Friday, January 18, 2008

Just too good to be true?

Here are some extracts from Robert Traill's magnificent work The Doctrine of Justification Vindicated from the Charge of Antinomianism (1692).
...A convinced sinner seeking justification, must have nothing in his eye but this righteousness of Christ, as God proposeth nothing else to him; and that God in justifying a sinner, accepts him in this righteousness only, when he imputes it to him. (p. 257)
On Reformed and Roman Catholic views of justification

...the Papists...plainly confound justification and sanctification...they will have this faith to justify, as it hath a principle and fitness in it to dispose to sincere obedience. The plain old Protestant doctrine is, that the place of faith in justification is only that of a hand or instrument, receiving the righteousness of Christ, for which only we are be justified by faith, is to be justified by Christ's righteousness, apprehended by faith. (p. 259)
On the attitude of the believer to justification and the final judgment

But when they draw near to the awful tribunal, what else is in their eye and heart, but only free grace, ransoming blood, and a well-ordered covenant in Christ the Surety? They cannot bear to hear any make mention to them of their holiness, their own grace and attainments.

In a word the doctrine of conditions, qualifications, and rectoral govenment, and the distribution of rewards and punishments, according to the new law of grace, will make but an uneasy bed to a dying man's conscience; and will leave him in a very bad condition at present, and in dread of worse, when he is feeling, in his last agonies, that the wages of sin is death, if he cannot by faith add, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (p. 271)
On the reaction of natural religion to the gospel of free grace

All such cannot endure to hear, that God's law must be perfectly fulfilled in every tittle of it, or no man can be saved by doing; that they must all perish for ever, that have not the righteousness of a man that never sinned, who is also God over all blessed for ever, to shelter and cover them from a holy God's anger, and to render them accepted of him: that this righteousness is put on by the grace of God, and a man must betake himself to it, and receive it as a naked blushing sinner: that no man can do any thing that is good, till gospel-grace renew him, and make him first a good man. (p. 273)
On law and gospel, faith and works

...the justification of a sinner before God, is either on the account of a righteousness in and of ourselves; or on the account of a righteousness in another, even in Jesus Christ, who is Jehovah our righteousness. Law and gospel, faith and works, Christ's righteousness and our own, grace and debt, do equally divide all in this matter. Crafty men may endeavour to blend and mix these things in justification; but it is a vain attempt.

If a man trusts to his own righteousness, he rejects Christ's: if he trusts to Christ's righteousness, he rejects his own. If he will not reject his own righteousness, as too good to be renounced; if he will not venture on Christ's righteousness, as not sufficient alone to bear him out, and bring him safe off at God's bar, he is in both a convicted unbeliever. And if he endeavour to patch up a righteousness before God, made up of both, he is still under the law, and a despiser of gospel grace... (p. 291)

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