Him by saying that He is not God. There are many other examples one can find in the Scriptures regarding Jesus’ rightful place in heaven.

Salvation by grace. We are all sinners separated from God and deserving of eternal punishment for our sin. Jesus’ death on the cross paid for the sins of mankind, giving us access to heaven and an eternal relationship with God. God did not have to do this for us, but He loves us so much that He sacrificed His only Son. This is grace, and it is most definitely undeserved favor. Scripture tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). There is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor or gain access to heaven apart from His grace.

Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. A truly provocative question to ask someone might be “Do all roads lead to God?” The truth is that all roads do lead to God. Eventually, we are all going to stand before God when we die, no matter what faith we are. It is there that we will be judged for what we have or have not done while we were alive and whether Jesus Christ is Lord of our lives. For the majority of people, this will be a terrible occasion, as most will not know Him or be known by Him. For these people, hell will be the final destination. But God in His mercy has provided all of us the only means for salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12 tells us that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” This passage speaks of the name of Jesus and His saving power. Another example is found in the book of John. Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). No one gets into heaven except by faith in the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ on his or her behalf.

The resurrection of Christ. Perhaps no other event in the Bible, aside from Jesus’ appearance here on earth and subsequent death on the cross, is as significant to the Christian faith as that of the resurrection. Why is this event significant? The answer lies in the fact that Jesus died and then after three days came back to life and rose again to reappear to His followers in bodily form. Jesus had already demonstrated His ability to resurrect others such as His friend Lazarus. But now God the Father had resurrected Him to display His awesome power and glory. This amazing fact is what separates the Christian faith from all others. All other religions are based on works or a powerless deity or person. The leaders of all other religions die and remain dead. The Christian faith is based on Christ crucified and resurrected to life. “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:14). Lastly, to deny Christ’s bodily resurrection (John 2:19-21) is to deny that Jesus’ work here on earth was a satisfactory offering to God for the sins of mankind.

The gospel. In1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul spells out what the gospel is and how important it is to embrace it and share it with others. He reminds the Corinthians of the gospel he preached among them: “That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” This is the essence of the gospel. Paul also warns us to be wary of the many “false gospels” that are being offered to the unsuspecting: “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). The pure gospel of Jesus Christ—His death on the cross for sinners and His resurrection to everlasting life—is central to the Christian faith.

Monotheism. Quite simply, there is only one God. Exodus 20:3 states very powerfully, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Monotheism is the belief that there is only one God to be worshipped and served. “‘You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me’” (Isaiah 43:10). Here we see that we are to “believe” and “understand” that God lives and is one. A Christian will know that there is only one God, the God of the Bible. All other “gods” are false and are no gods at all. “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as Indeed there are many ‘gods’ and many ‘lords’), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6).

The Holy Trinity. While the concept of a “three-in-one God” is not represented by a single verse or passage, it is described frequently throughout Scripture. If we look at Matthew 28:19, we see the verse calling out the Trinity: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” While this verse mentions all three Persons of the triune God, it does not call them the Trinity. So to understand the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, we must look at the “totality” of Scripture and glean from it the definition. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-6, we see how this comes together: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.” Again, we see all three Persons being represented but not titled the Holy Trinity.

Finally, the essentials of Christianity would not be complete without the ingredient that binds everything together—faith. “Now faith is the *assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). As Christians we live by this verse with the understanding that we believe in a God we cannot see. But we see His work in our lives and all around us in His creation. We do all of this through faith because we know that faith pleases God. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

* http://hopefaithprayer.com/?page_id=472

Recommended Resources:The Moody Handbook of Theology by Paul EnnsandLogos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.

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* http://hopefaithprayer.com/?page_id=472

You may want to read the total article on the meaning of the Greek word “hypostasis”, but I am inserting what I believe to be the best part of the article.

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Title-deed

http://hopefaithprayer.com/?page_id=472

Kenneth West has the following to say about hupostasis in Hebrews 11:1 in his Wuest Word Studies.

The Title-Deed to Answered Prayer – “FAITH is the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1 ).  The Greek word translated “substance” had a technical meaning in the business world of the first century.  It referred to one’s property or effects.  It was used in such expressions as “Out of this estate I declare that my husband owes me,” or, “more land than I actually possess,” the italicized words being the translation of the word.  It was also used to refer to “the whole body of documents bearing on the ownership of a person’s property, deposited in the archives, and forming the evidence of ownership.”

Moulton and Milligan in their “Vocabulary of the Greek Testament” say of these uses, “These varied uses are at first sight somewhat perplexing, but in all the cases there is the same central idea of something that underlies visible conditions and guarantees a future possession.”  Thus, they translate “Faith is the title-deed of things hoped for.”

To substantiate this usage, there is in “Living Yesterdays,” a delightful brochure by H. R. Minn, the story of a woman named Dionysia. She is described as “a woman of set jaw and grim determination.”  It seems that she had lost a case in a local court over a piece of land to which she laid claim.  Not satisfied with the decision of a lower court, she determined to take her case to a higher court in Alexandria.  She sent her slave to that city, with the legal documents safely encased in a stone box.  On the way, the slave lost his life in a fire, which destroyed the inn where he had put up for the night.  For 2,000 years, the sands of the desert covered the ruins of the inn, the charred bones of the slave, and the stone box.

Archaeologists have recently uncovered these remains.  In the box, they found the legal documents.  They read the note, which this woman had sent to the judge in Alexandria, “In order that my lord the judge may know that my appeal is just, I attach my hupostasis.”  That which was attached to this note, she designated by the Greek word translated “substance” in Heb. 11:1.  The attached document was translated and found to be the title-deed to the piece of land, which she claimed as her own possession, the evidence of her ownership.

What a flood of light is thrown upon this teaching regarding faith.  The act of exercising true faith as one prays, or as one leans on the resources of God, is itself the title-deed or evidence of the sure answer to our prayer or the unfailing source of the divine supply. It is God’s guarantee in advance that we already possess the things asked for.  They may still be in His hands, awaiting the proper time for their delivery, but they are ours.  If the answers to our prayers are not forthcoming at once, let us rest content with the title-deed, which God has given us, namely, a Holy Spirit energized act of faith.  We may be absolutely certain that our God will honor this title-deed at the right moment.

When you own something like land, you are given a ‘title-deed’ to prove your ownership . . . it is yours, and no-one can take it from you. Your ‘faith,’ is a title-deed that God holds on your behalf, His promised land. No-one can take this from you . . . there is no persuasion or pressure that can change your ‘stance.’. . . because of its ‘substance’ . . . He stands under you.  You can own something that you do not see, and it is no less yours.

Finally, concerning the use of ‘title-deed, let us read verses 1 through 4 of Hebrews 11 in context, with personal revisions:

(1) Now faith is the title-deed of things hoped for, the proof or evidence of things not seen.  (2) For by it the men of old gained witness.  (3) By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.  (4) By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he gained witness that he was righteous, God bearing witness about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

We see that together these four verses act like a preamble to the list of faith events to follow.  These verses also have language that leads credence to the use of title-deed or some other legal variant.

The word “proof or evidence” is the translation of ‘elegchos’, which means, “a proof, that by which a thing is proved or tested.”  Thayer (Thayer’s Greek – English Lexicon of the New Testament – Joseph Thayer) in commenting on its use defines it as follows: “that by which invisible things are proved and we are convinced of their reality.”  His second definition of the word is “conviction.”

The words “bearing or gained witness” are the translation of ‘martureo,’ which means, “to bear witness to.”  It is used three times in these verses, and two more times in the remainder of the chapter.  Here the verb is in the passive voice.  Literally, “for by it the elders were borne witness to.”  God bore witness to them that their faith gained victory for them over all obstacles.

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To me the translation of the Greek word “hypostasis” is best explained by the concept of “title deed” as proof of ownership.  Those who insisted upon certain essentials being believed before a person could become an ordained minister in the Presbytian Church were called “Fundamentalism”  because they believed that there were certain essentials that must be believed in order to have Christianity.

I will write an article regarding this sometime later.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

The Solid Foundation -Holy Scripture

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Historic Baptist

http://historicbaptist.com/inspirationofbible.htm

Below is an excellent article written by Paul Burbidge, B.Th.  It contains all the aspects of the Christian and Biblical teaching of the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures.  Many Denominations, churches, scholars, teachers, and preachers have abandoned this most serious foundation of the Christian Faith.   Therefore I am posting it on our website for all the read. 

The Holy Scriptures are the solid foundation upon which the Truth of God is clearly based and explained.  You must take seriously the study of Holy Scripture if you are to have a successful Christian life.  I will be posting the essential teachings of the Christian Faith.  But the foundation of all doctrine is the Holy Scriptures. 

Rev. Thomas L. Clark

 

Inspiration

The Doctrine of Inspiration

            Confluent

            Verbal

            Plenary

            Inerrant

            Infallible

 The Proofs of Inspiration

 The Essentiality of Inspiration

God Wrote the Book!

“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:” (Genesis 3:8) What an amazing thought my friends. Hearing God’s voice in the Garden of Eden. When you read chapter two of Genesis you see that Adam and God talked with each other. How sweet life must have been before sin. Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be to hear God’s voice and speak with Him face to face?

There is a problem though. These thoughts may be romantic but they fail in the light of reality! The Apostle Peter had the privilege of seeing the Lord Jesus in His glory, and hearing the very voice of God the Father from heaven. You might think Peter would hold this up as a pinnacle event in his life. Surely it would supercede all other revelation for it was the very voice of God. No, friends, that was not Peter’s attitude. Peter puts this all into perspective for us in 2nd Peter 1:16-21. We read… 

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. (19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: (20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. (21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

Friend! We have a “more sure word of prophecy” than even the voice of God from heaven. Wow! Verses 20 and 21 confirm that Peter is speaking of the written Word of God when he says that we have this more sure word. How is it “more sure,” you might ask? How can that be? It is “more sure” by the very fact that it is written! That is only common sense. Something written cannot be changed. We are all aware how stories, passed by word of mouth, get drastically changed. Therefore, the written Word of God is “more sure” than the spoken word of God. Not because God writes perfectly and speaks with error, but for the simple reason that the WRITTEN WORDS OF GOD can be preserved. Man has a permanent copy! People can read it for themselves.

My friend how you view the Scriptures will affect every part of your life. Inspiration of the Scriptures: We need to know two things in regards to the inspiration of the Scriptures. First, how the Scriptures were inspired? Two, what is the nature of the Scriptures. There are five aspects to the inspiration of the Scriptures. They are as follows; Confluent Inspiration (a.k.a. Human Authors), Verbal Inspiration, Plenary Inspiration, Inerrant Inspiration, and Infallible Inspiration. The first of the questions two preceding questions is answered as confluent inspiration is discussed. The Second question is answered thereafter.

Confluent Inspiration, or Human Authors, comes first in our study. The word “confluent” means to flow together. Confluent Inspiration is taught in 2 Peter 1:21, which states, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Here, we see that the Holy Ghost “moved” the holy men of God in the writing of the Scriptures. The holy men of God were born along, if you will, by the Holy Spirit so as to record the perfect Words of God. There are some that feel that God used these men like pens. That God took over to such an extent that these men simply took dictation. This is commonly called Mechanical Dictation. The major problem with this is that it does not account for the different styles found in the books of the Bible. For example, the writings of the Apostle Paul exhibit a very fine writing style and exhibit Paul’s character. Peter’s character was shaped by God in a different way than Paul’s. This is evident when you read Peter’s Epistles. It is clear that when the Holy Ghost moved the holy men of old He did so in a way that allowed the Words of God to be recorded perfectly and at the same time used the styles and characters of the human authors.

We see than that Confluent Inspiration is the co-operating of God and His chosen men so as to record the perfect and holy Words of God. The prophet and king of Israel, David, said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” (2nd Sam. 23:2) 

Verbal Inspiration comes next in our study. The word “verbal” refers to the individual words of the Scriptures. Verbal Inspiration simply describes the fact that God inspired each and every single word in the Bible. Watch the following verses to see how important the “words” of God are. 

Exodus 20:1 “And God spake all these words, saying,”

Exodus 24:3 “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.”

Psalms 12:6 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Jeremiah 1:9 “Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.”

Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

1 Corinthians 2:13 “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

2 Peter 3:2 “That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:”

Revelation 17:17 “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.”

Revelation 21:5 “And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”

When I read these verses I get excited! God really cares about each word He has spoken. Every individual word is important. God told Jeremiah that He had put His “words” in his mouth. Paul describes the “words” which he speaks as not being the “words” of man’s wisdom, but rather, the “words” that the Holy Ghost teacheth. Now look (and read) again, at the two verses from Revelation above. These are powerful statements! In Rev. 17:17 God proclaims that He will work His will “until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” Each and every word MUST be fulfilled. That is what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:35 when He said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Finally, in Revelation 21:5, God commands John to “Write: for these words are true and faithful.” WOW! WRITE the WORDS of GOD for they are TRUE and FAITHFUL!

The majority of professing Christians, today, are rejecting the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. All those who use the modern versions (perversions) of the Bible certainly do. Some, out of ignorance, not knowing the truth; others out of willful hatred for God and His WORDS!

The partner, if you will, to verbal inspiration is commonly called plenary inspiration. Now, don’t let that word “plenary” scare you. It simply means the whole, or the sum of the parts. I say it is the partner to verbal preservation because it only stands to reason that if each word of the Bible is inspired than the entire Bible is inspired! If all the parts are fully inspired than the whole is also. The one is synonymous with the other.

Paul tells us in 2nd Timothy 3:16 that, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. There is no way around it — A-L-L SCRIPTURE is inspired of God. The fact that the entire BIBLE is inspired by God; that all of the Bible’s parts are inspired fully and equally are the reasons that the Apostle Paul could testify to the Pastors from Ephesus that he did not shun “to declare unto [them] all the counsel of God.” Acts 20:27. The fact that the entire Bible is inspired entirely and equally in its parts, hence, the whole, gives weight and purpose to God’s solemn warning in Revelation 22:18 & 19: Stating, “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

God also inspired His word with absolutely NO errors. This is commonly referred to as inerrant inspiration. The fact that God’s word is without error is only logical, seeing that the Bible is God’s Book. God is perfect, therefore, what God creates/produces will be perfect. There are many verses, which teach the inerrancy of God’s word. Some of these are…

Psalms 18:30 “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”

Psalms 19:7 “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”

Psalms 19:8 “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.”

1 Corinthians 13:10 “But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”

Psalms 12:6 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.”

Psalms 119:140 “Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.”

1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Inerrancy refers specifically to the Bible being free from any errors in the facts which it records. Many doctrinal statements from Pastors, Churches, Ministries, and Bible Schools record their author’s belief in inerrant inspiration in the original autographs. Brethren, BE CAREFUL! This phrase “in the original autographs” is a statement of UN-BELIEF, not belief. It is a statement of UN-BELIEF in the inerrant Word of God existing today, for we do not have any of the original autographs. Today, we have copies – of copies – of copies – of copies – etc. Having said this, we enter into the area of Biblical Preservation. The next installment of this series of articles will deal with preservation. The question that we need to ask people today is; do you believe that we have the inerrant Word of God TODAY? 

The partner to inerrancy is infallibility. Inerrancy refers to perfection in the facts of the Bible. (i.e. “Moses my servant is dead” – Joshua 1:2) The infallibility of the Scriptures refers to the 100% correctness and authoritative-ness in the Bible’s teaching. People often use inerrancy and infallibility interchangeably. As you can see they are very close in their definitions. The Bible teaches that it is perfect in its instruction. It is infallible! This fact is seen in the following verses. 

Exodus 18:20 “And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.”

Deuteronomy 4:1 “Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you.”

Psalms 86:11 “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”

2 Timothy 3:16 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

If you are not convinced of the doctrine of Inspiration after seeing it from the Bible, than you need to pray for the mind of Christ on the matter. You need a heart change effected by the Spirit of God. Friend, do not plan to succeed in a life of faith when you don’t believe that the Bible is without error and perfectly authoritative.

There are both internal and external evidences for the Bible’s inspiration. The internal evidences are as follows.

1.             Details of events beyond human knowledge. The Bible authoritatively (They are not presented as guesses or assumptions.) gives details which could not be known by human beings. The creation, the words of Satan, the thoughts of people’s minds, and the conditions of their hearts are just a few examples of these details.

2.             The Bible’s Flawless Unity. Forty different human agents wrote the Bible over a period of 1,600-years, yet there is perfect doctrinal unity. The Bible has one theme and no conflicts. If someone claims there is a contradiction in the Bible, ask him or her to show you.

3.             The Bible contains many supernatural doctrines. For example.

a.       The Doctrine of God. When one looks at the Bible’s presentation of the infinite, sovereign, holy God we come face to face with a God who is completely different from the “other gods” presented in other writings and religions. Take, for example, the plethora of Greek gods, goddesses, and demigods. The Greek gods are amazingly human (i.e. sinful).

b.       The Doctrine of Man, Sin, and Salvation. The Bible paints a hopeless picture (outside of Christ) of man. Man, in the Bible, is dead in trespasses and sin. There is hope in the ONE way of salvation, which the holy and loving God has provided. This salvation is free to all that will believe upon the Son of God—God in the flesh. Man has no merit to offer God; therefore, God has supplied all that is necessary for the forgiveness of sin and salvation. All world religions are based upon man working to become acceptable to the given deity. In truth, all world religions deify man at some point or in some way.

Surely we realize that if the Bible was authored by man then it would not teach of a God that is not reachable by the merits of man, that man is diseased with sin, and that man can do nothing to redeem himself. Had man authored the Bible then it would be just like the Babylonian, Persian, Greek, or Roman religions. Or maybe it would be like the modern man-made religions, like: Romanism, Mormonism, Islam, etc.

4.             The Bible’s 100% accuracy rate with fulfilled prophecy. The Bible is over two-thirds prophecy. Just the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies alone is staggering. There are over 300 prophecies of the birth, ministry, passion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, which were all literally and completely (in detail) fulfilled. In fact, in the 24-hour period of the crucifixion there were about 21 different prophecies fulfilled.

The external evidences are (listed briefly):

1.         The Bible’s credibility.

2.         The Bible’s transforming results.

3.         The Bible’s inexhaustible treasures.

4.         The Bible’s honored promises.

5.         The Bible’s mystery to unregenerate minds.

6.         The Bible’s unique adaptability for translation.

7.         The Bible’s standards–Holy, but workable. 

Having looked at the doctrine and the proofs of the inspiration of the Bible we need to now look at the Essential-ness of Bible Inspiration. Why do we need the verbally, plenary, inerrantly, infallible Word of God? The answer is quite simple, if you have ears to hear. 

Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Salvation!!!! You MUST have the WORD of GOD in order to be saved. It is through grace, and by faith, that souls are saved. Therefore, if you and I do not have the very Words of God then we are on our way to hell, for faith will never come. It is by the Word of God that we are born again. Certainly, if nothing else, this demands that we have the inspired Word of God. Our eternal souls hang upon the inspiration (verbal, plenary, inerrant, infallible) of the Bible.

1 Peter 1:23 “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

Not only does our salvation depend upon the God breathed Book, but our Christian growth and service does also. Again, as the Apostle Paul, moved by the Holy Ghost, says…

2 Timothy 3:16, 17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

There is only one way in which the Christian can grow to maturity and be a fruitful servant. Through the WORD of GOD! By the Word of God we are made “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” Without the Word of God we are left high and dry as to our Christian growth and service. We would never be able to grow spiritually nor ever know how to serve God. We would not know if our life and service was according to His will and pleasing to Him.

Those who claim that the Bible was inspired in the original autographs are denying that we have the inspired Word of God today.

If you are holding to a lesser view of the Scriptures than shown here from the Bible then you are not standing on the Rock of God’s Word, but on sinking sand. As a Christian you will be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. Do you view the Bible in truth, as the verbally, plenary, inerrantly, and infallibly inspired Word of God, recorded as holy men of old were moved by the Holy Ghost? Or are you walking on the sands of faithlessness? A word of warning is due if you are. Your house WILL fall! Why not stand on the firm foundation? I challenge you to be like the Bereans–Acts 17:11.

By Paul Burbidge, B.Th.

 

                        

Westcott-Hort Greek Text

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The below article is an excellent explanation of the problem with the Westcott-Hort Greek text.  Almost all modern translations are based on the Westcott-Hort Greek text.  While I was in Bible college I did not have the tools or resources to examine the Westcott-Hort theory.  Since I retired from full-time employment I have had time to research almost all of the Biblical issues that concerned me.   I have concluded from my studies that the Textus Receptus as it is so named is truly the best Greek Text.   The Westcott-Hort Greek text is seriously flawed because of their extreme reliance of the two manuscripts:

Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Vaticanus

.The basic argument for the use of these two manuscripts is that they are older that most Textus Receptus manuscripts.  To me this is not a sufficient argument.  Dr. Phil Stringer is an expert on this controversy of KJV only.  He understands the history of the Greek Text and the Revision of the Greek text in 1870 by the Revision committee.   TLC

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THE WESTCOTT AND HORT ONLY CONTROVERSY
By Dr. Phil Stringer

http://jesus-is-savior.com/Bible/wh-only.htm

This message was given at the 33rd Annual Meeting and Conference of the GraceWay Bible Society meeting, Saturday, October 27th, 2001, held at Brampton Ontario, Canada.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

I. The King James Only Controversy.
II. The Primacy of the King James Bible
III. The Westcott and Hort Theory.
IV. Westcott and Hort Only?
V. What You Have to Believe to Accept the Westcott and Hort Theory
VI. Were Westcott and Hort Infallible?
VII. Who Were Westcott and Hort?
VIII. The Doctrine of Westcott and Hort.
IX. Were Westcott and Hort Saved Men?
X. The Work of the English Revision Committee.
XI. Were Westcott and Hort Secret Practitioners of the Occult?
XII. The Fundamentalist Defenders of Westcott and Hort!
XIII. In Conclusion.

I. The King James Only Controversy.

You don’t have to read very much in contemporary, fundamentalist, Baptist literature to come across warnings about the “King James only controversy.”

Dr. Jerry Falwell announces that he is hiring Dr. Harold Rawlings to “refute the ‘King James Only’ cultic movement that is damaging so many good churches today.”
Dr. Robert Sumner warns about the “veritable fountain of misinformation and deceptive double talk on the subject of ‘King James Onlyism’.”
Dr. J. B. Williams refers to those who advocate the King James Only as “misinformers” and as “a cancerous sore.”
Dr. Robert Joyner calls King James Bible loyalists, “heretics”.
Dr. James R. White warns about King James Bible proponents “undercutting the very foundations of the faith itself”.

Such references to the King James Only Controversy are very common. Some refer to loyal supporters of the King James Bible as the “King James Only Cult”. Another common term is the sneering reference to the “King Jimmy Boys.”

However the use of the “King James Bible only” wasn’t always so controversial.
II. The Primacy of the King James Bible

God was doing a great work in England in the early 1600’s. The preaching of the gospel of Christ out of the Matthew’s Bible and the Geneva Bible was leading to multitudes of conversions. Evangelicals and Puritans were becoming a stronger and stronger force in the Church of England and in English culture.

Yet many were concerned that the final translation work into the English language had not been done. King James was persuaded to authorize a new translation. The King James Bible was printed in 1611.

At first there were questions and concerns about this new Bible translation. This was as it should be. No one should accept a Bible translation lightly. By 1640 however, the King James Bible was clearly the Bible of the English people. The Geneva and Matthew’s Bible, once greatly used of God, went out of print. There was simply no demand for them anymore.

The Church of England, with its official evangelical doctrinal statement, used the King James Bible exclusively. It was the Bible of the Puritans, both inside and outside the Church of England. In fact the Puritans began to use the distinctive Biblical English of the King James Bible in the day to day speech.

The King James Bible was the Bible of the Presbyterians, the Congregationalists, and the Quakers. It was clearly the Bible of the Baptists. By 1640 it was the Bible of the Pilgrims (some had used the Geneva Bible earlier).

The King James Bible was the Bible of evangelicals in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. It became the Bible of the English colonies across the Atlantic Ocean. The only religious group of any size or importance in England that didn’t use the King James Bible was Roman Catholicism. All non-Catholics could have been referred to as “King James only people.” When the Methodist Revival stirred England in the 1700’s, it did so with the preaching of the King James Bible. John Wesley, one of the founders of the Methodists, made his own translation of the New Testament. However, it found little acceptance, even among Methodists. Only the King James Bible was in common use.

When English colonies flourished in Australia and New Zealand, the King James Bible was the common Bible of the settlers. When President George Washington took the first presidential oath of office in the new United States of America, he did so with his hand on a King James Bible. Every American president since, with the exception of Franklin Pierce, has done the same.

Over one hundred fifty English translations were produced between 1611 and 1880. However, they found no audience except in a few cults. Most went out of print quickly. The English speaking, Christian world was truly “King James only”.

Baptist preachers produced a Baptist translation of the Bible. They replaced the word baptism with the word immersion. They replaced the word church with the word assembly. However, they found no audience, not even among Baptists. Their translation was soon out of print. The Baptists were truly “King James only”.

As hard as it may be for the liberals and secularists to admit, the American public schools were built around the King James Bible. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States, (not exactly a religious right publication), describes the early public schools this way, “Public schools had a distinctly Protestant flavor, with teachers leading prayers and scripture reading from the King James Bible in their lessons”. The Roman Catholic minority objected to the King James Bible and so they developed their own school system. With the exception of the Catholics, the United States was clearly King James only.

Russell Kirk (a Roman Catholic historian) describes the influence of the King James Bible on the United States, “The book that was to exert a stronger influence than any other in Americas was not published until 1611, a few years after the first Virginian settlement: the ‘King James’ translation of the Bible, the Authorized Version, was prepared by English scholars for King James I. Read from American pulpits and in the great majority of American households during colonial times, the Authorized Version shaped the style, informed the intellect, affected the laws, and decreed the morals of the North American Colonies.” Truly the early United States was King James only.

According to Winston Churchill, ninety million copies of the King James Bible had been printed by the mid-twentieth century.

The King James Bible was the Bible of the great modern missions movement of the 1700’s and 1800’s. The missionaries from England and the United States were saved, called to the mission field, and trained under the preaching of the King James Bible. They traveled around the world, introducing the gospel of grace to millions. Many of these missionaries knew little or no Greek and Hebrew. They translated the Bible into 760 languages from the King James Bible. Truly the modern missions movement was a King James only movement.
III. The Westcott and Hort Theory.

In the 1870’s, a challenge arose in the English world to the primacy of the King James Bible. There had always been a challenge from Roman Catholicism, but this challenge came from men who were officially Protestants: Church of England Bishop Brooke Foss Westcott and Cambridge University Professor Fenton John Anthony Hort.

The heart of the Westcott and Hort theory was that the New Testament was preserved in almost perfect condition in two Greek texts, the Vaticanus and the Sinaiticus. Sinaiticus was discovered in a wastebasket in St. Catherine’s Momentary (near Mt. Sinai) in 1844 by Constantin von Tischendorf. The Vaticanus was found in the Vatican library in 1475 and was rediscovered in 1845.

The King James New Testament was translated from a different family of Greek texts. To Westcott and Hort, the King James Bible was clearly an inferior translation. It must be replaced by a new translation from texts that they considered to be older and better. They believed that the true work of God in English had been held back by an inferior Bible. They determined to replace the King James Bible and the Greek Textus Receptus. In short, their theory suggests that for fifteen hundred years the preserved Word of God was lost until it was recovered in the nineteenth century in a trash can and in the Vatican Library. [Editor RAB: that's where they belong.]

Hort clearly had a bias against the Textus Receptus, calling it “villainous” and “vile”. Hort aggressively taught that the School at Antioch (associated with Lucian) had loosely translated the true text of Scripture in the second century A. D. This supposedly created an unreliable text of Scripture which became the Textus Receptus. This was called the Lucian Recension Theory.

Hort did not have a single historical reference to support the idea that such a recension took place. He simply theorized that it must have taken place. In spite of the fact that there is not a single historical reference to the Lucian Recension, many Bible colleges teach it as a historical fact. [Editor RAB: sad but true. One of my professors was one of the contributing editors to the NIV, he did one of the minor prophets. I was not even a year old in Christ when I went off to seminary. I was not brought up in church, and never owned a Bible until my girlfriend gave me one as a gift before I went to seminary. The night I was saved I borrowed a Bible from a Muslim, (THAT IS ANOTHER STORY}. What was so disturbing to me was my professor. I felt he was trying to undermine my faith in the Bible and I told him so. By the way, my girlfriend gave me a King James Bible and told me it was the Word Of God. I married her while I was in seminary. Praise the Lord for a godly wife with godly convictions concerning the Bible. AMEN.]

IV. Westcott and Hort Only!

It is clear that the modern movement to revise the English Bible is based completely on the works of Westcott and Hort.

K.W. Clark writes, “…the Westcott-Hort text has become today our Textus-Receptus. We have been freed from the one only to become captivated by the other…The psychological chains so recently broken from our fathers have again been forged upon us, even more strongly.”

E.C. Colwell writes, “The dead hand of Fenton John Anthony Hort lies heavy upon us. In the early years of this century Kirsopp Lake described Hort’s work as a failure, …But Hort did not fail to reach his major goal. He dethroned the Textus Receptus. …This was a sensational achievement, an impressive success. Hort’s success in this task and the cogency of his tightly reasoned theory shaped – and still shapes – the thinking of those who approach the textual criticism of the New Testament through the English language.”

Zane Hodges, a long time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, writes, “Modern textual criticism is psychologically addicted to Westcott and Hort. Westcott and Hort in turn, were rationalists in their approach to the textual problem in the New Testament and employed techniques within which rationalism and every other kind of bias are free to operate.”

Alfred Martin, former Vice-President at Moody Bible Institute, wrote in 1951, “The present generation of Bible students having been reared on Westcott and Hort have for the most part accepted this theory without independent or critical examination. …if believing Bible students had the evidence of both sides put before them instead of one side only, there would not be so much blind following of Westcott and Hort.” The two most popular Greek manuscripts today, Nestles-Aland and UBS (United Bible Society), differ very little from the Westcott and Hort text.

V. WHAT YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE TO ACCEPT THE WESTCOTT AND HORT THEORY.

You have to believe that people who believed in the Deity of Christ often corrupt Bible manuscripts.
You have to believe that people who deny the Deity of Christ never corrupt Bible manuscripts.
You have to believe that people who died to get the gospel to the world couldn’t be trusted with the Bible.
You have to believe that their killers could be trusted.
You have to believe that the Celtic Christians, Waldenses, Albigenses, Henricians, Petrobrussians, Paulicians, the Greek Orthodox Church, the Protestant churches, the Anabaptists and the Baptists all did not have the pure word of God.
You have to believe that the Roman Catholics and the nineteenth century rationalists did have the pure word of God.

VI. ARE WESTCOTT AND HORT INFALLIBLE?

Even though many evangelicals treat the Westcott and Hort Theory as proven fact, there have always been serious textual scholars that challenged it.

The brilliant textual scholar, Dean John Burgon, referred to Westcott and Hort’s “violent recoil from the Traditional Text” and “their absolute contempt for the Traditional Text”. He refers to their theory as “superstitious veneration for a few ancient documents.”

Another famed textual scholar and contemporary of Westcott and Hort, F.H.P. Scrivener wrote, “Dr. Hort’s system therefore is entirely destitute of historical foundation. He does not so much as make a show of pretending to it; but then he would persuade us, as he persuaded himself…”.

It is a phony claim to scholarship to simply parrot the ideas of Westcott and Hort and pretend that you are superior to those who don’t accept their ideas. Those who wish to change the King James Bible, so long greatly used of God and cherished by the English speaking people, need to give clear reasons why!

How do you know that the “older” Vaticanus and Sinaticus manuscripts aren’t corrupt manuscripts? How do you know that the Lucian Recension ever took place? Why do you believe that the evangelicals throughout the centuries were using a corrupt text? Why would you trust Westcott and Hort only?

VII. WHO WERE WESTCOTT AND HORT?

B.F. Westcott was born in 1825. F.J.A. Hort was born in 1828. They were members of the Broad Church (or High Church) Party of the Church of England. They became friends during their student days at Cambridge University. They worked for over thirty years together on the subject of the Greek text of the New Testament.

Westcott went on to become the Bishop of Durham (England) and served for a while as chaplain to Queen Victoria. Hort is best remembered as a Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University.

Both men wrote several books. They are best remembered for their edition of the Greek New Testament entitled, “The New Testament in the Original Greek”. They are also remembered for being the two most influential members of the English Revised Version committee which produced a new English translation. Scrivener thought that they exercised too much influence on this committee.

Westcott died in 1901. Hort passed away in 1892. Both men had sons who collected their personal correspondence and who wrote biographies about them.

VIII. THE DOCTRINE OF WESTCOTT AND HORT.

The Scripture

It is clear that neither Westcott nor Hort held anything even faintly resembling a conservative view of Scripture. According to Hort’s son, Dr. Hort’s own mother (a devout Bible believer) could not be sympathetic to his views about the Bible. Westcott wrote to Hort that he overwhelmingly rejected the “idea of the infallibility of the Bible”. Hort says the same thing, the same week, in a letter to Bishop Lightfoot.

When Westcott became the Bishop of Durham, the Durham University Journal welcomed him with the praise that he was “free from all verbal or mechanical ideas of inspiration.”

Salvation

Hort called the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement “immoral”. In doing so he sided with the normal doctrine of the High Church Party of the Church of England. The Low Church Party was generally evangelical, teaching salvation through personal faith in Jesus Christ. The High Church Party taught salvation by good works, including baptism and church membership.

Westcott and Hort wrote many commentaries that include references to classic passages about salvation. Repeatedly their commentary is vague and unclear. Westcott taught that the idea of “propitiating God” was “foreign to the New Testament.” He taught that salvation came from changing the character of the one who offended God. This is consistent with his statement that, “A Christian never is but is always becoming a Christian.”

Again and again, Westcott’s vague comments about salvation are easy to interpret as teaching universal salvation.

The Doctrine of Christ

It was common in the days of Westcott and Hort for those in the Church of England who denied the Deity of Christ to speak in vague terms! To clearly deny the Deity of Christ was to jeopardize your position in the Church of England. Many High Church modernists learned to speak of the Deity of Christ in unclear terms as a way to avoid trouble.

Many statements by both Westcott and Hort fall into that category of “fuzzy” doctrinal statements about Christ. Westcott and Hort were brilliant scholars. Surely they were capable of expressing themselves clearly on the doctrine of Christ if they wanted to. At best they are unclear; at worst, they were modernists hiding behind the fundamental doctrinal statement of the Church of England.

Other Teachings of Westcott and Hort

There are many other areas that cause fundamental Bible believers to have serious questions about Westcott and Hort. Westcott denied that Genesis 1 through 3 were historically true. Hort praised Darwin and his theory of evolution. Both Westcott and Hort praised the “Christian socialist” movement of their day. Westcott belonged to several organizations designed to promote “Christian socialism” and served as President of one of them (the Christian Social Union).

Both Westcott and Hort showed sympathy for the movement to return the Church of England to Rome. Both honored rationalist philosophers of their time like Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Dr. Frederick Maurice, and Dr. Thomas Arnold. Both were serious students of the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle.

There is much about the teaching of Westcott and Hort to deeply trouble any objective Bible believer.

IX. WERE WESTCOTT AND HORT SAVED MEN?

The evangelical defenders of Westcott and Hort are quick to assert that they were saved men even if some of their ideas seem a little strange in our day. They remind people that both were ordained preachers in the evangelical Church of England.

However, there is no doubt that there were many Church of England preachers that were not true evangelicals. The High Church party was well known to teach salvation by works. Within the Church of England there was a vigorous debate between true evangelicals and those who taught baptismal regeneration or some other system of works for salvation. In their lengthy writings, neither Westcott nor Hort ever give an account of their own conversion. They never identified with the evangelicals in the Church of England. They were never accepted by the evangelicals in the Church of England. They were associated with various occult figures, but never with evangelicals.

While Westcott and Hort praised evolutionists, socialists, and modernists, they were bitterly critical of evangelical soulwinners. Westcott criticized the work of William Booth and the Salvation Army. Hort criticized the crusades of D.L. Moody. Hort criticized the soulwinning Methodists.

Both criticized evangelicals. Neither gave anyone any reason to believe that he had ever trusted Christ as his personal Saviour.

 X. THE WORK OF THE ENGLISH REVISION COMMITTEE

In 1870, the English Parliament authorized a revision of the King James Bible. Two teams of translators were hired. Most translators were from the Church of England but there were also seven Presbyterians, four Congregationalists, two Baptists, two Methodists and one Unitarian. The translators were instructed to make as few alterations to the King James Bible as possible.

A similar committee was developed in the United States at the same time. The two committee’s exchanged copies of their work. Several thousand Church of England preachers signed a petition protesting the inclusion of a Unitarian, Dr. Vance Smith, on the Revision Committee. They felt that only saved men should be involved in translating the Bible. Proper translation required the illumination of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Both Westcott and Hort defended Smith and lobbied for his presence on the committee. Westcott threatened to quit if Smith was not included. Westcott and Hort supplied everyone working on the committee with a private copy of their new Greek text. Hort lobbied (some would say intimidated) committee members to follow the Westcott and Hort text. Westcott, Hort, and Bishop Lightfoot pressured the committee to go beyond their mandate for doing a revision of the King James Bible. Dr. Frederick Scrivener opposed many of the changes to be made on the basis of the new Westcott and Hort Greek Text. Committee meetings were referred to as “… a kind of critical duel between Dr. Hort and Dr. Scrivener”.

Arthur Hort described his father’s method for describing the right reading of the text as “to settle the question by the light of his own inner consciousness”. Dean Burgon spoke of Hort’s method as deciding by “the ring of genuiness”. Hort was far more concerned about his feelings than he was about the textual debate over any passage. Westcott referred to the debate over textual readings as “hard fighting” and “a battle royal”.

The original chairman, Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, resigned after referring to the project as “this most miserable business”.

Westcott and Hort eventually won most of the debates. After the new English Revision was published, both Scrivener and Burgon published lengthy refutations of the Revision. Burgon attacked the Revision strongly, calling it “excursions into cloud land” and “blowing smoke”. The people of England largely rejected the new translation. Attempts to make it the new Authorized Version of the Church of England met with such protest that Queen Victoria abandoned the idea.

Neither the English nor the American Revision sold very well. They were both soon replaced by other versions. However, the multitude of new English versions were all based upon the same Westcott and Hort Greek text and upon the theories of Westcott and Hort. Their English translation failed but their principles won the day. Even though vangelicals rejected the English Revision and the Westcott and Hort text, it did find supporters. Modernists and rationalists, both within and without the Church of England, praised their work. Theosophy founder, Helen Blavatsky, wrote at great length in praise of the new Greek text.

The defenders of Westcott and Hort claimed that the evangelicals were too simple-minded and unlearned to understand the work of Westcott and Hort and other English “scholars”. Evangelicalism was presented as unscholarly. After a generation, many evangelicals began to feel uncomfortable at always being labeled as unscholarly and uneducated. Some evangelical leaders began to look for ways to reconcile the historic Christian faith with the theories of Westcott and Hort.

These theories and the Greek text of Westcott and Hort began to find their way into evangelical seminaries and Bible colleges on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

Two generations after the failure of the English Revision, the theories of Westcott and Hort had become majority opinion in evangelical Bible colleges and seminaries in both the United States and England. Their theories were universally accepted in modernist seminaries. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and other cults bragged about having Bible translations based upon the Westcott and Hort theory.

Compromising evangelicals were suddenly proud of having “scholarship” accepted by the world. They used the same Greek text as the Roman Catholic Church, the modernists and the cults.

