CHRIST is represented in the gospel as sustaining to men three classes of relations. 

1. Those which are purely governmental. 

2. Those which are purely spiritual. 

3. Those which unite both these. 

We shall at present consider him as Christ our justification. I shall show,– 





I. I am to show what gospel justification is not. 

There is scarcely any question in theology that has been encumbered with more injurious and technical mysticism than that of justification. 

Justification is the pronouncing of one just. It may be done in words, or, practically, by treatment. Justification must be, in some sense, a governmental act; and it is of importance to a right understanding of gospel justification, to inquire whether it be an act of the judicial, the executive, or the legislative department of government; that is, whether gospel justification consists in a strictly judicial or forensic proceeding, or whether it consists in pardon, or setting aside the execution of an incurred penalty, and is therefore properly either an executive or a legislative act. We shall see that the settling of this question is of great importance in theology; and as we view this subject, so, if consistent, we must view many important and highly practical questions in theology. This leads me to say,– 

That gospel justification is not to be regarded as a forensic or judicial proceeding. Dr. Chalmers and those of his school hold that it is. But this is certainly a great mistake, as we shall see. 

The term forensic is from forum, “a court.” A forensic proceeding belongs to the judicial department of government, whose business it is to ascertain the facts and declare the sentence of the law. This department has no power over the law, but to pronounce judgment, in accordance with its true spirit and meaning. Courts never pardon, or set aside the execution of penalties. This does not belong to them, but either to the executive or to the law-making department. Oftentimes, this power in human governments is lodged in the head of the executive department, who is, generally at least, a branch of the legislative power of government. But never is the power to pardon exercised by the judicial department. The ground of a judicial or forensic justification invariably is, and must be, universal obedience to law. If but one crime or breach of law is alleged and proved, the court must inevitably condemn, and can in no such case justify, or pronounce the convicted just. Gospel justification is the justification of sinners; it is, therefore, naturally impossible, and a most palpable contradiction, to affirm that the justification of a sinner, or of one who has violated the law, is a forensic or judicial justification. That only is or can be a legal or forensic justification, that proceeds upon the ground of its appearing that the justified person is guiltless, or, in other words, that he has not violated the law, that he has done only what he had a legal right to do. Now it is certainly nonsense to affirm, that a sinner can be pronounced just in the eye of law; that he can be justified by deeds of law, or by the law at all. The law condemns him. But to be justified judicially or forensically, is to be pronounced just in the judgment of law. This certainly is an impossibility in respect to sinners. The Bible is as express as possible on this point. Rom_3:20,–“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” 

It is proper to say here, that Dr. Chalmers and those of his school do not intend that sinners are justified by their own obedience to law, but by the perfect and imputed obedience of Jesus Christ. They maintain that, by reason of the obedience to law which Christ rendered when on earth, being set down to the credit of elect sinners, and imputed to them, the law regards them as having rendered perfect obedience in him, or regards them as having perfectly obeyed by proxy, and therefore pronounces them just, upon condition of faith in Christ. This they insist is properly a forensic or judicial justification. But this subject will come up more appropriately under another head. 

II. What is gospel justification. 

It consists not in the law pronouncing the sinner just, but in his being ultimately governmentally treated as if he were just, that is, it consists in a governmental decree of pardon or amnesty–in arresting and setting aside the execution of the incurred penalty of law–in pardoning and restoring to favour those who have sinned, and those whom the law had pronounced guilty, and upon whom it had passed the sentence of eternal death, and rewarding them as if they had been righteous. It is an act either of the law-making or executive department of government, and is an act entirely aside from, and contrary to, the forensic or judicial power or department of government. It is an ultimate treatment of the sinner as just, a practical, not a literal, pronouncing of him just. It is treating him as if he had been wholly righteous, when in fact he has greatly sinned. In proof of this position, I remark,–

1. That this is most unequivocally taught in the Old Testament scriptures. The whole system of sacrifices taught the doctrine of pardon upon the conditions of atonement, repentance, and faith. This, under the old dispensation, is constantly represented as a merciful acceptance of the penitents, and never as a forensic or judicial acquittal or justification of them. The mercy-seat covered the law in the ark of the covenant. Paul informs us what justification was in the sense in which the Old Testament saints understood it, in Rom_4:6-8,–“Even also as David describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” This quotation from David shows both what David and what Paul understood by justification, to wit, the pardon and acceptance of the penitent sinner. 

