Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Comfort of Justification...

In A Treatise on Spiritual Comfort, John Colquhoun presents a truth taught by many Reformed ministers and theologians before and after his time:
"The comfort of justification, because it is founded upon a righteousness which is perfect, and always the same, is more stable and permanent, than that of sanctification. The great things, which believers have in possession, and the greater, which they have in hope, are the sustenance of their consolation. The suitableness of those inestimable blessings to their hearts, together with their sense of personal interest in them, affords them unspeakable joy '. As to their experiences and evidences of grace, these are, strictly speaking, not grounds, upon which they build their comfort "; but they are proofs, of their saving interest in those grounds of consolation, above mentioned, as well as, encouragements to build their comfort upon them; and so, they are matter of consolation to their souls. The most comfortable of the saints; are they who, trusting at all times in the second Adam. as given for a covenant to them, can think of all dispensations, of all conditions, and of all duties, with comfort. They who have the love of Christ displayed in the covenant of grace, most constantly in their view, and most frequently warm on their heart; are of all believers, the most free from perplexing doubts and fears."
More than 250 years earlier, John Calvin wrote similarly in his Institutes of Religion 3.19.2:
Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ. For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous. If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law. Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God. The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5: 1-2)

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