A relative handful of Bible believers refused to accept the Greek text and theory of Westcott and Hort. Such holdouts became an irritation to the “scholarly” evangelicals. As study of the issue increased, opposition to the Westcott and Hort theory grew. “Westcott and Hort only” no longer seemed an adequate reason for abandoning the King James Bible. The “scholarly evangelicals” began to react harshly to their “King James only” critics.

XI. WERE WESTCOTT AND HORT SECRET PRACTITIONERS OF THE OCCULT?

In 1993, Gail Riplinger published New Age Bible Versions. In this book, she alleges that Westcott and Hort were practitioners of the occult. It is indicated that they provide a bridge between apostate Christianity and the occult and the New Age Movement.

This charge created a sensation and generated a tremendous amount of criticism for Mrs. Riplinger. It is, of course, a very important charge. An objective look at the evidence for such a charge is important.
Along with Bishop Edward White Benson, Westcott and Hort founded the Ghostly Guild. This club was designed to investigate ghosts and supernatural appearances. The club was based upon the idea that such spirits actually exist and appear to men. According to The Encyclopedia of Occultism and Parapsychology, the members of the Ghostly Club would “relate personal experiences concerned with ghosts.

This club would eventually become the Society for Psychical Research. According to James Webb in The Occult Underground and W.H. Solter, The S.P.R. – An Outline of It’s History, this club became a major factor in the rise of spiritualism among the elite of English society in the late 1800’s. Many leading occult figures belonged to the Society.

Along the way, Westcott and Hort dropped out of the Ghostly Guild. However, they had plenty of opportunity to be exposed to the occult and demonism before they withdrew.

Westcott’s son refers to his father’s life long faith in spiritualism (Archbishop Benson’s son referred to Benson in the same way). Communion with spirits became quite fashionable in the late 1800’s in British society. Even Queen Victoria, who normally led a responsible Christian life, dabbled in spiritualism. However, it was considered unseemly for Church of England clergymen, and Wescott had to keep his ideas quiet. According to Wescott’s son, Arthur, Dr. Wescott practiced the Communion of the Saints. This was a belief that you can fellowship with the spirits of those who died recently.

Bible translator J. B. Phillips also believed in the Communion of Saints. He believed that the spirit of C.S. Lewis visited him after his death. According to Arthur Wescott, Bishop Wescott also had such experiences with spirits. His son writes, “The Communion of Saints seems particularly associated with Peterborough. He had an extraordinary power of realizing this Communion. It was his delight to be alone at night in the great Cathedral, for there he could meditate and pray in full sympathy with all that was good and great in the past. . . There he always had abundant company.” Wescott’s daughter met him returning from one of his customary meditations in the solitary darkness of the chapel at Auckland castle. She said to him, ” I expect you do not feel alone?” “Oh, no,” he said, “It is full.”

Either Dr. Wescott’s children lied about him or Dr. Wescott was used to meeting with spirits. Bible believers recognize these spirits as demons. Wescott and Hort both joined a secret society called, The Apostles. It was limited to 12 members. One of the other members Henry Sidgwick. He was also stated to have led several professors at Trinity College into secretly practicing the occult. Wescott, his close friend, was also a professor at Trinity College. Strange company for a Christian teacher and Bible translator.

In 1872 Wescott formed a secret society, the Eranus Club. Members included Hort, Sidgwick, Arthur Balfour (future prime minister of England), Archbishop Trench and Dean Alford. Both Trench and Alford would be involved in Bible revision work. Balfour became famous for his seances and practice of spiritualism. The Eranus Club would eventually become known as an occult secret society.

Wescott’s defenders point out that Wescott also eventually dropped out of Eranus. Still he was certainly allied with practioners of the occult in a secret society for a period of time.

Balfour and Sedgwick were involved in several occult organizations, socialism and Theosophy. How many Christians have so many friends prominent in the practice of the occult?

Balfour would also be involved in the founding of the League of Nations and in forming a secret society with Cecil Rhodes (the Round Table and the Council on Foreign Relations).

The evidence for Mrs. Riplinger’s assertions is strong. Would Westcott and Hort’s defenders accept anyone today who had such connections? They were clearly in contact with people who were “familiar” with spirits. There is every reason to suspect that they might also have been in contact with spirits. Based upon their associations, there is no clear reason to reject the suggestion that they were involved in the occult. The balance of evidence creates, at the very least, a strong suspicion of occult influence on both Wescott and Hort (especially Dr. Wescott).

XII. THE FUNDAMENTALIST DEFENDERS OF WESTCOTT AND HORT

There are fundamentalists who refuse to accept the characterization of Westcott and Hort as liberals (much less occultists)! J. B Williams writes, “I have three of Westcott’s commentaries in my library, and I challenge anyone to find one sentence that would be a departure from Fundamentalist doctrine.”

Keith Gephart writes, “In reality, Westcott had made clear statements affirming orthodox doctrines such as the deity of Christ, in no way was he guilty of heresy and apostasy.” In responding to a critic of Westcott and Hort, Gephart wrote this, “I cannot help but suspect that . . . some blinding presupposition . . .drives you to prove him a heretic at any cost.”

Dr. Stewart Custer writes, “Especially when these men have written in their mature years book after book defending the conservative interpretation of scripture, it is unjust to characterize their whole ministries by a few misinterpretations that they may have been guilty of.”

Evangelist Robert Sumner admits that Westcott and Hort were liberal in theology but he still believes that they were trustworthy to “restore the original text.”

It would be easy to ask at this point if everyone is reading from the same books. How can there be such a difference of opinion about what these men believed and wrote?

It is true that these men (especially Westcott) wrote commentaries in which they used the great doctrinal terms of the Christian faith in a positive way. They used terms that were part of the official doctrinal position of the Church of England (in which they both held prominent positions).

Almost all denominational liberals use the terms expected of them. This is important in maintaining their income, position and influence. The important thing is how they explain those doctrinal terms (or fail to explain them).

Unless you are determined not to see it, it is clear from their commentaries that they put a liberal interpretation on many Christian doctrines. Both of their sons admit that they were accused of heresy because of their books. This understanding of these statements in their commentaries are supported by several external facts.

Westcott and Hort identified with the High Church Party (Broad Party) within the Church of England. In contrast with the more evangelical and conservative Low Church, modernism found it’s home in the High Church Party.

Westcott and Hort constantly praised theological liberals, socialists and other radicals like Coleridge and Darwin.

No similar praise is found for evangelicals or fundamentalists, either in or out of the Church of England. They are normally ignored! When they are mentioned at all, like D. L. Moody, it is with disdain!

Their private correspondence reveals their liberal drift much more clearly then their commentaries. Of course, it was safer for them to admit what they really believed in this forum. Their correspondence also shows that they had concerns that they could not afford to have all of their beliefs known by the general public.

The biographies of Westcott and Hort written by their sons clearly reveal that they were not in harmony with the official positions of the Church of England. Their sons had no reason to lie about them. Certainly their sons had no King James only bias.

It is interesting that some men can’t face the real record about Westcott and Hort. In fact, some who are quick to attack even minor differences with living preachers, take a blind eye to Westcott and Hort.

However, this is easy to understand. Their campaign to replace the King James Bible has been based upon the work of Westcott and Hort only. To admit these men were not trustworthy would be to admit that they have been wrong in a major premise of their entire ministry.

Perhaps we must be forced to suspect that some blinding presupposition drives them to prove that Westcott and Hort were not heretics at any cost. It appears that “scholarship” requires only a shallow reading of Westcott and Hort and ignorance of their personal letters and correspondence. Their defenders do not spend anytime quoting their personal correspondence or the biographies written by their sons.

Their defenders never recount the testimonies of their conversion because no such testimonies exist.

XIII. IN CONCLUSION.

Dean John Burgon was a contemporary and acquaintance of both Westcott and Hort. He was a firm opponent of the Westcott and Hort theory, their new Greek text and the revision of the English Bible that they so heavily influenced. In an article entitled “The Secret Spanking of Westcott and Hort” Burgon wrote: “the text of Drs. Westcott and Hort is either the very best which has ever appeared or else it is the very worst; the nearest to the sacred autographs or the furthest from them. There is no room for both opinions, and there cannot exist any middle view.” In other words things that are different are not the same.

Millions of professing evangelicals have never heard of Westcott and Hort. None the less, their approach to the Scripture is based upon the theory of Westcott and Hort — Westcott and Hort only. No matter how many books, professors, colleges and denominational leaders these theories are filtered through, they are still the work of Westcott and Hort only.

Those who challenge the primacy of the King James Bible in the English speaking world depend on the work of Westcott and Hort.

Westcott and Hort are not a sufficient basis to reject the Textus Receptus or the King James Bible. Their objectivity, scholarship and doctrine are all at best “suspect.” There is no reason to believe that they were saved men. There is more reason to believe that they were influenced by the occult than there is to believe that they were influenced by the Holy Spirit.

Perhaps the “King James Only Controversy” is misnamed. It is really a “Westcott and Hort Only” controversy.

Are you willing to abandon the historic contributions of the Textus Receptus and the King James Bible for Westcott and Hort, Westcott and Hort Only.

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If you would like an updated KJV without the Thees and Thous I would direct you to Chris and Trudy Sherburne’s website http://www.armoredsheep.com where you can find a critique of the New King James version “Enough” and a copy of the KJ07 which removes the archaic language from the KJV1611 without changing the essential translation.   Dr. Phil Stringer referred me to this site when I asked him about a good critique of the New King James Bible translation.

Also you should read the article entitled A Paraphrase is not the Bible.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14


What Must I do to be saved?

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“What must I do to be saved?” is the question the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas answered with the Gospel: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16:30, 31). The Gospel is all of God’s grace and simple, but many stumble on it, for it goes against our desire to do something ourselves to save ourselves. Rather it is Good News, because Jesus has done it all – it is His person and work a person must look to and believe. Jesus is the Son of God, perfect and without sin, who suffered the punishment due to his people on the cross and the wrath of God due to them that they might enter into direct communion with God once again. This substitutionary sacrifice for his people’s sin, foreshadowed in the Old Testament, sealed eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord for those who believe. What follows gives the Biblical content of what we believe about ourselves, Jesus, and what He did:

What is it a person needs to be saved from?

(1) The wrath of God due to us because of the guilt of our sin  

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. (Romans 1:18)

And he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:36)

And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

(2) The consequences of our sin:

(A) Death  

And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16, 17)

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread through all men, because all sinned…so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:12, 21; 6:23)

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. (John 8:24)

(B) Condemnation  

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in the Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. (John 3:17-20)

And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification…. Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. (Romans 5:16, 18)

Hear this from the books of Romans and Ephesians:

First the truth about all of us in our lost, sinful condition:

As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;

There is none who understands;

There is none who seeks after God.

They have all turned aside;

They have together become unprofitable;

There is none who does good, no, not one.”

“Their throat is an open tomb;

With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;

“The poison of asps is under their lips”;

“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

Destruction and misery are in their ways;

And the way of peace they have not known.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:10-20)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. (Ephesians 2:1-3)

And now the good news – the Gospel – showing us what God has done in Christ for his people:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. (Romans 3:21-31)

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)

This same God-man conquered death for his people as he rose from the dead the third day, and after teaching and comforting the believers, he ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.

What are you to do? Believe what the Bible says about you – you are a sinner who deserves death and the wrath of God because of your sin. Believe what the Bible says about Jesus and what He did – He is the only begotten Son of God, the eternal Word who became flesh and was sinless and perfect; He was crucified on a cross and died bearing the sins of His people and rose again on the third day.

For He made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.  (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

If you would like prayer or do not have a Bible of your own and wish to receive one (no strings attached) please contact us at The Trinity Foundation, Post Office Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692, (423) 743-0199 – voice or (423) 743-2005 – fax, or email  tjtrinityfound@aol.com. May it please the Lord to grant you salvation.

Essays for further reading:

What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

How Can a Just God Forgive a Sinful Man?

Through Faith Alone

Only One Way of Salvation

What is the Gospel?

Calvin on the ‘Pernicious Hypocrisy’ of Justification by Faith and Works

The Ground of Justification

The Means of Sanctification

The Relationship between Justification and Sanctification

Justification and the Clarity of the Bible

Contemporary Religion versus the Gospel

Assurance of Salvation

Justification by Faith: Romanism and Protestantism

What is Faith?

Saving Faith

Are You Catholic?

God’s Plan to Save His People

Four Great Certainties

 

Politics and Religion

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The most important issues on earth!

The old maxim is “Don’t discuss Politics or Religion” in a social gathering.  Why?  Because these are the two most volatile subjects of mankind.   But why are they the two most volatile issues of mankind?   My answer is “They are two most important issues of mankind”     One has to do with the rule of earth and the other has to do with the rule of heaven.

I do not like to argue over these to issues, but I have my judgments on these two areas.  My father’s family were dyed in the wool democrats.   My father was a democrat no matter who was running for office.  My grandfather, William Clark, was the same.

However, my oldest sister Kay is Republican.   She is probably the smartist one in our family.   She and her husband were leaders in the Young Republicans organization in Michigan..  The rest of my family is democrats.   I am not a Republican just because someone else is.   Nor do I believe that all Republicans are good leaders.   However, as a general rule they take a more biblical stand of moral issues than most Democrat politicians.   I do not believe that politicians will save our U.S.A.   

But I do believe that God many times gives us the leaders that we deserve.

The Bible says, . “Righteousness exalteth nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Prov 14:34 (KJV)

As Christians we believe in a Sovereign God who rules over all things.   However, we do not know exactly why He allows wicked people to prosper and oppress righteous people.

In a county such as we have part of the “Powers that be” (Romans 12:1ff) are all individuals not just Presidents and other government officials.”   We have a representative Republic not a true democracy, nor dictatorship, or monarchy.

 The 10 Amendments to the Constitution were designed to protect the people from the Government not the Government from the people.  Having said all this now I get to my point.   Senator Mark Kirk has now taken an Anti-Christian action.   I had never trusted Mark Kirk because of his political viewpoints.  Even though he ran as a Republican he fits the picture of a RINO (Republican in name only).  

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil.3:14

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Mark Kirk’s AntiChristian Act  

IFI E-Alert” takeaction@illinoisfamily.org >

Call to Action

 

Mark Kirk Discriminates Against Christian Pro-Family Think Tank
Written By Laurie Higgins 

Last week, U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) confirmed my reasons for vehemently opposing his Senate election.  His obamaniacal act of hubris last week also reminded me of the emails I received chastising me for what some perceived as my wrongheaded, doctrinaire naïveté in opposing Kirk’s election.

Last Friday, Kirk, in league with homosexual activists, abruptly cancelled access to a U.S. Senate meeting room that had been reserved months ago by the Rockford-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society.  According to Sen. Kirk’s press secretary, Kirk cancelled the meeting because he “will not host groups that advance a hateful agenda.” And what is the “hateful agenda”?  The question posed on the meeting’s invitation was” [W]hat might conservative Americans learn from Russia, Australia, and other nations about rebuilding a pro-family policy?”  

The discussion panelists were Austin Ruse, President of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute; Allan Carlson, former professor of history at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan and president of the Howard Center;  Stephen Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute and an advocate for human rights in China; and Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow at The Beverly LaHaye Institute, the think tank of Concerned Women for America.

If Kirk considers these scholars hate-promoters, then logically he must call all orthodox Christian theologians hate-promoters for every contemporary orthodox theologian and every theologian in the history of Christendom has held the same views on the nature of marriage and the nature and morality of homosexuality as these panel participants.  

If Kirk’s Democratic opponent in the U.S. Senate race had won, the Republican Party would be working feverishly to find a candidate to challenge him. Of course, with the Illinois GOP polluted by the corruption and ignorance that plagues much of the Democratic Party, who knows what dubious character they may have trotted out and insisted Republicans support. The assignation “Republican” is no guarantee of integrity, wisdom, or humility.

But with Kirk ensconced in the corridors of the U.S. Senate, (where he works tenaciously for every pro-homosexual bill including Illinois’ recent same-sex “marriage” bill), the Illinois GOP has little motivation to dethrone him. They couldn’t care less if he abuses his position to normalize sexual deviance while trampling the conscience rights of untold numbers of people. 

“Moderate” Republicans (hereafter referred to as immoderates) caterwaul that social conservatives are exclusive, narrow-minded, parochial voters who just don’t get the bigger picture. That bigger picture is centrally shaped, in the exclusive, narrow-minded, parochial view of immoderates, by “electability” and fiscal issues. Their big tent is really not so much big as it is blue-tinged. They don’t really want social conservatives to expand their scope of interests beyond the issues of prenatal rights, marriage, religious liberty, and the post-natal rights of children. They want social conservatives to abandon wholly those issues.

Conservatives, move to the back of the big immoderate purple circus tent and shut your flapping jaws about those irrelevant issues pertaining to sexuality, the First Amendment, and children’s rights—none of which (in the view of immoderates) have any substantive bearing on the public good.

In the meantime, the immoderates unctuously ooze that social conservatives should just let the big daddies who know best—people like Mark Kirk who solicited support from the baby-killing  industry when running for the U.S.  Senate—to run the country for them.

Sen. Kirk thinks that it’s hateful to believe that marriage is inherently sexually complementary, but not hateful to kill the unborn. To Kirk, cross-dressing and perverse sexual acts are moral goods and fighting for the rights of children to survive the womb and be raised by a mother and father are moral evils. What kindof man thinks like this? C.S. Lewis calls men like this “men without chests,” and Isaiah warns, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.”

Don’t you fret, oh ye of little conservative minds, your time will come—the immoderates hiss.  Just wait until men without chests have solved our debt problem and then they’ll end the forfeit—I mean, truce—on the “social issues.” Yessiree, once we get out of this $17 trillion debt, our lawmakers will work to restore the proper marriage laws, religious liberty, and children’s rights that they’re allowing to be trampled or, in the case of Kirk, actively and jubilantly trampling.

But does anyone really believe that in the future conservatives will be able to restore marriage laws or repeal the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) so that business owners will have the right to refuse to hire cross-dressers if men like Senators Mark Kirk and Rob Portman (R-OH) have been in Washington D.C. for decades using their power and friendships to shape the votes and views of colleagues?

If right-thinking Americans would spend just a little less time thinking about clever political strategies and just a little more time thinking about truth and courage, we might have a shot at preserving America.

Take ACTION: Please click HERE to contact Senator Kirk to express your opposition to his endorsement of homosexual “marriage,” his engagement in religious discrimination, and his subordination of the wishes of Illinois conservatives to the desires of homosexual activists.  You can also call his Washington D.C. office at (202) 224-2854.

 

 

Why memorize?

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Why memorize?  This list of Reasons from Scripture Memory Fellowship

http://scripturememoryfellowship.org/about-smf/faq

Memorizing the Word of God makes it instantly accessible in every situation and for every need.

  1. Memorizing Scripture is specifically commanded by God: “These words which I command thee this day shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children” (Deut. 6:6,7). “Lay up His words in thine heart” (Job 22:22b).
  2. Memorizing Scripture enlightens darkened hearts: “And that from a child thou hast known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). The word burns and smites (Jer. 23:29), pierces and discovers (Heb. 4:12).
  3. Memorizing Scripture inculcates conviction on the standard of values and righteous­ness as being absolute and unchanging: “Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:128). Read Isaiah 55:8, 9.
  4. Memorizing Scripture restores broken lives: “He sent His word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Ps. 107:20).
  5. Memorizing Scripture helps spiritual growth: “As newborn babes, desire the sin­cere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Pet. 2:2). The “strong meat” of the Word for those who go on to Christian maturity (Heb. 5:12).
  6. Memorizing Scripture makes for an effectual prayer life: “If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (Jn. 15:7).
  7. Memorizing Scripture motivates spontaneous witnessing: “Then I said, I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name. But His word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay” (Jer. 20:9).
  8. Memorizing Scripture promotes fruitfulness: “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it [keep it in memory], and bring forth fruit with patience” (Lu. 8: 15).
  9. Memorizing Scripture makes continual meditation possible: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Ps. 1:2).
  10. Memorizing Scripture affords comfort and strength in time of trouble: “Unless Thy law had been my delights. I should then have perished in mine affliction” (Ps. 119:92).
  11. Memorizing Scripture guards against sin: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Ps. 119: 11).
  12. Memorizing Scripture provides wisdom and guidance for daily living: “Lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer. 8:9). Read James 3:17.
  13. Memorizing Scripture equips for spiritual warfare: The covering of truth, the breastplate or righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword or the Spirit (Eph. 6: 11-17).
  14. Memorizing Scripture is exemplified by Christ: When tempted by the devil, He said, “It is written,” and then He gave the Scripture (Matt. 4).

Do not talk yourself out of it. God has commanded it; we must do it! Use our plan, or use your own plan, but by all means, MEMORIZE!

Work and Witness for the Lord

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Dear Friends,

During the last several months I have not posted any articles.  Sorry for my lack of productivity.   I was out of town for about a month and a half getting my dental work done in my home town.  In the Chicago area dental work is very costly.  Even though I have good dental insurance, I need to get my work done at a lower cost.  For example I needed a large number of teeth removed.  My teeth have been bad for years so I decided to have my dental work done.   In the Chicago area I had my teeth checked and received a price quote on the dental work to be done.   It would cost me $177.00 to pull each tooth.   In my home area there is a good dentist who had previously had his dental practice in Kansas City Missouri.   I called him on the phone and ask him how much he charged for removing a tooth.   He said he charged $55.00 unless it was very difficult to pull the tooth.   I decided to visit my home town and stay for awhile to visit my sisters and other long time friends both Christian and non-Christian.  Even though my dental insurance would have paid my dental work in Chicago, I would not have any left after pulling the teeth to put in an upper set of artificial teeth.

This dentist was not only an excellent and trustworthy dentist, I like his personality.  I will have to return another time to finish my dental work on my bottom teeth.

While I was down there, I asked the Dentist to go to church with me.  He agreed and I picked him up and we went to one of the good Baptist churches in my home town.  All of the Baptist churches in my home town as well as the surrounding area are sound in the Faith and have reliable preachers.

My home town has shrunk in population from around 2000 to 1850.   But there is a large lake near the town which now probably has 200 or more people living there.  This might account for the decreased population in my home town.

Suggestion!  You might want to check out some small town away from the large city to get some of your dental work done.  And other type work.   Not everything is cheaper in a small town.   For instance, the cost of groceries is generally higher in my home town.   The auto repair costs are about the same as Chicago.

And my situation may be different than other people.  I have now been retired for over 10 years and have a free place to stay in my home town.  The most expensive item is the gas money to travel back and forth 400 miles (one way).

My son, his wife and 5 children came down with him and my son and his three boys went fishing.   We caught about 30 plus blue gills and 5 nice sized bass. The only problem with fishing is cleaning the fish afterwards.  However, the three boys were thrilled with all the fish they caught.

At present I am in the process of refinancing my home to a lower interest rate.   I will be able to lower my current interest rate about 1% with no closing costs except an appraisal fee.

As a Christian I believe that all I have and all that I possess is the Lord’s and I am just His steward.   I try to be a good steward with all my resources.  I fact this website is totally free except my son purchased a 5 years domain name bibleresourceman.com for me.

I had been thinking of what name to name a website and one day when I was online the wordpress.com site popped up on the side of a web page.  My daughter-in-law had told me that I could get a free blog site from wordpress.com.   So I signed up with wordpress.com and the name of the site just popped into my mind.  I didn’t like the sound of “the Bible Answer man” so I used “bibleresourceman.wordpress.com”.  I explain in a place on my site that I am “a bible resource man” because I am not the only bible resource man.   I am one among many bible resource men.

However, I have been collecting excellent biblical articles for years and so now I have a place to share them with other Christians and unbelievers.  I am now 70 years old and have many health problems and do not know how many more years the Lord will give me.  I want to use my remaining years serving the Lord.  I also want to be a good example and good influence on my son, his wife, and five grandchildren.

Abraham is a good example of a godly father.  This is what the LORD said about him.

19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.  Gen 18:19 (KJV)

We should plan to raise godly children who will be an honour to God.

God saved me at the age of 19 and since that time I have continued to serve the Lord.  I completed Bible college with a double major: 1) a major in biblical studies 136 semester hours, and 2) a second major in English Literature.    I had a goal of making nothing but “A”s in my biblical studies.  This I did.  I took after 12 semester hours in Seminary while there.   Then I came to Chicago, Ilinois.    I took additional courses in areas of education:  12 hours at Jane Addams Graduate school in Social work, and approximately 12 hours at Moody Bible Institute in courses that I did not take at the Bible College,  and additional courses in education at Northern Teachers college, and then approx. 12 hours at Trinity Evangelical Seminary in Deerfield.

Even though I did not complete a Seminary degree, I have a well rounded biblical education.

My English Literature teacher in college allowed me to do most of my term papers on biblical areas.   I did a term paper on John Bunyan, John Milton, and John Donne, the poet preacher and other biblically related subjects.

I worked for seven years in a German church in Chicago.   Then I pastored  a Baptist Church in Humboldt Park in Chicago for about 4 years.   I now attend a good Bible Church in the suburbs of Chicago.

My son and wife and the five grandchildren are my pride and joy.   My son is active in his church and the children are active in AWANA (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed).  My son was in AWANA for about 4 years in a good Bible church in Chicago.  He has continued to work with AWANA for many years.  Personally I think AWANA is the best Christian Organization for youth, especially for boys.

A friend and I go out soulwinning and witnessing every Friday morning in Chicago and have continue for approximately 4 years.

We believe every Christian should be a witness and soulwinner.   Jesus command us to “Go into all the World and preach the gospel (good news) to every living person. Mark 16:15     There are many ways to preach (proclaim) the Good News of free eternal life.   We talk to people about receiving the Lord and eternal life and we also distribute Christian literature (tracts and Gospels of John) about free salvation.

Evangelizing does not mean that we win people to the Lord.   We sow the seed and God is responsible to make it grow.  To evangelize is simply “to proclaim the good news of free eternal life” and expect God to bring salvation to all who believe. 

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. 8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. 1 Cor 3:6-8 (KJV)

So we are successful even when a person does not immediately get saved.  We have done the will of God in that we have obeyed Him in proclaiming His word of Salvation.

Many churches neglect promoting witnessing and soul winning.   My friend and I hardly every see anyone witnessing or soul winning in the Chicago area.   This is a sad thing that churches are not obedient to the Lord’s command. 

If you would like to be obedient to the Lord’s command we will send you some material and ideas about witnessing and soul winning.

30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.  Prov 11:30 (KJV)

3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.  Dan 12:3 (KJV)

There are many ways to witness and win souls to the Lord.

Please write me or call me 773-934-0592

If your church does not promote witnessing and soul winning you might be better off changing to a church that does.  My son, wife, and children recently changed to a church that promotes soul winning and witnessing.   The church he was attending had good preaching but did not have an emphasis on evangelism, soul winning, and witnessing.

Below is the website of a good Bible memory ministry.

http://scripturememoryfellowship.org

Every Christian must be an effective witness for the Lord.

If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ please pray for us in our witnessing and soul winning.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14

 

Proof of Prophecy

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Prophecy is the greatest evidence of the inspiration and inerrancy of Holy Scripture.

One day my sister called me and said she was having doubts about the inspiration and authority of Scripture. At that point I only mentioned the amazing prophecy of Cyrus the Great. But I did promise that I would write an article about this amazing prophecy and email it to her. Below is what I sent her.

Proof of Prophesy

Prediction about Cyrus the Great

God predicts that Cyrus the Great will return the Jewish people from the Babylonian captivity over 176 years before Cyrus the Great is even born. This prophecy was declared by God even before the Jewish people are taken into the Babylonian captivity in 606 B.C., 597 B.C., and 586 B.C.

The below Scripture was written by Isaiah in 712 B.C. which was many years before Cyrus the Great was even born. God also predicts what Cyrus will do. Cyrus the Great will bring the Jewish people back from their captivity in Babylon. This prediction was made even prior to the Jewish people being taken into captivity in 606 B.C., 597 B.C. and finally in 586 B.C. This Jewish captivity lasted 70 years. The Jewish people were returned to their land somewhere around 536 B.C. which is 176 years after this prediction was made. This is indeed an amazing prediction.

 

One of the attributes of God is His omniscience. He knows the end from the beginning. This prophecy is clear evidence of the Divine nature of Holy Scripture. Isaiah’s prophecy is given 176 years before it actually took place. In Isaiah 46:8-11 God declares His ability to know all the future even before it happens.

8 Remember this, and shew yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Isaiah 46:8-11 (KJV) Written by Isaiah 712 B.C.

28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Isaiah 44:28 (KJV) Written by Isaiah 712 B.C.

1 Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; 2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: 3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name,am the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. Isaiah 45:1-4 (KJV)Written by Isaiah712 B.C.

13 I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build my city, and he shall let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 45:13 (KJV) Written in 712 B.C.

9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

Isaiah 46:9-10 (KJV) was written in 712 B.C. The Bible which is the Holy Scriptures clearly shows divine inspiration by the clearly fulfilled prophetic events that they predict.

There are many other prophecies that have been literally fulfilled exactly and clearly as stated. There are many fulfilled prophecies of Jesus Christ’s first coming.

This should give all God’s children confidence and hope. My confidence in the Bible, the Word of God, is most convincingly confirmed by God’s prophecies. God’s Word has changed my life through the years. My study of God’s Word has now been for over 52 years. Even now I continue to learn more every year.

God holds His Word in high regard. He states in Psalms 138:2 “…Thou hast magnified thy Word above all thy name.”

Psa 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

We are not guilty of bibliolatry when we exalt God’s Word. But we must recognize that God’s Word is to be used in an instrumental sense.

Joh 5:38And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.

Joh 5:39Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Joh 5:40And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

The Holy Scriptures were given for the purpose that we might receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. It was not because of the merit of simply reading and studying Holy Scripture.

Rev. Thomas L. Clark – Phil. 3:14 773-934-0592

www.bibleresourceman.com                                 www.jxministries.wordpress.com                                                    tlc2451@gmail.com

The book of Romans

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SKELETON OUTLINE OF THE BOOK ROMANS

Below is a skeleton outline of Romans.   After you have memorized this outline we will start to put some meat on the bones with exposition and memory verses.  The book of Romans is the most complete explanation of soteriology (doctrine of salvation) in the Bible.  It is the systematic Theology of the Bible.  William Tyndale said that Romans was a light and a way unto the whole Scripture.  Salvation has a very wide and comprehensive meaning in Scripture.  I define it as the work of God to remove and deliver all of His creation from the contamination and consequences of Sin.  This includes the material creation as well as mankind. “Forasmuch as this epistle is the principal and most excellent part of the new testament, and most pure evangelion, that is to say glad tidings and that we call gospel, and also a light and a way in unto the whole Scripture, I think it meet, that every Christian man not only know it by rote and without the book but also exercise himself therein evermore continually, as with the daily bread of the soul. No man verily can read it too often or study it too well: for the more it is studied the easier it is, the more it is chewed the pleasanter it is, and the more groundly it is searched the preciouser things are found in it, so great treasure of spiritual things lieth hid therein.[7]”  William Tyndale I recommend you read the below article on Tyndale. http://www.tyndale.org/TSJ/14/daniell.html My recommendation is that you master the book of Romans. As Henry Ward Beecher said, “All words are pegs to hang ideas on.”   Here are  8 pegs upon which you can begin to hang your ideas.  Memorize them well.

ESSENTIAL OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF ROMANS 

  1. INTRODUCTION – 1:1-1:17
  2. CONDEMNATION –  1:18-3:20
  3. JUSTIFICATION –   3:21-5:21
  4. SANCTIFICATION – 6:1-8:10
  5. GLORIFICATION – 8:11-8:39
  6. EXPLANATION – 9:1-11:36

A.    THE PAST ELECTION OF ISRAEL – CHAPTER 9

B.    THE PRESENT SALVATION OF ISRAEL – CHAPTER 10

C.    THE FUTURE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL – CHAPTER 11

  1. APPLICATION – 12:1-16:20
  2. SALUTATION – 16:1-27  

Definitions are the Touchstone & Foundation of correct and accurate Biblical Theology.   There is nothing more practical than correct & accurate theology.

Romans is the key to the understanding of the rest of the Bible.  It is the most systematic theology of all the books of the Bible.  Romans is literally the systematic theology of the Bible.

Master the contents of Romans in order to secure the key for all Scriptural understanding.   First memorize each one of the key words for the eight sections of Romans. Then memorize the chapter and verse divisions for each section. 

Then memorize the definition of each of the theological words:  1) Condemnation, 2) Justification, 3) Sanctification, and 4) Glorification.  Memorize these definitions verbatim.

1.   Introduction to Romans

The book of Romans was not addressed to the Church at Rome, but was simply addressed to the saints that be in Rome. To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints:”  Romans 1:7 (KJV).   The churches at Rome were probably small scattered groups of believers.  At this time, no official visit had been made by an Apostle.   The saints at Rome possibly became believers as a result of Jewish Messianic believers that returned from the Feast of Pentacost.

The letter to the Romans is introduction with the qualifications of the Apostle Paul.  He introduces himself as a “slave” of Jesus Christ, an Apostle, selected for the Gospel of God.  He further states the contents of his message: the promises of God to the Jewish people through God’s prophets of the coming Messiah.

The believers at Rome needed to be established in the doctrinal truth of the Good News of salvation.  This letter presents that most systematic theology of salvation in the Holy Scripture.   Paul probably believed this was necessary because no official Apostle had visited the Roman believers to establish them in clear doctrinal understanding.

Romans was written while Paul was in Corinth  “…most scholars would date Romans between A.D. 54 to 59, with a date of 55-56 being preferred.”1

“The consensus of the scholars who contributed to the New King James Version Study Bible say Romans was written in the fall of 57 AD by the Apostle Paul.”2

We know that Paul had a great desire to visit Rome in order to establish the believers there and also because Rome was the center of the civilized world at that time.  Rome was a strategic city for the spread of the Gospel.  Paul states his desire to visit but also states that he has not been able to visit Rome up to the present time.   Paul did get to Rome but not in the way he had planned.   He went there in chains.

Paul was confident that the Gospel of God would have power for salvation even in this proud and illustrious city.  Apparently, there had been Messianic believers already in Rome as early as the reign of Claudius Caesar.  Claudius had expelled some Jews from Rome because of some Jewish quarrel over one named Chrestus.  

“…Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.”  Acts 18:2 (KJV)

According to Wikipedia only some Jews were expelled from Rome but not all.3

 Many scholars believe that this was a conflict between traditional Jews and Messianic believers over the person of Jesus Christ.

During the time of the early Church Messianic Jews were persecuted by traditional unbelieving Jews.  The book of Hebrews was probably written by Paul to Messianic Jews that were suffering from persecution from traditional Jews.   Traditional Jews accused Messianic Jews of being traitors.   This type persecution continued up until the time of Bar Kokhba in (132–136 CE) A.D. when Bar Kokhba fomented a second Jewish war.   At that time Messianic Jews and Gentile Christians separated.  Gentile Christians did not want to be associated with Messianic Jews because Rome did not consider there to be any difference between Messianic Jews and traditional Jews.  Gentile Christians did not want to be consider rabble-rousers and contentious people.   From that time on Christianity took on a decidedly Gentile flavor and even became somewhat anti-semitic.  Because of Bar Kokhba Christianity took a serious bend toward being Gentilized.   All of this deviation culimated in Christianity being made a legal religion under Constantine and “In 395, Emperor Theodosius made Christianity Rome’s new state religion.”5  This joining of the Church and State continued until the Reformation and even beyond.

The theme of Romans is clearly stated in Romans 1:17 “the righteous of God”.

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

Romans 1:16-17 (KJV)

  1. http://www.studylight.org/dic/hbd/view.cgi?number=T5386
  2. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_year_was_the_book_of_Romans_written_in_the_bible
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudius’_expulsion_of_some_Jews_from_Rome
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar_Kokhba_revolt  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_bar_Kokhba http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/Kokhba.html  http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/revolt1.html
  5. http://www.crf-usa.org/bill-of-rights-in-action/bria-13-4-b-religious-tolerance-and-persecution-in-the-roman-empire

2. Condemnation is a judicial, legal, forensic act of God whereby He declares the sinner guilty and worthy of punishment.  Condemnation is not the punishment itself, but is simply the declaration of guilt.   Condemnation is a term that is equal and opposite to Justification.

15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.   Prov 17:15 (KJV)

   Just like in the human court system once a person has been declared guilty, there will be a later sentencing of the guilty person based on his degree of guilt.   In the case of capital crimes that person will be held in prison until his sentence is actually carried out.   

According to Holy Scripture all men are already declared guilty if they do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but their sentencing will take place at the Great White throne Judgment to determine the degree of their guilt and their punishment.   No one that appears before the Great White Throne Judgment is innocent.   This judgment is just to determine the degree of guilt and determine the degree of punishment.

Jesus said,

18 He that believeth on him (Jesus Christ) is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 3:18 (KJV)

Everyone that has not believed on Jesus Christ is condemned already because he has not believed in God’s provision for their sin.

36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.  John 3:36 (KJV)

 

Jesus said that unbelief is sin.    9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;  John 16:9 (KJV)

Romans 1:18-3:20 clearly shows that all men a condemned: all Gentiles and all Jews.

3. Justification by faith was the doctrine that created the Reformation.   It is one of the most important doctrines, if not the most important doctrine, to understand.

Memorize this definition:    Justification is the judicial, legal, forensic act of God whereby He declares the believing sinner righteous or in right standing with Himself based solely on the death of Jesus Christ for the payment of sins.  

Notice first of all that it is a judical, legal, forenic act of God.  It does not make any actual character changes in the person justified.  Note secondly that it is a legal declaration.   This act of justification is not an impartation of righteousness into you.  It is an imputation of righteousness to your account on the books of God in Heaven.  In justification you are not made righteous, you are counted as righteous in the eyes of God because of Jesus Christ’s payment for your sin.  To use the word “made” implies a change in your character which is not true of the act of justification.  When a person truly believes on Jesus Christ for his salvation God immediately justifies him.  We have included three lengthy articles on Justification by excellent scholars Charles Hodge, A.A. Hodge, and Jonathan Edwards.

Does God therefore make no changes in that believing sinner?  Yes, indeed God does make essential changes in the believing sinner.  But that is another work of God call regeneration or commonly called “born again”.   God gives the believing sinner a new nature which is the work of regeneration.  When God justifies the believing sinner He is not satisfied to leave him in his sinful condition.   At that very point there are a number of things that God does for the believing sinner.

Also, immediately at the time a person receives Jesus Christ as Saviour, the Holy Spirit of God comes into his life to indwell and empower him in his Christian life.  This indwelling is a permanent thing and takes place immediately upon receiving Jesus Christ.

13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.                      Eph 1:13-14 (ESV)

At the same moment that the believing sinner accepts Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord God begins the work of sanctification in him.   The full work of salvation has three aspects: 1) Justification, 2) Sanctification, and 3) Glorification.   But the moment a person believes on Jesus Christ he receives eternal life (John 3:36).   Someone has put it this way.   There are three tenses to our salvation:  1) Past tense – We have been saved from the Penalty of sin- hell, 2)Present tense – We are being saved from the Power of sin, and 3) future tense – We will be saved from the Presence of sin.  These three works of God are the doctrines of salvation: 1) Justification, 2) Sanctification, and                    3) Glorification.

4. Sanctification (progressive)

Our whole Christian life will be a work of sanctification.  Sanctification means to be dedicated and set apart to God.   The word sanctify does not mean to be sinless.   There are several words that come from the Greek root word, “hagios”: 1) holy, 2) holiness, 3) saint, 4) sanctify, and 5) sanctification.   A saint is one who has been “selected and set apart”by God.  He is not sinless but he is “set apart” for God.  He is special to God.  This work of sanctification is probably not completed in this life.   But a person can become fully mature as a Christian in this life.  The word translated “perfect” in the King James version is a word in the Greek that means “mature or of full age.”    It does not mean “sinless perfection.”   Unfortunately, many people do not understand this.  If a person is mature he will not be sinless but he will sin less and less.