2. The New Testament fully justifies and establishes this view of the subject, as we shall abundantly see under another head. 

3. Sinners cannot possibly be justified in any other sense. Upon certain conditions they may be pardoned and treated as just. But for sinners to be forensically pronounced just, is impossible and absurd. 

III. Conditions of justification. 

In this discussion I use the term condition in the sense of a sine quà non, a “not without which.” This is its philosophical sense. A condition as distinct from a ground of justification, is anything without which sinners cannot be justified, which, nevertheless, is not the procuring cause or fundamental reason of their justification. As we shall see, there are many conditions, while there is but one ground, of the justification of sinners. The application and importance of this distinction we shall perceive as we proceed. 

As has been already said, there can be no justification in a legal or forensic sense, but upon the ground of universal, perfect, and uninterrupted obedience to law. This is of course denied by those who hold that gospel justification, or the justification of penitent sinners, is of the nature of a forensic or judicial justification. They hold to the legal maxim, that what a man does by another he does by himself, and therefore the law regards Christ’s obedience as ours, on the ground that he obeyed for us. To this I reply,–

1. The legal maxim just repeated does not apply, except in cases where one acts in behalf of another by his own appointment, which was not the case with the obedience of Christ; and,–

2. The doctrine of an imputed righteousness, or that Christ’s obedience to the law was accounted as our obedience, is founded on a most false and nonsensical assumption; to wit, that Christ owed no obedience to the law in his own person, and that therefore his obedience was altogether a work of supererogation, and might be made a substitute for our own obedience; that it might be set down to our credit, because he did not need to obey for himself. 

I must here remark, that justification respects the moral law; and that it must be intended that Christ owed no obedience to the moral law, and therefore his obedience to this law, being wholly a work of supererogation, is set down to our account as the ground of our justification upon condition of faith in him. But surely this is an obvious mistake. We have seen, that the spirit of the moral law requires good-will to God and the universe. Was Christ under no obligation to do this? Nay, was he not rather under infinite obligation to be perfectly benevolent? Was it possible for him to be more benevolent than the law requires God and all beings to be? Did he not owe entire consecration of heart and life to the highest good of universal being? If not, then benevolence in him were no virtue, for it would not be a compliance with moral obligation. It was naturally impossible for him, and is naturally impossible for any being, to perform a work of supererogation; that is, to be more benevolent than the moral law requires him to be. This is and must be as true of God as it is of any other being. Would not Christ have sinned had he not been perfectly benevolent? If he would, it follows that he owed obedience to the law, as really as any other being. Indeed, a being that owed no obedience to the moral law must be wholly incapable of virtue, for what is virtue but obedience to the moral law? 

But if Christ owed personal obedience to the moral law, then his obedience could no more than justify himself. It can never be imputed to us. He was bound for himself to love God with all his heart, and soul, and mind, and strength, and his neighbour as himself. He did no more than this. He could do no more. It was naturally impossible, then, for him to obey in our behalf. This doctrine of the imputation of Christ’s obedience to the moral law to us, is based upon the absurd assumptions, (1.) That the moral law is founded in the arbitrary will of God, and (2.) That of course, Christ, as God, owed no obedience to it; both of which assumptions are absurd. But if these assumptions are given up, what becomes of the doctrine of an imputed righteousness, as a ground of a forensic justification? “It vanishes into thin air.” 

There are, however, valid grounds and valid conditions of justification. 

