Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

ness). That the corresponding Hebrew and Greek words are in the Bible used in the sense of declaring righteous as opposed to condemnation, seems clear from such passages as the following :-“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination unto the Lord” (Prov. xvii. 15). “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. xii. 37). “Wisdom is justified of her children” (Luke vii. 35). “ All the people justified God” (Luke vii. 29). He (Christ) “ was justified in the spirit” (1 Tim. iii. 16). Thus, as applied to man, the word comes to mean that state of remission of sins into which we are baptized : for fallen man can only be declared righteous by a remission of sins. That St. Paul in his great argument also uses the word in this sense, seems clear from the following passage, where justification must be understood as equivalent to the “remission of sins :"“Being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, His righteousness; that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus” (Rom. iii. 24-26). Again, in Titus iii. 5-7, justification is clearly used to describe the state into which a man is baptized : “He saved us by the washing of regenera

that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs. . ." In Rom. v. 18 and viii. 33, it is clearly opposed to condemnation : "By the offence of one (judgment came) upon all men to condemnation ; even so by the righteousness of One (the free

tion ;

[ocr errors]

gift came) upon all men unto justification of life.” Here it cannot mean infused righteousness, for if so, condemnation must mean infused sinfulness," which would be shocking, for both are spoken of as proceeding from God ! Therefore the Church of England keeps the idea of justification quite distinct from that of sanctification, though the two go necessarily together.

Justified by faith only. If we are admitted into this state of justification at our Baptism, and if this be true as our Church teaches in the case of Infant Baptism, then what does our Church mean by the phrase justified by faith only”? Clearly it means that for our justification, i.e. for the remission of our sins, whether in Baptism or afterwards, we must trust to God's mercy in Christ, and to that only, renouncing all idea of merit on our part. This is the teaching of the Homily“on the Salvation of all mankind,” to which this Article refers us. Justification is a matter, not of merit, but of faith, i.e. we trust to Christ for it. And this faith or trust is not mere belief (fides informis), but rather a sense of trustfulness, carrying with it essentially the idea of loving dependence on God (fides formata). If St. Paul, when insisting on the doctrine of justification by faith in his Epistle to the Romans, meant the former kind of faith, then St. Paul and St. James are opposed in doctrine; but if St. Paul meant the latter (“ faith working by love,” Gal. v. 6, living, operative faith), then St. Paul and St. James are in no way contradictory, for St. James is clearly denying the sufficiency of faith in that other sense---mere belief,consent of the mind, without

any

frui:fulness. That St. Paul and St. James are really in perfect agreement seems clear from the fact that both point to Abraham, as showing forth that virtue on which justification depends. “A living faith” is St. Paul's phrase; “faith made perfect by works” is St. James's phrase ; clearly they both mean the same thing. And this the meaning of faith in this Article.

The Article is intended to condemn all self-justifying claims. Justification is a state of pardon and acceptance, bestowed upon us freely for Christ's sake, by the mercy of God. It is given to us in Baptism. By faithliving, active faith, belief influencing conduct—we embrace it in after life; if we lose this faith we forfeit it; the fruits of faith, i.e. holiness of life, will be the criterion at the last day whether we have, or have not, forfeited the justification which Christ has obtained for us. As Bishop Harold Browne tersely puts it :-“ The meritorious cause of our salvation is Christ's atonement; the instrument by which we are brought into covenant with God is baptism; the means whereby our state of acceptance is maintained is faith ; but the criterion by which our final state may be determined will be works."

LESSON VI.

OF SIN AND THE PARDON OF SIN CONTINUED.

ARTICLE XII.

Of Good Works.

ALBEIT that Good Works, which are the

fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the se rity of God's Judgment; yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

Notes.—Follow after justification. The word “ follow” is intended to be emphatic. St. Augustine and Luther denied that good works could precede justification. “Good works,” Augustine taught,“follow upon justification, and do not precede in order to justification" (De Fide et Operibus, c. 14). This will appear in the next Article.

Cannot put away our sins. They are in no sense meritorious.

“We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do" (Luke xvii. 10). “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves” (1 John i. 8).

Pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ: not meritorious in themselves, but nevertheless pleasing to God in Christ. Pleasing to God when offered through the mediation of our High Priest : we are to offer,“ spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. ii. 5). “Do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. iii. 17). Again and again, in parable and precept, our Lord tells us that God will reward every man according to his works (Matt. xvi. 27); but is God bound to reward him by virtue of the merit of those works ? No:“With Thee, O Lord, is mercy, for Thou rewardest every one according to his work” (Ps. lxii. 12). The works constitute no claim, although God of His mercy and free grace chooses to reward us according to them. It is entirely for Christ's sake. They are not rewarded de condigno, that is, because of their deserving it.

So far from faith without works being sufficient (as some fanatics taught), our Church teaches that the two are inseparable. Holiness of life is the only measure of faith. Where holiness is wanting, faith is wanting.

ARTICLE XIII.

Of Works before Fustification. Works done before the grace of Christ, and the Inspiration of His Spirit, are not pleasant to God, forasmuch as they spring not of faith in Jesus Christ, neither do they make men meet to receive grace, or (as the School-authors say) deserve grace of congruity; yea rather, for that they are not done as God hath willed and commanded

[blocks in formation]
« НазадПродовжити »