5. Glorification is the final act of God whereby He totally perfects us into the likeness of Jesus Christ and gives us new Immortal bodies.   At this point we will no longer be able to sin.  That is truly glorious.  However, until that time we must battle against sin in ourselves and in the World.

Your are also permanently secure in Jesus Christ.   You eternal life is a free gift and it is forever.  Jesus said,

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and my Father are one.  John 10:27-30 (KJV)

However, there is another aspect to your salvation.   God rewards those who serve him faithfully in this life.   Rewards are received for faithful service as a Christian.  Rewards are received for works performed for Jesus Christ.   While eternal life is totally free by grace, through faith, in Christ alone,  rewards are based on a faithful life of serve and good works.  Good works are motivated by a love for God and are things clearly  marked out in the Holy Scriptures as good works.  Christian’s faithfulness and rewards will be determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  No truly regenerate person will appear before the Great White Throne Judgment, but all will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ to give an account of their Christian life.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. 14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  1 Cor 3:11-15 (KJV)

 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.  Romans 14:12 (KJV)

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.   2 Cor 5:10 (KJV)

Evangelizing the lost is truly a good work which God has commanded all Christians to do.  Evangelization is presenting the Good News of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.  To evangelize does not mean that we have to actually win a person to Christ.   We just have to proclaim the Good News.  Some will believe and some will not believe.  But we have done the work of God when we do what he said, “Proclaim the Good News!”

Success is obeying his command to proclaim the Good News to every creature. Mark 16:15

Because I thought the book of Romans was so valuable I took two formal courses on the book:  One in college and one in Seminary.   Then I memorized the first eight chapters of Romans which is the doctrinal section.

An explanation of the 3 remaining parts (6. Explanation, 7. Application, and 8. Salutation) of Romans will be added later.  We so far have cover the doctrinal sections of Romans.

  Rev. Thomas L. Clark – tlc2451@excite.com  773-934-0592

 

02 Justification – Charles Hodge

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Justification  Charles Hodge

 Part I: Justification

When the mind is enlightened by Divine truth, and duly impressed with a sense of guilt, it cannot fail anxiously to inquire, How can a man be just with God! The answer given to this question decides the character of our religion, and, if practically adopted, our future destiny. To give a wrong answer, is to mistake the way to heaven. It is to err where error is fatal, because it cannot be corrected. If God require one thing, and we present another, how can we be saved? If He has revealed a method in which He can be just and yet justify the sinner, and if we reject that method and insist upon pursuing a different way, how can we hope to be accepted? The answer, therefore, which is given to the above question, should be seriously pondered by all who assume the office of religious teachers, and by all who rely upon their instructions. As we are not to be judged by proxy, but every man must answer for himself, so every man should be satisfied for himself what the Bible teaches on this subject. All that religious teachers can do, is to endeavor to aid the investigations of those who are anxious to learn the way of life. And in doing this, the safest method is to adhere strictly to the instructions of the Scriptures, and to exhibit the subject as it is there presented. The substance and the form of this all-important doctrine are so intimately connected, that those who attempt to separate them can hardly fail to err. What one discards as belonging merely to the form, another considers as belonging to its substance. All certainty and security are lost, as soon as this method is adopted, and it becomes a matter to be decided exclusively by our own views of right and wrong, what is to be retained and what rejected from the scriptural representations. Our only security, therefore, is to take the language of the Bible in its obvious meaning, and put upon it the construction which the persons to whom it was addressed must have given, and which, consequently, the sacred writers intended it should bear.

As the doctrine of justification is not only frequently stated in the sacred Scriptures, but formally taught and vindicated, all that will be attempted in this article, is to give as faithfully as possible, a representation of what the inspired writers inculcate on this subject; that is, to state what positions they assume, by what arguments they sustain those positions, how they answer the objections to their doctrine, and what application they make of it to the hearts and consciences of their readers.

It is one of the primary doctrines of the Bible, everywhere either asserted or assumed, that we are under the law of God. This is true of all classes of men, whether they enjoy a Divine revelation or not. Everything which God has revered as a rule of duty, enters into the constitution of the law which binds those to whom that revelation is given, and by which they are to be ultimately judged. Those who have not received any external revelation of the Divine will are a law unto themselves. The knowledge of right and wrong, written upon their hearts, is of the nature of a Divine law, having its authority and sanction, and by it the heathen are to be judged in the last day.

God has seen fit to annex the promise of life to obedience to his law. ‘The man which doeth those things shall live by them’ (Rom. 10.5), is the language of Scripture on this subject. To the lawyer who admitted that the law required love to God and man, our Savior said, ‘Thou has answered right: this do, and thou shalt live’ (Lk. 10.28). And to one who asked him, ‘What good things shall I do, that I may have eternal life?’ he said, ‘If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandment.'(Mt. 19.17). On the other hand, the law denounces death as the penalty of transgression: ‘The wages of sin is death.’ (Rom. 6.23). Such is the uniform declaration of Scripture on this subject.

The obedience which the law demands is called righteousness; and those who render that obedience are called righteous. To ascribe righteousness to anyone, or to pronounce him righteous, is the scriptural meaning of the word ‘to justify.’ The word never means, to make good in a moral sense, but always to pronounce just or righteous. Thus God says, ‘I will not justify the wicked'(Ex.23.7). Judges are commanded to justify the righteous and to condemn the wicked (Deut. 25.1). Woe is pronounced on those who ‘justify the wicked for reward’ (Isa. 5.23). In the New Testament it is said, ‘By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight’ (Rom. 3.20) ‘It is God that justifieth, Who is he that condemneth?’ (Rom. 8.33,34). There is scarcely a word in the Bible the meaning of which is less open to doubt. There is no passage in the New Testament in which it is used out of its ordinary and obvious sense. When God justifies a man, he declares him to be righteous. To justify never means to render one holy. It is said to be sinful to justify the wicked; but it could never be sinful to render the wicked holy. And as the law demands righteousness, to impute or ascribe righteousness to anyone, is, in scriptural language, to justify. To make (or constitute) righteous, is another equivalent form of expression. Hence, to be righteous before God, and to be justified, mean the same thing: as in the following passage: ‘ Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.'(Rom. 2.13) The attentive, and especially the anxious reader of the Bible cannot fail to observe, that these various expressions, to be righteous in the sight of God, to impute righteousness, to constitute righteous, to justify, and others of similar import, are so interchanged as to explain each other, and to make it clear that to justify a man is to ascribe or impute to him righteousness. The great question then is, How is this righteousness to be obtained? We have reason to be thankful that the answer which the Bible gives to this question is so perfectly plain.

In the first place, that the righteousness by which we are to be justified before God is not of works, is not only asserted, but proved. The apostle’s first argument on this point is derived from the consideration that the law demands a perfect righteousness. If the law was satisfied by an imperfect obedience, or by a routine of external duties, or by any service which men are competent to render, then indeed justification would be by works. But since it demands perfect obedience, justification by works is, for sinners, absolutely impossible. It is thus the apostle reasons, ‘As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them (Gal.3.10). As the law pronounces its curse upon every man who continues not to do all that it commands, and as no man can pretend to this perfect obedience, it follows that all who look to the law for justification must be condemned. To the same effect, in a following verse, he says, ‘The law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.’ That is, the law is not satisfied by any single grace, or imperfect obedience. It knows, and can know no other ground of justification than complete compliance with its demands. Hence, in the same chapter, Paul says, ‘ If there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.’ Could the law pronounce righteous, and thus give a title to the promised life to those who had broken its commands, there would have been no necessity of any other provision for the salvation of men; but as the law cannot thus lower its demands, justification by the law is impossible. The same truth is taught in a different form, when it is said, ‘If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Gal. 2.21). There would have been no necessity for the death of Christ, if it had been possible to satisfy the law by the imperfect obedience which we can render. Paul therefore warns all those who look to works for justification, that they are debtors to do the whole law (Gal. 5.3). It knows no compromise; it cannot demand less than what is right, and perfect obedience is right, and therefore its only language is as before, ‘ Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them’ (Gal. 3.10); and, ‘The man which doeth those things shall live by them’ (Rom. 10.5). Every man, therefore, who expects justification by works, must see to it, not that he is better than other men, or that he is very exact and does many things, or that he fasts twice in the week, and gives tithes of all he possesses, but that he is SINLESS.

That the law of God is thus strict in its demands, is a truth which lies at the foundation of all Paul’s reasoning in reference to the method of justification. He proves that the Gentiles have sinned against the law written on their hearts; and that the Jews have broken the law revealed in their Scriptures; both Jews and Gentiles, therefore, are under sin, and the whole world is guilty before God. Hence, he infers, that by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight. There is, however, no force in this reasoning, except on the assumption that the law demands perfect obedience. How many men, who freely acknowledge that they are sinners, depend upon their works for acceptance with God! They see no inconsistency between the acknowledgment of sin, and the expectation of justification by works. The reason is, they proceed upon a very different principle from that adopted by the apostle. They suppose that the law may be satisfied by very imperfect obedience. Paul assumes that God demands perfect conformity to his will, that his wrath is revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. With him, therefore, it is enough that men have sinned, to prove that they cannot be justified by works. It is not a question of degrees, more or less, for as to this point there is no difference, since ‘ all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3.23).

This doctrine, though so plainly taught in Scripture, men are disposed to think very severe. They imagine that their good deeds will be compared with their evil deeds, and that they will be rewarded or punished as the one or the other preponderates; or that the sins of one part of life may be atoned for by the good works of another, or that they can escape by mere confession and repentance. They could not entertain such expectations, if they believed themselves to be under a law. No human law is administered as men seem to hope the law of God will be. He who steals or murders, though it be but once, though he confesses and repents, though he does any number of acts of charity, is not less a thief or murderer. The law cannot take cognizance of his repentance and reformation. If he steals or murders, the law condemns him. Justification by the law is for him impossible. The law of God extends to the most secret exercises of the heart. It condemns whatever is in its nature evil. If a man violate this perfect rule of right, there is an end of justification by the law; he has failed to comply with its conditions; and the law can only condemn him. To justify him, would be to say that he had not transgressed. Men, however, think that they are not to be dealt with on the principles of strict law. Here is their fatal mistake. It is here that they are in most direct conflict with the Scriptures, which proceed upon the uniform assumption of our subjection to the law. Under the government of God, strict law is nothing but perfect excellence; it is the steady exercise of moral rectitude. Even conscience, when duly enlightened and roused, is as strict as the law of God. It refuses to be appeased by repentance, reformation, or penance. It enforces every command and every denunciation of our Supreme Ruler, and teaches, as plainly as do the Scriptures themselves, that justification by an imperfect obedience is impossible. As conscience, however, is fallible, no reliance on this subject is placed on her testimony. The appeal is to the word of God, which clearly teaches that it is impossible a sinner can be justified by works, because the law demands perfect obedience.

The apostle’s second argument to show that justification is not by works, is the testimony of the Scriptures of the Old Testament. This testimony is urged in various forms. In the first place, as the apostle proceeds upon the principle that the law demands perfect obedience, all those passages which assert the universal sinfulness of men, are so many declarations that they cannot be justified by works. He therefore quotes such passages as the following: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one’ (Rom. 3.10-12). The Old Testament, by teaching that all men are sinners, does, in the apostle’s view, thereby teach that they can never be accepted before God on the ground of their own righteous ness. To say that a man is a sinner, is to say that the law condemns him; and of course it cannot justify him. As the ancient Scriptures are full of declarations of the sinfulness of men, so they are full of proof that justification is not by works.

But, in the second place, Paul cites their direct affirmative testimony in support of his doctrine. In the Psalms it is said, ‘Enter not into judgment with thy servant; for in thy sight shall no man living be justified’ (Ps. 143.2). This passage he often quotes; and to the same class belong all those passages which speak of the insufficiency or worthlessness of human righteousness in the sight of God.

In the third place, the apostle refers to those passages which imply the doctrine for which he contends; that is, to those which speak of the acceptance of men with God as a matter of grace, as something which they do not deserve, and for which they can urge no claim founded upon their own merit. It is with this view that he refers to the language of David; ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities are for given, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin (Rom. 4.7, 8). The fact that a man is forgiven, implies that he is guilty; and the fact that he is guilty, implies that his justification cannot rest upon his own character or conduct. It need hardly be remarked, that, in this view, the whole Scriptures, from the beginning to the end, are crowded with condemnations of the doctrine of justification by works. Every penitent confession, every appeal to God’s mercy, is a renunciation of all personal merit, a declaration that the penitent’s hope was not founded on anything in himself. Such confessions and appeals are indeed often made by those who still rely upon their good works, or inherent righteousness, for acceptance with God. This, however, does not invalidate the apostle’s argument. It only shows that such persons have a different view of what is necessary for justification, from that entertained by the apostle. They suppose that the demands of the law are so low, that although they are sinners and need to be forgiven, they can still do what the law demands. Whereas, Paul proceeds on the assumption that the law requires perfect obedience, and therefore every confession of sin, or appeal for mercy, involves a renunciation of justification by the law.

Again, the apostle represents the Old Testament Scriptures as teaching that justification is not by works, by showing that they inculcate a different method of obtaining acceptance with God. This they do by the doctrine which they teach concerning the Messiah as a Redeemer from sin. Hence Paul says, that the method of justification without works (not founded upon works) was testified by the law and the prophets; that is, by the whole of the Old Testament. The two methods of acceptance with God, the one by works, the other by a propitiation for sin, are incompatible. And as the ancient Scriptures teach the latter method, they repudiate the former. But they moreover, in express terms, assert, that ‘the just shall live by faith.’ And the law knows nothing of faith; its language is, ‘The man that doeth them shall live in them’ (Gal. 3:11,12). The law knows nothing of anything but obedience as the ground of acceptance. If the Scriptures say we are accepted through faith, they thereby say that we are not accepted on the ground of obedience.

Again: the examples of justification given in the Old Testament, show that it was not by works. The apostle appeals particularly to the case of Abraham, and asks, whether he attained justification by works; and answers, ‘No, for if he were justified by works he had whereof to glory; but he had no ground of glorying before God, and therefore he was not justified by works.’ And the Scriptures expressly assert, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness’ (Rom. 4.3). His acceptance, therefore, was by faith, and not by works.

In all these various ways does the apostle make the authority of the Old Testament sustain his doctrine, that justification is not by works. This authority is as decisive for us as it was for the ancient Jewish Christians. We also believe the Old Testament to be the word of God, and its truths come to us explained and enforced by Christ and his apostles. We have the great advantage of an infallible interpretation of these early oracles of truth; and the argumentative manner in which their authority is cited and applied, prevents all obscurity as to the real intentions of the sacred writers. That by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified before God is taught so clearly and so frequently in the New Testament, it is so often asserted, so formally proved, so variously assumed, that no one can doubt that such is indeed the doctrine of the word of God. The only point on which the serious inquirer can even raise a question, is, What kind of works do the Scriptures mean to exclude as the foundation for acceptance with God? Does the apostle mean works in the widest sense, or does he merely intend ceremonial observances, or works of mere formality, performed without any real love to God?

Those who attend to the nature of his assertions and to the course of his argument, will find that there is no room for doubt on this subject. The primary principle on which his argument rests precludes all ground for mistaking his meaning. He assumes that the law demands perfect obedience, and as no man can render that obedience, he infers that no man can be justified by the law. He does not argue, that because the law is spiritual, it cannot be satisfied by mere ceremonies, or by works flowing from an impure motive. He nowhere says, that though we cannot be justified by external rites, or by works having the mere form of goodness, we are justified by our sincere, though imperfect, obedience. On the contrary, he constantly teaches, that since we are sinners, and since the law condemns all sin, it condemns us, and justification by the law is, therefore, impossible. This argument he applies to the Jews and the Gentiles without distinction, to the whole world, whether they knew anything of the Jewish Scriptures or not. It was the moral law, the law which he pronounced holy, just, and good, which says, ‘Thou shalt not covet'; it is this law, however revealed, whether in the writings of Moses, or in the human heart, of which he constantly asserts that it cannot give life, or teach the way of acceptance with God. As most of those to whom he wrote had enjoyed a Divine revelation, and as that revelation included the law of Moses and all its rites, he of course included that law in his statement, and often specially refers to it; but never in its limited sense, as a code of religious ceremonies, but always in its widest scope, as including the highest rule of moral duty made known to men. And hence he never contrasts one class of works with another, but constantly works and faith, excluding all classes of the former, works of righteousness as well as those of mere formality. ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us’ (Titus 3.5). ‘Who hath saved us–not according to our works (2 Tm. 1.9). We are saved by faith, not by works (Eph. 2.9). Nay, men are said to be justified without works; to be in themselves ungodly when justified; and it is not until they are justified that they perform any real good works. It is only when united to Christ that we bring forth fruit unto God. Hence, we are said to be ‘His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works’ (Eph. 2.10). All the inward excellence of the Christian and the fruit of the Spirit are the consequences, and not the causes of his reconciliation and acceptance with God. They are the robe of beauty, the white garment, with which Christ arrays those who come to him poor, and blind, and naked. It is, then, the plain doctrine of the word of God, that our justification is not founded upon our own obedience to the law. Nothing done by us or wrought in us can for a moment stand the test of a rule of righteousness, which pronounces a curse upon all those who continue not in all things written in the book of the law to do them.

Part II: The Demands Of The Law Are Satisfied By What Christ Has Done.


WE have thus seen that the Scriptures teach, first, That all men are naturally under the law as prescribing the terms of their acceptance with God; and, secondly, That no obedience which sinners can render is sufficient to satisfy the demands of that law. It follows, then, that unless we are freed from the law, not as a rule of duty, but as prescribing the conditions of acceptance with God, justification is for us impossible. It is, therefore, the third great point of scriptural doctrine on this subject, that believers are free from the law in the sense just stated. ‘Ye are not under the law,’ says the apostle, ‘but under grace’ (Rom.6.14). To illustrate this declaration, he refers to the case of a woman who is bound to her husband as long as he lives; but when he is dead, she is free from her obligation to him, and is at liberty to marry another man. So we are delivered from the law as a rule of justification and are at liberty to embrace a different method of obtaining acceptance with God (Rom. 7.1-6). Paul says of himself, that he had died to the law; that is, become free from it (Gal. 2.19). And the same is said of all believers (Rom. 7.6). He insists upon this freedom as essential not only to justification, but to sanctification. For while under the law, the motions of sins, which were by the law, brought forth fruit unto death; but now we are delivered from the law, that we may serve God in newness of spirit (Rom. 7.5-6). Before faith came we were kept under the law, which he compares to a schoolmaster, but now we are no longer under a schoolmaster (Gal. 3.24, 25). He regards the desire to be subject to the law as the greatest infatuation. ‘Tell me,’ he says, ‘ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?’ and then shows that those who are under the demands of a legal system, are in the condition of slaves, and not of sons and heirs. ‘Stand fast therefore,’ he exhorts, ‘in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.–Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Gal. 4.21-1; 5.1-4). This infatuation Paul considered madness, and exclaims, ‘O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth crucified among you. This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ?’ (Gal. 3.1-2). This apostasy was so fatal, the substitution of legal obedience for the work of Christ as the ground of justification was so destructive, that Paul pronounces accursed any man or angel who should preach such a doctrine for the gospel of the grace of God.

It was to the law, as revealed in the books of Moses, that the fickle Galatians were disposed to look for justification. Their apostasy, however, consisted in going back to the law, no matter in what form revealed–to works, no matter of what kind, as the ground of justification. .The apostle’s arguments and denunciations, therefore, are so framed as to apply to the adoption of any form of legal obedience, instead of the work of Christ, as the ground of our confidence towards God. To suppose that all he says relates exclusively to a relapse into Judaism, is to suppose that we Gentiles have no part in the redemption of Christ. If it was only from the bondage of the Jewish economy that he redeemed his people, then those who were never subject to that bondage have no interest in his work. And of course Paul was strangely infatuated in preaching Christ crucified to the Gentiles. We find, however, that what he taught in the Epistle to the Galatians, in special reference to the law of Moses he teaches in the Epistle to the Romans in reference to that law which is holy, just, and good, and which condemns the most secret sins of the heart.

The nature of the apostle’s doctrine is, if possible, even more clear from the manner in which he vindicates it, than from his direct assertions. ‘What then?’ he asks,’shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid’ (Rom. 6.15). Had Paul taught that we are freed from the ceremonial in order to be subject to the moral law, there could have been no room for such an objection. But if he taught that the moral law itself could not give life, that we must be freed from its demands as the condition of acceptance with God, then, indeed, to the wise of this world, it might seem that he was loosing the bands of moral obligation, and opening the door to the greatest licentiousness. Hence the frequency and earnestness with which he repels the objection, and shows that, so far from legal bondage being necessary to holiness, it must cease before holiness can exist; that it is not until the curse of the law is removed, and the soul reconciled to God, that holy affections rise in the heart, and the fruits of holiness appear in the life, ‘Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law’ (Rom. 2.31).

It is then clearly the doctrine of the Bible, that believers are freed from the law as prescribing the conditions of their acceptance with God; it is no longer incumbent upon them, in order to justification, to fulfil its demand of perfect obedience, or to satisfy its penal exactions. But how is this deliverance effected? How is it that rational and accountable beings are exempted from the obligations of that holy and just law, which was originally imposed upon their race as the rule of justification ? The answer to this question incudes the fourth great truth respecting the way of salvation taught in the Scriptures. It is not by the abrogation of the law, either as to its precepts or penalty; it is not by lowering its demands, and accommodating them to the altered capacities or inclinations of men. We have seen how constantly the apostle teaches that the law still demands perfect obedience, and that they are debtors to do the whole law who seek justification at its hands. He no less clearly teaches, that death is as much the wages of sin in our case, as it was in that of Adam. If it is neither by abrogation nor relaxation that we are freed from the demands of the law, how has this deliverance been effected! By the mystery of vicarious obedience and suffering. This is the gospel of the grace of God. This is what was a scandal to the Jews, and foolishness to the Greeks; but, to those that are called, the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1.23, 24).

The Scriptures teach us that the Son of God, the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, became flesh, and subjected himself to the very law to which we were bound; that he perfectly obeyed that law, and suffered its penalty, and thus, by satisfying its demands, delivered us from its bondage, and introduced us into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. It is thus that the doctrine of redemption is presented in the Scriptures. ‘God,’ says the apostle, ‘sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law’ (Gal. 4.4-5). Being made under the law, we know that he obeyed it perfectly, and brought in everlasting righteousness, and is therefore declared to be ‘the Lord our righteousness,'(Jer. 23.6) since, by his obedience, many are constituted righteous (Rom. 5.19). He, therefore, is said to be made righteousness unto us (1 Cor. 1.30). And those who are in him are said to be righteous before God, not having their own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ (Phil. 3.9).

That we are redeemed from the curse of the law by Christ’s enduring that curse in our place, is taught in every variety of form from the beginning to the end of the Bible. There was the more need that this point should be dearly and variously presented, because it is the one on which an enlightened conscience immediately fastens. The desert of death begets the fear of death. And this fear of death cannot be allayed, until it is seen how, in consistency with Divine justice, we are freed from the righteous penalty of the law. How this is done, the Scriptures teach in the most explicit manner. ‘Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us’ (Gal. 3.13). Paul had just said, ‘As many as are of the works of the law are under the curse.’ But all men are naturally under the law, and therefore all are under the curse. How are we redeemed from it? By Christ’s being made a curse for us. Such is the simple and sufficient answer to this most important of all questions.

The doctrine so plainly taught in Gal. 3.13, that Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by bearing it in our stead, is no less clearly presented in 2 Cor. 5. 21: ‘ He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,’ This is represented as the only ground on which men are authorized to preach the gospel. ‘We are ambassadors for Christ,’ says the apostle, ‘ as though God did beseech you by us;: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God’ (2 Cor. 5.20). Then follows a statement of the ground upon which this offer of reconciliation is presented. God has made effectual provision for the pardon of sin, by making Christ, though holy, harmless, and separate from sinners, sin for us, that we might be made righteous in him. The iniquities of us all were laid on him; he was treated as a sinner in our place, in order that we might be treated as righteous in him.

The same great truth is taught in all those passages in which Christ is said to bear our sins. The expression, to bear sin, is one which is clearly explained by its frequent occurrence in the sacred Scriptures. It means, to bear the punishment due to sin. In Lev. xx. 17, it is said that he that marries his sister ‘shall bear his iniquity.’ Again, ‘ Whosoever curseth his God, shall bear his sin’ (Lev. 24.15). Of him that failed to keep the Passover, it was said, ‘That man shall bear his sin’ (Num. 9.13). If a man sin, he shall bear his iniquity. It is used in the same sense when one man is spoken of as bearing the sin of another. ‘Your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms’ (Num. 14.33). Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne their iniquities’ (Lam. 5.7). And when, in Ezekiel xvii. to, it is said that ‘the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father,’ it is obviously meant that the son shall not be punished for the sins of the father. The meaning of this expression being thus definite, of course there can be no doubt as to the manner in which it is to be understood when used in reference to the Redeemer. The prophet says, ‘The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.–My righteous servant shall justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.–He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many’ (Isa. 53.6, 11, 122). Language more explicit could not be used. This whole chapter is designed to teach one great truth, that our sins were to be laid on the Messiah, that we might be freed from the punishment which we deserved. It is therefore said, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him.–For the transgression of my people was he stricken.’ In the New Testament, the same doctrine is taught in the same terms. ‘Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree’ (1 Pet. 2.24). ‘Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many’ (Heb. 9.28). ‘Ye know that he was manifested to take away’ (to bare) ‘our sins’ (1 Jn. 3.5). According to all these representations, Christ saves us from the punishment due to our sins, by bearing the curse of the law in OUR stead.

Intimately associated with the passages just referred to, are those which describe the Redeemer as a sacrifice or propitiation. The essential idea of a sin offering is propitiation by means of vicarious punishment. That this is the scriptural idea of a sacrifice is plain from the laws of their institution, from the effects ascribed to them, and from the illustrative declarations of the sacred writers. The law prescribed that the offender should bring the victim to the altar, lay his hands upon its head, make confession of his crime; and that the animal should then be slain, and its blood sprinkled upon the altar. Thus, it is said, ‘He shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him’ (Lev. 1.4) ‘And he brought the bullock for the sin offering; and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering’ (Lev. 8.14). The import of this imposition of hands is clearly taught in the following passage: ‘And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited’ (Lev. 16.21 22). The imposition of hands, therefore, was designed to express symbolically the ideas of substitution and transfer the liability to punishment. In the case just referred to, in order to convey more clearly the idea of the removal of the liability to punishment, the goat on whose head the sins of the people were imposed, was sent into the wilderness, but another goat was slain and consumed in its stead.

The nature of these offerings is further obvious from the effects attributed to them. They were commanded in order to make atonement, to propitiate, to make reconciliation, to secure the forgiveness of sins. And this effect they actually secured. In the case of every Jewish offender, some penalty connected with the theocratical constitution under which he lived, was removed by the presentation and acceptance of the appointed sacrifice. This was all the effect, in the way of securing pardon, that the blood of bulls and of goats could produce. Their efficacy was confined to the purifying of the flesh, and to securing, for those who offered them, the advantages of the external theocracy. Besides, however, this efficacy, which, by Divine appointment, belonged to them considered in themselves, they were intended to prefigure and predict the true atoning sacrifice which was to be offered when the fulness of time should come. Nothing, however, can more clearly illustrate the scriptural doctrine of sacrifices, than the expressions employed by the sacred writers to convey the same idea as that intended by the term sin offering. Thus, all that Isaiah taught by saying of the Messiah that the chastisement of our peace was upon him; that with his stripes we are healed; that he was stricken for the transgression of the people; that on him was laid the iniquity of us all, and that he bore the sins of many, he taught by saying, ‘he made his soul an offering for sin.’ And in the Epistle to the Hebrews it is said, He ‘was once offered’ (as a sacrifice) ‘to bear the sins of many’ (Heb. 9.28). The same idea, therefore, is expressed by saying, either he bore our sins, or he was made an offering for sin. But to bear the sins of anyone, means to bear the punishment of those sins; and, therefore, to be a sin offering conveys the same meaning.

Such being the idea of a sacrifice which pervades the whole Jewish Scriptures, it is obvious that the sacred writers could not teach more distinctly and intelligibly the manner in which Christ secures the pardon of sin, than by saying he was made an offering for sin. With this mode of pardon all the early readers of the Scriptures were familiar. They had been accustomed to it from their earliest years. No one of them could recall the time when the altar, the victim, and the blood were unknown to him. His first lessons in religion contained the ideas of confession of sin, substitution, and vicarious sufferings and death. When, therefore, the inspired penmen told men imbued with these ideas that Christ was a propitiation for sin, that he was offered as a sacrifice to make reconciliation, they told them, in the plainest of all terms, that he secures the pardon of our sins by suffering in our stead. Jews could understand such language in no other way: and, therefore, we may be sure it was intended to convey no other meaning. And, in point of fact, it has been so understood by the Christian church from its first organization to the present day.

If it were merely in the way of casual allusion that Christ was declared to be a sacrifice, we should not be authorized to infer from it the method of redemption. But this is far from being the case. This doctrine is presented in the most didactic form. It is exhibited in every possible mode. It is asserted, illustrated, vindicated. It is made the central point of all Divine institutions and instructions. It is urged as the foundation of hope, as the source of consolation, the motive to obedience. It is, in fact, THE GOSPEL. It would be vain to attempt a reference to all the passages in which this great doctrine is taught. We are told that God set forth Jesus Christ as a propitiation for our sins through faith in his blood (Rom. 3.25). Again, he is declared to be a ‘propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world’ (1 Jn. 2.2). He is called the Lamb of God, which taketh away’ (beareth) ‘the sin of the world’ (Jn. 1.29). ‘Ye were not redeemed,’ says the apostle Peter, ‘with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ 1 Pet. 1.18,19). In the Epistle to the Hebrews, this doctrine is more fully exhibited than in any other portion of Scripture. Christ is not only repeatedly called a sacrifice, but an elaborate comparison is made between the offering which he presented and the sacrifices which were offered under the old dispensation. ‘If the blood of bulls and of goats,’ says the apostle, ‘and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself with out spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!’ (Heb. 9.13,14). The ancient sacrifices in themselves could only remove ceremonial uncleanness. They could not purge the conscience, or reconcile the soul to God. They were mere shadows of the true sacrifice for sins. Hence, they were offered daily. Christ’s sacrifice being really efficacious, was offered but once. It was because the ancient sacrifices were ineffectual, that Christ said, when he came into the world, ‘Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me; in burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God’ (Heb. 10.5-15). ‘By the which will’, adds the apostle, that is, by the accomplishing the purpose of God, ‘we are sanctified’ (or atoned for) ‘through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all'; and by that ‘one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified,’ and of all this he adds, the Holy Ghost is witness (Heb. 10.5-15). The Scriptures, therefore, clearly teach that Jesus Christ delivers us from the punishment of our sins, by offering himself as a sacrifice in our behalf; that as under the old dispensation, the penalties attached to the violations of the theocratical covenant, were removed by the substitution and sacrifice of bulls and of goats, so under the spiritual theocracy, in the living temple of the living God, the punishment of sin is removed by the substitution and death of the Son of God. As no ancient Israelite, when by transgression he had forfeited his liberty of access to the earthly sanctuary, was ignorant of the mode of atonement and reconciliation; so now, no conscience-stricken sinner, who knows that he is unworthy to draw near to God, need be ignorant of that new and living way which Christ hath consecrated for us, through his flesh, so that we have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.

In all the forms of expression mentioned–Christ was made a curse for us; he was made sin for us; he bore our sins, he was made a sin offering–there is the idea of substitution. Christ took our place, he suffered in our stead, he acted as our representative. But as the act of a substitute is in effect the act of the principal, all that Christ did and suffered in that character, every believer is regarded as having done and suffered. The attentive and pious reader of the Bible will recognize this idea in some of the most common forms of scriptural expression. Believers are those who are in Christ. This is their great distinction and most familiar designation. They are so united to him, that what he did in their behalf they are declared to have done. When he died, they died; when he rose, they rose; as he lives, they shall live also. The passages in which believers are said to have died in Christ are very numerous. ‘If one died for all,’ says the apostle, ‘then all died’ (not, ‘were dead’) (2 Cor. 5.14). He that died (with Christ) is justified from sin, that is, freed from its condemnation and power; and if we died with Christ, we believe, that we shall live with him (Rom. 6. 7, 8). As a woman is freed by death from her husband, so believers are freed from the law by the body (the death) of Christ, because his death is in effect their death (Rom. 7.4). And in the following verse, he says, having died (in Christ), we are freed from the law. Every believer, therefore, may say with Paul, I was crucified with Christ (Gal. 2.20). In like manner, the resurrection of Christ secures both the spiritual life and future resurrection of all his people. If we have been united to him in his death, we shall be in his resurrection, if we died with him, we shall live with him (Rom.6.5, 8). ‘God,’ says the apostle, ‘hath quickened us together with Christ; and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Eph.2.4-6). That is, God hath quickened, raised, and exalted us together with Christ. It is on this ground, also, that Paul says that Christ rose as the firstfruits of the dead; not merely the first in order, but the earnest and security of the resurrection of his people. ‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Cor. 15.20, 22). As our union with Adam secures our death, union with Christ secures our resurrection. Adam is a type of him that was to come–that is, Christ, inasmuch as the relation in which Adam stood to the whole race, is analogous to that in which Christ stands to his own people. As Adam was our natural head, the poison of sin flows in all our veins. As Christ is our spiritual Head, eternal life which is in him, descends to all his members. It is not they that live, but Christ that liveth in them (Gal. 2.20). This doctrine of the representative and vital union of Christ and believers pervades the New Testament. It is the source of the humility, the joy, the confidence which the sacred writers so often express. In themselves they were nothing, and deserved nothing, but in Him they possessed all things. Hence, they counted all things but loss that they might be found in Him. Hence, they determined to know nothing, to preach nothing, to glory in nothing, but Christ and him crucified.

The great doctrine of the vicarious sufferings and death of Jesus Christ, is further taught in those numerous passages which refer our salvation to his blood, his death, or his cross. Viewed in connexion with the passages already mentioned, those now referred to not only teach the fact that the death of Christ secures the pardon of sin, but how it does it. To this class belong such declarations as the following: ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin’ (1 Jn. 1.7). ‘We have redemption through his blood’ (Eph. 1.7). He has ‘made peace through the blood of his cross’ (Col. 1.20). ‘Being now justified by his blood’ (Rom. 5.9). Ye ‘are made nigh by the blood of Christ’ (Eph. 2.13). ‘Ye are come–to the blood of sprinkling’ (Heb. 12.22, 24). ‘Elect–unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ (1 Pet. 1.2). ‘Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood’ (Rev. 1.5). ‘He hath redeemed us unto God by his blood’ (Rev. 5.9) ‘This cup,’ said the Son of God himself, ‘is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins’ (Mt. 26.28). The sacrificial character of the death of Christ is taught in all these passages. Blood was the means of atonement, and without the shedding of blood there was no remission; and, therefore, when our salvation is so often ascribed to the blood of the Savior, it is declared that he died as a propitiation for our sins.

The same remark may be made in reference to those passages which ascribe our redemption to the death, the cross, the flesh of Christ; for these terms are interchanged, as being of the same import. We are ‘reconciled to God by the death of his Son’ (Rom. 5.10). We are reconciled his cross. (Eph. 2.16). We are ‘reconciled in the body of his flesh through death’ (Col. 1.21, 22). We are delivered from the law ‘by the body of Christ’ (Rom. 7.4); he abolished the law in his flesh (Eph. 2.15); he took away the handwriting which was against us, nailing it to his cross (Col. 2.14). The more general expressions respecting Christ’s dying for us, receive a definite meaning from their connexion with the more specific passages above mentioned. Everyone, therefore, knows what is meant, when it is said that ‘ Christ died for the ungodly’ (Rom. 5.6); that he gave himself ‘ a ransom for many’ (Mt. 20.28); that he died ‘the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God’ (1 Pet. 3.18). Not less plain is the meaning of the Holy Spirit when it is said, God ‘spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all’ (Rom. 8.32); that he ‘was delivered for our offences’ (Rom. 4.25); that he ‘gave himself for our sins’ (Gal. 1.4).

Seeing, then, that we owe everything to the expiatory sufferings of the blessed Savior, we cease to wonder that the cross is rendered so prominent in the exhibition of the plan of salvation. We are not surprised at Paul’s anxiety lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect; or that he should call the preaching of the gospel the preaching of the cross; or that he should preach Christ crucified, both to Jews and Creeks, as the wisdom of God and the power of Cod; or that he should determine to glory in nothing save in the cross of Christ.

As there is no truth more necessary to be known, so there is none more variously or plainly taught, than the method of escaping the wrath of God due to us for sin. Besides all the clear exhibitions of Christ as bearing our sins, as dying in our stead, as making his soul an offering for sin, as redeeming us by his blood, the Scriptures set him forth in the character of a Priest, in order that we might more fully understand how it is that he effects our salvation. It was predicted, long before his advent, that the Messiah was to be a Priest. ‘Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek,’ was the declaration of the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David (Ps. 110.4). Zechariah predicted that he should sit as ‘a priest upon his throne (Zech. 6.13). The apostle defines a priest to be a man ‘ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins (Heb. 5.1). Jesus Christ is the only real Priest in the universe. All others were either pretenders, or the shadow of the great High priest of our profession. For this office he had every necessary qualification. He was a man. ‘For inasmuch as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also took part of the same, in order that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest; one who can be touched with a sense of our infirmities, seeing that was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.’ He was sinless. ‘For such a High Priest became us, who was holy, harmless, and separate from sinners.’ He was the Son of God. The law made men having infirmity, priests. But God declared his Son to be a Priest, who is consecrated for evermore (Heb. 7.28). The sense in which Christ is declared to be the Son of God, is explained in the first chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is there said, that he is the express image of God; that he upholds all things by the word of his power; that all the angels are commanded to worship him; that his throne is an everlasting throne; that in the beginning he laid the foundations of the earth; that he is from everlasting and that his years fail not. It is from the dignity of his person, as possessing this Divine nature, that the apostle deduces the efficacy of his sacrifice (Heb. 9.14), the perpetuity of his priesthood (Heb. 7.16), and his ability to save to the uttermost all who come unto God by him (Heb. 7.25). He was duly constituted a Priest. He glorified not himself to be made a High Priest; but he that said unto him, ‘Thou art my Son,’ said also, ‘Thou art a Priest for ever.’ He is the only real Priest, and therefore his advent superseded all others, and put an immediate end to all their lawful ministrations, by abolishing the typical dispensation with which they were connected. For the priesthood being changed, there was of necessity a change of the law. There was a disannulling of the former commandment for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, and there was the introduction of a better hope (Heb. 7.12, 18, 19). He has an appropriate offering to present. As every high priest is appointed to offer sacrifices, it was necessary that this man should have somewhat to offer. This sacrifice was not the blood of goats or of calves, but his own blood; it was himself he offered unto God, to purge our conscience from dead works (Heb. 9.12, 14). He has ‘put away sin by the sacrifice of himself,’ which was accomplished when he was ‘once offered to bear the sin of many (Heb. 9.26, 28). He has passed into the heavens. As the high priest was required to enter into the most holy place with the blood of atonement, so Christ has entered not into the holy places made with hands, ‘but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us, (Heb. 9.24) and where ‘he ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7.25).

Seeing then we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God (let the reader remember what that means), who is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, having by himself purged out sins and made reconciliation for the sins of the people, every humble believer who commits his soul into the hands of this High Priest, may come with boldness to the throne of grace, assured that he shall find mercy and grace to help in time of need.

Part III: The Righteousness Of Christ The True Ground Of Our Justification.

The practical effects of this doctrine.

