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already declared that the condemning sentence shall never be executed upon them ; yet, they are not actually pardoned nor entitled to life till they apply by faith this declaration to themselves, and so receive the remission of sins. Notwithstanding their intentional and virtual justification in Christ their Representative, they are still considered as children of wrath, as under condemnation, Gal. iii. 10. till they flee from the curse of the law to the promise of the covenant of grace.
When they have through the Spirit applied Christ and the blessing of justification to themselves in particular, and have presented, in the hand of faith, his perfect righteousness to God, as the sole ground of their title to eternal life, they are justified actually. They are not only absolved from guilt and adjudged to life, but declared to be so, declared righteous in the sight of God. Jesus Christ merited a right to eternal life for all his spiritual seed, so that none of them can perish ; but this right is not particularly applied to them, until they believe, and be vitally united to him. The sentence is not judicially declared, not does it terminate in the sinner's conscience, till he present that righteousness to God the Judge for aquittance. He must first plead the complete satisfaction of his Divine Surety at the bar of the court of heaven, before the sentence can be intimated in the court of conscience.
Lastly, They shall be publicly justified at the last day. - Then they shall be solemnly absolved before an assembled world, and have their title to eternal life publicly proclaimed. In that day, judgment shall be passed, an irreversible sentence shall be pronounced on them. On this account, it is called the day of judgment, Matth. xii. 36. In that day, the good works of the saints shall be proclaimed, not as the ground of their justification, but as evidences of their interest in the spotless righteousness of Christ, and of their title to life eternal. This, the sentence of the righteous Judge implies,—"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” It is only in union with
Christ that men are blessed ; that they inherit, or possess as sons by hereditary right, the kingdom. Thus, the elect shall be justified publicly, and be declared heirs of an eternal inheritance. Now, the sentence of aquitment and of title to life, is pronounced only in the court of heaven, and to the believer himself; but in that day, it shall be declared before all kindreds and nations. O what triumphant, what transporting joy, will fill the hearts of that redeemed company, when, clothed with the white robe of the Redeemer's righteousness, they shall enter the heavenly sanctuary, no more to go out !
- With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace."
Thus the elect are justified.—They were justified in the day of eternity, before the world began; in the day of the Redeemer's resurrection ; in the day of believing; and in the last day.-- In the day of eternity, they were justified intentionally ; in the day of the Saviour's resurrection, virtually, or fundamentally ; in the day of believing, actually, or declaratively ; and at the last day, publicly and solemnly. In the day of eternity, their justi. fication was actually secured ; in the day of Christ's resurrection, it was acually merited; in the day of believing, it is actually applied to the conscience; and in the day of judgment it shall be actually declared in the most public and solemn manner. From eternity, they were justified in the purpose of God; at Christ's resurrection, they were justified in the Son of God as their representative; at the time of their beginning to believe, they are justi. fied in the court of God, the court of heaven, and the court of conscience; and in the last day, they shall be justified publicly at Christ's august tribunal.
V. I proceed now to the fifth general head,—To consider that particular effect or consequence of justification which is mentioned in the text,—“And shall glory."
As the seed of Israel are justified in the Lord Jesus, in him shall they glory. As they receive all their righteousness from Him, they ascribe all the glory of their justifica
tion and salvation to him. They make their boast in him, and not in themselves; they glory in his righteousness, and not in their own. This they do with all their heart.
My soul shall make her boast in the Lord,” Psal. xxxiv. 2. Such as glory in the Lord Jesus Christ, glory in all that he is, and in all that he hath : they glory even in his cross, Gal. vi. 14. Such as are under the curse of the violated law, glory in that which is their shame,their own shame; but they who are justified, glory in that on which their glorious Redeemer submitted to shame. In him shall they glory; they shall glory in union and communion with him, and in conformity to him. They shall glory in his righteousness, and glory in his grace, glory in his offices, and glory in his fulness. But should any ask, What is it to glory in the Lord Jesus, as made unto us righteousness for justification ? I would answer, It is, 1. To delight and rejoice in him as Jehovah our Right
* In the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice :" “ Let Israel rejoice in him that made him ; let the children of Zion be joyful in their King." "Delight thyself in the Lord.” They who are justified, instead of being displeased or offended with being necessitated to rely on the righteousness of Christ Jesus, rather glory in it. They are so highly pleased with that self-abasing method of justification, that they rest in it with sweet complacency; and it is ground of sorrow to them that they do not delight more in it.