1. The vicarious sufferings or atonement of Christ is a condition of justification, or of the pardon and acceptance of penitent sinners. It has been common either to confound the conditions with the ground of justification, or purposely to represent the atonement and work of Christ as the ground, as distinct from and opposed to a condition of justification. In treating this subject, I find it important to distinguish between the ground and conditions of justification, and to regard the atonement and work of Christ not as a ground, but only as a condition of gospel justification. By the ground I mean the moving, procuring cause; that in which the plan of redemption originated as its source, and which was the fundamental reason or ground of the whole movement. This was the benevolence and merciful disposition of the whole Godhead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This love made the atonement, but the atonement did not beget this love. The Godhead desired to save sinners, but could not safely do so without danger to the universe, unless something was done to satisfy public, not retributive justice. The atonement was resorted to as a means of reconciling forgiveness with the wholesome administration of justice. A merciful disposition in the Godhead was the source, ground, mainspring, of the whole movement, while the atonement was only a condition or means, or that without which the love of God could not safely manifest itself in justifying and saving sinners. 

Failing to make this distinction, and representing the atonement as the ground of the sinner’s justification, has been a sad occasion of stumbling to many. Indeed, the whole questions of the nature, design, extent, and bearings of the atonement turn upon, and are involved in, this distinction. Some represent the atonement as not demanded by, nor as proceeding from the love or merciful disposition, but from the inexorable wrath of the Father, leaving the impression that Christ was more merciful, and more the friend of sinners than the Father. Many have received this impression from pulpit and written representations, as I well know. 

Others, regarding the atonement as the ground as opposed to a condition of justification, have held the atonement to be the literal payment of the debt of sinners, and of the nature of a commercial transaction: a quid pro quo, a valuable consideration paid down by Christ, by suffering the same amount as was deserved by the whole number of the elect; thus negativing the idea of a merciful disposition in the Father, and representing him as demanding pay for discharging and saving sinners. Some of this class have held, that since Christ has died, the elect sinner has a right to demand his justification, on the ground of justice, that he may present the atonement and work of Christ, and say to the Father, “Here is the price; I demand the commodity.” This class, of course, must hold to the limited nature of the atonement, or be universalists. 

While others again, assuming that the atonement was the ground of justification in the sense of the literal payment of the debt of sinners, and that the scriptures represent the atonement as made for all men, have very consistently become universalists. 

Others again have given up, or never held the view that the atonement was of the nature of the literal payment of a debt, and hold that it was a governmental expedient to reconcile the pardon of sin with a wholesome administration of justice: that it was sufficient for all as for a part of mankind: that it does not entitle those for whom it was made to a pardon on the score of justice, but that men are justified freely by grace through the redemption, that is in Christ Jesus, and yet they inconsistently persist in representing the atonement as the ground, and not merely as a condition of justification. 

Those who hold that the atonement and obedience of Christ were and are the ground of the justification of sinners, in the sense of the payment of their debt, regard all the grace in the transaction as consisting in the atonement and obedience of Christ, and exclude grace from the act of justification. Justification they regard as a forensic act. I regard the atonement of Christ as the necessary condition of safely manifesting the benevolence of God in the justification and salvation of sinners. A merciful disposition in the whole Godhead was the ground, and the atonement a condition of justification. Mercy would have saved without an atonement, had it been possible to do so. But see my lectures on Atonement.– Lecture XXXIV, et seq.

That Christ’s sufferings, and especially his death, were vicarious, has been abundantly shown when treating the subject of atonement. I need not repeat here what I said there. Although Christ owed perfect obedience to the moral law for himself, and could not therefore obey as our substitute, yet since he perfectly obeyed, he owed no suffering to the law or to the Divine government on his own account. He could therefore suffer for us. That is, he could, to answer governmental purposes, substitute his death for the infliction of the penalty of the law on us. He could not perform works of supererogation, but he could endure sufferings of supererogation, in the sense that he did not owe them for himself. The doctrine of substitution, in the sense just named, appears everywhere in both Testaments. It is the leading idea, the prominent thought, lying upon the face of the whole scriptures. Let the few passages that follow serve as specimens of the class that teach this doctrine: 

Lev_17:11. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar, to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” 

Isa_53:5-6, Isa_53:11. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” 

Mat_20:28. “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” 

Mat_26:28. “For this is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” 

Joh_3:14-15. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” 

Joh_6:51. “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world.” 