THE Bible, as we have seen, teaches, first, that we are under a law which demands perfect obedience, and which threatens death in case of transgression; secondly, that all men have failed in rendering that obedience, and therefore are subject to the threatened penalty; thirdly, that Christ has redeemed us from the law by being made under it, and in our place satisfying its demands. It only remains to be shown, that this perfect righteousness of Christ is presented as the ground of our justification before God.

In scriptural language, condemnation is a sentence of death pronounced upon sin; justification is a sentence of life pronounced upon righteousness. As this righteousness is not our own, as we are sinners, ungodly, without works, it must be the righteousness of another, even of Him who is our righteousness. Hence we find so constantly the distinction between our own righteousness and that which God gives. The Jews, the apostle says, being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, would not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God (Rom. 10.3). This was the rock on which they split. They knew that justification required a righteousness; they insisted on urging their own, imperfect as it was, and would not accept of that which God had provided in the merits of his Son, who is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. The same idea is presented in Rom. ix. 30-32, where Paul sums up the case of the rejection of the Jews and the acceptance of believers. The Gentiles have attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel hath not attained it. Why? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. The Jews would not receive and confide in the righteousness which God had provided, but endeavored, by works, to prepare a righteousness of their own. This was the cause of their ruin. In direct contrast to the course pursued by the majority of his kinsmen, we find Paul renouncing all dependence upon his own righteousness, and thankfully receiving that which God had provided; though he had every advantage and every temptation to trust in himself, that any man could have; for he was one of the favored people of God, circumcised on the eighth day, and touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless; yet all these things he counted but loss, that he might win Christ, and be found in him, not having his own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Phil. 3.4-9). Here the two righteousness are brought distinctly into view. The one was his own, consisting in obedience to the law; this Paul rejects as inadequate, and unworthy of acceptance. The other is of God, and received by faith; this Paul accepts and glories in as all-sufficient and as alone sufficient. This is the righteousness which the apostle says God imputes to those without works. Hence it is called a gift, a free gift, a gift by grace, and believers are described as those who receive this gift of righteousness (Rom. 5.17). Hence we are never said to be justified by anything done by us or wrought in us, but by what Christ has done for us. We are justified through the redemption that is in him (Rom. 3.24). We are justified by his blood (Rom. 5.9) We are justified by his obedience (Rom. 5.19). We are justified by him from all things (Acts 13.39). He is our righteousness (1 Cor. 1.30). We are made the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5.21). We are justified in his name (1 Cor. 6.11). There is no condemnation to those who are in him (Rom. 8.1) Justification is, therefore, by faith in Christ, because faith is receiving and trusting to him as our Savior, as having done all that is required to secure our acceptance before God.

It is thus, then, the Scriptures answer the question, How can a man be just with God? When the soul is burdened with a sense of sin, when it sees how reasonable and holy is that law which demands perfect obedience, and which threatens death as the penalty of transgression, when it feels the absolute impossibility of ever satisfying these just demands by its own obedience and sufferings, it is then that the revelation of Jesus Christ as our righteousness is felt to be the wisdom and power of God unto salvation. Destitute of all righteousness in ourselves, we have our righteousness in him. What we could not do, he has done for us, The righteousness, therefore, on the ground of which the sentence of justification is passed upon the believing sinner, is not his own, but that of Jesus Christ.

It is one of the strongest evidences of the Divine origin of the Scriptures, that they are suited to the nature and circumstances of man. If their doctrines were believed and their precepts obeyed, men would stand in their true relation to God, and the different classes of men to each other. Parents and children, husbands and wives, rulers and subjects, would be found in their proper sphere, and would attain the highest possible degree of excellence and happiness. Truth is in order to holiness. And all truth is known to be truth by its tendency to promote holiness. As this test, when applied to the Scriptures generally, evinces their Divine perfection, so when applied to the cardinal doctrine of justification by faith in Jesus Christ, it shows that doctrine to be worthy of all acceptation. On this ground it is commended by the sacred writers. They declare it to be in the highest degree honorable to God, and beneficial to man. They assert that it is so arranged as to display the wisdom, justice, holiness, and love of God, while it secures the pardon, peace, and holiness of men. If it failed in either of these objects; if it were not suited to the Divine character, or to our nature and necessities, it could not answer the end for which it was designed.

It will be readily admitted, that the glory of God in the exhibition or revelation of the Divine perfections, is the highest conceivable end of creation and redemption; and consequently, that any doctrine which is suited to make such an exhibition is, on that account, worthy of being universally received and gloried in. Now, the inspired writers teach us, that it is peculiarly in the plan of redemption that the Divine perfections are revealed; that it was designed to show unto principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God; that Christ was set forth as a propitiatory sacrifice to exhibit his righteousness or justice; and especially, that in the ages to come he might show forth the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. It is the love of God, the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of which pass knowledge, that is here most conspicuously displayed. Some men strangely imagine that the death of Christ procured for us the love of God; whereas it was the effect and not the cause of that love. Christ did not die that God might love us; but he died because God loved us. ‘God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Rom. 5.8). He ‘so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (Jn. 3.16). ‘In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins’ (1 Jn. 4.9-10).

As this love of God is manifested towards the unworthy, it is called grace, and this is what the Scriptures dwell upon with such peculiar frequency and earnestness. The mystery of redemption is, that a Being of infinite holiness and justice should manifest such wonderful love to sinners. Hence the sacred writers so earnestly denounce everything that obscures this peculiar feature of the gospel; everything which represents men as worthy, as meriting, or, in any way, by their own goodness, securing the exercise of this love of God. It is of grace, lest any man should boast. We are justified by grace; we are saved by grace; and if of grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace (Eph. 2.8, 9; Rom. 11.6). The apostle teaches us not only that the plan of salvation had its origin in the unmerited kindness of God, and that our acceptance with him is in no way or degree founded in our own worthiness, but moreover that the actual administration of the economy of mercy is so conducted as to magnify this attribute of the Divine character. God chooses the foolish, the base, the weak, yea, those who are nothing, in order that no flesh should glory in his presence. Christ is made everything to us, that those who glory should glory only in the Lord (1 Cor. 1.27-31).

It cannot fail to occur to every reader, that unless he sincerely rejoices in this feature of the plan of redemption, unless he is glad that the whole glory of his salvation belongs to God, his heart cannot be in accordance with the gospel. If he believes that the ground of his acceptance is in himself, or even wishes that it were so, he is not prepared to join in those grateful songs of acknowledgment to Him, who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which it is the delight of the redeemed to offer unto him that loved them and gave himself for them. It is most obvious, that the sacred writers are abundant in the confession of their unworthiness in the sight of God. They acknowledged that they were unworthy absolutely, and unworthy comparatively. It was of grace that any man was saved; and it was of grace that they were saved rather than others. It is, therefore, all of grace, that God may be exalted and glorified in all them that believe.

The doctrine of the gratuitous justification of sinners by faith in Jesus Christ, not only displays the infinite love of God, but it is declared to be peculiarly honorable to him, or peculiarly consistent with his attributes, because it is adapted to all men. ‘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’ (Rom. 3.29, 30). ‘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’ (Rom. 10.12, 13). This is no narrow, national, or sectarian doctrine. It is as broad as the earth. Wherever men, the creatures of God, can be found, there the mercy of God in Christ Jesus may be preached. The apostle greatly exults in this feature of the plan of redemption, as worthy of God, and as making the gospel the foundation of a religion for all nations and ages. In revealing a salvation sufficient for all and suited for all, it discloses Cod in his true character, as the God and Father of all.

The Scriptures, however, represent this great doctrine as not less suited to meet the necessities of man, than it is to promote the glory of God. If it exalts God, it humbles man. If it renders it manifest that he is a Being of infinite holiness, justice, and love, it makes us feel that we are destitute of all merit, nay, are most ill-deserving; that we are without strength; that our salvation is an undeserved favor. As nothing is more true than the guilt and helplessness of men, no plan of redemption which does not recognize these facts, could ever be in harmony with our inward experience, or command the full acquiescence of the penitent soul. The ascription of merit which we are conscious we do not deserve, produces of itself severe distress; and if this false estimate of our deserts is the ground of the exhibition of special kindness towards us, it destroys the happiness such kindness would otherwise produce. To a soul, therefore, sensible of its pollution and guilt in the sight of God, the doctrine that it is saved on account of its own goodness, or because it is better than other men, is discordant and destructive of its peace. Nothing but an absolutely gratuitous salvation can suit a soul sensible of its ill desert. Nothing else suits its views of truth, or its sense of right. The opposite doctrine involves a falsehood and a moral impropriety, in which neither the reason nor conscience can acquiesce. The scriptural doctrine, which assumes what we know to be true-namely, our guilt and helplessness–places us in our proper relation to God; that relation which accords with the truth, with our sense of right, with our inward experience, and with every proper desire of our hearts. This is one of the reasons why the Scriptures represent peace as the consequence of justification by faith. There can be no peace while the soul is not in harmony with God, and there can be no such harmony until it willingly occupies its true position in relation to God. So long as it does not acknowledge its true character, so long as it acts on the assumption of its ability to merit or to earn the Divine favor, it is in a false position. Its feelings towards God are wrong, and there is no manifestation of approbation or favor on the part of God towards the soul. But when we take our true place and feel our ill desert, and look upon pardoning mercy as a mere gratuity, we find access to God, and his love is shed abroad in our hearts, producing that peace which passes all understanding. The soul ceases from its legal strivings; it gives over the vain attempt to make itself worthy, or to work out a righteousness wherewith to appear before God. It is contented to be accepted as unworthy, and to receive as a gift a righteousness which can bear the scrutiny of God. Peace, therefore, is not the result of the assurance of mere pardon, but of pardon founded upon a righteousness which illustrates the character of God; which magnifies the law and makes it honorable; which satisfies the justice of God while it displays the infinite riches of Divine tenderness and love. The soul can find no objection to such a method of forgiveness. It is not pained by the ascription of merit to itself, which is felt to be undeserved. Its utter unworthiness is not only recognized, but openly declared. Nor is it harassed by the anxious doubt whether God can, consistently with his justice, forgive sin. For justice is as clearly revealed in the cross of Christ, as love. The whole soul, therefore, however enlightened, or however sensitive, acquiesces with humility and delight in a plan of mercy which thus honors God, and which, while it secures the salvation of the sinner, permits him to hide himself in the radiance which surrounds his Savior.

The apostles, moreover, urge on men the doctrine of justification by faith with peculiar earnestness, because it presents the only method of deliverance from sin. So long as men are under the condemnation of the law, and feel themselves bound by its demands of obedience as the condition and ground of their acceptance with God, they do and must feel that he is unreconciled, that his perfections are arrayed against them. Their whole object is to propitiate him by means which they know to be inadequate. Their spirit is servile, their religion a bondage, their God is a hard Master. To men in such a state, true love, true obedience, and real peace are alike impossible. But when they are brought to see that God, through his infinite love, has set forth Jesus Christ as a propitiation for our sins, that he might be just, and yet justify those that believe; that it is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saves us–they are emancipated from their former bondage and made the sons of God. God is no longer a hard Master, but a kind Father. Obedience is no longer a task to be done for a reward; it is the joyful expression of filial love. The whole relation of the soul to God is changed, and all our feelings and conduct change with it. Though we have no works to perform in order to justification, we have everything to do in order to manifest our gratitude and love. ‘Do we then make void the law through faith! God forbid: yea, we establish the law’ (Rom. 3.31). There is no such thing as real, acceptable obedience, until we are thus delivered from the bondage of the law as the rule of justification, and are reconciled to God by the death of his Son. Till then we are slaves and enemies, and have the feelings of slaves. When we have accepted the terms of reconciliation, we are the sons of God, and have the feelings of sons.

It must not, however, be supposed that the filial obedience rendered by the children of God, is the effect of the mere moral influence arising from a sense of his favor. Though, perhaps, the strongest influence which any external consideration can exert, it is far from being the source of the holiness which always follows faith. The very act by which we become interested in the redemption of Christ, from the condemnation of the law, makes us partakers of his Spirit. It is not mere pardon, or any other isolated blessing, that is offered to us in the gospel, but complete redemption, deliverance from evil and restoration to the love and life of God. Those, therefore, who believe, are not merely forgiven, but are so united to Christ, that they derive from and through him the Holy Spirit. This is his great gift, bestowed upon all who come to Him and confide in Him. This is the reason why he says, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.–As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit’ (Jn. 15.4, 5).

The gospel method of salvation, therefore, is worthy of all acceptation. It reveals the Divine perfections in the dearest and most affecting light, and it is in every way suited to the character and necessities of men. It places us in our true position as undeserving sinners; and it secures pardon, peace of conscience, and holiness of life. It is the wisdom and the power of God unto salvation. It cannot be a matter of surprise that the Scriptures represent the rejection of this method of redemption as the prominent ground of the condemnation of those who perish under the sound of the gospel. That the plan should be so clearly revealed, and yet men should insist upon adopting some other, better suited to their inclinations, is the height of folly and disobedience. That the Son of God should come into the world, die the just for the unjust, and offer us eternal life, and yet we should reject his proffered mercy, proves such an insensibility to his excellence and love, such a love of sin, such a disregard of the approbation and enjoyment of God, that, could all other grounds of condemnation be removed, this alone would be sufficient. ‘He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’ (Jn. 3.18).


More articles by Charles Hodge at www.theologue.org

 

01 Justification by Faith alone – Edwards

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The doctrine of Justification is probably the most important teaching in the Holy Scripture and yet many church members do not understand this key doctrine.   This doctrine was the basis of the Reformation.  Many churches do not teach this important doctrine.   We are including three articles on this subject and doctrine because of it’s importance.

Justification By Faith Alone Dr. Jonathan Edwards   Dated November, 1734.

Romans 4:5

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Justification by Faith Alone:
The meaning of It
The Truth of It
Scriptural Arguments
Perseverance in our Actions
Ten Objections Answered
The Importance of It

Subject: We are justified only by faith in Christ, and not by any manner of goodness of our own.

THE following things may be noted in this verse:

1. That justification respects a man as ungodly. This is evident by these words — that justifieth the ungodly, which cannot imply less than that God, in the act of justification, has no regard to anything in the person justified, as godliness or any goodness in him, but that immediately before this act, God beholds him only as an ungodly creature, so that godliness in the person to be justified is not so antecedent to his justification as to be the ground of it. When it is said that God justifies the ungodly, it is as absurd to suppose that our godliness, taken as some goodness in us, is the ground of our justification, as when it is said that Christ gave sight to the blind to suppose that sight was prior to, and the ground of, that act of mercy in Christ. Or as, if it should be said that such an one by his bounty has made a poor man rich, to suppose that it was the wealth of this poor man that was the ground of this bounty towards him, and was the price by which it was procured.

2. It appears, that by him that worketh not, in this verse, is not meant one who merely does not conform to the ceremonial law, because he that worketh not, and the ungodly, are evidently synonymous expressions, or what signify the same, as appears by the manner of their connection. If not, to what purpose is the latter expression, the ungodly, brought in? The context gives no other occasion for it, but to show that by the grace of the gospel, God in justification has no regard to any godliness of ours. The foregoing verse is, “Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” In that verse, it is evident that gospel grace consists in the reward being given without works, and in this verse, which immediately follows it, and in sense is connected with it, gospel grace consists in a man’s being justified as ungodly. By which it is most plain, that by him that worketh not, and him that is ungodly, are meant the same thing, and that therefore not only works of the ceremonial law are excluded in this business of justification, but works of morality and godliness.

It is evident in the words, that by the faith here spoken of, by which we are justified, is not meant the same thing as a course of obedience or righteousness, since the expression by which this faith is here denoted, is believing on him that justifies the ungodly. — They that oppose the Solifidians, as they call them, greatly insist on it, that we should take the words of Scripture concerning this doctrine in their most natural and obvious meaning, and how do they cry out, of our clouding this doctrine with obscure metaphors, and unintelligible figures of speech? But is this to interpret Scripture according to its most obvious meaning, when the Scripture speaks of our believing on him that justifies the ungodly, or the breakers of his law, to say that the meaning of it is performing a course of obedience to his law, and avoiding the breaches of it? Believing on God as a justifier, certainly is a different thing from submitting to God as a lawgiver, especially believing on him as a justifier of the ungodly, or rebels against the lawgiver. 

4. It is evident that the subject of justification is looked upon as destitute of any righteousness in himself, by that expression, it is counted, or imputed to him for righteousness. — The phrase, as the apostle uses it here and in the context, manifestly imports that God of his sovereign grace is pleased in his dealings with the sinner, so to regard one that has no righteousness, that the consequence shall be the same as if he had. This however may be from the respect it bears to something that is indeed righteous. It is plain that this is the force of the expression in the preceding verses. In the last verse but one, it is manifest, the apostle lays the stress of his argument for the free grace of God — from that text of the Old Testament about Abraham — on the word counted or imputed. This is the thing that he supposed God to show his grace in, viz. in his counting something for righteousness, in his consequential dealings with Abraham, that was no righteousness in itself. And in the next verse, which immediately precedes the text, “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt,” the word there translated reckoned, is the same that in the other verses is rendered imputed and counted, and it is as much as if the apostle had said, “As to him that works, there is no need of any gracious reckoning or counting it for righteousness, and causing the reward to follow as if it were a righteousness. For if he has works, he has that which is a righteousness in itself, to which the reward properly belongs.” This is further evident by the words that follow, Rom. 4:6, “Even as David also described the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.” What can here be meant by imputing righteousness without works, but imputing righteousness to him that has none of his own? Verse 7, 8, “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.” How are these words of David to the apostle’s purpose? Or how do they prove any such thing, as that righteousness is imputed without works, unless it be because the word imputed is used, and the subject of the imputation is mentioned as a sinner, and consequently destitute of a moral righteousness? For David says no such thing, as that he is forgiven without the works of the ceremonial law. There is no hint of the ceremonial law, or reference to it, in the words. I will therefore venture to infer this doctrine from the words, for the subject of my present discourse, viz.

That we are justified only by faith in Christ, and not by any manner of virtue or goodness of our own.

Such an assertion as this, I am sensible, many would be ready to call absurd, as betraying a great deal of ignorance, and containing much inconsistency, but I desire everyone’s patience till I have done.

In handling this doctrine, I would: 

I. Explain the meaning of it, and show how I would be understood by such an assertion.

II. Proceed to the consideration of the evidence of the truth of it.

III. Show how evangelical obedience is concerned in this affair.

IV. Answer objections.

V. Consider the importance of the doctrine. 

I. I would explain the meaning of the doctrine, or show in what sense I assert it, and would endeavor to evince the truth of it, which may be done in answer to these two inquiries, viz.

1.What is meant by being justified? 

2. What is meant when it is said, that this is “by faith alone, without any manner of virtue or goodness of our own?”

First, I would show what justification is, or what I suppose is meant in Scripture by being justified.

A person is to be justified, when he is approved of God as free from the guilt of sin and its deserved punishment, and as having that righteousness belonging to him that entitles to the reward of life. That we should take the word in such a sense, and understand it as the judge’s accepting a person as having both a negative and positive righteousness belonging to him, and looking on him therefore as not only free from any obligation to punishment, but also as just and righteous and so entitled to a positive reward, is not only most agreeable to the etymology and natural import of the word, which signifies to pass one for righteous in judgment, but also manifestly agreeable to the force of the word as used in Scripture.

Some suppose that nothing more is intended in Scripture by justification, than barely the remission of sins. If so, it is very strange, if we consider the nature of the case. For it is most evident, and none will deny, that it is with respect to the rule or law of God we are under, that we are said in Scripture to be either justified or condemned. Now what is it to justify a person as the subject of a law or rule, but to judge him as standing right with respect to that rule? To justify a person in a particular case, is to approve of him as standing right, as subject to the law in that case, and to justify in general is to pass him in judgment, as standing right in a state correspondent to the law or rule in general. But certainly, in order to a person’s being looked on as standing right with respect to the rule in general, or in a state corresponding with the law of God, more is needful than not having the guilt of sin. For whatever that law is, whether a new or an old one, doubtless something positive is needed in order to its being answered. We are no more justified by the voice of the law, or of him that judges according to it, by a mere pardon of sin, than Adam, our first surety, was justified by the law, at the first point of his existence, before he had fulfilled the obedience of the law, or had so much as any trial whether he would fulfill it or no. If Adam had finished his course of perfect obedience, he would have been justified, and certainly his justification would have implied something more than what is merely negative. He would have been approved of, as having fulfilled the righteousness of the law, and accordingly would have been adjudged to the reward of it. So Christ, our second surety (in whose justification all whose surety he is, are virtually justified), was not justified till he had done the work the Father had appointed him, and kept the Father’s commandments through all trials, and then in his resurrection he was justified. When he had been put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit, 1 Pet. 3:18, then he that was manifest in the flesh was justified in the Spirit, 1 Tim. 3:16. But God, when he justified him in raising him from the dead, did not only release him from his humiliation for sin, and acquit him from any further suffering or abasement for it, but admitted him to that eternal and immortal life, and to the beginning of that exaltation that was the reward of what he had done. And indeed the justification of a believer is no other than his being admitted to communion in the justification of this head and surety of all believers: for as Christ suffered the punishment of sin, not as a private person, but as our surety. So when after this suffering he was raised from the dead, he was therein justified, not as a private person, but as the surety and representative of all that should believe in him. So that he was raised again not only for his own, but also for our justification, according to the apostle, Rom. 4:25, “Who was delivered for our offenses, and raised again for our justification.” And therefore it is that the apostle says, as he does in Rom. 8:34, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.”

But that a believer’s justification implies not only remission of sins, or acquittal from the wrath due to it, but also an admittance to a title to that glory which is the reward of righteousness, is more directly taught in the Scriptures, particularly in Rom. 5:1, 2, where the apostle mentions both these as joint benefits implied in justification: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” So remission of sin, and inheritance among them that are sanctified, are mentioned together as what are jointly obtained by faith in Christ, Acts 26:18, “That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them that are sanctified through faith that is in me.” Both these are without doubt implied in that passing from death to life, which Christ speaks of as the fruit of faith, and which he opposes to condemnation, John 5:24, “Verily I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

I proceed now, 

Secondly, to show what is meant when it is said, that this justification is by faith only, and not by any virtue or goodness of our own. 

This inquiry may be subdivided into two, viz. 

1. How it is by faith.

2. How it is by faith alone, without any manner of goodness of ours. 

1. How justification is by faith. — Here the great difficulty has been about the import and force of the particle by, or what is that influence that faith has in the affair of justification that is expressed in Scripture by being justified by faith.

Here, if I may humbly express what seems evident to me, though faith be indeed the condition of justification so as nothing else is, yet this matter is not clearly and sufficiently explained by saying that faith is the condition of justification, and that because the word seems ambiguous, both in common use, and also as used in divinity. In one sense, Christ alone performs the condition of our justification and salvation. In another sense, faith is the condition of justification, and in another sense, other qualifications and acts are conditions of salvation and justification too. There seems to be a great deal of ambiguity in such expressions as are commonly used (which yet we are forced to use), such as condition of salvation, what is required in order to salvation or justification, the terms of the covenant, and the like, and I believe they are understood in very different senses by different persons. And besides, as the word condition is very often understood in the common use of language, faith is not the only thing in us that is the condition of justification. For by the word condition, as it is very often (and perhaps most commonly) used, we mean anything that may have the place of a condition in a conditional proposition, and as such is truly connected with the consequent, especially if the proposition holds both in the affirmative and negative, as the condition is either affirmed or denied. If it be that with which, or which being supposed, a thing shall be, and without which, or it being denied, a thing shall not be, we in such a case call it a condition of that thing. But in this sense faith is not the only condition of salvation and justification. For there are many things that accompany and flow from faith, with which justification shall be, and without which, it will not be, and therefore are found to be put in Scripture in conditional propositions with justification and salvation, in multitudes of places. Such are love to God, and love to our brethren, forgiving men their trespasses, and many other good qualifications and acts. And there are many other things besides faith, which are directly proposed to us, to be pursued or performed by us, in order to eternal life, which if they are done, or obtained, we shall have eternal life, and if not done, or not obtained, we shall surely perish. And if faith was the only condition of justification in this sense, I do not apprehend that to say faith was the condition of justification, would express the sense of that phrase of Scripture, of being justified by faith. There is a difference between being justified by a thing, and that thing universally, necessarily, and inseparably attending justification: for so do a great many things that we are not said to be justified by. It is not the inseparable connection with justification that the Holy Ghost would signify (or that is naturally signified) by such a phrase, but some particular influence that faith has in the affair, or some certain dependence that effect has on its influence.

Some, aware of this, have supposed that the influence or dependence might well be expressed by faith’s being the instrument of our justification, which has been misunderstood, and injuriously represented, and ridiculed by those that have denied the doctrine of justification by faith alone, as though they had supposed faith was used as an instrument in the hand of God, whereby he performed and brought to pass that act of his, viz. approving and justifying the believer. Whereas it was not intended that faith was the instrument wherewith God justifies, but the instrument wherewith we receive justification: not the instrument wherewith the justifier acts in justifying, but wherewith the receiver of justification acts in accepting justification. But yet, it must be owned, this is an obscure way of speaking, and there must certainly be some impropriety in calling it an instrument wherewith we receive or accept justification. For the very persons who thus explain the matter, speak of faith as being the reception or acceptance itself, and if so, how can it be the instrument of reception or acceptance? Certainly there is a difference between the act and the instrument. Besides, by their own descriptions of faith, Christ, the mediator, by whom and his righteousness by which we are justified, is more directly the object of this acceptance and justification, which is the benefit arising therefrom more indirectly. Therefore, if faith be an instrument, it is more properly the instrument by which we receive Christ, than the instrument by which we receive justification.

But I humbly conceive we have been ready to look too far to find out what that influence of faith in our justification is, or what is that dependence of this effect on faith, signified by the expression of being justified by faith, overlooking that which is most obviously pointed forth in the expression, viz. that (there being a mediator that has purchased justification) faith in this mediator is that which renders it a meet and suitable thing, in the sight of God, that the believer, rather than others, should have this purchased benefit assigned to him. There is this benefit purchased, which God sees it to be a more meet and suitable thing that it should be assigned to some rather than others, because he sees them differently qualified: that qualification wherein the meetness to this benefit, as the case stands, consists, is that in us by which we are justified. If Christ had not come into the world and died, etc. to purchase justification, no qualification whatever in us could render it a meet or fit thing that we should be justified. But the case being as it now stands, viz. that Christ has actually purchased justification by his own blood for infinitely unworthy creatures, there may be certain qualifications found in some persons, which, either from the relation it bears to the mediator and his merits, or on some other account, is the thing that in the sight of God renders it a meet and condecent thing, that they should have an interest in this purchased benefit, and of which if any are destitute, it renders it an unfit and unsuitable thing that they should have it. The wisdom of God in his constitutions doubtless appears much in the fitness and beauty of them, so that those things are established to be done that are fit to be done, and that these things are connected in his constitution that are agreeable one to another. — So God justifies a believer according to his revealed constitution, without doubt, because he sees something in this qualification that, as the case stands, renders it a fit thing that such should be justified: whether it be because faith is the instrument, or as it were the hand, by which he that has purchased justification is apprehended and accepted, or because it is the acceptance itself, or whatever else. To be justified, is to be approved of God as a proper subject of pardon, with a right to eternal life. Therefore, when it is said that we are justified by faith, what else can be understood by it, than that faith is that by which we are rendered approvable, fitly so, and indeed, as the case stands, proper subjects of this benefit? 

This is something different from faith being the condition of justification, though inseparably connected with justification. So are many other things besides faith, and yet nothing in us but faith renders it meet that we should have justification assigned to us: as I shall presently show in answer to the next inquiry, viz.

2. How this is said to be by faith alone, without any manner of virtue or goodness of our own. This may seem to some to be attended with two difficulties, viz. how this can be said to be by faith alone, without any virtue or goodness of ours, when faith itself is a virtue, and one part of our goodness, and is not only some manner of goodness of ours, but is a very excellent qualification, and one chief part of the inherent holiness of a Christian? And if it be a part of our inherent goodness or excellency (whether it be this part or any other) that renders it a condecent or congruous thing that we should have this benefit of Christ assigned to us, what is this less than what they mean who talk of a merit of congruity? And moreover, if this part of our Christian holiness qualifies us, in the sight of God, for this benefit of Christ, and renders it a fit or meet thing, in his sight, that we should have it, why not other parts of holiness, and conformity to God, which are also very excellent, and have as much of the image of Christ in them, and are no less lovely in God’s eyes, qualify us as much, and have as much influence to render us meet, in God’s sight, for such a benefit as this? Therefore I answer,

When it is said, that we are not justified by any righteousness or goodness of our own, what is meant is that it is not out of respect to the excellency or goodness of any qualifications or acts in us whatsoever, that God judges it meet that this benefit of Christ should be ours. It is not, in any wise, on account of any excellency or value that there is in faith, that it appears in the sight of God a meet thing, that he who believes should have this benefit of Christ assigned to him, but purely from the relation faith has to the person in whom this benefit is to be had, or as it unites to that mediator, in and by whom we are justified. Here, for the greater clearness, I would particularly explain myself under several propositions,

(1.) It is certain that there is some union or relation that the people of Christ stand in to him, that is expressed in Scripture, from time to time, by being in Christ, and is represented frequently by those metaphors of being members of Christ, or being united to him as members to the head, and branches to the stock, and is compared to a marriage union between husband and wife. I do not now pretend to determine of what sort this union is. Nor is it necessary to my present purpose to enter into any manner of disputes about it. If any are disgusted at the word union, as obscure and unintelligible, the word relation equally serves my purpose. I do not now desire to determine any more about it, than all, of all sorts, will readily allow, viz. that there is a peculiar relation between true Christians and Christ, which there is not between him and others, and which is signified by those metaphorical expressions in Scripture, of being in Christ, being members of Christ, etc.

(2.) This relation or union to Christ, whereby Christians are said to be in Christ (whatever it be), is the ground of their right to his benefits. This needs no proof: the reason of the thing, at first blush, demonstrates it. It is exceeding evident also by Scripture, 1 John 5:12, “He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life.” 1 Cor. 1:30, “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us — righteousness.” First we must be in him, and then he will be made righteousness or justification to us. Eph. 1:6, “Who hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Our being in him is the ground of our being accepted. So it is in those unions to which the Holy Ghost has thought fit to compare this. The union of the members of the body with the head, is the ground of their partaking of the life of the head. It is the union of the branches to the stock, which is the ground of their partaking of the sap and life of the stock. It is the relation of the wife to the husband, that is the ground of her joint interest in his estate: they are looked upon, in several respects, as one in law. So there is a legal union between Christ and true Christians, so that (as all except Socinians allow) one, in some respects, is accepted for the other by the supreme Judge.

(3.) And thus it is that faith is the qualification in any person that renders it meet in the sight of God that he should be looked upon as having Christ’s satisfaction and righteousness belonging to him, viz. because it is that in him which, on his part, makes up this union between him and Christ. By what has been just now observed, it is a person’s being, according to scripture phrase, in Christ, that is the ground of having his satisfaction and merits belonging to him, and a right to the benefits procured thereby. The reason of it is plain: it is easy to see how our having Christ’s merits and benefits belonging to us, follows from our having (if I may so speak) Christ himself belonging to us, or our being united to him. And if so, it must also be easy to see how, or in what manner, that in a person, which on his part makes up the union between his soul and Christ, should be the things on the account of which God looks on it as meet that he should have Christ’s merits belonging to him. It is a very different thing for God to assign to a particular person a right to Christ’s merits and benefits from regard to a qualification in him in this respect, from his doing it for him out of respect to the value or loveliness of that qualification, or as a reward of its excellency.

As there is nobody but what will allow that there is a peculiar relation between Christ and his true disciples, by which they are in some sense in Scripture said to be one. So I suppose there is nobody but what will allow, that there may be something that the true Christian does on his part, whereby he is active in coming into this relation or union: some uniting act, or that which is done towards this union or relation (or whatever any please to call it) on the Christian’s part. Now faith I suppose to be this act.

I do not now pretend to define justifying faith, or to determine precisely how much is contained in it, but only to determine thus much concerning it, viz. That it is that by which the soul, which before was separate and alienated from Christ, unites itself to him, or ceases to be any longer in that state of alienation, and comes into that forementioned union or relation to him, or, to use the scripture phrase, it is that by which the soul comes to Christ, and receives him. This is evident by the Scriptures using these very expressions to signify faith. John 6:35-39, “He that cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me, shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that ye also have seen me and believe not. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” Verse 40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up the last day.” — John 5:38-40, “Whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures, for — they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” Verse 43, 44, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. How can ye believe, which receive honor one of another?” — John 1:12, “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.” If it be said that these are obscure figures of speech, which however they might be well understood of old among those who commonly used such metaphors, are with difficulty understood now. I allow, that the expressions of receiving Christ and coming to Christ, are metaphorical expressions. If I should allow them to be obscure metaphors, yet this much at least is certainly plain in them, viz. that faith is that by which those who before were separated, and at a distance from Christ (that is to say, were not so related and united to him as his people are), cease to be any longer at such a distance, and come into that relation and nearness, unless they are so unintelligible, that nothing at all can be understood by them.

God does not give those that believe a union with or an interest in the Savior as a reward for faith, but only because faith is the soul’s active uniting with Christ, or is itself the very act of unition, on their part. God sees it fit, that in order to a union being established between two intelligent active beings or persons, so as that they should be looked upon as one, there should be the mutual act of both, that each should receive the other, as actively joining themselves one to another. God, in requiring this in order to an union with Christ as one of his people, treats men as reasonable creatures, capable of act and choice, and hence sees it fit that they only who are one with Christ by their own act, should be looked upon as one in law. What is real in the union between Christ and his people, is the foundation of what is legal: that is, it is something really in them, and between them, uniting them, that is the ground of the suitableness of their being accounted as one by the judge. And if there be any act or qualification in believers of that uniting nature, that it is meet on that account the judge should look upon them and accept them as one, no wonder that upon the account of the same act or qualification, he should accept the satisfaction and merits of the one for the other, as if these were their own satisfaction and merits. This necessarily follows, or rather is implied.

And thus it is that faith justifies, or gives an interest in Christ’s satisfaction and merits, and a right to the benefits procured thereby, viz. as it thus makes Christ and the believer one in the acceptance of the supreme Judge. It is by faith that we have a title to eternal life, because it is by faith that we have the Son of God, by whom life is. The apostle John in these words, 1 John 5:12, “He that hath the Son hath life,” seems evidently to have respect to those words of Christ, of which he gives an account in his gospel, chap. 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life.” And where the Scripture speaks of faith as the soul’s receiving or coming to Christ, it also speaks of this receiving, coming to, or joining with Christ, as the ground of an interest in his benefits. To as many as received him, “to them gave he power” to become the sons of God. Ye will not come unto me, “that ye might have life.” And there is a wide difference between its being suitable that Christ’s satisfaction and merits should be theirs who believe, because an interest in that satisfaction and merit is a fit reward of faith — or a suitable testimony of God’s respect to the amiableness and excellency of that grace — and its being suitable that Christ’s satisfaction and merits should be theirs, because Christ and they are so united, that in the eyes of the Judge they may be looked upon and taken as one. 

Although, on account of faith in the believer, it is in the sight of God fit and congruous, both that he who believes should be looked upon as in Christ, and also as having an interest in his merits, in the way that has been now explained. Yet it appears that this is very wide from a merit of congruity, or indeed any moral congruity at all to either. There is a twofold fitness to a state. I know not how to give them distinguishing names, otherwise than by calling the one a moral, and the other a natural fitness. A person has a moral fitness for a state, when his moral excellency commends him to it, or when his being put into such a good state is but a suitable testimony of regard to the moral excellency, or value, or amiableness of any of his qualifications or acts. A person has a natural fitness for a state, when it appears meet and condecent that he should be in such a state or circumstances, only from the natural concord or agreeableness there is between such qualifications and such circumstances: not because the qualifications are lovely or unlovely, but only because the qualifications and the circumstances are like one another, or do in their nature suit and agree or unite one to another. And it is on this latter account only that God looks on it fit by a natural fitness, that he whose heart sincerely unites itself to Christ as his Savior, should be looked upon as united to that Savior, and so having an interest in him, and not from any moral fitness there is between the excellency of such a qualification as faith, and such a glorious blessedness as the having an interest in Christ. God’s bestowing Christ and his benefits on a soul in consequence of faith, out of regard only to the natural concord there is between such a qualification of a soul, and such a union with Christ, and interest in him, makes the case very widely different from what it would be, if he bestowed this from regard to any moral suitableness. For, in the former case, it is only from God’s love of order that he bestows these things on the account of faith: in the latter, God does it out of love to the grace of faith itself. — God will neither look on Christ’s merits as ours, nor adjudge his benefits to us, till we be in Christ. Nor will he look upon us as being in him, without an active unition of our hearts and souls to him, because he is a wise being, and delights in order and not in confusion, and that things should be together or asunder according to their nature. His making such a constitution is a testimony of his love of order. Whereas if it were out of regard to any moral fitness or suitableness between faith and such blessedness, it would be a testimony of his love to the act or qualification itself. The one supposes this divine constitution to be a manifestation of God’s regard to the beauty of the act of faith. The other only supposes it to be a manifestation of his regard to the beauty of that order that there is in uniting those things that have a natural agreement and congruity, and unition of the one with the other. Indeed a moral suitableness or fitness to a state includes a natural. For, if there be a moral suitableness that a person should be in such a state, there is also a natural suitableness, but such a natural suitableness, as I have described, by no means necessarily includes a moral.

This is plainly what our divines intend when they say, that faith does not justify as a work, or a righteousness, viz. that it does not justify as a part of our moral goodness or excellency, or that it does not justify as man was to have been justified by the covenant of works, which was, to have a title to eternal life given him of God, in testimony of his pleasedness with his works, or his regard to the inherent excellency and beauty of his obedience. And this is certainly what the apostle Paul means, when he so much insists upon it, that we are not justified by works, viz. that we are not justified by them as good works, or by any goodness, value, or excellency of our works. For the proof of this I shall at present mention but one thing, and that is, the apostle from time to time speaking of our not being justified by works, as the thing that excludes all boasting, Eph. 2:9, Rom. 3:27, and chap. 4:2. Now which way do works give occasion for boasting, but as good? What do men use to boast of, but of something they suppose good or excellent? And on what account do they boast of anything, but for the supposed excellency that is in it? 

From these things we may learn in what manner faith is the only condition of justification and salvation. For though it be not the only condition, so as alone truly to have the place of a condition in a hypothetical proposition, in which justification and salvation are the consequent. Yet it is the condition of justification in a manner peculiar to it, and so that nothing else has a parallel influence with it, because faith includes the whole act of unition to Christ as a Savior. The entire active uniting of the soul, or the whole of what is called coming to Christ, and receiving of him, is called faith in Scripture. However other things may be no less excellent than faith, yet it is not the nature of any other graces or virtues directly to close with Christ as a mediator, any further than they enter into the constitution of justifying faith, and do belong to its nature. 

Thus I have explained my meaning, in asserting it as a doctrine of the gospel, that we are justified by faith only, without any manner of goodness of our own. 

I now proceed, 

II. To the proof of it, which I shall endeavor to produce in the following arguments.

First, such is our case, and the state of things, that neither faith, nor any other qualifications, or act or course of acts, does or can render it suitable that a person should have an interest in the Savior, and so a title to his benefits, on account of an excellency therein, or any other way, than as something in him may unite him to the Savior. It is not suitable that God should give fallen man an interest in Christ and his merits, as a testimony of his respect to anything whatsoever as a loveliness in him, and that because it is not meet, till a sinner is actually justified, than anything in him should be accepted of God, as any excellency or amiableness of his person. Or that God, by any act, should in any manner or degree testify any pleasedness with him, or favor towards him, on the account of anything inherent in him, and that for two reasons:

1. The nature of things will not admit of it. And this appears from the infinite guilt that the sinner till justified is under, which arises from the infinite evil or heinousness of sin. But because this is what some deny, I would therefore first establish that point, and show that sin is a thing that is indeed properly of infinite heinousness, and then show the consequence that it cannot be suitable, till the sinner is actually justified, that God should by any act testify pleasedness with or acceptance of any excellency or amiableness of his person. 

