JUSTIFICATION 3

Justification by an Imputed Righteousness
By John Bunyan

[TWO POSITIONS]: Now, from this proposition I draw these two positions— FIRST. THAT MEN ARE JUSTIFIED FROM THE CURSE OF THE LAW BEFORE GOD WHILE SINNERS IN THEMSELVES. SECOND. THAT THIS CAN BE DONE BY NO OTHER RIGHTEOUSNESS THAN THAT LONG AGO PERFORMED BY, AND RESIDING WITH, THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST.

[First Position] continued…

3. As we are said to suffer with him, so we are said to die, to be dead with him; with him, that is, by the dying of his body. ‘Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him’ (Romans 6:8). Wherefore he saith in other places, ‘Brethren, ye are become dead to the law by the body of Christ’; for indeed we died then to it by him. To the law— that is, the law now has nothing to do with us; for that it has already executed its curse to the full upon us by its slaying of the body of Christ; for the body of Christ was our flesh: upon it also was laid our sin. The law, too, spent that curse that was due to us upon him, when it condemned, killed, and cast him into the grave. Wherefore, it having thus spent its whole curse upon him as standing in our stead, we are exempted from its curse for ever; we are become dead to it by that body (Romans 7:4). It has done with us as to justifying righteousness. Nor need we fear its damning threats any more; for by the death of this body we are freed from it, and are for ever now coupled to a living Christ.[1]

4. As we are said thus to be dead, so we are said also to rise again by him— ‘Thy dead men,’ saith he to the Father, ‘shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise’ (Isaiah 26:19). And again, ‘After two days he will revive us; in the third day— we shall live in his sight’ (Hosea 6:2).

Both these scriptures speak of the resurrection of Christ, of the resurrection of his body on the third day; but behold, as we were said before to suffer and be dead with him, so now we are said also to rise and live in God’s sight by the resurrection of his body. For, as was said, the flesh was ours; he took part of our flesh when he came into the world; and in it he suffered, died, and rose again (Hebrews 2:14). We also were therefore counted by God, in that God-man, when he did this; yea, he suffered, died, and rose as a common head.[2]

Hence also the New Testament is full of this, saying, ‘If ye be dead with Christ’ (Colossians 2:20). ‘If ye then be risen with Christ’ (Colossians 3:1). And again, ‘He hath quickened us together with him’ (Colossians 2:13). ‘We are quickened together with him.’ ‘Quickened,’ and ‘quickened together with him.’ The apostle hath words that cannot easily be shifted or evaded. Christ then was quickened when he was raised from the dead. Nor is it proper to say that he was ever quickened either before or since. This text also concludes that we—to wit, the whole body of God’s elect, were also quickened then, and made to live with him together. True, we also are quickened personally by grace the day in the which we are born unto God by the gospel; yet afore that, we are quickened in our Head; quickened when he was raised from the dead, quickened together with him.


[1] How full of consolation is this voice from the tomb! Lowth’s translation is very striking— ‘Thy dead shall live, my deceased; they SHALL arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of the dawn! But the earth shall cast forth, as an abortion, thy deceased tyrants.’ Antichrist shall ‘cease from troubling,’ and be only seen afar off in torments.—Ed. (George Offor’s original footnote)

[2] Christ (amazing love!) ‘was made a curse for us,’ and thereby redeemed us from the curse of the law. He subjected himself to the law in active as well as passive obedience, and his obedience even to death was for our justification.—Mason.

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