Act_20:28. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 

Rom_3:24-26. “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 at this time his righteousness; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” 

Rom_5:6-9, Rom_5:11, Rom_5:18-19. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 11. And not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 18. Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” 

1Co_5:7. “For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” 

1Co_15:3. “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” 

Gal_2:20. “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

Gal_3:13-14. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” 

Eph_2:13. “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” 

Eph_5:2. “And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.” 

Heb_9:12-14, Heb_9:22-28. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 13. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; 14. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 22. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. 23. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; 26. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment; 28. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many.” 

Heb_10:10-14, Heb_10:19-20. “By the which we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11. And every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12. But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13. From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. 19. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus; 20. By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh.” 

1Pe_1:18. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers: 19. But with the precious blood of Christ.” 

1Pe_2:24. “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye are healed.” 

1Pe_3:18. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 

1Jo_1:7. “But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” 

1Jo_3:15. “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins.” 

1Jo_4:9-10. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 

These and many such like passages establish the fact beyond question, that the vicarious atonement of Christ is a condition of our pardon and acceptance with God. 

2. Repentance is also a condition of our justification. Observe, I here also use the term condition, in the sense of a “not without which,” and not in the sense of a “that for the sake of which” the sinner is justified. It must be certain that the government of God cannot pardon sin without repentance. This is as truly a doctrine of natural as of revealed religion. It is self-evident that, until the sinner breaks off from sins by repentance or turning to God, he cannot be justified in any sense. This is everywhere assumed, implied, and taught in the Bible. No reader of the Bible can call this in question, and it were a useless occupation of time to quote more passages. 

3. Faith in Christ is, in the same sense, another condition of justification. We have already examined into the nature and necessity of faith. I fear that there has been much of error in the conceptions of many upon this subject. They have talked of justification by faith, as if they supposed that, by an arbitrary appointment of God, faith was the condition, and the only condition of justification. This seems to be the antinomian view. The class of persons alluded to speak of justification by faith, as if it were by faith, and not by Christ through faith, that the penitent sinner is justified; as if faith, and not Christ, were our justification. They seem to regard faith not as a natural, but merely as a mystical condition of justification; as bringing us into a covenant and mystical relation to Christ, in consequence of which his righteousness or personal obedience is imputed to us. It should never be forgotten, that the faith that is the condition of justification, is the faith that works by love. It is the faith through and by which Christ sanctifies the soul. A sanctifying faith unites the believer to Christ as his justification; but be it always remembered, that no faith receives Christ as a justification, that does not receive him as a sanctification, to reign within the heart. We have seen that repentance, as well as faith, is a condition of justification. We shall see that perseverance in obedience to the end of life is also a condition of justification. Faith is often spoken of in scripture as if it were the sole condition of salvation, because, as we have seen, from its very nature it implies repentance and every virtue. 

That faith is a naturally necessary condition of justification, we have seen. Let the following passages of scripture serve as examples of the manner in which the scriptures speak upon this subject. 

Mar_16:15-16. “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.” 

Joh_1:12. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” 

Joh_3:16, Joh_3:36. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” 

Joh_6:28-29, Joh_6:40. “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. 40. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

Joh_8:24, Joh_8:44, Joh_8:47. “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. 44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do; he was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth; because there is no truth in him. 47. He that is of God, heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” 

Joh_11:25-26. “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; And whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die.” 

Act_10:43. “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” 

Act_16:31. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” 

Rom_4:5. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” 

Rom_10:4. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” 

Gal_2:16. “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” 

2Th_2:10-12. “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; That they all might be damned who believe not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

Heb_11:6. “Without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” 

1Jo_2:23. “Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; but he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.” 