That the evil and demerit of sin is infinitely great, is most demonstrably evident, because what the evil or iniquity of sin consists in, is the violating of an obligation, or doing what we should not do. Therefore by how much the greater the obligation is that is violated, by so much the greater is the iniquity of the violation. But certainly our obligation to love or honor any being is great in proportion to the greatness or excellency of that being, or his worthiness to be loved and honored. We are under greater obligations to love a more lovely being than a less lovely. If a being be infinitely excellent and lovely, our obligations to love him are therein infinitely great. The matter is so plain, it seems needless to say much about it.

Some have argued exceeding strangely against the infinite evil of sin, from its being committed against an infinite object, that then it may as well be argued, that there is also an infinite value or worthiness in holiness and love to God, because that also has an infinite object. Whereas the argument, from parity of reason, will carry it in the reverse. The sin of the creature against God is ill-deserving in proportion to the distance there is between God and the creature. The greatness of the object, and the meanness of the subject, aggravates it. But it is the reverse with regard to the worthiness of the respect of the creature of God. It is worthless (and not worthy) in proportion to the meanness of the subject. So much the greater the distance between God and the creature, so much the less is the creature’s respect worthy of God’s notice or regard. The unworthiness of sin or opposition to God rises and is great in proportion to the dignity of the object and inferiority of the subject. But on the contrary, the value of respect rises in proportion to the value of the subject, and that for this plain reason, viz. that the evil of disrespect is in proportion to the obligation that lies upon the subject to the object, which obligation is most evidently increased by the excellency and superiority of the object. But on the contrary, the worthiness of respect to a being is in proportion to the obligation that lies on him who is the object (or rather the reason he has), to regard the subject, which certainly is in proportion to the subject’s value or excellency. Sin or disrespect is evil or heinous in proportion to the degree of what it denies in the object, and as it were takes from it, viz. its excellency and worthiness of respect. On the contrary, respect is valuable in proportion to the value of what is given to the object in that respect, which undoubtedly (other things being equal) is great in proportion to the subject’s value, or worthiness of regard, because the subject in giving his respect, can give no more than himself. So far as he gives his respect, he gives himself to the object, and therefore his gift is of greater or lesser value in proportion to the value of himself.

Hence (by the way) the love, honor, and obedience of Christ towards God, has infinite value, from the excellency and dignity of the person in whom these qualifications were inherent. The reason why we needed a person of infinite dignity to obey for us, was because of our infinite comparative meanness, who had disobeyed, whereby our disobedience was infinitely aggravated. We needed one, the worthiness of whose obedience might be answerable to the unworthiness of our disobedience, and therefore needed one who was as great and worthy as we were unworthy.

Another objection (that perhaps may be thought hardly worth mentioning) is, that to suppose sin to be infinitely heinous, is to make all sins equally heinous: for how can any sin be more than infinitely heinous? But all that can be argued hence is, that no sin can be greater with respect to that aggravation, the worthiness of the object against whom it is committed. One sin cannot be more aggravated than another in that respect, because the aggravation of every sin is infinite, but that does not hinder that some sins may be more heinous than others in other respects: as if we should suppose a cylinder infinitely long, cannot be greater in that respect, viz. with respect to the length of it. But yet it may be doubled and trebled, and make a thousand-fold more, by the increase of other dimensions. Of sins that are all infinitely heinous, some may be more heinous than others, as well as of divers punishments that are all infinitely dreadful calamities, or all of them infinitely exceeding all finite calamities, so that there is no finite calamity, however great, but what is infinitely less dreadful, or more eligible than any of them. Yet some of them may be a thousand times more dreadful than others. A punishment may be infinitely dreadful by reason of the infinite duration of it, and therefore cannot be greater with respect to that aggravation of it, viz. its length of continuance, but yet may be vastly more terrible on other accounts.

Having thus, as I imagine, made it clear that all sin is infinitely heinous, and consequently that the sinner, before he is justified, is under infinite guilt in God’s sight, it now remains that I show the consequence, or how it follows from hence, that it is not suitable that God should give the sinner an interest in Christ’s merits, and so a title to his benefits, from regard to any qualification, or act, or course of acts in him, on the account of any excellency or goodness whatsoever therein, but only as uniting to Christ; or (which fully implies it) that it is not suitable that God, by any act, should, in any manner or degree, testify any acceptance of, or pleasedness with anything, as any virtue, or excellency, or any part of loveliness, or valuableness in his person, until he is actually already interested in Christ’s merits. From the premises it follows, that before the sinner is already interested in Christ, and justified, it is impossible God should have any acceptance of, or pleasedness with the person of the sinner, as in any degree lovely in his sight, or indeed less the object of his displeasure and wrath. For, by the supposition, the sinner still remains infinitely guilty in the sight of God, for guilt is not removed but by pardon. But to suppose the sinner already pardoned, is to suppose him already justified, which is contrary to the supposition. But if the sinner still remains infinitely guilty in God’s sight, that is the same thing as still to be beheld of God as infinitely the object of his displeasure and wrath, or infinitely hateful in his eyes. If so, where is any room for anything in him, to be accepted as some valuableness or acceptability of him in God’s sight, or for any act of favor of any kind towards him, or any gift whatsoever to him, in testimony of God’s respect to and acceptance of something of him lovely and pleasing? If we should suppose that a sinner could have faith, or some other grace in his heart, and yet remain separate from Christ, and that he is not looked upon as being in Christ, or having any relation to him, it would not be meet that such true grace should be accepted of God as any loveliness of his person in the sight of God. If it should be accepted as the loveliness of the person, that would be to accept the person as in some degree lovely to God. But this cannot be consistent with his still remaining under infinite guilt, or infinite unworthiness in God’s sight, which that goodness has no worthiness to balance. — While God beholds the man as separate from Christ, he must behold him as he is in himself, and so his goodness cannot be beheld by God, but as taken with his guilt and hatefulness, and as put in the scales with it. So his goodness is nothing, because there is a finite on the balance against an infinite whose proportion to it is nothing. In such a case, if the man be looked on as he is in himself, the excess of the weight in one scale above another, must be looked upon as the quality of the man. These contraries being beheld together, one takes from another, as one number is subtracted from another, and the man must be looked upon in God’s sight according to the remainder. For here, by the supposition, all acts of grace or favor, in not imputing the guilt as it is, are excluded, because that supposes a degree of pardon, and that supposes justification, which is contrary to what is supposed, viz. that the sinner is not already justified. Therefore things must be taken strictly as they are, and so the man is still infinitely unworthy and hateful in God’s sight, as he was before, without diminution, because his goodness bears no proportion to his unworthiness, and therefore when taken together is nothing.

Hence may be more clearly seen the force of that expression in the text, of believing on him that justifieth the ungodly. For though there is indeed something in man that is really and spiritually good, prior to justification, yet there is nothing that is accepted as any godliness or excellency of the person, till after justification. Goodness or loveliness of the person in the acceptance of God, in any degree, is not to be considered as prior but posterior in the order and method of God’s proceeding in this affair. Though a respect to the natural suitableness between such a qualification, and such a state, does go before justification, yet the acceptance even of faith as any goodness or loveliness of the believer, follows justification. The goodness is on the forementioned account justly looked upon as nothing, until the man is justified: And therefore the man is respected in justification, as in himself altogether hateful. Thus the nature of things will not admit of a man having an interest given him in the merits or benefits of a Savior, on the account of anything as a righteousness, or a virtue, or excellency in him.

2. A divine constitution antecedent to that which establishes justification by a Savior (and indeed to any need of a Savior), stands in the way of it, viz. that original constitution or law which man was put under, by which constitution or law the sinner is condemned, because he is a violator of that law, and stands condemned, till he has actually an interest in the Savior, through whom he is set at liberty from that condemnation. But to suppose that God gives a man an interest in Christ in reward for his righteousness or virtue, is inconsistent with his still remaining under condemnation till he has an interest in Christ, because it supposes, that the sinner’s virtue is accepted, and he accepted for it, before he has an interest in Christ, inasmuch as an interest in Christ is given as a reward of his virtue. But the virtue must first be accepted, before it is rewarded, and the man must first be accepted for his virtue before he is rewarded for it with so great and glorious a reward. For the very notion of a reward, is some good bestowed in testimony of respect to and acceptance of virtue in the person rewarded. It does not consist with the honor of the majesty of the King of heaven and earth, to accept of anything from a condemned malefactor, condemned by the justice of his own holy law, till that condemnation be removed. And then, such acceptance is inconsistent with, and contradictory to such remaining condemnation, for the law condemns him that violates it, to be totally rejected and cast off by God. But how can a man continue under this condemnation, i. e. continue utterly rejected and cast off by God, and yet his righteousness or virtue be accepted, and he himself accepted on the account of it, so as to have so glorious a reward as an interest in Christ bestowed as a testimony of that acceptance? 

I know that the answer will be that we now are not subject to that constitution which mankind were at first put under, but that God, in mercy to mankind, has abolished that rigorous constitution, and put us under a new law, and introduced a more mild constitution, and that the constitution or law itself not remaining, there is no need of supposing that the condemnation of it remains, to stand in the way of the acceptance of our virtue. And indeed there is no other way of avoiding this difficulty. The condemnation of the law must stand in force against a man, till he is actually interested in the Savior who has satisfied and answered the law, so as effectually to prevent any acceptance of his virtue, either before, or in order to such an interest, unless the law or constitution itself be abolished. But the scheme of those modern divines by whom this is maintained, seems to contain a great deal of absurdity and self-contradiction. They hold that the old law given to Adam, which requires perfect obedience, is entirely repealed, and that instead of it we are put under a new law, which requires no more than imperfect sincere obedience, in compliance with our poor, infirm, impotent circumstances since the fall, whereby we are unable to perform that perfect obedience that was required by the first law. For they strenuously maintain, that it would be unjust in God to require anything of us that is beyond our present power and ability to perform, and yet they hold, that Christ died to satisfy for the imperfections of our obedience, that so our imperfect obedience might be accepted instead of perfect. Now, how can these things hang together? I would ask what law these imperfections of our obedience are a breach of? If they are a breach of no law, then they are not sins, and if they be not sins, what need of Christ’s dying to satisfy for them? But if they are sins, and so the breach of some law, what law is it? They cannot be a breach of their new law, for that requires no other than imperfect obedience, or obedience with imperfections. They cannot be a breach of the old law, for that they say is entirely abolished, and we never were under it, and we cannot break a law that we never were under. They say it would not be just in God to exact of us perfect obedience, because it would not be just in God to require more of us than we can perform in our present state, and to punish us for failing of it. Therefore by their own scheme, the imperfections of our obedience do not deserve to be punished. What need therefore of Christ’s dying to satisfy for them? What need of Christ’s suffering to satisfy for that which is no fault, and in its own nature deserves no suffering? What need of Christ’s dying to purchase that our imperfect obedience should be accepted, when according to their scheme it would be unjust in itself that any other obedience than imperfect should be required? What need of Christ’s dying to make way for God’s accepting such an obedience, as it would in itself be unjust in him not to accept? Is there any need of Christ’s dying to persuade God not to do unjustly? If it be said that Christ died to satisfy that law for us, that so we might not be under that law, but might be delivered from it, that so there might be room for us to be under a more mild law, still I would inquire, What need of Christ’s dying that we might not be under a law that (according to their scheme) it would in itself be unjust that we should be under, because in our present state we are not able to keep it? What need of Christ’s dying that we might not be under a law that it would be unjust that we should be under, whether Christ died or no?

Thus far I have argued principally from reason, and the nature of things: — I proceed now to the

Second argument, which is that this is a doctrine which the Holy Scriptures, the revelation that God has given us of his mind and will — by which alone we can never come to know how those who have offended God can come to be accepted of him, and justified in his sight — is exceeding full. The apostle Paul is abundant in teaching, that “we are justified by faith alone, without the works of the law.” (Rom. 3:28; 4:5; 5:1; Gal. 2:16; 3:8; 3:11; 3:24) There is no one doctrine that he insists so much upon, and that he handles with so much distinctness, explaining, giving reasons and answering objections.

Here it is not denied by any, that the apostle does assert that we are justified by faith, without the works of the law, because the words are express. But only it is said that we take his words wrong, and understand that by them that never entered into his heart, in that when he excludes the works of the law, we understand him of the whole law of God, or the rule which he has given to mankind to walk by: whereas all that he intends is the ceremonial law.

Some that oppose this doctrine indeed say that the apostle sometimes means that it is by faith, i.e. a hearty embracing the gospel in its first act only, or without any preceding holy life, that persons are admitted into a justified state. But say they, it is by a persevering obedience that they are continued in a justified state, and it is by this that they are finally justified. But this is the same thing as to say, that a man on his first embracing the gospel is conditionally justified and pardoned. To pardon sin is to free the sinner from the punishment of it, or from that eternal misery that is due it. Therefore if a person is pardoned, or freed from this misery, on his first embracing the gospel, and yet not finally freed, but his actual freedom still depends on some condition yet to be performed, it is inconceivable how he can be pardoned otherwise than conditionally: that is, he is not properly actually pardoned, and freed from punishment, but only he has God’s promise that he shall be pardoned on future conditions. God promises him, that now, if he perseveres in obedience, he shall be finally pardoned or actually freed from hell, which is to make just nothing at all of the apostle’s great doctrine of justification by faith alone. Such a conditional pardon is no pardon or justification at all any more than all mankind have, whether they embrace the gospel or no. For they all have a promise of final justification on conditions of future sincere obedience, as much as he that embraces the gospel. But not to dispute about this, we will suppose that there may be something or other at the sinner’s first embracing the gospel, that may properly be called justification or pardon, and yet that final justification, or real freedom from the punishment of sin, is still suspended on conditions hitherto unfulfilled. Yet they who hold that sinners are thus justified on embracing the gospel, suppose that they are justified by this, no otherwise than as it is a leading act of obedience, or at least as virtue and moral goodness in them, and therefore would be excluded by the apostle as much as any other virtue or obedience, if it be allowed that he means the moral law, when he excludes works of the law. And therefore, if that point be yielded, that the apostle means the moral, and not only the ceremonial, law, their whole scheme falls to the ground.

And because the issue of the whole argument from those texts in St. Paul’s epistles depends on the determination of this point, I would be particular in the discussion of it.

Some of our opponents in this doctrine of justification, when they deny that by the law the apostle means the moral law or the whole rule of life which God has given to mankind, seem to choose to express themselves thus: that the apostle only intends the Mosaic dispensation. But this comes to just the same thing as if they said that the apostle only means to exclude the works of the ceremonial law. For when they say that it is intended only that we are not justified by the works of the Mosaic dispensation, if they mean anything by it, it must be, that we are not justified by attending and observing what is Mosaic in that dispensation, or by what was peculiar to it, and wherein it differed from the Christian dispensation, which is the same as that which is ceremonial and positive, and not moral, in that administration. So that this is what I have to disprove, viz. that the apostle, when he speaks of works of the law in this affair, means only works of the ceremonial law, or those observances that were peculiar to the Mosaic administration.

And here it must be noted, that nobody controverts it with them, whether the works of the ceremonial law be not included, or whether the apostle does not particularly argue against justification by circumcision, and other ceremonial observances. But all in question is whether when he denies justification by works of the law, he is to be understood only of the ceremonial law, or whether the moral law be not also implied and intended. And therefore those arguments which are brought to prove that the apostle meant the ceremonial law, are nothing to the purpose, unless they prove that the apostle meant those only.

What is much insisted on is that it was the judaizing Christians being so fond of circumcision and other ceremonies of the law, and depending so much on them, which was the very occasion of the apostle’s writing as he does against justification by the works of the law. But supposing it were so, that their trusting in works of the ceremonial law were the sole occasion of the apostle’s writing (which yet there is no reason to allow, as may appear afterwards), if their trusting in a particular work, as a work of righteousness, was all that gave occasion to the apostle to write, how does it follow, that therefore the apostle did not upon that occasion write against trusting in all works of righteousness whatsoever? Where is the absurdity of supposing that the apostle might take occasion, from his observing some to trust in a certain work as trusting in any works of righteousness at all, and that it was a very proper occasion too? Yea, it would have been unavoidable for the apostle to have argued against trusting in a particular work, in the quality of a work of righteousness, which quality was general, but he must therein argue against trusting in works of righteousness in general. Supposing it had been some other particular sort of works that was the occasion of the apostle’s writing, as for instance, works of charity, and the apostle should hence take occasion to write to them not to trust in their works, could the apostle by that be understood of no other works besides works of charity? Would it have been absurd to understand him as writing against trusting in any work at all, because it was their trusting to a particular work that gave occasion to his writing?

Another thing alleged, as an evidence that the apostle means the ceremonial law — when he says, we cannot be justified by the works of the law — is that he uses this argument to prove it, viz. that the law he speaks of was given so long after the covenant with Abraham, in Gal. 3:17, “And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul.” But, say they, it was only the Mosaic administration, and not the covenant of works, that was given so long after. But the apostle’s argument seems manifestly to be mistaken by them. The apostle does not speak of a law that began to exist four hundred and thirty years after. If he did, there would be some force in their objection, but he has respect to a certain solemn transaction, well known among the Jews by the phrase “the giving of the law,” which was at Mount Sinai (Exo. 19, 20) consisting especially in God’s giving the ten commandments (which is the moral law) with a terrible voice, which law he afterwards gave in tables of stone. This transaction the Jews in the apostle’s time misinterpreted. They looked upon it as God’s establishing that law as a rule of justification. Against this conceit of theirs the apostle brings this invincible argument, viz. that God would never go about to disannul his covenant with Abraham, which was plainly a covenant of grace, by a transaction with his posterity, that was so long after it, and was plainly built upon it. He would not overthrow a covenant of grace that he had long before established with Abraham, for him and his seed (which is often mentioned as the ground of God’s making them his people), by now establishing a covenant of works with them at Mount Sinai, as the Jews and judaizing Christians supposed.

But that the apostle does not mean only works of the ceremonial law, when he excludes works of the law in justification, but also of the moral law, and all works of obedience, virtue, and righteousness whatsoever, may appear by the following things.

  1. The apostle does not only say that we are not justified by the works of the law, but that we are not justified by works, using a general term, as in our text, “to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth,” etc.; and in the 6th verse, “God imputeth righteousness without works;” and Rom. 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it 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.” So, Eph. 2:8, 9, “For by grace are ye saved, through faith, — not of works;” by which, there is no reason in the world to understand the apostle of any other than works in general, as correlates of a reward, or good works, or works of virtue and righteousness. When the apostle says, we are justified or saved not by works, without any such term annexed, as the law, or any other addition to limit the expression, what warrant have any to confine it to works of a particular law or institution, excluding others? Are not observances of other divine laws works, as well as of that? It seems to be allowed by the divines in the Arminian scheme, in their interpretation of several of those texts where the apostle only mentions works, without any addition, that he means our own good works in general. But then, they say, he only means to exclude any proper merit in those works. But to say the apostle means one thing when he says, we are not justified by works, and another when he says, we are not justified by the works of the law, when we find the expressions mixed and used in the same discourse, and when the apostle is evidently upon the same argument, is very unreasonable. It is to dodge and fly from Scripture, rather than open and yield ourselves to its teachings.

2. In the third chapter of Romans, our having been guilty of breaches of the moral law, is an argument that the apostle uses, why we cannot be justified by the works of the Old Testament, that all are under sin: “There is none righteous, no not one: their throat is as an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit: their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; and their feet swift to shed blood.” And so he goes on, mentioning only those things that are breaches of the moral law. And then when he has done, his conclusion is, in the 19th and 20th verses, “Now we know that whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them that are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore, by the deeds of the law, shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” This is most evidently his argument, because all had sinned (as it was said in the 9th verse), and been guilty of those breaches of the moral law that he had mentioned (and it is repeated over again, verse 23), “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” therefore none at all can be justified by the deeds of the law. Now if the apostle meant only, that we are not justified by the deeds of the ceremonial law, what kind of arguing would that be, “Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, their feet are swift to shed blood?” therefore they cannot be justified by the deeds of the Mosaic administration. They are guilty of the breaches of the moral law, and therefore they cannot be justified by the deeds of the ceremonial law! Doubtless, the apostle’s argument is that the very same law they have broken, can never justify them as observers of it, because every law necessarily condemns it violators. And therefore our breaches of the moral law argue no more, than that we cannot be justified by that law we have broken.

And it may be noted, that the apostle’s argument here is the same that I have already used, viz. that as we are in ourselves, and out of Christ, we are under the condemnation of that original law or constitution that God established with mankind. And therefore it is no way fit that anything we do, any virtue or obedience of ours, should be accepted, or we accepted on the account of it. 

3. The apostle, in all the preceding part of this epistle, wherever he has the phrase, the law, evidently intends the moral law principally. As in the 12th verse of the foregoing chapter: “For as many as have sinned without law, shall also perish without law.” It is evidently the written moral law the apostle means, by the next verse but one, “For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law;” that is, the moral law that the Gentiles have by nature. And so the next verse, “Which show the work of the law written in their hearts.” It is the moral law, and not the ceremonial, that is written in the hearts of those who are destitute of divine revelation. And so in the 18th verse, “Thou approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law.” It is the moral law that shows us the nature of things, and teaches us what is excellent, 20th verse, “Thou hast a form of knowledge and truth in the law.” It is the moral law, as is evident by what follows, verse 22, 23, “Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonourest thou God?” Adultery, idolatry, and sacrilege, surely are the breaking of the moral, and not the ceremonial law. So in the 27th verse, “And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?” i.e. the Gentiles, that you despise because uncircumcised, if they live moral and holy lives, in obedience to the moral law, shall condemn you though circumcised. And so there is not one place in all the preceding part of the epistle, where the apostle speaks of the law, but that he most apparently intends principally the moral law. And yet when the apostle, in continuance of the same discourse, comes to tell us, that we cannot be justified by the works of the law, then they will needs have it, that he means only the ceremonial law. Yea, though all this discourse about the moral law, showing how the Jews as well as Gentiles have violated it, is evidently preparatory and introductory to that doctrine, Rom. 3:20, “That no flesh,” that is, none of mankind, neither Jews nor Gentiles, “can be justified by the works of the law.”

4. It is evident that when the apostle says, we cannot be justified by the works of the law, he means the moral as well as ceremonial law, by his giving this reason for it, that “by the law is the knowledge of sin,” as Rom. 3:20, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight; for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Now that law by which we come to the knowledge of sin, is the moral law chiefly and primarily. If this argument of the apostle be good, “that we cannot be justified by the deeds of the law, because it is by the law that we come to the knowledge of sin;” then it proves that we cannot be justified by the deeds of the moral law, nor by the precepts of Christianity; for by them is the knowledge of sin. If the reason be good, then where the reason holds, the truth holds. It is a miserable shift, and a violent force put upon the words, to say that the meaning is, that by the law of circumcision is the knowledge of sin, because circumcision signifying the taking away of sin, puts men in mind of sin. The plain meaning of the apostle is that as the law most strictly forbids sin, it tends to convince us of sin, and bring our own consciences to condemn us, instead of justifying of us: that the use of it is to declare to us our own guilt and unworthiness, which is the reverse of justifying and approving of us as virtuous or worthy. This is the apostle’s meaning, if we will allow him to be his own expositor. For he himself, in this very epistle, explains to us how it is that by the law we have the knowledge of sin, and that it is by the law’s forbidding sin, Rom. 7:7, “I had not known sin, but by the law; for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” There the apostle determines two things: first, that the way in which “by the law is the knowledge of sin,” is by the law’s forbidding sin, and secondly, which is more directly still to the purpose, he determines that it is the moral law by which we come to the knowledge of sin. “For,” says he, “I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Now it is the moral, and not the ceremonial law, that says, “Thou shalt not covet.” Therefore, when the apostle argues that by the deeds of the law no flesh living shall be justified, because by the law is the knowledge of sin, his argument proves (unless he was mistaken as to the force of his argument), that we cannot be justified by the deeds of the moral law.

5. It is evident that the apostle does not mean only the ceremonial law, because he gives this reason why we have righteousness, and a title to the privilege of God’s children, not by the law, but by faith, “that the law worketh wrath.” Rom. 4:13-16, “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 righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect. Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Now the way in which the law works wrath, by the apostle’s own account, in the reason he himself annexes, is by forbidding sin, and aggravating the guilt of the transgression. “For,” says he, “where no law is, there is no transgression:” And so, Rom. 7:13, “That sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” If, therefore, this reason of the apostle be good, it is much stronger against justification by the moral law than the ceremonial law. For it is by transgressions of the moral law chiefly that there comes wrath: for they are most strictly forbidden, and most terribly threatened.

6. It is evident that when the apostle says, we are not justified by the works of the law, that he excludes all our own virtue, goodness, or excellency, by that reason he gives for it, viz. “That boasting might be excluded.” Rom. 3:26, 27, 28, “To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay; but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Eph. 2:8, 9, “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.” Now what are men wont to boast of, but what they esteem their own goodness or excellency? If we are not justified by works of the ceremonial law, yet how does that exclude boasting, as long as we are justified by our own excellency, or virtue and goodness of our own, or works of righteousness which we have done?

But it is said, that boasting is excluded, as circumcision was excluded, which was what the Jews especially used to glory in, and value themselves upon, above other nations.

To this I answer, that the Jews were not only used to boast of circumcision, but were notorious for boasting of their moral righteousness. The Jews of those days were generally admirers and followers of the Pharisees, who were full of their boasts of their moral righteousness; as we may see by the example of the Pharisee mentioned in the 18th of Luke, which Christ mentions as describing the general temper of that sect: “Lord,” says he, “I thank thee, that I am not as other men, an extortioner, nor unjust, nor an adulterer.” The works that he boasts of were chiefly moral works: he depended on the works of the law for justification. And therefore Christ tells us, that the publican, that renounced all his own righteousness, “went down to his house justified rather than he.” And elsewhere, we read of the Pharisees praying in the corners of the streets, and sounding a trumpet before them when they did alms. But those works which they so vainly boasted of were moral works. And not only so, but what the apostle in this very epistle condemns the Jews for, is their boasting of the moral law. Rom. 2:22, 23, “Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, do thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonourest thou God?” The law here mentioned that they made their boast of, was that of which adultery, idolatry, and sacrilege, were the breaches, which is the moral law. So that this is the boasting which the apostle condemns them for. And therefore, if they were justified by the works of this law, then how comes he to say that their boasting is excluded? And besides, when they boasted of the rites of the ceremonial law, it was under a notion of its being a part of their own goodness or excellency, or what made them holier and more lovely in the sight of God than other people. If they were not justified by this part of their own supposed goodness or holiness, yet if they were by another, how did that exclude boasting? How was their boasting excluded, unless all goodness or excellency of their own was excluded?

7. The reason given by the apostle why we can be justified only by faith, and not by the works of the law, in the 3d chapter of Galations viz. “That they that are under the law, are under the curse,” makes it evident that he does not mean only the ceremonial law. In that chapter the apostle had particularly insisted upon it, that Abraham was justified by faith, and that it is by faith only, and not by the works of the law, that we can be justified, and become the children of Abraham, and be made partakers of the blessing of Abraham: and he gives this reason for it in the 10th verse: “For as many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” It is manifest that these words, cited from Deuteronomy, are spoken not only with regard to the ceremonial law, but the whole law of God to mankind and chiefly the moral law, and that all mankind are therefore as they are in themselves under the curse, not only while the ceremonial law lasted, but now since that has ceased. And therefore all who are justified, are redeemed from that curse, by Christ’s bearing it for them; as in verse 13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Now therefore, either its being said that he is cursed who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them, is a good reason why we cannot be justified by the works of that law of which it is so said, or it is not: if it be, then it is a good reason why we cannot be justified by the works of the moral law, and of the whole rule which God has given to mankind to walk by. For the words are spoken of the moral as well as the ceremonial law, and reach every command or precept which God has given to mankind, and chiefly the moral precepts, which are most strictly enjoined, and the violations of which in both the New Testament and the Old, and in the books of Moses themselves, are threatened with the most dreadful curse.

8. The apostle in like manner argues against our being justified by our own righteousness, as he does against being justified by the works of the law; and evidently uses the expressions, of our own righteousness, and works of the law, promiscuously, and as signifying the same thing. It is particularly evident by Rom. 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Here it is plain that the same thing is asserted as in the two last verses but one of the foregoing chapter, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? because they sought it, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.” And it is very unreasonable, upon several accounts, to suppose that the apostle, by their own righteousness, intends only their ceremonial righteousness. For when the apostle warns us against trusting in our own righteousness of justification, doubtless it is fair to interpret the expression in an agreement with other scriptures. Here we are warned, not to think that it is for the sake of our own righteousness that we obtain God’s favor and blessing: as particularly in Deu. 9:4-6, “Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the Lord thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the Lord doth drive them out from before thee. Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost thou go to possess their land: but for the wickedness of these nations, the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee, and that he may perform the word which he sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Understand therefore, that the Lord thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it, for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiff-necked people.” None will pretend that here the expression thy righteousness, signifies only a ceremonial righteousness, but all virtue or goodness of their own — yea, and the inward goodness of the heart, as well as the outward goodness of life; which appears by the beginning of the 5th verse, “Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thy heart;” and also by the antithesis in the 6th verse, “Not for thy righteousness, for thou art a stiff-necked people.” Their stiff-neckedness was their moral wickedness, obstinacy, and perverseness of heart. By righteousness, therefore, on the contrary, is meant their moral virtue, and rectitude of heart and life. This is what I would argue from hence, that the expression of our own righteousness, when used in Scripture with relation to the favor of God — and when we are warned against looking upon it as that by which that favor, or the fruits of it, are obtained — does not signify only a ceremonial righteousness, but all manner of goodness of our own.

The Jews also, in the New Testament, are condemned for trusting in their own righteousness in this sense, Luke 18:9, etc. “And he spake this parable unto certain that trusted in themselves that they were righteous.” This intends chiefly a moral righteousness, as appears by the parable itself, in which we have an account of the prayer of the Pharisee, wherein the things that he mentions as what he trusts in, are chiefly moral qualifications and performances, viz. that he was not an extortioner, unjust, nor an adulterer, etc.

But we need not go to the writings of other penmen of the Scripture. If we will allow the apostle Paul to be his own interpreter, he — when he speaks of our own righteousness as that by which we are not justified or saved — does not mean only a ceremonial righteousness, nor does he only intend a way of religion and serving God, of our own choosing, without divine warrant or prescription. But by our own righteousness he means the same as a righteousness of our own doing, whether it be a service or righteousness of God’s prescribing, or our own unwarranted performing. Let it be an obedience to the ceremonial law, or a gospel obedience, or what it will: if it be a righteousness of our own doing, it is excluded by the apostle in this affair, as is evident by Tit. 3:5, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” — But I would more particularly insist on this text; and therefore this may be the

9th argument: that the apostle, when he denies justification by works, works of the law, and our own righteousness, does not mean works of the ceremonial law only. Tit. 3:3-7, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward men appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Works of righteousness that we have done are here excluded, as what we are neither saved nor justified by. The apostle expressly says, we are not saved by them, and it is evident that when he says this, he has respect to the affair of justification. And that he means, we are not saved by them in not being justified by them, as by the next verse but one, which is part of the same sentence, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

It is several ways manifest, that the apostle in this text, by “works of righteousness which we have done,” does not mean only works of the ceremonial law. It appears by the 3d verse, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” These are breaches of the moral law, that the apostle observes they lived in before they were justified: and it is most plain that it is this which gives occasion to the apostle to observe, as he does in the 5th verse, that is was not by works of righteousness which they had done, that they were saved or justified.

But we need not go to the context, it is most apparent from the words themselves, that the apostle does not mean only works of the ceremonial law. If he had only said, it is not by our own works of righteousness. What could we understand by works of righteousness, but only righteous works, or, which is the same thing, good works? And not say, that it is by our own righteous works that we are justified, though not by one particular kind of righteous works, would certainly be a contradiction to such an assertion. But, the works are rendered yet more strong, plain, and determined in their sense, by those additional words, which we have done, which shows that the apostle intends to exclude all our own righteous or virtuous works universally. If it should be asserted concerning any commodity, treasure, or precious jewel, that it could not be procured by money, and not only so, but to make the assertion the more strong, it should be asserted with additional words, that it could not be procured by money that men possess, how unreasonable would it be, after all, to say that all that was meant was, that it could not be procured with brass money.

And what renders the interpreting of this text, as intending works of the ceremonial law, yet more unreasonable, is that these works were indeed no works of righteousness at all, but were only falsely supposed to be so by the Jews. And this our opponents in this doctrine also suppose is the very reason why we are not justified by them, because they are not works of righteousness, or because (the ceremonial law being now abrogated) there is no obedience in them. But how absurd is it to say, that the apostle, when he says we are not justified by works of righteousness that we have done, meant only works of the ceremonial law, and that for that very reason, because they are not works of righteousness? To illustrate this by the forementioned comparison: If it should be asserted, that such a thing could not be procured by money that men possess, how ridiculous would it be to say, that the meaning only was, that it could not be procured by counterfeit money, and that for that reason, because it was not money. What Scripture will stand before men, if they will take liberty to manage Scripture thus? Or what one text is there in the Bible that may not at this rate be explained all away, and perverted to any sense men please?

But further, if we should allow that the apostle intends only to oppose justification by works of the ceremonial law in this text, yet it is evident by the expression he uses, that he means to oppose it under that notion, or in that quality, of their being works of righteousness of our own doing. But if the apostle argues against our being justified by works of the ceremonial law, under the notion of their being of that nature and kind, viz. works of our own doing, then it will follow that the apostle’s argument is strong against, not only those, but all of that nature and kind, even all that are of our own doing.

If there were not other text in the Bible about justification but this, this would clearly and invincibly prove that we are not justified by any of our own goodness, virtue, or righteousness, or for the excellency or righteousness of anything that we have done in religion, because it is here so fully and strongly asserted. But this text abundantly confirms other texts of the apostle, where he denies justification by works of the law. No doubt can be rationally made, but that the apostle, when he shows, that God does not save us by “works of righteousness that we have done,” verse 5, and that so we are “justified by grace,” verse 7, herein opposing salvation by works, and salvation by grace — means the same works as he does in other places, where he in like manner opposes works and grace, as in Rom. 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is 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.” And the same works as in Rom. 4:4, “Now to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” And the same works that are spoken of in the context of the 24th verse of the foregoing chapter, which the apostle there calls “works of the law, being justified freely by his grace.” And of the 4th chapter, 16th verse, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” Where in the context the righteousness of faith is opposed to the righteousness of the law: for here God’s saving us according to his mercy, and justifying us by grace, is opposed to saving us by works of righteousness that we have done. In the same manner as in those places, justifying us by his grace, is opposed to justifying us by works of the law.

10. The apostle could not mean only works of the ceremonial law, when he says, we are not justified by the works of the law, because it is asserted of the saints under the Old Testament as well as New. If men are justified by their sincere obedience, it will then follow that formerly, before the ceremonial law was abrogated, men were justified by the works of the ceremonial law, as well as the moral. For if we are justified by our sincere obedience, then it alters not the case, whether the commands be moral or positive, provided they be God’s commands, and our obedience be obedience to God. And so the case must be just the same under the Old Testament, with the works of the moral law and ceremonial, according to the measure of the virtue of obedience there was in either. It is true, their obedience to the ceremonial law would have nothing to do in the affair of justification, unless it was sincere, and so neither would the works of the moral law. If obedience was the thing, then obedience to the ceremonial law, while that stood in force, and obedience to the moral law, had just the same sort of concern, according to the proportion of obedience that consists in each. As now under the New Testament, if obedience is what we are justified by, that obedience must doubtless comprehend obedience to all God’s commands now in force, to the positive precepts of attendance on baptism and the Lord’s supper, as well as moral precepts. If obedience be the thing, it is not because it is obedience to such a kind of commands, but because it is obedience. So that by this supposition, the saints under the Old Testament were justified, at least in part, by their obedience to the ceremonial law.

But it is evident that the saints under the Old Testament were not justified, in any measure, by the works of the ceremonial law. This may be proved, proceeding on the foot of our adversaries’ own interpretation of the apostle’s phrase, “the works of the law,” and supposing them to mean by it only the works of the ceremonial law. To instance in David, it is evident that he was not justified in any wise by the works of the ceremonial law, by Rom. 4:6-8, “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.” It is plain that the apostle is here speaking of justification, from the preceding verse, and all the context; and the thing spoken of, viz. forgiving iniquities and covering sins, is what our adversaries themselves suppose to be justification, and even the whole of justification. This David, speaking of himself, says (by the apostle’s interpretation) that he had without works. For it is manifest that David, in the words here cited, from the beginning of the 32d Psalm, has a special respect to himself: he speaks of his own sins being forgiven and not imputed to him: as appears by the words that immediately follow, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old; through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid; I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.” Let us therefore understand the apostle which way we will respecting works, when he says, “David describes the blessedness of the man to whom the Lord imputes righteousness without works,” whether of all manner of works, or only works of the ceremonial law, yet it is evident at least, that David was not justified by works of the ceremonial law. Therefore here is the argument: if our own obedience be that by which men are justified, then under the Old Testament, men were justified partly by obedience to the ceremonial law (as has been proved). But the saints under the Old Testament were not justified partly by the works of the ceremonial law. Therefore men’s own obedience is not that by which they are justified.

11. Another argument that the apostle, when he speaks of the two opposite ways of justification, one by the works of the law, and the other by faith, does not mean only the works of the ceremonial law, may be taken from Rom. 10:5, 6. “For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, that the man which doth those things, shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith, speaketh on this wise,” etc.

— Here two things are evident.

(1) That the apostle here speaks of the same two opposite ways of justification, one by the righteousness which is of the law, the other by faith, that he had treated of in the former part of the epistle. And therefore it must be the same law that is here spoken of. The same law is here meant as in the last verses of the foregoing chapter, where he says, the Jews had “not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law;” as is plain, because the apostle is still speaking of the same thing. The words are a continuation of the same discourse, as may be seen at first glance, by anyone that looks on the context.

(2.) It is manifest that Moses, when he describes the righteousness which is of the law, or the way of justification by the law, in the words here cited, “He that doth those things, shall live in them,” does not speak only, nor chiefly, of the works of the ceremonial law; for none will pretend that God ever made such a covenant with man, that he who kept the ceremonial law should live in it, or that there ever was a time, that it was chiefly by the works of the ceremonial law that men lived and were justified. Yea, it is manifest by the forementioned instance of David, mentioned in the 4th of Romans, that there never was a time wherein men were justified in any measure by the works of the ceremonial law, as has been just now shown. Moses therefore, in those words which, the apostle says, are a description of the righteousness which is of the law, cannot mean only the ceremonial law. And therefor it follows, that when the apostle speaks of justification by the works of the law, as opposite to justification by faith, he does not mean only the ceremonial law, but also the works of the moral law, which are the things spoken of by Moses, when he says, “He that doth those things, shall live in them.” And these are the things which the apostle in this very place is arguing that we cannot be justified by, as is evident by the last verses of the preceding chapter; “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it, not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law,” etc. And in the 3d verse of this chapter, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

And further, how can the apostle’s description that he here gives from Moses, of this exploded way of justification by the works of the law, consist with the Arminian scheme, of a way of justification by the virtue of a sincere obedience, that still remains as the true and only way of justification under the gospel? It is most apparent that it is the design of the apostle to give a description of both the legal rejected and the evangelical valid ways of justification, in that wherein they are distinguished the one from the other. But how is it, that “he who doth those things, shall live in them,” that wherein the way of justification by the works of the law is distinguished from that in which Christians under the gospel are justified, according to their scheme. For still, according to them, it may be said, in the same manner, of the precepts of the gospel, he that does these things, shall live in them. The difference lies only in the things to be done, but not at all in that the doing of them is not the condition of living in them, just in the one case, as in the other. The words, “He that does them, shall live in them,” will serve just as well for a description of the latter as the former. By the apostle’s saying, the righteousness of the law is described thus, he that doth these things, shall live in them. But the righteousness of faith saith thus, plainly intimates that the righteousness of faith saith otherwise, and in an opposite manner. Besides, if these words cited from Moses are actually said by him of the moral law as well as ceremonial, as it is most evident they are, it renders it still more absurd to suppose them mentioned by the apostle, as the very note of distinction between justification by a ceremonial obedience, and a moral sincere obedience, as the Arminians must suppose.

