What Saith the Scripture?


Fellow ship > Justification by an Imputed Righteousness (excerpt) by John Bunyan

Excerpt from the book:
Justification by an Imputed Righteousness

Or, No Way to Heaven but by Jesus Christ
"In Whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him"
(Ephesians 3:12).


by John Bunyan

from Acacia: John Bunyan ---New Window
Online Library
Poetry, Sermons, and Allegories

Reformatted by Katie Stewart

Living by faith begets in the heart a sonlike boldness and confidence to Godward in all our gospel duties, under all our weaknesses, and under all our temptations. It is a blessed thing to be privileged with a holy boldness and confidence Godward, that he is on our side, that he taketh part with us, and that he will plead our cause "with them that rise up against us," 2 Cor. 2:14; 4:17, 18; Phil. 3:2, 3; Rom. 5:11.

But this boldness faith helpeth us to do, and also manageth in our heart. This is that which made Paul always triumph and rejoice in God and the Lord Jesus; he lived the life of faith; for faith sets a man in the favour of God by Christ, and makes a man see that what befals him in this life, it shall, through the wisdom and mercy of God, not only prove for his forwarding to heaven, but to augment his glory when he comes there. This man now stands on high, he lives, he is rid of slavish fears and carking cares, and in all his straits he hath a God to go to. Thus David, when all things looked awry upon him, "encouraged himself in the Lord his God" (1 Sam. 30:6). Daniel also believed in his God, and knew that all his trouble, losses, and crosses, would be abundantly made up in his God, Dan. 6:23 ("Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.") And David said, "I had fainted unless I had believed." Believing, therefore, is a great preservative against all such impediments, and makes us confident in our God, and with boldness to come into his presence, claiming privilege in what he is and hath, Ps. 27:13; Jon. 3:4, 5; Heb. 10:22, 23; Eph. 1:4-7.

For by faith, I say, he seeth his acceptance through the Beloved, and himself interested in the mercy of God, and riches of Christ, and glory in the world to come. This man can look upon all the dangers in hell and earth without paleness of countenance; he shall meditate terror with comfort, "because he beholds the King in his beauty," Isa. 33:17, 18.

Again; living by faith makes a man exercise patience and quietness under all his afflictions; for faith shews him that his best part is safe, that his soul is in God's special care and protection, purged from sin in the blood of Christ. Faith also shews him that after a little while he shall be in the full enjoyment of that which now he believes is coming: "We, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith," Gal. 5:5. Wherefore, upon this ground it is that James exhorteth the saints to whom he wrote to patience, because they knew the harvest would in due time come, James 5:7-11.

Faith lodgeth the soul with Christ: "I know," saith Paul, "on whom I have believed" (and to whom I have committed my soul), "and am persuaded (I believe it) that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day"; therefore it were no shame to him to wear a chain for his name and sake. Oh! it is a blessed thing to see, I say, by the faith of the Lord Jesus, that we are embarked in the same ship with him; this will help us greatly "both to hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord," 2 Tim. 1:12-16; Psalm 46:1-6; Lam. 3:26.

Further, I might add, that living by faith is the way to receive fresh strength from heaven, thereby to manage thine every day's work with life and vigour; yea, every look by faith upon Jesus Christ as thine doth this great work. It is said, when Paul saw the brethren that came to meet him, "he thanked God, and took courage," Acts 28:15. Oh! how much more, then, shall the Christian be blessed with fresh strength and courage even at the beholding of Christ; "whom beholding as in a glass, we are changed," even by beholding of him by faith in the word, "into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord," 2 Cor. 3:18. But to be brief.

Make conscience of the duty of believing, and be as afraid of falling short here as in any other command of God.
"This is his commandment, that you believe," 1 John 3:23.

Believe, therefore, in the name of the Lord Jesus. This is the will of God, that you believe. Believe, therefore, to the saving of the soul. Unbelief is a fine-spun thread, not so easily discerned as grosser sins; and therefore that is truly
"The sin that doth so easily beset us," Heb. 12:1. The light of nature will shew those sins that are against the law of nature; but the law of faith is a command beyond what flesh or nature teacheth; therefore to live by faith is so much the harder work; yet it must be done, otherwise thine other duties profit thee nothing. For if a man give way to unbelief, though he be most frequent in all other duties besides, so often as he worshippeth God in these he yet saith, God is a liar in the other, even because he hath not believed: "He that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son," 1 John 5:10, 11. So, then, when thou givest way to unbelief; when thou dost not venture the salvation of thy soul upon the justifying life that is in Christ, that is, in his blood, & once, thou givest the lie to the whole testament of God; yea, thou tramplest upon the promise of grace, and countest this precious blood an unholy and unworthy thing, Heb. 10:29.

Now how, thou doing thus, the Lord should accept of thy other duties, of prayer, alms, thanksgiving, self-denial, or any other, will be hard for thee to prove. In the meantime remember, that faith pleaseth God; and that without faith it is impossible to please him.

Remember also, that for this cause it was that the offering of Cain was not accepted: "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain"; for by faith Abel first justified the promise of the Messias, by whom a conquest should be obtained over the devil, and all the combination of hell against us: then he honoured Christ by believing that he was able to save him; and in token that he believed these things indeed, he presented the Lord with the firstlings of his flock (Heb. 11:4),

as a remembrance before God that he believed in his Christ. And therefore it is said, "By faith he offered"; by which means the offering was accepted of God; for no man's offering can be accepted with God but his that stands righteous before him first. But unbelief holdeth men under their guilt, because they have not believed in Christ, and by that means put on his righteousness. Again; he that believeth not, hath made invalid (what in him lies) the promise of God and merits of Christ, of whom the Father hath spoken so worthily; therefore what duties or acts of obedience soever he performeth, God by no means can be pleased with him.

Also, from our "Finney" section, please read
Justification By Faith ---New Window
by Charles G. Finney
"Gospel Justification is not the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. Under the gospel, sinners are not justified by having the obedience of Jesus Christ set down to their account, as if He had obeyed the law for them, or in their stead. It is not an uncommon mistake to suppose that when sinners are justified under the gospel they are accounted righteous in the eye of the law, by having the obedience or righteousness of Christ imputed to them. I have not time to go into an examination of this subject now. I can only say that this idea is absurd and impossible, for this reason, that Jesus Christ was bound to obey the law for himself, and could no more perform works of supererogation, or obey on our account, than anybody else. Was it not His duty to love the Lord his God, with all His heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love His neighbor as himself? Certainly; and if He had not done so, it would have been sin. The only work of supererogation He could perform was to submit to sufferings that were not deserved. This is called His obedience unto death, and this is set down to our account. But if His obedience of the law is set down to our account, why are we called on to repent and obey the law ourselves? Does God exact double service, yes, triple service, first to have the law obeyed by the surety for us, then that He must suffer the penalty for us, and then that we must repent and obey ourselves? No such thing is demanded. It is not required that the obedience of another should be imputed to us. All we owe is perpetual obedience to the law of benevolence. And for this there can be no substitute. If we fail of this we must endure the penalty, or receive a free pardon."


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