2. It is to esteem the Lord Jesus very highly, and to count him most excellent and glorious. There are some who appear to esteem him as a Teacher and a King, who are far from regarding him as the Lord their Righteousness : but such as are justified say, each for himself, “Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord,” &c. Do you, believer, highly esteem him, and desire to boast of your relation to him? Would not you boast, if you were relatedor allied to an earthly potentate? How much more should you do so when you are joined in a marriage covenant to the Prince of the kings of the earth!
3. It is to commend him to others, or to recommend him by words and by works.—It is to recommend his person, and say, “My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest
ten thousand:” to commend his righteousness, and say, • Other foundation can no man lay:" to recommend his grace, and thus exclaim, How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God ! to commend his word, and
say, “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.” To glory in the Lord Jesus is to commend him by a holy conversation. This is the best way to recommend him.
4. Finally, It is to publish the great things which Christ hath done for us; to recount his favours to us, and say, "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul,” Psal. lxvi. 16. These particulars are all implied in our glorying in the Lord Jesus.-I shall further observe, that as this exercise is the subject of a command, so it is matter of promise. In the law it is said, “ Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord.” In the gospel it is promised that, “in the Lord shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”
From what has been said, we may infer the inexpressibly great happiness of the spiritual Israel of God: they are justified in the Lord Jesus Christ. Happy are you whom Christ apprehends by his grace, supplies with light and life, adopts into his family, humbles by his power, conforms to his image, instructs by, his gracious visits, and honours with his service; but thrice happy whom he justifies freely by his grace! If it be a happiness to be saved from a sentence of death,-eternal death, you who are justified are happy. If it be felicity to be declared righteous before God, and entitled to eternal life, according to the law as a covenant, you are blessed.
Have you who are justified, all your iniquities pardoned, freely, fully, and irreversibly pardoned ? Be very thankful for such abundant mercy, such undeserved favour. Say, as the holy psalmist did, “ Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgiveth all thine iniquities." Your pardon is ir. reversible. If Satan, or an unbelieving heart, impute blame to God for writing it, he will say, and for ever abide by it, “What I have written, I have written.” It is a full, a free, an irreversible, an absolute pardon; and your gracious God is said to give it with his whole soul. How inexpressibly sweet is such a pardon! 0, believer, praise your merciful, your forgiving God. There is forgiveness with Him that he may be feared, and forgiveness that he may be praised.
From what has been stated, we may learn a satisfactory answer to this question, How shall man be just with God? How can an unrighteous person be accepted as righteous, by an infinitely righteous Judge? It cannot possibly be on the ground of his own performances ; for though he should even from the moment of his birth till that of his death, obey the law perfectly, it could never satisfy for the sin in which he was born. It is by the consummate righteousness of Jesus Christ received by faith, that he can be just in the eye of the law, or the sight of God.
Hence learn, that the righteousness which is the ground of a sinner's justification, is not the believer's because it is imputed to him ; but it is imputed to him because it is already his. In God's imputation of it, he reckons it to be what it is already, the believer's justifying righteousness. It is the believer's, in virtue of his legal union with Christ from eternity, and of his vital union with him in time.
See also the glorious design of Jehovah in imputing the surety-righteousness of Jesus Christ to his spiritual seed. It is that you, believer, may live; may have a legal right to spiritual, temporal, and eternal life. Your sin was imputed to Christ that he might die : his righteousness is imputed to you that you may live. Sin deserves death ; righteousness merits life. He was made sin, sin committed by man ; you are made righte