Thus I have spoken to a second argument, to prove that we are not justified by any manner of virtue or goodness of our own, viz. that to suppose otherwise, is contrary to the doctrine directly urged, and abundantly insisted on, by the apostle Paul in his epistles.

I now proceed to a

Third argument, viz. that to suppose that we are justified by our own sincere obedience, or any of our own virtue or goodness, derogates from gospel grace.

That scheme of justification that manifestly takes from, or diminishes the grace of God, is undoubtedly to be rejected; for it is the declared design of God in the gospel to exalt the freedom and riches of his grace, in that method of justification of sinners, and way of admitting them to his favor, and the blessed fruits of it, which it declares. The Scripture teaches, that the way of justification appointed in the gospel covenant is appointed for that end, that free grace might be expressed, and glorified, Rom. 4:16, “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” The exercising and magnifying of free grace in the gospel contrivance for the justification and salvation of sinners, is evidently the chief design of it. And this freedom and riches of grace in the gospel is everywhere spoken of in Scripture as the chief glory of it. Therefore that doctrine which derogates from the free grace of God in justifying sinners, as it is most opposite to God’s design, so it must be exceedingly offensive to him.

Those who maintain, that we are justified by our own sincere obedience, pretend that their scheme does not diminish the grace of the gospel; for they say, that the grace of God is wonderfully manifested in appointing such a way and method of salvation by sincere obedience, in assisting us to perform such an obedience, and in accepting our imperfect obedience, instead of perfect.

Let us therefore examine that matter, whether their scheme of a man’s being justified by his own virtue and sincere obedience, does derogate from the grace of God or no, or whether free grace is not more exalted in supposing, as we do, that we are justified without any manner of goodness of our own. In order to this, I will lay down the self-evident.

Proposition, that whatsoever that be by which the abundant benevolence of the giver is expressed, and gratitude in the receiver is obliged, that magnifies free grace. This I suppose none will ever controvert or dispute. And it is not much less evident, that it does both show a more abundant benevolence in the giver when he shows kindness without goodness or excellency in the object, to move him to it, and that it enhances the obligation to gratitude in the receiver.

1. It shows a more abundant goodness in the giver, when he shows kindness without any excellency in our persons or actions that should move the giver to love and beneficence. For it certainly shows the more abundant and overflowing goodness, or disposition to communicate good, by how much the less loveliness or excellency there is to entice beneficence. The less there is in the receiver to draw goodwill and kindness, it argues the more of the principle of goodwill and kindness in the giver. One that has but a little of a principle of love and benevolence, may be drawn to do good, and to show kindness, when there is a great deal to draw him, or when there is much excellency and loveliness in the object to move goodwill. When he whose goodness and benevolence is more abundant, [he] will show kindness where there is less to draw it forth. For he does not so much need to have it drawn from without, he has enough of the principle within to move him of itself. Where there is most of the principle, there it is most sufficient for itself, and stands in least need of something without to excite it. For certainly a more abundant goodness more easily flows forth with less to impel or draw it, than where there is less, or, which is the same thing, the more anyone is disposed of himself, the less he needs from without himself, to put him upon it, or stir him up to it. And therefore his kindness and goodness appears the more exceeding great, when it is bestowed without any excellency or loveliness at all in the receiver, or when the receiver is respected in the gift, as wholly without excellency. And much more still when the benevolence of the giver not only finds nothing in the receiver to draw it, but a great deal of hatefulness to repel it. The abundance of goodness is then manifested, not only in flowing forth without anything extrinsic to put it forward, but in overcoming great repulsion in the object. And then does kindness and love appear most triumphant, and wonderfully great, when the receiver is not only wholly without all excellency or beauty to attract it, but altogether, yea, infinitely vile and hateful.

2. It is apparent also that it enhances the obligation to gratitude in the receiver. This is agreeable to the common sense of mankind, that the less worthy or excellent the object of benevolence, or the receiver of kindness is, the more he is obliged, and the greater gratitude is due. He therefore is most of all obliged, that receives kindness without any goodness or excellency in himself, but with a total and universal hatefulness. And as it is agreeable to the common sense of mankind, so it is agreeable to the Word of God. How often does God in the Scripture insist on this argument with men, to move them to love him, and to acknowledge his kindness? How much does he insist on this as an obligation to gratitude, that they are so sinful, and undeserving, and ill-deserving?

Therefore it certainly follows, that the doctrine which teaches that God, when he justifies a man, and shows him such great kindness as to give him a right to eternal life, does not do it for any obedience, or any manner of goodness of his, but that justification respects a man as ungodly, and wholly without any manner of virtue, beauty, or excellency. I say, this doctrine does certainly more exalt the free grace of God in justification, and man’s obligation to gratitude for such a favor, than the contrary doctrine, viz. that God, in showing this kindness to man, respects him as sincerely obedient and virtuous, and as having something in him that is truly excellent and lovely, and acceptable in his sight, and that this goodness or excellency of man is the very fundamental condition of the bestowment of that kindness on him, or of distinguishing him from others by that benefit.

But I hasten to a

Fourth argument for the truth of the doctrine: that to suppose a man is justified by his own virtue or obedience, derogates from the honor of the Mediator, and ascribes that to man’s virtue which belongs only to the righteousness of Christ: It puts man in Christ’s stead, and makes him his own savior, in a respect in which Christ only is his Savior. And so it is a doctrine contrary to the nature and design of the gospel, which is to abase man, and to ascribe all the glory of our salvation to Christ the Redeemer. It is inconsistent with the doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, which is a gospel doctrine.

Here I would explain what we mean by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Prove the thing intended by it to be true. Show that this doctrine is utterly inconsistent with the doctrine of our being justified by our own virtue or sincere obedience.

1. I would explain what we mean by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Sometimes the expression is taken by our divines in a larger sense, for the imputation of all that Christ did and suffered for our redemption, whereby we are free from guilt, and stand righteous in the sight of God, and so implies the imputation both of Christ’s satisfaction and obedience. But here I intend it in a stricter sense, for the imputation of that righteousness or moral goodness that consists in the obedience of Christ. — And by that righteousness being imputed to us, is meant no other than this, that the righteousness of Christ is accepted for us, and admitted instead of that perfect inherent righteousness which ought to be in ourselves. Christ’s perfect obedience shall be reckoned to our account, so that we shall have the benefit of it, as though we had performed it ourselves. And so we suppose that a title to eternal life is given us as the reward of this righteousness. The Scripture uses the word impute in this sense, viz. for reckoning anything belonging to any person, to another person’s account: As Phm. 18, “If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account.”

The opposers of this doctrine suppose that there is an absurdity in supposing that God imputes Christ’s obedience to us. It is to suppose that God is mistaken, and thinks that we performed that obedience which Christ performed. But why cannot that righteousness be reckoned to our account, and be accepted for us, without any such absurdity? Why is there any more absurdity in it, than in a merchant’s transferring debt or credit from one man’s account to another, when one man pays a price for another, so that it shall be accepted as if that other had paid it? Why is there any more absurdity in supposing that Christ’s obedience is imputed to us, than that his satisfaction is imputed? If Christ has suffered the penalty of the law in our stead, then it will follow, that his suffering that penalty is imputed to us, that is, accepted for us, and in our stead, and is reckoned to our account, as though we had suffered it. But why may not his obeying the law of God be as rationally reckoned to our account, as his suffering the penalty of the law? Why may not a price to bring into debt, be as rationally transferred from one person’s account to another, as a price to pay a debt? Having thus explained what we mean by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, I proceed,

2. To prove that the righteousness of Christ is thus imputed.

(1.) There is the very same need of Christ’s obeying the law in our stead, in order to the reward, as of his suffering the penalty of the law in our stead, in order to our escaping the penalty, and the same reason why one should be accepted on our account, as the other. There is the same need of one as the other, that the law of God might be answered: one was as requisite to answer the law as the other. It is certain, that was the reason why there was need that Christ should suffer the penalty for us, even that the law might be answered. For this the Scripture plainly teaches. This is given as the reason why Christ was made a curse for us, that the law threatened a curse to us, Gal. 3:10, 13. But the same law that fixes the curse of God as the consequence of not continuing in all things written in the law to do them (verse 10) has as much fixed doing those things as an antecedent of living in them (as verse 12). There is as much connection established in one case as in the other. There is therefore exactly the same need, from the law, of perfect obedience being fulfilled in order to our obtaining the reward, as there is of death being suffered in order to our escaping the punishment, or the same necessity by the law, of perfect obedience preceding life, as there is of disobedience being succeeded by death. The law is, without doubt, as much of an established rule in one case as in the other.

Christ by suffering the penalty, and so making atonement for us, only removes the guilt of our sins, and so sets us in the same state that Adam was in the first moment of his creation, and it is no more fit that we should obtain eternal life only on that account, than that Adam should have the reward of eternal life, or of a confirmed and unalterable state of happiness, the first moments of his existence, without any obedience at all. Adam was not to have the reward merely on account of his being innocent. If [that were] so, he would have had it fixed upon him at once, as soon as ever he was created, for he was as innocent then as he could be. But he was to have the reward on account of his active obedience: not on account merely of his not having done ill, but on account of his doing well.

So on the same account we have not eternal life merely as void of guilt, which we have by the atonement of Christ, but on the account of Christ’s active obedience, and doing well. — Christ is our second federal head, and is called the second Adam (1 Cor. 15:22), because he acted that part for us, which the first Adam should have done. When he had undertaken to stand in our stead, he was looked upon and treated as though he were guilty with our guilt. By his bearing the penalty, he did as it were free himself from this guilt. But by this the second Adam did only bring himself into the state in which the first Adam was on the first moment of his existence, viz. a state of mere freedom from guilt, and hereby indeed was free from any obligation to suffer punishment. But this being supposed, there was need of something further, even a positive obedience, in order to his obtaining, as our second Adam, the reward of eternal life.

God saw meet to place man first in a state of trial, and not to give him a title to eternal life as soon as he had made him, because it was his will that he should first give honor to his authority, by fully submitting to it, in will and act, and perfectly obeying his law. God insisted upon it, that his holy majesty and law should have their due acknowledgment and honor from man, such as became the relation he stood in to that Being who created him, before he would bestow the reward of confirmed and everlasting happiness upon him. Therefore God gave him a law that he might have opportunity, by giving due honor to his authority in obeying it, to obtain this happiness. It therefore became Christ — seeing that, in assuming man to himself, he sought a title to this eternal happiness for him after he had broken the law — that he himself should become subject to God’s authority, and be in the form of a servant, that he might do that honor to God’s authority for him, by his obedience, which God at first required of man as the condition of his having a title to that reward. Christ came into the world to render the honor of God’s authority and law consistent with the salvation and eternal life of sinners. He came to save them, and yet withal to assert and vindicate the honor of the lawgiver, and his holy law. Now, if the sinner, after his sin was satisfied for, had eternal life bestowed upon him without active righteousness, the honor of his law would not be sufficiently vindicated. Supposing this were possible, that the sinner could himself, by suffering, pay the debt, and afterwards be in the same state that he was in before his probation, that is to say, negatively righteous, or merely without guilt. If he now at last should have eternal life bestowed upon him, without performing that condition of obedience, then God would recede from his law, and would give the promised reward, and his law never have respect and honor shown to it, in that way of being obeyed. But now Christ, by subjecting himself to the law, and obeying it, has done great honor to the law, and to the authority of God who gave it. That so glorious a person should become subject to the law, and fulfill it, has done much more to honor it, than if mere man had obeyed it. It was a thing infinitely honorable to God, that a person of infinite dignity was not ashamed to call him his God, and to adore and obey him as such. This was more to God’s honor than if any mere creature, of any possible degree of excellence and dignity, had so done.

It is absolutely necessary, that in order to a sinner’s being justified, the righteousness of some other should be reckoned to his account. For it is declared that the person justified is looked upon as (in himself) ungodly, but God neither will nor can justify a person without a righteousness. For justification is manifestly a forensic term, as the word is used in Scripture, and a judicial thing, or the act of a judge. So that if a person should be justified without a righteousness, the judgment would not be according to truth. The sentence of justification would be a false sentence, unless there be a righteousness performed, that is, by the judge, properly looked upon as his. To say that God does not justify the sinner without sincere, though an imperfect obedience, does not help the case, for an imperfect righteousness before a judge is no righteousness. To accept of something that falls short of the rule, instead of something else that answers the rule, is no judicial act, or act of a judge, but a pure act of sovereignty. An imperfect righteousness is no righteousness before a judge: For “righteousness (as one observes) is a relative thing, and has always relation to a law. The formal nature of righteousness, properly understood, lies in a conformity of actions to that which is the rule and measure of them.” Therefore that only is righteousness in the sight of a judge that answers the law. The law is the judge’s rule. If he pardons and hides what really is, and so does not pass sentence according to what things are in themselves, he either does not act the part of a judge, or else judges falsely. The very notion of judging is to determine what is, and what is not in anyone’s case. The judge’s work is twofold: it is to determine first what is fact, and then whether what is in fact be according to rule, or according to the law. If a judge has no rule or law established beforehand, by which he should proceed in judging, he has no foundation to go upon in judging, he has no opportunity to be a judge, nor is it possible that he should do the part of a judge. To judge without a law, or rule by which to judge, is impossible. For the very notion of judging is to determine whether the object of judgment be according to rule. Therefore God has declared that when he acts as a judge, he will not justify the wicked, and cannot clear the guilty, and, by parity of reason, cannot justify without righteousness.

And the scheme of the old law’s being abrogated, and a new law introduced, will not help at all in this difficulty. For an imperfect righteousness cannot answer the law of God we are under, whether that be an old or a new one, for every law requires perfect obedience to itself. Every rule whatsoever requires perfect conformity to itself, [and] it is a contradiction to suppose otherwise. For to say, that there is a law that does not require perfect obedience to itself, is to say that there is a law that does not require all that it requires. That law that now forbids sin, is certainly the law that we are now under (let that be an old or a new one), or else it is not sin. That which is not forbidden, and is the breach of no law, is no sin. But if we are now forbidden to commit sin, then it is by a law that we are now under. For surely we are neither under the forbiddings nor commanding of a law that we are not under. Therefore, if all sin is now forbidden, then we are now under a law that requires perfect obedience, and therefore nothing can be accepted as a righteousness in the sight of our Judge, but perfect righteousness. So that our Judge cannot justify us, unless he sees a perfect righteousness in some way belonging to us, either performed by ourselves, or by another, and justly and duly reckoned to our account.

God does, in the sentence of justification, pronounce a man perfectly righteous, or else he would need a further justification after he is justified. His sins being removed by Christ’s atonement, is not sufficient for his justification. For justifying a man, as has been already shown, is not merely pronouncing him innocent, or without guilt, but standing right with regard to the rule that he is under, and righteous unto life. But this, according to the established rule of nature, reason, and divine appointment, is a positive, perfect righteousness.

As there is the same need that Christ’s obedience should be reckoned to our account, as that his atonement should, so there is the same reason why it should. As if Adam had persevered, and finished his course of obedience, we should have received the benefit of his obedience, as much as now we have the mischief of his disobedience. So in like manner, there is reason that we should receive the benefit of the second Adam’s obedience, as of his atonement of our disobedience. Believers are represented in Scripture as being so in Christ, as that they are legally one, or accepted as one, by the Supreme Judge. Christ has assumed our nature, and has so assumed all, in that nature that belongs to him, into such an union with himself, that he is become their Head, and has taken them to be his members. And therefore, what Christ has done in our nature, whereby he did honor to the law and authority of God by his acts, as well as the reparation to the honor of the law by his sufferings, is reckoned to the believer’s account: so as that the believer should be made happy, because it was so well and worthily done by his Head, as well as freed from being miserable, because he has suffered for our ill and unworthy doing.

When Christ had once undertaken with God to stand for us, and put himself under our law, by that law he was obliged to suffer, and by the same law he was obliged to obey. By the same law, after he had taken man’s guilt upon him, he himself being our surety, could not be acquitted till he had suffered, nor rewarded till he had obeyed. But he was not acquitted as a private person, but as our Head, and believers are acquitted in his acquittal. Nor was he accepted to a reward for his obedience, as a private person, but as our Head, and we are accepted to a reward in his acceptance. The Scripture teaches us, that when Christ was raised from the dead, he was justified, which justification, as I have already shown, implies both his acquittal from our guilt, and his acceptance to the exaltation and glory that was the reward of his obedience. But believers, as soon as they believe, are admitted to partake with Christ in this his justification. Hence we are told, that he was “raised again for our justification,” (Rom. 4:25) which is true, not only of that part of his justification that consists in his acquittal, but also his acceptance to his reward. The Scripture teaches us, that he is exalted, and gone to heaven to take possession of glory in our name, as our forerunner, Heb. 6:20. We are as it were, both raised up together with Christ, and also made to sit together with Christ in heavenly places, and in him, Eph. 2:6.

If it be objected here, that there is this reason, why what Christ suffered should be accepted on our account, rather than the obedience he performed, that he was obliged to obedience for himself, but was not obliged to suffer but only on our account. To this I answer that Christ was not obliged, on his own account, to undertake to obey. Christ in his original circumstances, was in no subjection to the Father, being altogether equal with him. He was under no obligation to put himself in man’s stead, and under man’s law, or to put himself into any state of subjection to God whatsoever. There was a transaction between the Father and the Son, that was antecedent to Christ’s becoming man, and being made under the law, wherein he undertook to put himself under the law, and both to obey and to suffer. In [this] transaction these things were already virtually done in the sight of God, as is evident by this: that God acted on the ground of that transaction, justifying and saving sinners, as if the things undertaken had been actually performed long before they were performed indeed. And therefore, without doubt, in order to estimate the value and validity of what Christ did and suffered, we must look back to that transaction, wherein these things were first undertaken, and virtually done in the sight of God, and see what capacity and circumstances Christ acted in them. We shall find that Christ was under no manner of obligation, either to obey the law, or to suffer its penalty. After this he was equally under obligation to both, for henceforward he stood as our surety or representative. And therefore this consequent obligation may be as much of an objection against the validity of his suffering the penalty, as against his obedience. But if we look to that original transaction between the Father and the Son, wherein both these were undertaken and accepted as virtually done in the sight of the Father, we shall find Christ acting with regard to both as one perfectly in his own right, and under no manner of previous obligation to hinder the validity of either.

(2.) To suppose that all Christ does is only to make atonement for us by suffering, is to make him our Savior but in part. It is to rob him of half his glory as a Savior. For if so, all that he does is to deliver us from hell: he does not purchase heaven for us. The adverse scheme supposes that he purchases heaven for us, in that he satisfies for the imperfections of our obedience and so purchases that our sincere imperfect obedience might be accepted as the condition of eternal life, and so purchases an opportunity for us to obtain heaven by our own obedience. But to purchase heaven for us only in this sense, is to purchase it in no sense at all. For all of it comes to no more than a satisfaction for our sins, or removing the penalty by suffering in our stead. For all the purchasing they speak of, that our imperfect obedience should be accepted, is only his satisfying for the sinful imperfection of our obedience, or (which is the same thing) making atonement for the sin that our obedience is attended with. But that is not purchasing heaven, merely to set us at liberty again, that we may go and get heaven by what we do ourselves. All that Christ does is only to pay a debt for us. There is no positive purchase of any good. We are taught in Scripture that heaven is purchased for us. It is called the purchased possession, Eph. 1:14. The gospel proposes the eternal inheritance, not to be acquired, as the first covenant did, but as already acquired and purchased. But he that pays a man’s debt for him, and so delivers him from slavery, cannot be said to purchase an estate for him, merely because he sets him at liberty, so that henceforward he has an opportunity to get an estate by his own hand labor. So that according to this scheme, the saints in heaven have no reason to thank Christ for purchasing heaven for them, or redeeming them to God, and making them kings and priests, as we have an account that they do, in Rev. 5:9, 10.

(3.) Justification by the righteousness and obedience of Christ, is a doctrine that the Scripture teaches in very full terms, Rom. 5:18, 19, “By the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so, by the obedience of one, shall all be made righteous.” Here in one verse we are told that we have justification by Christ’s righteousness, and that there might be no room to understand the righteousness spoken of, merely of Christ’s atonement by his suffering the penalty. In the next verse it is put in other terms, and asserted that it is by Christ’s obedience we are made righteous. It is scarcely possible anything should be more full and determined. The terms, taken singly, are such as fix their own meaning, and taken together, they fix the meaning of each other. The words show that we are justified by that righteousness of Christ which consists in his obedience, and that we are made righteous or justified by that obedience of his, that is, his righteousness, or moral goodness before God.

Here possibly it may be objected, that this text means only, that we are justified by Christ’s passive obedience.

To this I answer, whether we call it active or passive, it alters not the case as to the present argument, as long as it is evident by the words that it is not merely under the notion of an atonement for disobedience, or a satisfaction for unrighteousness, but under the notion of a positive obedience, and a righteousness, or moral goodness, that it justifies us, or makes us righteous. Because both the words righteousness and obedience are used, and used too as the opposites to sin and disobedience, and an offense. “Therefore as by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so, by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men to justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners; so, by the obedience of one, shall many be made righteousness.” Now, what can be meant by righteousness, when spoken of as the opposite to sin, or moral evil, but moral goodness? What is the righteousness that is the opposite of an offense, but the behavior that is well pleasing? And what can be meant by obedience, when spoken of as the opposite of disobedience, or going contrary to a command, but a positive obeying and an actual complying with the command? So that there is no room for any invented distinction of active and passive, to hurt the argument from this scripture. For it is evident by it, as anything can be, that believers are justified by the righteousness and obedience of Christ, under the notion of his moral goodness; — his positive obeying, and actual complying with the commands of God, and that behavior which, because of its conformity to his commands, was well-pleasing in his sight. This is all that ever any need to desire to have granted in this dispute.

By this it appears, that if Christ’s dying be here included in the words righteousness and obedience, it is not merely as a propitiation, or bearing a penalty of a broken law in our stead, but as his voluntary submitting and yielding himself to those sufferings, was an act of obedience to the Father’s commands, and so was a part of his positive righteousness, or moral goodness. 

Indeed all obedience considered under the notion of righteousness, is something active, something done in voluntary compliance with a command; whether it may be done without suffering, or whether it be hard and difficult. Yet as it is obedience, righteousness, or moral goodness, it must be considered as something voluntary and active. If anyone is commanded to go through difficulties and sufferings, and he, in compliance with this command, voluntarily does it, he properly obeys in so doing; and as he voluntarily does it in compliance with a command, his obedience is as active as any whatsoever. It is the same sort of obedience, a thing of the very same nature, as when a man, in compliance with a command, does a piece of hard service, or goes through hard labor; and there is no room to distinguish between such obedience of it, as if it were a thing of quite a different nature, by such opposite terms as active and passive: all the disobeying an easy command and a difficult one. But is there from hence any foundation to make two species of obedience, one active and the other passive? There is no appearance of any such distinction ever entering into the hearts of any of the penmen of Scripture.

It is true, that of late, when a man refuses to obey the precept of a human law, but patiently yields himself up to suffer the penalty of the law, it is called passive obedience. But this I suppose is only a modern use of the word obedience. Surely it is a sense of the word that the Scripture is a perfect stranger to. It is improperly called obedience, unless there be such a precept in the law, that he shall yield himself patiently to suffer, to which his so doing shall be an active voluntary conformity. There may in some sense be said to be a conformity of the law in a person’s suffering the penalty of the law. But no other conformity to the law is properly called obedience to it, but an active voluntary conformity to the precepts of it. The word obey is often found in Scripture with respect to the law of God to man, but never in any other sense.

It is true that Christ’s willingly undergoing those sufferings which he endured, is a great part of that obedience or righteousness by which we are justified. The sufferings of Christ are respected in Scripture under a twofold consideration, either merely as his being substituted for us, or put into our stead, in suffering the penalty of the law. And so his sufferings are considered as a satisfaction and propitiation for sin, or as he, in obedience to a law or a command of the Father, voluntarily submitted himself to those sufferings, and actively yielded himself up to hear them. So they are considered as his righteousness, and a part of his active obedience. Christ underwent death in obedience to the command of the Father, Psa. 40:6-8, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire, mine ears hast thou opened: burnt-offering and sin-offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” John 10:17-18, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 18:11, “The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” And this is part, and indeed the principal part, of that active obedience by which we are justified.

It can be no just objection against this, that the command of the Father to Christ that he should lay down his life was no part of the law that we had broken, and therefore, that his obeying this command could be no part of that obedience that he performed for us, because we needed that he should obey no other law for us, but only that which we had broken or failed of obeying. For although it must be the same legislative authority, whose honor is repaired by Christ’s obedience, that we have injured by our disobedience, yet there is no need that the law which Christ obeys should be precisely the same that Adam was to have obeyed, in that sense, that there should be no positive precepts wanting, nor any added. There was wanting the precept about the forbidden fruit, and there was added the ceremonial law. The thing required was perfect obedience. It is no matter whether the positive precepts that Christ was to obey, were much more than equivalent to what was wanting, because infinitely more difficult, particularly the command that he had received to lay down his life, which was his principal act of obedience, and which, above all other, is concerned in our justification. As that act of disobedience by which we fell, was disobedience to a positive precept that Christ never was under, viz. That of abstaining from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, so that act of obedience by which principally we are redeemed is obedience to a positive precept, that should try both Adam’s and Christ’s obedience. Such precepts are the greatest and most proper trial of obedience, because in them, the mere authority and will of the legislator is the sole ground of the obligation (and nothing in the nature of the things themselves), and therefore they are the greatest trial of any persons’ respect to that authority and will.

The law that Christ was subject to, and obeyed, was in some sense the same that was given to Adam. There are innumerable particular duties required by the law only conditionally, and in such circumstances, are comprehended in some great and general rule of that law. Thus, for instance, there are innumerable acts of respect and obedience to men, which are required by the law of nature (which was a law given to Adam), which yet are not required absolutely, but upon many prerequisite conditions: as that there be men standing in such relations to us, and that they give forth such commands, and the like. So many acts of respect and obedience to God are included, in like manner, in the moral law conditionally, or such and such things being supposed: as Abraham’s going about to sacrifice his son, the Jews’ circumcising their children when eight days old, and Adam’s not eating the forbidden fruit. They are virtually comprehended in the great general rule of the moral law, that we should obey God, and be subject to him in whatsoever he pleases to command us. Certainly the moral law does as much require us to obey God’s positive commands, as it requires us to obey the positive commands of our parents. And thus all that Adam, and all that Christ was commanded, even his observing the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish worship, and his laying down his life, was virtually included in this same great law. *1* 

It is no objection against the last-mentioned thing, even in Christ’s laying down his life, it being included in the moral law given to Adam, because that law itself allowed of no occasion for any such thing. For the moral law virtually includes all right acts, on all possible occasions, even occasions that the law itself allows not. Thus we are obliged by the moral law to mortify our lusts, and repent of our sins, though that law allows of no lust to mortify, or sin to repent of.

There is indeed but one great law of God, and that is the same law that says, “if thou sinnest, thou shalt die;” and “curses is every one that continues not in all things contained in this law to do them.” All duties of positive institution are virtually comprehended in this law: and therefore, if the Jews broke the ceremonial law, it exposed them to the penalty of the law, or covenant of works, which threatened, “thou shalt surely die.” The law is the eternal and unalterable rule of righteousness between God and man, and therefore is the rule of judgment, but which all that a man does shall be either justified or condemned; and no sin exposes to damnation, but by the law. So now he that refuses to obey the precepts that require an attendance on the sacraments of the New Testament, is exposed to damnation, by virtue of the law or covenant of works. It may moreover be argued that all sins whatsoever are breaches of the law or covenant of works, because all sins, even breaches of the positive precepts, as well as others, have atonement by the death of Christ. But what Christ died for, was to satisfy the law, or to bear the curse of the law; as appears by Gal. 3:10-13 and Rom. 7:3, 4.

So that Christ’s laying down his life might be part of that obedience by which we are justified, though it was a positive precept not given to Adam. It was doubtless Christ’s main act of obedience, because it was obedience to a command that was attended with immensely the greatest difficulty, and so to a command that was the greatest trial of his obedience. His respect shown to God in it, and his honor to God’s authority, was proportionably great. It is spoken of in Scripture as Christ’s principal act of obedience. Phil. 2:7, 8, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” And it therefore follows from what has been already said, that it is mainly by this act of obedience that believers in Christ also have the reward of glory, or come to partake with Christ in his glory. We are as much saved by the death of Christ, as his yielding himself to die was an act of obedience, as we are as it was a propitiation for our sins. For as it was not only the only act of obedience that merited, he having performed meritorious acts of obedience through the whole course of his life, so neither was it the only suffering that was propitiatory; all his sufferings through the whole course of his life being propitiatory, as well as every act of obedience meritorious. Indeed this was his principal suffering, and it was as much his principal act of obedience. 

Hence we may see how that the death of Christ did not only make atonement, but also merited eternal life, and hence we may see how by the blood of Christ, we are not only redeemed from sin, but redeemed unto God. Therefore the Scripture seems everywhere to attribute the whole of salvation to the blood of Christ. This precious blood is as much the main price by which heaven is purchased, as it is the main price by which we are redeemed from hell. The positive righteousness of Christ, or that price by which he merited, was of equal value with that by which he satisfied, for indeed it was the same price. He spilled his blood to satisfy, and by reason of the infinite dignity of his person, his sufferings were looked upon as of infinite value, and equivalent to the eternal sufferings of a finite creature. And he spilled his blood out of respect to the honor of God’s majesty, and in submission to his authority, who had commanded him so to do. His obedience therein was of infinite value, both because of the dignity of the person that performed it, and because he put himself to infinite expense to perform it, whereby the infinite degree of his regard to God’s authority appeared. 

One would wonder what Arminians mean by Christ’s merits. They talk of Christ’s merits as much as anybody, and yet deny the imputation of Christ’s positive righteousness. What should there be than anyone should merit or deserve anything by, besides righteousness or goodness? If anything that Christ did or suffered, merited or deserved anything, it was by virtue of the goodness, or righteousness, or holiness of it. If Christ’s sufferings and death merited heaven, it must be because there was an excellent righteousness and transcendent moral goodness in that act of laying down his life. And if by that excellent righteousness he merited heaven for us, then surely that righteousness is reckoned to our account, that we have the benefit of it, or, which is the same thing, it is imputed to us. 

Thus, I hope, I have made it evident, that the righteousness of Christ is indeed imputed to us.

3. I proceed now to the third and last thing under this argument: That this doctrine, of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness, is utterly inconsistent with the doctrine of our being justified by our own virtue or sincere obedience. If acceptance to God’s favor, and a title to life, be given to believers as the reward of Christ’s obedience, then it is not given as the reward of our own obedience. In what respect soever Christ is our Savior, that doubtless excludes our being our own saviors in that same respect. If we can be our own saviors in the same respect that Christ is, it will thence follow, that the salvation of Christ is needless in that respect, according to the apostle’s reasoning, Gal. 5:4, “Christ is rendered of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law.” Doubtless, it is Christ’s prerogative to be our Savior in that sense wherein he is our Savior. And therefore, if it be by his obedience that we are justified, then it is not by our own obedience.

Here perhaps it may be said, that a title to salvation is not directly given as the reward of our obedience. For that is not by anything of ours, but only by Christ’s satisfaction and righteousness, but yet an interest in that satisfaction and righteousness is given as a reward of our obedience.

But this does not at all help the case. For this is to ascribe as much to our obedience as if we ascribed salvation to it directly, without the intervention of Christ’s righteousness. For it would be as great a thing for God to give us Christ, and his satisfaction and righteousness, in reward for our obedience, as to give us heaven immediately. It would be as great a reward, and as great a testimony of respect to our obedience. And if God gives as great a thing as salvation for our obedience, why could he not as well give salvation itself directly? Then there would have been no need of Christ’s righteousness. And indeed if God gives us Christ, or an interest in him, properly in reward for our obedience, he does really give us salvation in reward for our obedience: for the former implies the latter. Yea, it implies it, as the greater implies the less. So that indeed it exalts our virtue and obedience more, to suppose that God gives us Christ in reward of that virtue and obedience, than if he should give salvation without Christ.

The thing that the Scripture guards and militates against, is our imagining that it is our own goodness, virtue, or excellency, that instates us in God’s acceptance and favor. But to suppose that God gives us an interest in Christ in reward for our virtue, is as great an argument that it instates us in God’s favor, as if he bestowed a title to eternal life as its direct reward. If God gives us an interest in Christ as a reward of our obedience, it will then follow, that we are instated in God’s acceptance and favor by our own obedience, antecedent to our having an interest in Christ. For a rewarding anyone’s excellency, evermore supposes favor and acceptance on the account of that excellency. It is the very notion of a reward, that it is a good thing, bestowed in testimony of respect and favor for the virtue or excellency rewarded. So that it is not by virtue of our interest in Christ and his merits, that we first come into favor with God, according to this scheme. For we are in God’s favor before we have any interest in those merits, in that we have an interest in those merits given as a fruit of God’s favor for our own virtue. If our interest in Christ be the fruit of God’s favor, then it cannot be the ground of it. If God did not accept us, and had no favor for us for our own excellency, he never would bestow so great a reward upon us, as a right in Christ’s satisfaction, and righteousness. So that such a scheme destroys itself. For it supposes that Christ’s satisfaction and righteousness are necessary for us to recommend us to the favor of God, and yet supposes that we have God’s favor and acceptance before we have Christ’s satisfaction and righteousness, and have these given as a fruit of God’s favor.

Indeed, neither salvation itself, nor Christ the Savior, are given as a reward of anything in man: They are not given as a reward of faith, nor anything else of ours: We are not united to Christ as a reward of our faith, but have union with him by faith, only as faith is the very act of uniting or closing on our part. As when a man offers himself to a woman in marriage, he does not give himself to her as a reward of her receiving him in marriage. Her receiving him is not considered as a worthy deed in her, for which he rewards her by giving himself to her. But it is by her receiving him that the union is made, by which she has him for her husband. It is on her part the unition itself. By these things it appears how contrary to the gospel of Christ their scheme is, who say that faith justifies as a principle of obedience, or as a leading act of obedience, or (as others) the sum and comprehension of all evangelical obedience. For by this, the obedience or virtue that is in faith gives it its justifying influence, and that is the same thing as to say, that we are justified by our own obedience, virtue, or goodness.

Having thus considered the evidence of the truth of the doctrine, I proceed now to the

III. Thing proposed, viz. “To show in what sense the acts of a Christian life, or of evangelical obedience, may be looked upon to be concerned in this affair.”

From what has been said already, it is manifest that they cannot have any concern in this affair as good works, or by virtue of any moral goodness in them: not as works of the law, or as that moral excellency, or any part of it, which is the fulfillment of that great, universal, and everlasting law or covenant of works which the great lawgiver has established, as the highest and unalterable rule of judgment, which Christ alone answers, or does anything towards it.

It having been shown out of the Scripture, that it is only by faith, or the soul’s receiving and uniting to the Savior who has wrought our righteousness, that we are justified. It therefore remains, that the acts of a Christian life cannot be concerned in this affair any otherwise than as they imply, and are the expressions of faith, and may be looked upon as so many acts of reception of Christ the Savior. But the determining what concerns acts of Christian obedience can have in justification in this respect, will depend on the resolving of another point, viz. whether any other act of faith besides the first act, has any concern in our justification, or how far perseverance in faith, or the continued and renewed acts of faith, have influence in this affair. And it seems manifest that justification is by the first act of faith, in some respects, in a peculiar manner, because a sinner is actually and finally justified as soon as he has performed one act of faith, and faith in its first act does, virtually at least, depend on God for perseverance, and entities to this among other benefits. But yet the perseverance of faith is not excluded in this affair. It is not only certainly connected with justification, but it is not to be excluded from that on which the justification of a sinner has a dependence, or that by which he is justified.

I have shown that the way in which justification has a dependence on faith is, that it is the qualification on which the congruity of an interest in the righteousness of Christ depends, or wherein such a fitness consists. But the consideration of the perseverance of faith cannot be excluded out of this congruity or fitness. For it is congruous that he that believes in Christ should have an interest in Christ’s righteousness, and so in the eternal benefits purchased by it, because faith is that by which the soul has union or oneness with Christ. There is a natural congruity in it, that they who are one with Christ should have a joint interest with him in his eternal benefits. But yet this congruity depends on its being an abiding union. As it is needful that the branch should abide in the vine, in order to its receiving the lasting benefits of the root, so it is necessary that the soul should abide in Christ, in order to its receiving those lasting benefits of God’s final acceptance and favor. John 15:6, 7, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth, as a branch. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:9, 10, “Continue ye in my love. If ye keep (or abide in) my commandments, ye shall abide in my love: even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” There is the same reason why it is necessary that the union with Christ should remain, as why it should be begun: why it should continue to be, as why it should once be. If it should be begun without remaining, the beginning would be in vain. In order to the soul’s being now in a justified state, and now free from condemnation, it is necessary that it should now be in Christ, and not merely that it should once have been in him. Rom. 8:1, “There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” The soul is saved in Christ, as being now in him, when the salvation is bestowed, and not merely as remembering that it once was in him. Phil. 3:9, “That I may be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” 1 John 2:28, “And now, little children, abide in him; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.” In order for people to be blessed after death, it is necessary not only that they should once be in him, but that they should die in him. Rev. 14:13, “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord.” And there is the same reason why faith, the uniting qualification, should remain in order to the union’s remaining, as why it should once be, in order to the union’s once being.

So that although the sinner is actually and finally justified on the first act of faith, yet the perseverance of faith, even then, comes into consideration, as one thing on which the fitness of acceptance to life depends. God in the act of justification, which is passed on a sinner’s first believing, has respect to perseverance, as being virtually contained in that first act of faith, and it is looked upon, and taken by him that justifies, as being as it were a property in that faith. God has respect to the believer’s continuance in faith, and he is justified by that, as though it already were, because by divine establishment it shall follow, and it being by divine constitution connected with that first faith, as much as if it were a property in it, it is then considered as such, and so justification is not suspended. But were it not for this, it would be needful that it should be suspended, till the sinner had actually persevered in faith.

And that it is so, that God in the act of final justification which he passes at the sinner’s conversion, has respect to perseverance in faith, and future acts of faith, as being virtually implied in the first act, is further manifest by this, viz. That in a sinner’s justification, at his conversion there is virtually contained a forgiveness as to eternal and deserved punishment, not only of all past sins, but also of all future infirmities and acts of sin that they shall be guilty of, because that first justification is decisive and final. And yet pardon, in the order of nature, properly follows the crime, and also follows those acts of repentance and faith that respect the crime pardoned, as is manifest both from reason and Scripture. David, in the beginning of Psalm 32 speaks of the forgiveness of sins which were doubtless committed long after he was first godly, as being consequent on those sins, and on his repentance and faith with respect to them, and yet this forgiveness is spoken of by the apostle in the 4th of Romans, as an instance of justification by faith. Probably the sin David there speaks of is the same that he committed in the matter of Uriah, and so the pardon the same with that release from death or eternal punishment, which the prophet Nathan speaks of, 2 Sam. 12:13, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.” Not only does the manifestation of this pardon follow the sin in the order of time, but the pardon itself, in the order of nature, follows David’s repentance and faith with respect to this sin. For it is spoken of in Psalm 32 as depending on it.

But inasmuch as a sinner, in his first justification, is forever justified and freed from all obligation to eternal punishment, it hence of necessity follows, that future faith and repentance are beheld, in that justification, as virtually contained in that first faith and repentance. Because repentance of those future sins, and faith in a Redeemer, with respect to them, or at least, the continuance of that habit and principle in the heart that has such an actual repentance and faith in its nature and tendency, is now made sure by God’s promise. — If remission of sins committed after conversion, in the order of nature, follows that faith and repentance that is after them, then it follows that future sins are respected in the first justification, no otherwise than as future faith and repentance are respected in it. And future repentance and faith are looked upon by him that justifies, as virtually implied in the first repentance and faith, in the same manner as justification from future sins is virtually implied in the first justification, which is the thing that was to be proved.

And besides, if no other act of faith could be concerned in justification but the first act, it will then follow that Christians ought never to seek justification by any other act of faith. For if justification is not to be obtained by after acts of faith, then surely it is not a duty to seek it by such acts. And so it can never be a duty for persons after they are once converted, by faith to seek God, or believingly to look to him for the remission of sin, or deliverance from the guilt of it, because deliverance from the guilt of sin, is part of what belongs to justification. And if it be not proper for converts by faith to look to God through Christ for it, then it will follow that it is not proper for them to pray for it. For Christian prayer to God for a blessing, is but an expression of faith in God for that blessing: prayer is only the voice of faith. But if these things are so, it will follow that the petition in the Lord’s prayer, forgive us our debts, is not proper to be put up by the disciples of Christ, or to be used in Christian assemblies, and that Christ improperly directed his disciples to use that petition, when they were all of them, except Judas, converted before. The debt that Christ directs his disciples to pray for the forgiveness of, can mean nothing else but the punishment that sin deserves, or the debt that we owe to divine justice, the ten thousand talents we owe our Lord. To pray that God would forgive our debts, is undoubtedly the same thing as to pray that God would release us from obligation to due punishment. But releasing from obligation to the punishment due to sin, and forgiving the debt that we owe to divine justice, is what appertains to justification.

Then to suppose that no after acts of faith are concerned in the business of justification, and so that it is not proper for any ever to seek justification by such acts, would be forever to cut off those Christians that are doubtful concerning their first act of faith, from the joy and peace of believing. As the business of a justifying faith is to obtain pardon and peace with God by looking to God, and trusting in him for these blessings, so the joy and peace of that faith is in the apprehension of pardon and peace obtained by such a trust. This a Christian that is doubtful of his first act of faith cannot have from that act, because, by the supposition, he is doubtful whether it be an act of faith, and so whether be did obtain pardon and peace by that act. The proper remedy, in such a case, is now by faith to look to God in Christ for these blessings, but he is cut off from this remedy, because he is uncertain whether he his warrant so to do. For he does not know but that he has believed already, and if so, then he has no warrant to look to God by faith for these blessings now, because, by the supposition, no new act of faith is a proper means of obtaining these blessings. So he can never properly obtain the joy of faith, for there are acts of true faith that are very weak, and the first act may be so as well as others. It may be like the first motion of the infant in the womb: it may be so weak an act, that the Christian, by examining it, may never be able to determine whether it was a true act of faith or no. It is evident from fact, and abundant experience, that many Christians are forever at a loss to determine which was their first act of faith. And those saints who have had a good degree of satisfaction concerning their faith, may be subject to great declensions and falls, in which case they are liable to great fears of eternal punishment. The proper way of deliverance, is to forsake their sin by repentance, and by faith now to come to Christ for deliverance from the deserved eternal punishment. But this it would not be, if deliverance from that punishment was not this way to be obtained.

But what is a still more plain and direct evidence of what I am now arguing for, is that the act of faith which Abraham exercised in the great promise of the covenant of grace that God made to him, of which it is expressly said, Gal. 3:6, “It was accounted to him for righteousness” — the grand instance and proof that the apostle so much insists upon throughout Romans 4, and Galatians 3, to confirm his doctrine of justification by faith alone — was not Abraham’s first act of faith, but was exerted long after he had by faith forsaken his own country, Heb. 11:8, and had been treated as an eminent friend of God.

Moreover, the apostle Paul, in Philippians 3, tells us how earnestly he sought justification by faith, or to win Christ and obtain that righteousness which was by the faith of him, in what he did after his conversion. Phil. 3:8, 9, “For whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” And in the two next verses he expresses the same thing in other words, and tells us how he went through sufferings, and became conformable to Christ’s death, that he might be a partaker with Christ in the benefit of his resurrection, which the same apostle elsewhere teaches us, is especially justification. Christ’s resurrection was his justification. In this, he that was put to death in the flesh, was justified by the Spirit, and he that was delivered for our offenses, rose again for our justification. And the apostle tells us in the verses that follow in that third chapter of Philippians, that he thus sought to attain the righteousness which is through the faith of Christ, and so to partake of the benefit of his resurrection, still as though he had not already attained, but that he continued to follow after it.

On the whole, it appears that the perseverance of faith is necessary, even to the congruity of justification, and that not the less, because a sinner is justified, and perseverance promised, on the first act of faith. But God, in that justification, has respect, not only to the past act of faith, but to his own promise of future acts, and to the fitness of a qualification beheld as yet only in his own promise. And that perseverance in faith is thus necessary to salvation, not merely as a sine qua non, or as a universal concomitant of it, but by reason of such an influence and dependence, seems manifest by many Scriptures, I would mention two or three — Heb. 3:6, “Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” Verse 14, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” Heb. 6:12, “Be ye followers of them, who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Rom. 11:20, “Well, because of unbelief they were broken off; but thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear.”

And, as the congruity to a final justification depends on perseverance in faith, as well as the first act, so oftentimes the manifestation of justification in the conscience, arises a great deal more from after acts, than the first act. All the difference whereby the first act of faith has a concern in this affair that is peculiar, seems to be, as it were, only an accidental difference, arising from the circumstance of time, or its being first in order of time, and not from any peculiar respect that God has to it, or any influence it has of a peculiar nature, in the affair of our salvation.

And thus it is that a truly Christian walk, and the acts of an evangelical, child-like, believing obedience, are concerned in the affair of our justification, and seem to be sometimes so spoken of in Scripture, viz. as an expression of a persevering faith in the Son of God, the only Savior. Faith unites to Christ, and so gives a congruity to justification, not merely as remaining a dormant principle in the heart, but as being and appearing in its active expressions. The obedience of a Christian, so far as it is truly evangelical, and performed with the Spirit of the Son sent forth into the heart, has all relation to Christ the Mediator, and is but an expression of the soul’s believing unition to Christ. All evangelical works are works of that faith that worketh by love, and every such act of obedience, wherein it is inward, and the act of the soul, is only a new effective act of reception of Christ, and adherence to the glorious Savior. Hence that of the apostle, Gal. 2:20, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life that I now live in the flesh, is by the faith of the Son of God.” And hence we are directed, in whatever we do, whether in word or deed, to do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Col. 3:17.

And that God in justification has respect, not only to the first act of faith, but also to future persevering acts, as expressed in life, seems manifest by Rom. 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” And Heb. 10:38, 39, “Now the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe, to the saving of the soul.”

So that, as was before said of faith, so may it be said of a child-like believing obedience: it has no concern in justification by any virtue or excellency in it, but only as there is a reception of Christ in it. And this is no more contrary to the apostle’s frequent assertion of our being justified without the works of the law, than to say that we are justified by faith. For faith is as much a work, or act of Christian obedience, as the expressions of faith, in spiritual life and walk. And therefore, as we say that faith does not justify as a work, so we say of all these effective expressions of faith.

This is the reverse of the scheme of our modem divines, who hold that faith justifies only as an act or expression of obedience. Whereas, in truth, obedience has no concern in justification, any otherwise than as an expression of faith.

I now proceed to the

IV. Thing proposed, viz. To answer objections.

Object. 1. We frequently find promises of eternal life and salvation, and sometimes of justification itself, made to our own virtue and obedience. Eternal life is promised to obedience, in Rom. 2:7, “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor, and immortality, eternal life:” And the like in innumerable other places. And justification itself is promised to that virtue of a forgiving spirit or temper in us, Mat. 6:14, “For, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” All allow that justification in great part consists in the forgiveness of sins.

To this I answer,

1. These things being promised to our virtue and obedience, argues no more, than that there is a connection between them and evangelical obedience, which, I have already observed, is not the thing in dispute. All that can be proved by obedience and salvation being connected in the promise, is that obedience and salvation are connected in fact, which nobody denies, and whether it be owned or denied, is, as has been shown, nothing to the purpose. There is no need that an admission to a title to salvation should be given on the account of our obedience, in order to the promises being true. If we find such a promise, that he that obeys shall be saved, or he that is holy shall be justified, all that is needful, in order to such promises being true, is that it be really so: that he that obeys shall be saved, and that holiness and justification shall indeed go together. That proposition may be a truth, that he that obeys shall be saved, because obedience and salvation are connected together in fact, and yet an acceptance to a title to salvation not be granted upon the account of any of our own virtue or obedience. What is a promise, but only a declaration of future truth, for the comfort and encouragement of the person to whom it is declared? Promises are conditional propositions, and, as has been already observed, it is not the thing in dispute, whether other things besides faith may not have the place of the condition in such propositions wherein pardon and salvation are the consequent.

2. Promises may rationally be made to signs and evidences of faith, and yet the thing promised not be upon the account of the sign, but the thing signified. Thus, for instance, human government may rationally make promises of such and such privileges to those that can show such evidences of their being free of such a city, or members of such a corporation, or descended of such a family, when it is not at all for the sake of that which is the evidence or sign, in itself considered, that they are admitted to such a privilege, but only and purely for the sake of that which it is an evidence of. And though God does not stand in need of signs to know whether we have true faith or not, yet our own consciences do, so that it is much for our comfort that promises are made to signs of faith. Finding in ourselves a forgiving temper and disposition, may be a most proper and natural evidence to our consciences, that our hearts have, in a sense of our own utter unworthiness, truly closed and fallen in with the way of free and infinitely gracious forgiveness of our sins by Jesus Christ, whence we may be enabled, with the greater comfort, to apply to ourselves the promises of forgiveness by Christ.

3. It has been just now shown, how that acts of evangelical obedience are indeed concerned in our justification itself, and are not excluded from that condition that justification depends upon, without the least prejudice to that doctrine of justification by faith, without any goodness of our own, that has been maintained. Therefore it can be no objection against this doctrine, that we have sometimes in Scripture promises of pardon and acceptance made to such acts of obedience.

4. Promises of particular benefits implied in justification and salvation, may especially be fitly made to such expressions and evidences of faith as they have a peculiar natural likeness and suitableness to. As forgiveness is promised to a forgiving spirit in us, obtaining mercy is fitly promised to mercifulness in us, and the like, and that upon several accounts, they are the most natural evidences of our heart’s closing with those benefits by faith. For they do especially show the sweet accord and consent that there is between the heart and these benefits, and by reason of the natural likeness that there is between the virtue and the benefit, the one has the greater tendency to bring the other to mind. The practice of the virtue tends the more to renew the sense, and refresh the hope of the blessing promised, and also to convince the conscience of the justice of being denied the benefit, if the duty be neglected. Besides the sense and manifestation of divine forgiveness in our own consciences — yea, and many exercises of God’s forgiving mercy (as it respects God’s fatherly displeasure), granted after justification, through the course of a Christian’s life — may be given as the proper rewards of a forgiving spirit, and yet this not be at all to the prejudice of the doctrine we have maintained, as will more fully appear, when we come to answer another objection hereafter to be mentioned.

Object. 2. Our own obedience, and inherent holiness, is necessary to prepare men for heaven, and therefore is doubtless what recommends persons to God’s acceptance, as the heirs of heaven.

To this I answer,

1. Our own obedience being necessary, in order to a preparation for an actual bestowment of glory, is no argument that it is the thing upon the account of which we are accepted to a right to it. God may, and does do many things to prepare the saints for glory, after he has accepted them as the heirs of glory. A parent may do much to prepare a child for an inheritance in its education, after the child is an heir. Yea, there are many things necessary to fit a child for the actual possession of the inheritance, yet not necessary in order to its having a right to the inheritance.

2. If everything that is necessary to prepare men for glory must be the proper condition of justification, then perfect holiness is the condition of justification. Men must be made perfectly holy, before they are admitted to the enjoyment of the blessedness of heaven, for there must in no wise enter in there any spiritual defilement. And therefore, when a saint dies, he leaves all his sin and corruption when he leaves the body.

Object. 3. Our obedience is not only indissolubly connected with salvation, and preparatory to it, but the Scripture expressly speaks of bestowing eternal blessings as rewards for the good deeds of the saints. Mat. 10:42, “Whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a disciple, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” 1 Cor 3:8, “Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor.” And in many other places. This seems to militate against the doctrine that has been maintained, two ways:

(1.) The bestowing a reward, carries in it a respect to a moral fitness in the thing rewarded to the reward. The very notion of a reward being a benefit bestowed in testimony of acceptance of, and respect to, the goodness or amiableness of some qualification or work in the person rewarded. Besides, the Scripture seems to explain itself in this matter, in Rev. 3:4, “Thou hast a few names, even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy.” This is here given as the reason why they should have such a reward, “because they were worthy;” which, though we suppose it to imply no proper merit, yet it at least implies a moral fitness, or that the excellency of their virtue in God’s sight recommends them to such a reward, which seems directly repugnant to what has been supposed, viz. that we are accepted, and approved of God, as the heirs of salvation, not out of regard to the excellency of our own virtue or goodness, or any moral fitness therein to such a reward, but only on account of the dignity and moral fitness of Christ’s righteousness.

(2.) Our being eternally rewarded for our own holiness and good works, necessarily supposes that our future happiness will be greater or smaller, in some proportion as our own holiness and obedience is more or less, and that there are different degrees of glory, according to different degrees of virtue and good works, is a doctrine very expressly and frequently taught us in Scripture. But this seems quite inconsistent with the saints all having their future blessedness as a reward of Christ’s righteousness. For if Christ’s righteousness be imputed to all, and this be what entitles each one to glory, then it is the same righteousness that entitles one to glory which entitles another. But if all have glory as the reward of the same righteousness, why have not all the same glory? Does not the same righteousness merit as much glory when imputed to one as when imputed to another?

In answer to the first part of this objection, I would observe, that it does not argue that we are justified by our good deeds, that we shall have eternal blessings in reward for them. For it is in consequence of our justification, that our good deeds become rewardable with spiritual and eternal rewards. The acceptableness, and so the rewardableness, of our virtue, is not antecedent to justification, but follows it, and is built entirely upon it, which is the reverse of what those in the adverse scheme of justification suppose, viz. that justification is built on the acceptableness and rewardableness of our virtue. They suppose that a saving interest in Christ is given as a reward of our virtue, or (which is the same thing), as a testimony of God’s acceptance of our excellency in our virtue. But the contrary is true: that God’s respect to our virtue as our amiableness in his sight, and his acceptance of it as rewardable, is entirely built on our interest in Christ already established. So that the relation to Christ, whereby believers in scripture language are said to be in Christ, is the very foundation of our virtues and good deeds being accepted of God, and so their being rewarded. For a reward is a testimony of acceptance. For we, and all that we do, are accepted only in the beloved, Eph. 1:6. Our sacrifices are acceptable, only through our interest in him, and through his worthiness and preciousness being, as it were, made ours. 1 Pet. 2:4, 5, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious. Ye also as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Here being actually built on this stone, precious to God, is mentioned as all the ground of the acceptableness of our good works to God, and their becoming also precious in his eyes. So, Heb. 13:21, “Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ.” And hence we are directed, whatever we offer to God, to offer it in Christ’s name, as expecting to have it accepted no other way, than from the value that God has to that name. Col. 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” To act in Christ’s name, is to act under him as our head, and as having him to stand for us, and represent us to God-ward.

The reason of this may be seen from what has been already said, to show it is not meet that anything in us should be accepted of God as any excellency of our persons, until we are actually in Christ, and justified through him. The loveliness of the virtue of fallen creatures is nothing in the sight of God, till he beholds them in Christ, and clothed with his righteousness. 1. Because till then we stand condemned before God, by his own holy law, to his utter rejection and abhorrence. And, 2. Because we are infinitely guilty before him, and the loveliness of our virtue bears no proportion to our guilt, and must therefore pass for nothing before a strict judge. And, 3. Because our good deeds and virtuous acts themselves are in a sense corrupt, and the hatefulness of the corruption of them, if we are beheld as we are in ourselves, or separate from Christ, infinitely outweighs the loveliness of the good that is in them. So that if no other sin was considered but only that which attends the act of virtue itself, the loveliness vanishes into nothing in comparison of it, and therefore the virtue must pass for nothing, out of Christ. Not only are our best duties defiled, in being attended with the exercises of sin and corruption which precede, follow, and are intermingled with them, but even the holy acts themselves, and the gracious exercises of the godly, are defective. Though the act most simply considered is good, yet take the acts in their measure and dimensions, and the manner in which they are exerted, and they are sinfully defective: there is that defect in them that may well be called the corruption of them. That defect is properly sin, an expression of a vile sinfulness of heart and what tends to provoke the just anger of God, not because the exercises of love and other grace is not equal to God’s loveliness. For it is impossible the love of creatures (men or angels) should be so, but because the act is so very disproportionate to the occasion given for love or other grace, considering God’s loveliness, the manifestation that is made of it, the exercises of kindness, the capacity of human nature, and our advantages (and the like) together. — A negative expression of corruption may be as truly sin, and as just cause of provocation, as a positive. Thus if a worthy and excellent person should, from mere generosity and goodness, exceedingly lay out himself, and with great expense and suffering save another’s life, or redeem him from some extreme calamity, and if that other person should never thank him for it, or express the least gratitude any way, this would be a negative expression of his ingratitude and baseness. But [it] is equivalent to an act of ingratitude, or positive exercise of a base unworthy spirit, and is truly an expression of it, and brings as much blame as if he by some positive act had much injured another person. And so it would be (only in a lesser degree) if the gratitude was but very small, bearing no proportion to the benefit obligation. As if, for so great and extraordinary a kindness, he should express no more gratitude than would have been becoming towards a person who had only given him a cup of water when thirsty, or shown him the way in a journey when at a loss, or had done him some such small kindness. If he should come to his benefactor to express his gratitude, and should do after this manner, he might truly be said to act unworthily and odiously, he would show a most ungrateful spirit. His doing after such a manner might justly be abhorred by all, and yet the gratitude, that little there is of it, most simply considered, and so far as it goes, is good. And so it is with respect to our exercise of love, and gratitude, and other graces, towards God. They are defectively corrupt and sinful, and take them as they are, in their manner and measure, might justly be odious and provoking to God, and would necessarily be so, were we beheld out of Christ. For in that this defect is sin, it is infinitely hateful, and so the hatefulness of the very act infinitely outweighs the loveliness of it, because all sin has infinite hatefulness and heinousness. But our holiness has but little value and loveliness, as has been elsewhere demonstrated.

Hence, though it be true that the saints are rewarded for their good works, yet it is for Christ’s sake only, and not for the excellency of their works in themselves considered, or beheld separately from Christ. For so they have no excellency in God’s sight, or acceptableness to him, as has now been shown. It is acknowledged that God, in rewarding the holiness and good works of believers, does in some respect give them happiness as a testimony of his respect to the loveliness of their holiness and good works in his sight. For that is the very notion of a reward. But it is in a very different sense from what would have been if man had not fallen, which would have been to bestow eternal life on man, as a testimony of God’s respect to the loveliness of what man did, considered as in itself, and as in man separately by himself, and not beheld as a member of Christ. In which sense also, the scheme of justification we are opposing necessarily supposes the excellency of our virtue to be respected and rewarded. For it supposes a saving interest in Christ itself to be given as a reward of it.

Two things come to pass, relating to the saints’ reward for their inherent righteousness, by virtue of their relation to Christ.

1. The guilt of their persons is all done away, and the pollution and hatefulness that attends and is in their good works, is hid.

2. Their relation to Christ adds a positive value and dignity to their good works in God’s sight. That little holiness, and those faint and feeble acts of love, and other grace, receive and exceeding value in the sight of God, by virtue of God’s beholding them as in Christ, and as it were members of one so infinitely worthy in his eyes, and that because God looks upon the persons as of greater dignity on this account. Isa. 43:4, “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou has been honorable.” God, for Christ’s sake, and because they are members of his own righteous and dear Son, sets an exceeding value upon their persons. Hence it follows, that he also sets a great value upon their good acts and offerings. The same love and obedience in a person of greater dignity and value in God’s sight, is more valuable in his eyes than in one of less dignity. Love is valuable in proportion to the dignity of the person whose love it is, because so far as anyone gives his love to another, he gives himself, in that he gives his heart. But this is a more excellent offering, in proportion as the person whose self is offered is more worthy. Believers are become immensely more honorable in God’s esteem by virtue of their relation to Christ, than man would have been considered as by himself, though he had been free from sin: as a mean person becomes more honorable when married to a king. Hence God will probably reward the little weak love, and poor and exceeding imperfect obedience of believers in Christ, with more glorious reward than he would have done Adam’s perfect obedience. According to the tenor of the first covenant, the person was to be accepted and rewarded, only for the work’s sake. But by the covenant of grace, the work is accepted and rewarded, only for the person’s sake: the person being beheld antecedently as a member of Christ, and clothed with his righteousness. So that though the saints’ inherent holiness is rewarded, yet this very reward is indeed not the less founded on the worthiness and righteousness of Christ. None of the value that their works have in his sight, nor any of the acceptance they have with him, is out of Christ, and out of his righteousness. But his worthiness as mediator is the prime and only foundation on which all is built, and the universal source whence all arises. God indeed does great things out of regard to the saints’ loveliness, but it is only as a secondary and derivative loveliness. When I speak of a derivative loveliness, I do not mean only, that the qualifications themselves accepted as lovely, are derived from Christ, from his power and purchase, but that the acceptance of them as a loveliness, and all the value that is set upon them, and all their connection with the reward, is founded in, and derived from, Christ’s righteousness and worthiness.

If we suppose that not only higher degrees of glory in heaven, but heaven itself, is in some respect given in reward for the holiness and good works of the saints, in this secondary and derivative sense, it will not prejudice the doctrine we have maintained. It is no way impossible that God may bestow heavens’ glory wholly out of respect to Christ’s righteousness, and yet in reward for man’s inherent holiness, in different respects, and different ways. It may be only Christ’s righteousness that God has respect to, for its own sake, the independent acceptableness and dignity of it being sufficient of itself to recommend all that believe in Christ to a title to this glory. So it may be only by this that persons enter into a title to heaven, or have their prime right to it. Yet God may also have respect to the saints’ own holiness, for Christ’s sake, and as deriving a value from Christ’s merit, which he may testify in bestowing heaven upon them. The saints being beheld as members of Christ, their obedience is looked upon by God as something of Christ’s: it being the obedience of the members of Christ, as the sufferings of the members of Christ are looked upon, in some respect, as the sufferings of Christ. Hence the apostle, speaking of his sufferings, says, Col. 1:24, “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh.” To the same purpose is Mat. 25:35, etc. I was hungry, naked, sick, and in prison, etc. And so that in Rev. 11:8 “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

By the merit and righteousness of Christ, such favor of God towards the believer may be obtained, as that God may hereby be already, as it were, disposed to make them perfectly and eternally happy. But yet this does not hinder, but that God in his wisdom may choose to bestow this perfect and eternal happiness in this way, viz. in some respect as a reward of their holiness and obedience. It is not impossible but that the blessedness may be bestowed as a reward for that which is done after that an interest is already obtained in that favor, which (to speak of God after the manner of men) disposes God to bestow the blessedness. Our heavenly Father may already have that favor for a child, whereby he may be thoroughly ready to give the child an inheritance, because he is his child, which he is by the purchase of Christ’s righteousness, and yet that the Father may choose to bestow the inheritance on the child in a way of reward for his dutifulness, and behaving in a manner becoming a child. And so great a reward may not be judged more than a meet reward for his dutifulness, but that so great a reward is judged meet, does not arise from the excellency of the obedience absolutely considered, but from his standing in so near and honorable a relation to God, as that of a child, which is obtained only by the righteousness of Christ. And thus the reward, and the greatness of it, arises properly from the righteousness of Christ, though it be indeed in some sort the reward of their obedience. As a father might justly esteem the inheritance no more than a meet reward for the obedience of his child, and yet esteem it more than a meet reward for the obedience of a servant. The favor whence a believer’s heavenly Father bestows the eternal inheritance, and his title as an heir, is founded in that relation he stands in to him as a child, purchased by Christ’s righteousness: though he in wisdom chooses to bestow it in such a way, and therein to testify his acceptance of the amiableness of his obedience in Christ.

Believers having a title to heaven by faith antecedent to their obedience, or its being absolutely promised to them before, does not hinder but that the actual bestowment of heaven may also be a testimony of God’s regard to their obedience, though performed afterwards. Thus it was with Abraham, the father and pattern of all believers. God bestowed upon him that blessing of multiplying his seed as the stars of heaven, and causing that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed, in reward for his obedience in offering up his son Isaac, Gen. 22:16, 17, 18, “And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and they seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” And yet the very same blessings had been from time to time promised to Abraham, in the most positive terms, and the promise, with great solemnity, confirmed and sealed to him, as Gen. 12:2, 3; chap. 13:16; chap. 15:1, 4-7, etc. Gen. 17 throughout; chap. 18:10, 18.

From what has been said we may easily solve the difficulty arising from that text in Rev. 3:4, “They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy;” which is parallel with that text in Luke 20:35, “But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead.” I allow (as in the objection) that this worthiness does doubtless denote a moral fitness to the reward, or that God looks on these glorious benefits as a meet testimony of his regard to the value which their persons and performances have in his sight.

1. God looks on these glorious benefits as a meet testimony of his regard to the value which their persons have in his sight. But he sets this value upon their persons purely for Christ’s sake. They are such jewels, and have such preciousness in his eyes, only because they are beheld in Christ, and by reason of the worthiness of the head they are the members of, and the stock they are grafted into. And the value that God sets upon them on this account is so great, that God thinks meet, from regard to it, to admit them to such exceeding glory. The saints, on account of their relation to Christ, are such precious jewels in God’s sight, that they are thought worthy of a place in his own crown. Mal. 3:17; Zec. 9:16. So far as the saints are said to be valuable in God’s sight, on whatever account, so far may they properly be said to be worthy, or meet for that honor which is answerable to the value or price which God sets upon them. A child or wife of a prince is worthy to be treated with great honor. Therefore if a mean person should be adopted to be a child of a prince, or should be espoused to a prince, it would be proper to say, that she was worthy of such and such honor and respect. There would be no force upon the words in saying that she ought to have such respect paid her, for she is worthy, though it be only on account of her relation to the prince that she is so.

2. From the value God sets upon their persons, for the sake of Christ’s worthiness, he also sets a high value on their virtue and performances. Their meek and quiet spirit is of great price in his sight. Their fruits are pleasant fruits, their offerings are an odor of sweet smell to him, and that because of the value he sets on their persons, as has been already observed and explained. This preciousness or high valuableness of believers is a moral fitness to a reward. Yet this valuableness is all in the righteousness of Christ, that is the foundation of it. The thing respected is not excellency in them separately by themselves, or in their virtue by itself, but the value in God’s account arises from other considerations, which is the natural import of Luke 20:35, “They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world,” etc. and Luke 21:36, “That ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” 2 Thes. 1:5, “That ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer.”

There is a vast difference between this scheme, and what is supposed in the scheme of those that oppose the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This lays the foundation of first acceptance with God, and all actual salvation consequent upon it, wholly in Christ and his righteousness. On the contrary, in their scheme, a regard to man’s own excellency or virtue is supposed to be first, and to have the place of the first foundation in actual salvation, though not in that ineffectual redemption, which they suppose common to all. They lay the foundation of all discriminating salvation in man’s own virtue and moral excellency. This is the very bottom stone in this affair, for they suppose that it is from regard to our virtue, that even a special interest in Christ itself is given. The foundation being thus contrary, the whole scheme becomes exceeding diverse and contrary. The one is an evangelical scheme, the other a legal one. The one is utterly inconsistent with our being justified by Christ’s righteousness, the other not at all.

From what has been said, we may understand, not only how the forgiveness of sin granted in justification is indissolubly connected with a forgiving spirit in us, but how there may be many exercises of forgiving mercy granted in reward for our forgiving those who trespass against us. For none will deny but that there are many acts of divine forgiveness towards the saints, that do not presuppose an unjustified state immediately preceding that forgiveness. None will deny, that saints who never fell from a justified state, yet commit many sins which God forgives afterwards, by laying aside his fatherly displeasure. This forgiveness may be in reward for our forgiveness, without any prejudice to the doctrine that has been maintained, as well as other mercies and blessings consequent on justification.

With respect to the second part of the objection, that relates to the different degrees of glory, and the seeming inconsistency there is in it, that the degrees of glory in different saints should be greater or lesser according to their inherent holiness and good works, and yet, that everyone’s glory should be purchased with the price of the very same imputed righteousness, — I answer that Christ, by his righteousness, purchased for everyone complete and perfect happiness, according to his capacity. But this does not hinder but that the saints, being of various capacities, may have various degrees of happiness, and yet all their happiness be the fruit of Christ’s purchase. Indeed it cannot be properly said, that Christ purchased any particular degree of happiness, so that the value of Christ’s righteousness in the sight of God, is sufficient to raise a believer so high in happiness, and no higher, and so that if the believer were made happier, it would exceed the value of Christ’s righteousness. But in general, Christ purchased eternal life, or perfect happiness for all, according to their several capacities. The saints are as so many vessels of different sizes, cast into a sea of happiness, where every vessel is full: this Christ purchased for all. But after all, it is left to God’s sovereign pleasure to determine the largeness of the vessel. Christ’s righteousness meddles not with this matter. Eph 4:4, 5, 6, 7, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” etc. — “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” God may dispense in this matter according to what rule he pleases, not the less for what Christ has done: he may dispense either without condition, or upon what condition he pleases to fix. It is evident that Christ’s righteousness meddles not with this matter, for what Christ did was to fulfill the covenant of works, but the covenant of works did not meddle at all with this. If Adam had persevered in perfect obedience, he and his posterity would have had perfect and full happiness. Everyone’s happiness would have so answered his capacity, that he would have been completely blessed. But God would have been at liberty to have made some of one capacity, and other of another, as he pleased. — The angels have obtained eternal life, or a state of confirmed glory, by a covenant of works, whose condition was perfect obedience. But yet some are higher in glory than others, according to the several capacities that God, according to his sovereign pleasure, has given them. So that it being still left with God, notwithstanding the perfect obedience of the second Adam, to fix the degree of each one’s capacity by what rule he pleases, he has been pleased to fix the degree of capacity, and so of glory, by the proportion of the saints’ grace and fruitfulness here. He gives higher degrees of glory, in reward for higher degrees of holiness and good works, because it pleases him, and yet all the happiness of each saint is indeed the fruit of the purchase of Christ’s obedience. If it had been but one man that Christ had obeyed and died for, and it had pleased God to make him a very large capacity, Christ’s perfect obedience would have purchased that his capacity should be filled, and then all his happiness might properly be said to be the fruit of Christ’s perfect obedience. Though, if he had been of a less capacity, he would not have had so much happiness by the same obedience, and yet would have had as much as Christ merited for him. Christ’s righteousness meddles not with the degree of happiness, any otherwise than as he merits that it should be full and perfect, according to the capacity. So it may be said to be concerned in the degree of happiness, as perfect is a degree with respect to imperfect, but it meddles not with degrees of perfect happiness.

This matter may be yet better understood, if we consider that Christ and the whole church of saints are, as it were, one body, of which he is the Head, and they members, of different place and capacity. Now the whole body, head, and members, have communion in Christ’s righteousness: they are all partakers of the benefit of it. Christ himself the Head is rewarded for it, and every member is partaker of the benefit and reward. But it does by no means follow, that every part should equally partake of the benefit, but every part in proportion to its place and capacity. The Head partakes of far more than other parts, and the more noble members partake of more than the inferior. As it is in a natural body that enjoys perfect health, the head, and the heart, and lungs, have a greater share of this health. They have it more seated in them, than the hands and feet, because they are parts of greater capacity, though the hands and feet are as much in perfect health as those nobler parts of the body. So it is in the mystical body of Christ: all the members are partakers of the benefit of the Head, but it is according to the different capacity and place they have in the body. God determines that place and capacity as he pleases. He makes whom he pleases the foot, and whom he pleases the hand, and whom he pleases the lungs, etc. 1 Cor 12:18, “God hath set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” God efficaciously determines the place and capacity of every member, by the different degrees of grace and assistance in the improvement of it in this world. Those that he intends for the highest place in the body, he gives them most of his Spirit, the greatest share of the divine nature, the Spirit and nature of Christ Jesus the Head, and that assistance whereby they perform the most excellent works, and do most abound in them.

Object. 4. It may be objected against what has been supposed (viz. that rewards are given to our good works, only in consequence of an interest in Christ, or in testimony of God’s respect to the excellency or value of them in his sight, as built on an interest in Christ’s righteousness already obtained). That the Scripture speaks of an interest in Christ itself, as being given out of respect to our moral fitness. Mat. 10:37, 38, 39, “He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me: he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me: he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me: he that findeth his life, shall lose it,” etc. Worthiness here at least signifies a moral fitness, or an excellency that recommends. And this place seems to intimate as though it were from respect to a moral fitness that men are admitted even to an union with Christ, and interest in him. Therefore this worthiness cannot be consequent on being in Christ, and by the imputation of his worthiness, or from any value that is in us, or in our actions in God’s sight, as beheld in Christ.

To this I answer, that though persons when they are accepted, are not accepted as worthy, yet when they are rejected, they are rejected as unworthy. He that does not love Christ above other things, but treats him with such indignity, as to set him below earthly things, shall be treated as unworthy of Christ. His unworthiness of Christ, especially in that particular, shall be marked against him, and imputed to him. And though he be a professing Christian, and live in the enjoyment of the gospel, and has been visibly ingrafted into Christ, and admitted as one of his disciples, as Judas was, yet he shall be thrust out in wrath, as a punishment of his vile treatment of Christ. The forementioned words do not imply that if a man does love Christ above father and mother, etc. that he would be worthy. The most they imply is that such a visible Christian shall be treated and thrust out as unworthy. He that believes is not received for the worthiness or moral fitness of faith, but yet the visible Christian is cast out by God, for the unworthiness and moral unfitness of unbelief. A being accepted as one of Christ’s, is not the reward of believing, but being thrust out from being one of Christ’s disciples, after a visible admission as such, is properly a punishment of unbelief. John 3:18,19, “He that believeth on him, is not condemned; but he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Salvation is promised to faith as a free gift, but damnation is threatened to unbelief as a debt, or punishment due to unbelief. They who believed while in the wilderness, did not enter into Canaan, because of the worthiness of their faith. But God swore in his wrath, that they that believed not should not enter in, because of the unworthiness of their unbelief. Admitting a soul to an union with Christ is an act of free and sovereign grace, but excluding at death, and at the day of judgment, those professors of Christianity who have had the offers of a Savior, and enjoyed great privileges as God’s people, is a judicial proceeding, and a just punishment of their unworthy treatment of Christ. The design of this saying of Christ is to make them sensible of the unworthiness of their treatment of Christ, who professed him to be their Lord and Savior, and set him below father and mother, etc. and not to show the worthiness of loving him above father and mother. If a beggar should be offered any great and precious gift, but as soon as offered, should trample it under his feet, it might be taken from him, as unworthy to have it. Or if a malefactor should have his pardon offered him, that he might be freed from execution, and should only scoff at it, his pardon might be refused him, as unworthy of it. Though if he had received it, he would not have had it for his worthiness, or as being recommended to it by his virtue. For his being a malefactor supposes him unworthy, and its being offered him to have it only on accepting, supposes that the king looks for no worthiness, nothing in him for which he should bestow pardon as a reward. This may teach us how to understand Acts 13:46, “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken unto you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Object. 5. It is objected against the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that repentance is evidently spoken of in Scripture as that which is in a special manner the condition of remission of sins: but remission of sins is by all allowed to be that wherein justification does (at least) in great part consist.

But it must certainly arise from a misunderstanding of what the Scripture says about repentance, to suppose that faith and repentance are two distinct things, that in like manner are the conditions of justification. For it is most plain from the Scripture, that the condition of justification, or that in us by which we are justified, is but one, and that is faith. Faith and repentance are not two distinct conditions of justification, nor are they two distinct things that together make one condition of justification. But faith comprehends the whole of that by which we are justified, or by which we come to have an interest in Christ, and there is nothing else that has a parallel concern with it in the affair of our salvation. And this the divines on the other side themselves are sensible of, and therefore they suppose that the faith the apostle Paul speaks of, which he says we are justified by alone, comprehends in it repentance.

And therefore, in answer to the objection, I would say that when repentance is spoken of in Scripture as the condition of pardon, thereby is not intended any particular grace, or act, properly distinct from faith, that has a parallel influence with it in the affair of our pardon or justification. But by repentance is intended nothing distinct from active conversion (or conversion actively considered), as it respects the term from which. Active conversion is a motion or exercise of the mind that respects two terms, viz. sin and God, and by repentance is meant this conversion, or active change of the mind, so far as it is conversant about the term from which or about sin. This is what the word repentance properly signifies: a change of the mind, or, which is the same thing, the turning or the conversion of the mind. Repentance is this turning, as it respects what is turned from. Acts 26:19. — “Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I showed unto them of Damascus and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, and turn to God.” Both these are the same turning, but only with respect to opposite terms. In the former is expressed the exercise of mind about sin in this turning: in the other, the exercise of mind towards God.

If we look over the Scriptures that speak of evangelical repentance, we shall presently see that repentance is to be understood in this sense, as Mat. 9:13, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 13:3, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” And chap. 15:7, 10,

“There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” i. e. over one sinner that is converted. Acts 11:18, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” This is said by the Christians of the circumcision at Jerusalem, upon Peter’s giving an account of the conversion of Cornelius and his family, and their embracing the gospel, though Peter had said nothing expressly about their sorrow for sin. And again, Acts 17:30, “But now commandeth all men every where to repent.” And Luke 16:30, “Nay, father Abraham, but if one went to them from the dead, they would repent.” 2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” It is plain that in these and other places, by repentance is meant conversion.

Now it is true, that conversion is the condition of pardon and justification. But if it be so, how absurd is it to say, that conversion is one condition of justification, and faith another, as though they were two distributively distinct and parallel conditions? Conversion is the condition of justification, because it is that great change by which we are brought from sin to Christ, and by which we become believers in him: agreeable to Mat. 21:32, “And ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.” When we are directed to repent, that our sins may be blotted out, it is as much as to say, let your minds and hearts be changed, that your sins may be blotted out. But if it be said, let your hearts be changed, that you may be justified, and believe, that you may be justified, does it therefore follow, that the heart being changed is one condition of justification, and believing another? But our minds must be changed, that we may believe, and so may be justified.

And besides, evangelical repentance, being active conversion, is not to be treated of as a particular grace, properly and entirely distinct from faith, as by some it seems to have been. What is conversion, but the sinful, alienated soul’s closing with Christ, or the sinner’s being brought to believe in Christ? That exercise of soul in conversion that respects sin, cannot be excluded out of the nature of faith in Christ: there is something in faith, or closing with Christ, that respects sin, and that is evangelical repentance. That repentance which in Scripture is called, repentance for the remission of sins, is that very principle or operation of the mind itself that is called faith, so far as it is conversant about sin. Justifying faith in a Mediator is conversant about two things. It is conversant about sin or evil to be rejected and to be delivered from, and about positive good to be accepted and obtained by the Mediator. As conversant about the former of these, it is evangelical repentance, or repentance for remission of sins. Surely they must be very ignorant, or at least very inconsiderate, of the whole tenor of the gospel, who think that the repentance by which remission of sins is obtained, can be completed as to all that is essential to it, without any respect to Christ, or application of the mind to the Mediator, who alone has made atonement for sin. — Surely so great a part of salvation as remission of sins, is not to be obtained without looking or coming to the great and only Savior. It is true, repentance, in its more general abstracted nature, is only a sorrow for sin, and forsaking of it, which is a duty of natural religion. But evangelical repentance,
or repentance for remission of sins, has more than this essential to it: a dependence of soul on the Mediator for deliverance from sin, is of the essence of it.

That justifying repentance has the nature of faith, seems evident by Acts 19:4, “Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” The latter words, “saying unto the people, that they should believe on him,” etc. are evidently exegetical of the former, and explain how he preached repentance for the remission of sins. When it is said, that he preached repentance for the remission of sin, saying that they should believe on Christ, it cannot be supposed but that his saying, that they should believe on Christ, was intended as directing them what to do that they might obtain the remission of sins. So 2 Tim. 2:25, “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” That acknowledging of the truth which there is in believing, is here spoken of as what is retained in repentance. And on the other hand, that faith includes repentance in its nature, is evident by the apostle’s speaking of sin as destroyed in faith, Gal. 2:18. — In the preceding verses the apostle mentions an objection against the doctrine of justification by faith alone, viz. that it tends to encourage men in sin, and so to make Christ the minister of sin. This objection he rejects and refutes with this, “If I build again the things that I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.” If sin be destroyed by faith, it must be by repentance of sin included in it. For we know that it is our repentance of sin, or the ìåôáíïéá, or turning of the mind from sin, that is our destroying our sin.

That in justifying faith which directly respects sin, or the evil to be delivered from by the Mediator, is as follows: a sense of our own sinfulness, and the hatefulness of it, and a hearty acknowledgment of its desert of the threatened punishment, looking to the free mercy of God in a Redeemer, for deliverance from it and its punishment.

Concerning this, here described, three things may be noted: 1. That it is the very same with that evangelical repentance to which remission of sins is promised in Scripture. 2. That it is of the essence of justifying faith, and is the same with that faith, so far as it is conversant about evil to be delivered from by the Mediator.

3. That this is indeed the proper and peculiar condition of remission of sins.

  1. All of it is essential to evangelical repentance, and is indeed the very thing meant by that repentance, to which remission of sins is promised in the gospel. As to the former part of the description, viz. a sense of our own sinfulness, and the hatefulness of it, and a hearty acknowledgment of its desert of wrath, none will deny it to be included in repentance. But this does not comprehend the whole essence of evangelical repentance. But what follows does also properly and essentially belong to its nature, looking to the free mercy of God in a Redeemer, for deliverance from it, and the punishment of it. That repentance to which remission is promised, not only always has this with it, but it is contained in it, as what is of the proper nature and essence of it: and respect is ever had to this in the nature of repentance, whenever remission is promised to it. And it is especially from respect to this in the nature of repentance, that it has that promise made to it. If this latter part be missing, it fails of the nature of that evangelical repentance to which remission of sins is promised. If repentance remains in sorrow for sin, and does not reach to a looking to the free mercy of God in Christ for pardon, it is not that which is the condition of pardon, neither shall pardon be obtained by it. Evangelical repentance is an humiliation for sin before God. But the sinner never comes and humbles himself before God in any other repentance, but that which includes hoping in his mercy for remission. If sorrow be not accompanied with that, there will be no coming to God in it, but a flying further from him. There is some worship of God in justifying repentance, but that is not in any other repentance which has not a sense of and faith in the divine mercy to forgive sin, Psa. 130:4, “There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.”
  2. The promise of mercy to a true penitent, in Pro. 28:13 is expressed in these terms, “Whoso confesseth and forsaketh his sins, shall have mercy.” But there is faith in God’s mercy in that confessing. The psalmist (Psalm 32) speaking of the blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven — and whose sin is covered, to whom the Lord imputes not sin — says that while he kept silence his bones waxed old, but he acknowledged his sin unto God: his iniquity he did not hide. He said he would confess his transgression to the Lord, and then God forgave the iniquity of his sin. The manner of expression plainly holds forth, that then he began to encourage himself in the mercy of God, but his bones waxed old while he kept silence. And therefore the apostle Paul, in the 4th of Romans, brings this instance, to confirm the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that he had been insisting on. When sin is aright confessed to God, there is always faith in that act. That confessing of sin which is joined with despair, as in Judas, is not the confession to which the promise is made. In Acts 2:38, the direction given to those who were pricked in their heart with a sense of the guilt of sin, was to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of their sins. Being baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of sins, implied faith in Christ for the remission of sins. Repentance for the remission of sins was typified of old by the priest’s confessing the sins of the people over the scapegoat, laying his hands on him, Lev. 16:21, denoting it is that repentance and confession of sin only that obtains remission, which is made over Christ the great sacrifice, and with dependence on him. Many other things might be produced from the Scripture, that in like manner confirm this point, but these may be sufficient.

2. All the forementioned description is of the essence of justifying faith, and not different from it, so far as it is conversant about sin, or the evil to be delivered from by the Mediator. For it is doubtless of the essence of justifying faith, to embrace Christ as a Savior from sin and its punishment, and all that is contained in that act is contained in the nature of faith itself. But in the act of embracing Christ as a Savior from our sin and its punishment, is implied a sense of our sinfulness, and a hatred for our sins, or a rejecting them with abhorrence, and a sense of our desert of punishment. Embracing Christ as a Savior from sin, implies the contrary act, viz. rejecting sin. If we fly to the light to be delivered from darkness, the same act is contrary to darkness, viz. a rejecting of it. In proportion to the earnestness with which we embrace Christ as a Savior from sin, in the same proportion is the abhorrence with which we reject sin, in the same act. Yea, suppose there be in the nature of faith, as conversant about sin, no more than the hearty embracing of Christ as a Savior from the punishment of sin, this act will imply in it the whole of the above-mentioned description. It implies a sense of our own sinfulness. Certainly in the hearty embracing of a Savior from the punishment of our sinfulness, there is the exercise of a sense that we are sinful. We cannot heartily embrace Christ as a Savior from the punishment of that which we are not sensible we are guilty of. There is also in the same act, a sense of our desert of the threatened punishment. We cannot heartily embrace Christ as a Savior from that which we are not sensible that we have deserved. For if we are not sensible that we have deserved the punishment, we shall not be sensible that we have any need of a Savior from it, or, at least, shall not be convinced but that God who offers the Savior, unjustly makes him needful, and we cannot heartily embrace such an offer. And further, there is implied in a hearty embracing Christ as a Savior from punishment, not only a conviction of conscience, that we have deserved the punishment, such as the devils and damned have, but there is a hearty acknowledgment of it, with the submission of the soul, so as with the accord of the heart, to own that God might be just in the punishment. If the heart rises against the act or judgment of God, in holding us obliged to the punishment, when he offers us his Son as a Savior from the punishment, we cannot with the consent of the heart receive him in that character. But if persons thus submit to the righteousness of so dreadful a punishment of sin, this carries in it a hatred of sin.

That such a sense of our sinfulness, and utter unworthiness, and desert of punishment, belongs to the nature of saving faith, is what the Scripture from time to time holds forth, as particularly in Mat. 15:26-28. “But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table. Then Jesus answered, and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith.” — And Luke 7:6-9. “The centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself, for I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof. Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee; but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed: for I also am a man set under authority,” etc. — “When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” And also verse 37, 38. “And behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster-box of ointment, and stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” Together with verse 50. “He said unto the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

These things do not necessarily suppose that repentance and faith are words of just the same signification. For it is only so much in justifying faith as respects the evil to be delivered from by the Savior, that is called repentance. Besides, both repentance and faith take them only in their general nature, [and] are entirely distinct. Repentance is a sorrow for sin, and forsaking of it, and faith is a trusting in God’s sufficiency and truth. But faith and repentance, as evangelical duties, or justifying faith, and repentance for remission of sins, contain more in them, and imply a respect to a mediator, and involve each other’s nature: though they still bear the name of faith and repentance, from those general moral virtues — that repentance, which is a duty of natural religion, and that faith, which was a duty required under the first covenant — that are contained in this evangelical act, which severally appear, when this act is considered with respect to its different terms and objects.

It may be objected here that the Scripture sometimes mentions faith and repentance together, as if they were entirely distinct things, as in Mark 1:15, “Repent ye, and believe the gospel.” But there is not need of understanding these as two distinct conditions of salvation, but the words are exegetical one of another. It is to teach us after what manner we must repent, viz. as believing the gospel, and after what manner we must believe the gospel, viz. as repenting. These words no more prove faith and repentance to be entirely distinct, than those fore-mentioned, Mat. 21:32. “And ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterwards, that ye might believe him.” Or those, 2 Tim. 2:25. “If peradventure God will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.” The apostle, in Acts 19:4 seems to have reference to these words of John the Baptist, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe,” etc. where the latter words, as we have already observed, are to explain how he preached repentance.

Another Scripture where faith and repentance are mentioned together, is Acts 20:21. “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance towards God, and faith towards the Lord Jesus Christ.” It may be objected, that in this place, faith and repentance are not only spoken of as distinct things, but having distinct objects.

To this I answer, that faith and repentance, in their general nature, are distinct things, and repentance for the remission of sins, or that in justifying faith that respects the evil to be delivered from, so far as it regards that term, which is what especially denominates it repentance, has respect to God as the object, because he is the Being offended by sin, and to be reconciled, but that in this justifying act, whence it is denominated faith, does more especially respect Christ. But let us interpret it how we will, the objection of faith being here so distinguished from repentance, is as much of an objection against the scheme of those that oppose justification by faith alone, as against this scheme. For they hold that the justifying faith the apostle Paul speaks of, includes repentance, as has been already observed.

3. This repentance that has been described, is indeed the special condition of remission of sins. This seems very evident by the Scripture, as particularly, Mark 1:4. “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins.” So, Luke 3:3, “And be came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance, for the remission of sins.” Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” Acts 5:31, “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance unto Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 2:38. Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.” And, chap. 3:19. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” The like is evident by Lev. 26:40-42; Job. 33:27, 28; Psa. 32:5; Pro. 28:13; Jer. 3:13. And 1 John 1:9 and other places.

And the reason may be plain from what has been said. We need not wonder that what in faith especially respects sin, should be especially the condition of remission of sins, or that this motion or exercise of the soul, as it rejects and flies from evil and embraces Christ as a Savior from it, should especially be the condition of being free from that evil: in like manner, as the same principle or motion, as it seeks good, and cleaves to Christ as the procurer of that good, should be the condition of obtaining that good. Faith with respect to good is accepting and with respect to evil it is rejecting. Yea this rejecting evil is itself an act of acceptance. It is accepting freedom or separation from that evil, and this freedom or separation is the benefit bestowed in remission. No wonder that what in faith immediately respects this benefit, and is our acceptance of it, should be the special condition of our having it. It is so with respect to all the benefits that Christ has purchased. Trusting in God through Christ for such a particular benefit that we need, is the special condition of obtaining that benefit. When we need protection from enemies, the exercise of faith with respect to such a benefit, or trusting in Christ for protection from enemies, is especially the way to obtain that particular benefit, rather than trusting in Christ for something else, and so of any other benefit that might be mentioned. So prayer (which is the expression of faith) for a particular mercy needed, is especially the way to obtain that mercy. — So that no argument can be drawn from hence against the doctrine of justification by faith alone. And there is that in the nature of repentance, which peculiarly tends to establish the contrary of justification by works. For nothing so much renounces our own worthiness and excellency, as repentance. The very nature of it is to acknowledge our own utter sinfulness and unworthiness, and to renounce our own goodness and all confidence in self; and so to trust in the propitiation of the Mediator, and ascribe all the glory of forgiveness to him.

Object. 6. The last objection I shall mention, is that paragraph in the 3d chapter of James, where persons are said expressly to be justified by works: Jam. 2:21. “Was not Abraham our father justified by works?” Verse 24. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.” Verse 25. “Was not Rahab the harlot justified by works?”

In answer to this objection, I would,

1. Take notice of the great unfairness of the divines that oppose us, in the improvement they make of this passage against us. All will allow, that in that proposition of St. James, “By works a man is justified, and not by faith only,” one of the terms, either the word faith, or else the word justify, is not to be understood precisely in the same sense as the same terms when used by St. Paul, because they suppose, as well as we, that it was not the intent of the apostle James to contradict St. Paul in that doctrine of justification by faith alone, in which he had instructed the churches. But if we understand both the terms, as used by each apostle, in precisely the same sense, then what one asserts is a precise, direct, and full contradiction of the other: the one affirming and the other denying the very same thing. So that all the controversy from this text comes to this, viz. which of these two terms shall be understood in a diversity from St. Paul. They say that it is the word faith, for they suppose that when the apostle Paul uses the word, and makes faith that by which alone we are justified, that then by it is understood a compliance with and practice of Christianity in general, so as to include all saving Christian virtue and obedience. But as the apostle James uses the word faith in this place, they suppose thereby is to be understood only an assent of the understanding to the truth of gospel doctrines, as distinguished from good works, and that may exist separate from them, and from all saving grace. We, on the other hand, suppose that the word justify is to be understood in a different sense from the apostle Paul. So that they are forced to go as far in their scheme, in altering the sense of terms from Paul’s use of them, as we. But yet at the same time that they freely vary the sense of the former of them, viz. faith, yet when we understand the latter, viz. justify, in a different sense from St. Paul, they exclaim against us. What necessity of framing this distinction, but only to serve an opinion? At this rate a man may maintain anything, though never so contrary to Scripture, and elude the clearest text in the Bible! Though they do not show us why we have not as good warrant to understand the word justify in a diversity from St. Paul, as they the word faith. If the sense of one of the words must be varied on either scheme, to make the apostle James’s doctrine consistent with the apostle Paul’s, and if varying the sense of one term or the other be all that stands in the way of their agreeing with either scheme, and if varying the sense of the latter be in itself as fair as of the former, then the text lies as fair for one scheme as the other, and can no more fairly be an objection against our scheme than theirs. And if so, what becomes of all this great objection from this passage in James?

2. If there be no more difficulty in varying the sense of one of these terms than another, from anything in the text itself, so as to make the words suit with either scheme, then certainly that is to be chosen that is most agreeable to the current of Scripture, and other places where the same matter is more particularly and fully treated of, and therefore that we should understand the word justify in this passage of James, in a sense in some respects diverse from that in which St. Paul uses it. For by what has been already said, it may appear, that there is no one doctrine in the whole Bible more fully asserted, explained, and urged, than the doctrine of justification by faith alone, without any of our own righteousness.

3. There is a very fair interpretation of this passage of St. James, no way inconsistent with this doctrine of justification, which I have shown that other scriptures abundantly teach, which the words themselves will as well allow of, as that which the objectors put upon them, and much better agrees with the context: and that is, that works are here spoken of as justifying as evidences. A man may be said to be justified by that which clears him, or vindicates him, or makes the goodness of his cause manifest. When a person has a cause tried in a civil court, and is justified or cleared, he may be said in different senses to be justified or cleared, by the goodness of his cause, and by the goodness of the evidences of it. He may be said to be cleared by what evidences his cause to be good, but not in the same sense as he is by that which makes his cause to be good. That which renders his cause good, is the proper ground of his justification. It is by that that he is himself a proper subject of it, but evidences justify, only as they manifest that his cause is good in fact, whether they are of such a nature as to have any influence to render it so or no. It is by works that our cause appears to be good, but by faith our cause not only appears to be good, but becomes good, because thereby we are united to Christ. That the word justify should be sometimes understood to signify the former of these, as well as the latter, is agreeable to the use of the word in common speech: as we say such an one stood up to justify another, i.e. he endeavored to show or manifest his cause to be good. — And it is certain that the word is sometimes used in this sense in Scripture, when speaking of our being justified before God: as where it is said, we shall be justified by our words, Mat. 12:37. “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” It cannot be meant that men are accepted before God on the account of their words. For God has told us nothing more plainly, than that it is the heart that he looks at, and that when he acts as judge towards men, in order to justifying or condemning, he tries the heart, Jer. 11:20. “But, O Lord of hosts, that judgest righteously, that triest the reins and the heart, let me see thy vengeance on them; for unto thee have I revealed my cause.” Psa. 7:8, 9, “The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me. O let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just; for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.” Verse 11, “God judgeth the righteous.” And many other places to the like purpose. And therefore men can be justified by their words, no otherwise than as evidences or manifestations of what is in the heart. And it is thus that Christ speaks of the words in this very place, as is evident by the context, Mat. 12:34, 35. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart,” etc. The words, or sounds themselves, are neither parts of godliness nor evidences of godliness, but as signs of what is inward.

God himself, when he acts towards men as judge, in order to a declarative judgment, makes use of evidences, and so judges men by their works. And therefore, at the day of judgment, God will judge men according to their works. For though God will stand in no need of evidence to inform him what is right, yet it is to be considered that he will then sit in judgment, not as earthly judges do, to find out what is right in a cause, but to declare and manifest what is right. And therefore that day is called by the apostle, “the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” Rom. 2:5.

To be justified, is to be approved of and accepted, but a man may be said to be approved and accepted in two respects: the one is to be approved really, and the other to be approved and accepted declaratively. Justification is twofold: it is either the acceptance and approbation of the judge itself, or the manifestation of that approbation by a sentence or judgment declared by the judge, either to our own consciences or to the world. If justification be understood in the former sense, for the approbation itself, that is only that by which we become fit to be approved. But if it be understood in the latter sense, for the manifestation of this approbation, it is by whatever is a proper evidence of that fitness. In the former, only faith is concerned, because it is by that only in us that we become fit to be accepted and approved. In the latter, whatever is an evidence of our fitness, is alike concerned. And therefore, take justification in this sense, and then faith, and all other graces and good works, have a common and equal concern in it. For any other grace, or holy act, is equally an evidence of a qualification for acceptance or approbation, as faith.

To justify has always, in common speech, signified indifferently, either simply approbation, or testifying that approbation: sometimes one, and sometimes the other; because they are both the same, only as one is outwardly what the other is inwardly. So we, and it may be all nations, are wont to give the same name to two things, when one is only declarative of the other. Thus sometimes judging, intends only judging in our thoughts; at other times, testifying and declaring judgment. So such words as justify, condemn, accept, reject, prize, slight, approve, renounce, are sometimes put for mental acts, at other times, for an outward treatment. So in the sense in which the apostle James seems to use the word justify for manifestative justification, a man is justified not only by faith, but also by works: as a tree is manifested to be good, not only by immediately examining the tree, but also by the fruit, Pro. 20:11, “Even a child is known by his doing, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”

The drift of the apostle does not require that he should be understood in any other sense; for all that he aims at, as appears by a view of the context, is to prove that good works are necessary. The error of those that he opposed was this: that good works were not necessary to salvation, that if they did but believe that there was but one God, and that Christ was the Son of God and the like, and were baptized, they were safe, let them live how they would, which doctrine greatly tended to licentiousness. The evincing the contrary of this is evidently the apostle’s scope.

And that we should understand the apostle, of works justifying as an evidence, and in a declarative judgment, is what a due consideration of the context will naturally lead us to. — For it is plain, that the apostle is here insisting on works, in the quality of a necessary manifestation and evidence of faith, or as what the truth of faith is made to appear by: as Jam. 2:18, “Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” And when he says, verse 26, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” It is much more rational and natural to understand him as speaking of works, as the proper signs and evidences of the reality, life, and goodness of faith. Not that the very works or actions done are properly the life of faith, as the spirit in the body, but it is the active, working nature of faith, of which the actions or works done are the signs, that is itself the life and spirit of faith. The sign of a thing is often in scripture language said to be that thing; as it is in that comparison by which the apostle illustrates it. Not the actions themselves of a body, are properly the life or spirit of the body, but the active nature, of which those actions or motions are the signs, is the life of the body. That which makes men pronounce anything to be alive is that they observe it has an active operative nature, which they observe no otherwise than by the actions or motions which are the signs of it. It is plainly the apostle’s aim to prove, that if faith has not works, it is a sign that it is not a good sort of faith, which would not have been to his purpose if it was his design to show that it is not by faith alone, though of a right sort, that we have acceptance with God, but that we are accepted on the account of obedience as well as faith. It is evident, by the apostle’s reasoning, that the necessity of works, is not from their having a parallel concern in our salvation with faith. But he speaks of works only as related to faith, and expressive of it, which, after all, leaves faith the alone fundamental condition, without anything else having a parallel concern with it in this affair; and other things conditions, only as several expressions and evidences of it.

That the apostle speaks of works justifying only as a sign, or evidence, and in God’s declarative judgment, is further confirmed by Jam. 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered up Isaac his son upon the altar?” Here the apostle seems plainly to refer to that declarative judgment of God concerning Abraham’s sincerity, manifested to him, for the peace and assurance of his own conscience, after his offering up Isaac his son on the altar, Gen. 22:12, “Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me.” But here it is plain, and expressed in the very words of justification or approbation, that this work of Abraham offering up his son on the altar, justified him as an evidence. When the apostle James says, we are justified by works, he may and ought to be understood in a sense agreeable to the instance he brings for the proof of it: but justification in that instance appears by the works of justification themselves, to be by works as an evidence. And where this instance of Abraham’s obedience is elsewhere mentioned, in the New Testament, it is mentioned as a fruit and evidence of his faith. Heb. 11:17, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises, offered up his only-begotten son.”

And in the other instance which the apostle mentions, Jam. 2:25. “Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?” The apostle refers to a declarative judgment, in that particular testimony which was given of God’s approbation of her as a believer, in directing Joshua to save her when the rest of Jericho was destroyed, Jos. 6:25, “And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot alive, and her father’s household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day: because she hid the messengers which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho.” This was accepted as an evidence and expression of her faith. Heb. 11:31, “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.” The apostle in saying, “Was not Rahab the harlot justified by works?” by the manner of his speaking has reference to something in her history. But we have no account in her history of any other justification of her but this.

4. If, notwithstanding, any choose to take justification in St. James’s precisely as we do in Paul’s epistles, for God’s acceptance or approbation itself, and not any expression of that approbation, what has been already said concerning the manner in which acts of evangelical obedience are concerned in the affair of our justification, affords a very easy, clear, and full answer. For if we take works as acts or expressions of faith, they are not excluded. So a man is not justified by faith only, but also by works; i.e. he is not justified only by faith as a principle in the heart, or in its first and more immanent acts, but also by the effective acts of it in life, which are the expressions of the life of faith, as the operations and actions of the body are of the life of that; agreeable to Jam. 2:26.

What has been said in answer to these objections, may also, I hope, abundantly serve for an answer to another objection, often made against this doctrine, viz. that it encourages licentiousness in life. For, from what has been said, we may see that the Scripture doctrine of justification by faith alone, without any manner of goodness or excellency of ours, does in no wise diminish either the necessity or benefit of a sincere evangelical universal obedience. Man’s salvation is not only indissolubly connected with obedience, and damnation with the want of it, in those who have opportunity for it, but depends upon it in many respects. It is the way to salvation, and the necessary preparation for it. Eternal blessings are bestowed in reward for it, and our justification in our own consciences and at the day of judgment depends on it, as the proper evidence of our acceptable state; and that even in accepting of us as entitled to life in our justification, God has respect to this, as that on which the fitness of such an act of justification depends: so that our salvation does as truly depend upon it, as if we were justified for the moral excellency of it. And besides all this, the degree of our happiness to all eternity is suspended on, and determined by, the degree of this. So that this gospel-scheme of justification is as far from encouraging licentiousness, and contains as much to encourage and excite to strict and universal obedience, and the utmost possible eminency of holiness, as any scheme that can be devised, and indeed unspeakably more.

I come now to the

V. And last thing proposed, which is, to consider the “importance of this doctrine.”

I know there are many that make as though this controversy was of no great importance: that it is chiefly a matter of nice speculation, depending on certain subtle distinctions, which many that make use of them do not understand themselves: that the difference is not of such consequence as to be worth being zealous about: and that more hurt is done by raising disputes about it than good.

Indeed I am far from thinking that it is of absolute necessity that persons should understand, and be agreed upon, all the distinctions needful particularly to explain and defend this doctrine against all cavils and objections. Yet all Christians should strive after an increase of knowledge, and none should content themselves without some clear and distinct understanding in this point. But we should believe in the general, according to the clear and abundant revelations of God’s word, that it is none of our own excellency, virtue, or righteousness, that is the ground of our being received from a state of condemnation into a state of acceptance in God’s sight, but only Jesus Christ, and his righteousness and worthiness, received by faith. This I think to be of great importance, at least in application to ourselves, and that for the following reasons.

First, the Scripture treats of this doctrine, as a doctrine of very great importance. That there is a certain doctrine of justification by faith, in opposition to justification by the works of the law, which the Apostle Paul insists upon as of the greatest importance, none will deny, because there is nothing in the Bible more apparent. The apostle, under the infallible conduct of the Spirit of God, thought it worth his most strenuous and zealous disputing about and defending. He speaks of the contrary doctrine as fatal and ruinous to the souls of men, in the latter end of the ninth chapter of Romans, and beginning of the tenth. He speaks of it as subversive of the gospel of Christ, and calls it another gospel, and says concerning it: if anyone, “though an angel from heaven, preach it, let him be accursed;” Gal. 1:6-9 compared with the following part of the epistle. Certainly we must allow the apostles to be good judges of the importance and tendency of doctrines, at least the Holy Ghost in them. And doubtless we are safe, and in no danger of harshness and censoriousness, if we only follow him, and keep close to his express teachings, in what we believe and say of the hurtful and pernicious tendency of any error. Why are we to blame for saying what the Bible has taught us to say, or for believing what the Holy Ghost has taught us to that end that we might believe it?

Second, the adverse scheme lays another foundation of man’s salvation than God has laid. I do not now speak of that ineffectual redemption that they suppose to be universal, and what all mankind are equally the subjects of. But I say, it lays entirely another foundation of man’s actual, discriminating salvation, or that salvation, wherein true Christians differ from wicked men. We suppose the foundation of this to be Christ’s worthiness and righteousness. On the contrary, that scheme supposes it to be man’s own virtue, even so, that this is the ground of a saving interest in Christ itself. It takes away Christ out of the place of the bottom stone, and puts in men’s own virtue in the room of him, so that Christ himself in the affair of distinguishing, actual salvation, is laid upon this foundation. And the foundation being so different, I leave it to everyone to judge whether the difference between the two schemes consists only in punctilios of small consequence. The foundations being contrary, makes the whole scheme exceeding diverse and opposite: the one is a gospel scheme, the other a legal one.

Third, it is in this doctrine that the most essential difference lies between the covenant of grace and the first covenant. The adverse scheme of justification supposes that we are justified by our works, in the very same sense wherein man was to have been justified by his works under the first covenant. By that covenant our first parents were not to have had eternal life given them for any proper merit in their obedience, because their perfect obedience was a debt that they owed God. Nor was it to be bestowed for any proportion between the dignity of their obedience, and the value of the reward, but only it was to be bestowed from a regard to a moral fitness in the virtue of their obedience, to the reward of God’s favor. A title to eternal life was to be given them, as a testimony of God’s pleasedness with their works, or his regard to the inherent beauty of their virtue. And so it is the very same way that those in the adverse scheme suppose that we are received into God’s special favor now, and to those saving benefits that are the testimonies of it. I am sensible the divines of that side entirely disclaim the popish doctrine of merit, and are free to speak of our utter unworthiness, and the great imperfection of all our services. But after all, it is our virtue, imperfect as it is, that recommends men to God, by which good men come to have a saving interest in Christ, and God’s favor, rather than others. These things are bestowed in testimony of God’s respect to their goodness. So that whether they will allow the term merit or no, yet they hold, that we are accepted by our own merit, in the same sense, though not in the same degree, as under the first covenant.

But the great and most distinguishing difference between that covenant and the covenant of grace is, that by the covenant of grace we are not thus justified by our own works, but only by faith in Jesus Christ. It is on this account chiefly that the new covenant deserves the name of a covenant of grace, as is evident by Rom. 4:16: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace.” And chap. 3:20, 24, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight… Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ.” And Rom. 11:6, “And if by 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.” Gal. 5:4, “Whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace.” And therefore the apostle, when in the same epistle to the Galatians, speaking of the doctrine of justification by works as another gospel, adds, “which is not another,” Gal. 1:6, 7. It is no gospel at all: it is law. It is no covenant of grace, but of works. It is not an evangelical, but a legal doctrine. Certainly that doctrine wherein consists the greatest and most essential difference between the covenant of grace and the first covenant, must be a doctrine of great importance. That doctrine of the gospel by which above all others it is worthy of the name gospel, is doubtless a very important doctrine of the gospel.

Fourth, this is the main thing for which fallen men stood in need of divine revelation, to teach us how we who have sinned may come to be again accepted of God, or, which is the same thing, how the sinner may be justified. Something beyond the light of nature is necessary to salvation chiefly on this account. Mere natural reason afforded no means by which we could come to the knowledge of this: it depending on the sovereign pleasure of the Being that we had offended by sin. This seems to be the great drift of that revelation which God has given, and of all those mysteries it reveals, all those great doctrines that are peculiarly doctrines of revelation, and above the light of nature. It seems to have been very much on this account, that it was requisite that the doctrine of the Trinity itself should be revealed to us. That by a discovery of the concern of the several divine persons in the great affair of our salvation, we might the better understand and see how all our dependence in this affair is on God, and our sufficiency all in him, and not in ourselves: that he is all in all in this business, agreeable to 1 Cor. 1:29-31, “That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” What is the gospel, but only the glad tidings of a new way of acceptance with God unto life, a way wherein sinners may come to be free from the guilt of sin, and obtain a title to eternal life? And if, when this way is revealed, it is rejected, and another of man’s devising be put in the room of it, without doubt, it must be an error of great importance, and the apostle might well say it was another gospel.

Fifth, the contrary scheme of justification derogates much from the honor of God and the Mediator. I have already shown how it diminishes the glory of the Mediator, in ascribing that to man’s virtue and goodness, which belongs alone to his worthiness and righteousness. By the apostle’s sense of the matter it renders Christ needless, Gal. 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law.” If that scheme of justification be followed in its consequences, it utterly overthrows the glory of all the great things that have been contrived, and done, and suffered in the work of redemption. Gal. 2:21, “If righteousness come by the law, Christ is dead in vain.” It has also been already shown how it diminishes the glory of divine grace (which is the attribute God has especially set himself to glorify in the work of redemption), and so that it greatly diminishes the obligation to gratitude in the sinner that is saved. Yea, in the sense of the apostle, it makes void the distinguishing grace of the gospel, Gal. 5:4, “Whosoever of you are justified by the law, are fallen from grace.” It diminishes the glory of the grace of God and the Redeemer, and proportionably magnifies man. It makes the goodness and excellency of fallen man to be something, which I have shown are nothing. I have also already shown, that it is contrary to the truth of God in the threatening of his holy law, to justify the sinner for his virtue. And whether it were contrary to God’s truth or no, it is a scheme of things very unworthy of God. It supposes that God, when about to lift up a poor, forlorn malefactor, condemned to eternal misery for sinning against his Majesty, and to make him unspeakably and eternally happy, by bestowing his Son and himself upon him, as it were, sets all this to sale, for the price of his virtue and excellency. I know that those we oppose acknowledge, that the price is very disproportionate to the benefit bestowed, and say, that God’s grace is wonderfully manifested in accepting so little virtue, and bestowing so glorious a reward for such imperfect righteousness. But seeing we are such infinitely sinful and abominable creatures in God’s sight, and by our infinite guilt have brought ourselves into such wretched and deplorable circumstances — and all our righteousnesses are nothing, and ten thousand times worse than nothing (if God looks upon them as they be in themselves — is it not immensely more worthy of the infinite majesty and glory of God, to deliver and make happy such wretched vagabonds and captives, without any money or price of theirs, or any manner of expectation of any excellency or virtue in them, in any wise to recommend them? Will it not betray a foolish, exalting opinion of ourselves, and a mean one of God, to have thought of offering anything of ours, to recommend us to the favor of being brought from wallowing, like filthy swine, in the mire of our sins, and from the enmity and misery of devils in the lowest hell, to the state of God’s dear children, in the everlasting arms of his love in heavenly glory, or to imagine that that is the constitution of God, that we should bring our filthy rags, and offer them to him as the price of this?

Sixth, the opposite scheme does most directly tend to lead men to trust in their own righteousness for justification, which is a thing fatal to the soul. This is what men are of themselves exceedingly prone to do (and that though they are never so much taught the contrary), through the partial and high thoughts they have of themselves, and their exceeding dullness of apprehending any such mystery as our being accepted for the righteousness of another. But this scheme does directly teach men to trust in their own righteousness for justification, in that it teaches them that this is indeed what they must be justified by, being the way of justification that God himself has appointed. So that if a man had naturally no disposition to trust in his own righteousness, yet if he embraced this scheme, and acted consistent with it, it would lead him to it. But that trusting in our own righteousness, is a thing fatal to the soul, is what the Scripture plainly teaches us. It tells us that it will cause that Christ shall profit us nothing, and be of no effect to us, Gal. 5:2-4. For though the apostle speaks there particularly of circumcision, yet it is not merely being circumcised, but trusting in circumcision as a righteousness, that the apostle has respect to. He could not mean that merely being circumcised would render Christ of no profit or effect to a person, for we read that he himself, for certain reasons, took Timothy and circumcised him, Acts 16:3. And the same is evident by the context, and by the rest of the epistle. And the apostle speaks of trusting in their own righteousness as fatal to the Jews, Rom 9:31, 32, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law; for they stumbled at that stumbling stone.” Together with Rom. 10:3, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” And this spoken of as fatal to the Pharisees, in the parable of the Pharisee and the publican, which Christ spoke to them in order to reprove them for trusting in themselves that they were righteous. The design of the parable is to show them, that the very publicans shall be justified, rather than they, as appears by the reflection Christ makes upon it, Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other;” that is, this and not the other. The fatal tendency of it might also be proved from its inconsistency with the nature of justifying faith, and with the nature of that humiliation that the Scripture often speaks of as absolutely necessary to salvation. But these Scriptures are so express, that it is needless to bring any further arguments.

How far a wonderful and mysterious agency of God’s Spirit may so influence some men’s hearts, that their practice in this regard may be contrary to their own principles, so that they shall not trust in their own righteousness, though they profess that men are justified by their own righteousness — or how far they may believe the doctrine of justification by men’s own righteousness in general, and yet not believe it in a particular application of it to themselves — or how far that error which they may have been led into by education, or cunning sophistry of others, may yet be indeed contrary to the prevailing disposition of their hearts, and contrary to their practice — or how far some may seem to maintain a doctrine contrary to this gospel doctrine of justification, that really do not, but only express themselves differently from others, or seem to oppose it through their misunderstanding of our expressions, or we of theirs, when indeed our real sentiments are the same in the main — or may seem to differ more than they do, by using terms that are without a precisely fixed and determinate meaning — or to be wide in their sentiments from this doctrine, for want of a distinct understanding of it: whose hearts, at the same time, entirely agree with it, and if once it was clearly explained to their understandings, would immediately close with it, and embrace it. How far these things may be, I will not determine, but am fully persuaded that great allowances are to be made on these and such like accounts, in innumerable instances. Though it is manifest from what has been said, that the teaching and propagating contrary doctrines and schemes, is of a pernicious and fatal tendency.    

Attitude is Everything

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Attitude is Everything

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… [an organization]… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

Charles Swindoll 

Are Tongues for Today?

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Almost immediately after we had completed our article “Are Tongues in the New Testament unknown languages” we located an other excellent article on this issue.  This article answers the question from a little different perspective.  Guess what?  We located another booklet on the same subject by Theodore Epp of Back to the Bible Broadcast entitled The Use and Abuse of Tongues.    We may also place this third item on our website.  See the second article below.  It is very informative.

Spirituality For the Common Good

http://www.preteristsite.com/plain/peoplestongues.html

by Glenn Peoples

1 Corinthians 14:1-25 Notes

This was presented as a two-part seminar at the Bible College of new Zealand in 2001. The first part was an exegetical presentation on 1 Corinthians 15:1-25, and the second part was a presentation of a “cessationist” view of the gifts of tongues and prophecy.

Introduction

1 Corinthians 14:1-25 has got the Corinthians into all sorts of trouble over the last 2000 years (more specifically in the last 100). It has become the basis of accusing them of “swinging from the chandeliers” and of being raving Charismatics (in the 20th century sense of the word). With the somewhat controversial issues that lie ahead, textual tradition has been kind to the interpreter in that there are no significant textual variants at all from verses 1 to 25.

Context: Thematic and Cultural

The Apostle Paul is evidently dealing with a situation where certain persons or groups in Corinth are causing disunity through (un)spiritual indulgence. Elsewhere in the book, we see reference to the “weak Christian who are being offended by the behaviour of the “strong” – probably labels that were contrived by the so-called “strong,” exercising their bold liberty regardless of how it affected others (in the case of eating meat offered to idols in particular). In chapter 12 Paul has been stressing that (contrary to some in Corinth), it is not the case that only an elite group of Christians are “spiritual.” Rather, he emphasised that all members of the body of Christ have unity because they have all been baptised “in one Spirit” (1 Cor 12:13). That is what makes them members of the one body, and therefore everybody in the body is equally endowed with the Spirit. Paul particularly seems to have been arguing that being endowed with spiritual gifts doesn’t require that all have the same gifts, and also that no person who believes they have a particular gifting should snub a fellow believer who they do not think has the same gifting, because all such giftings come through one and the same Spirit (12:4-11, 18-21).

The main issue of discussion from verse 1 to 25 is tongues, although some comments are made about prophecy as well. The thrust of the passage is the superiority of prophecy to tongues.

An Unavoidable Issue: The nature of these “languages”

Explicit reference to the phenomenon of “tongues” in the New Testament is restricted to Mark 16:17 (generally regarded as a later addition); Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6 and 1 Corinthians 12-14. [1] There are a couple of crucial questions related to this phenomenon. They will hopefully be answered at least in part as this passage is covered, but for now, let’s just outline what some of the questions might be.

 - Are the glossai “real languages?

Glossa means “tongue,” and as in English, is used metaphorically for “language.” Greek has two main words for language, glossa and dialektos. The difference between the two is effectively illustrated by Hudson F. McKenzie in Natural Tongues:[2]

For examples of the way these two are used, cf. Rev 14:6 and Acts 22:2. Or even better, on the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke in foreign tongues (glossai), but the recipients of their preaching heard the message in their own language (dialektos).

Glossa has the connotation of foreign tongue and dialektos has the connotation of local or common tongue. E.g. I’m presenting this seminar, as far as New Zealanders are concerned, in the English dialektos. For Koreans, I’m using the English glossa. Wherever this phenomenon (speaking in languages in connection with the work of the Spirit) occurs, the word glossa is used.

 – If so, are they human languages?

Fee says, with reference to the “head covering” passage in 1 Corinthians 11,

We can only guess what they were doing (probably doffing a customary head covering) and why (probably because they considered themselves already as the angels, where sexual distinctions no longer mattered – and especially so in Christian worship where all spoke in tongues,[3] the language of angels, as evidence of their having attained to this degree of he