1Jo_5:10-13. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; 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 to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” 

4. Present sanctification, in the sense of present full consecration to God, is another condition, not ground, of justification. Some theologians have made justification a condition of sanctification, instead of making sanctification a condition of justification. But this we shall see is an erroneous view of the subject. The mistake is founded in a misapprehension of the nature both of justification and of sanctification. They make sanctification to consist in something else than in the will’s entire subjection or consecration to God; and justification they regard as a forensic transaction conditionated on the first act of faith in Christ. Whole-hearted obedience to God, or entire conformity to his law, they regard as a very rare, and many of them, as an impracticable attainment in this life. Hence they conditionate justification upon simple faith, not regarding faith as at all implying present conformity of heart to the law of God. It would seem from the use of language that they lay very little stress upon personal holiness as a condition, not ground, of acceptance with God. But on the contrary, they suppose the mystical union of the believer with Christ obtains for him access and acceptance by virtue of an imputed righteousness, not making his present obedience a condition in the sense of a sine quà non, of his justification. A recent American writer*(see below) says, “It is not the believer’s own personal obedience to the law, which, properly speaking, forms the condition of justification before God.” “Some writers,” he says, “use the term ‘condition’ in a philosophical sense, meaning by it simply the state or position in which things stand connected with each other, as when having said that faith and holiness are conditions of salvation; and when called upon to explain themselves, affirm that they by no means intend that these are the meritorious grounds, but merely that they will be found invariably connected with, as they are the indispensable evidences of, a state of justification.” Here this writer confounds the distinction between the grounds and conditions of justification. And he does more, he represents present faith and holiness as merely the evidences, and not as a sine quà non of justification. So this writer cannot admit that faith is “a that without which” a sinner cannot be justified! I say that faith is not the meritorious ground, but insist that it is a proper condition or sine quà non, and not a mere evidence of justification. It is an evidence, only because it is a condition, of justification, and must therefore exist where justification is. 

If his view of the subject be correct, it follows that God justifies sinners by his grace, not upon condition of their ceasing to sin, but while they continue to sin, by virtue of their being regarded by the law as perfectly obedient in Christ, the covenant and mystical head; that is, that although they indulge in more or less sin continually, and are never at any moment in this life entirely obedient to his law, yet God accounts them righteous because Christ obeyed and died for them. Another class of theologians hold, not to an imputed righteousness, but that God pardons and accepts the sinner not upon condition of present entire obedience, which obedience is induced by the indwelling Spirit of Christ, but upon the condition that he believes in Christ. Neither of these classes make present sanctification, or entire present obedience a condition of justification; but on the contrary, both regard and represent justification as a condition of sanctification. We have seen what justification is; let us inquire in a few words what sanctification is. 

To sanctify is to set apart, to consecrate to a particular use. To sanctify anything to God is to set it apart to his service, to consecrate it to him. To sanctify one’s self is voluntarily to set one’s self apart, to consecrate one’s self to God. To be sanctified is to be set apart, to be consecrated to God. Sanctification is an act or state of being sanctified, or set apart to the service of God. It is a state of consecration to him. This is present obedience to the moral law. It is the whole of present duty, and is implied in repentance, faith, regeneration, as we have abundantly seen. 

Sanctification is sometimes used to express a permanent state of obedience to God, or of consecration. In this sense it is not a condition of present justification, or of pardon and acceptance. But it is a condition of continued and permanent acceptance with God. It certainly cannot be true, that God accepts and justifies the sinner in his sins. I may safely challenge the world for either reason or scripture to support the doctrine of justification in sin, in any degree of present rebellion against God. (See argument, Lecture XV. II.) The Bible everywhere represents justified persons as sanctified, and always expressly, or impliedly, conditionates justification upon sanctification, in the sense of present obedience to God. 1Co_6:11; “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” This is but a specimen of the manner in which justified persons are spoken of in the Bible. Also, Rom_8:1; “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” They only are justified who walk after the Spirit. Should it be objected, as it may be, that the scriptures often speak of saints, or truly regenerate persons, as needing sanctification, and of sanctification as something that comes after regeneration, and as that which the saints are to aim at attaining, I answer, that when sanctification is thus spoken of, it is doubtless used in the higher sense already noticed; to wit, to denote a state of being settled, established in faith, rooted and grounded in love, being so confirmed in the faith and obedience of the gospel, as to hold on in the way steadfastly, unmovably, always abounding in the work of the Lord. This is doubtless a condition of permanent justification, as has been said, but not a condition of present justification. 

By sanctification being a condition of justification, the following things are intended. 

(1.) That present, full, and entire consecration of heart and life to God and his service, is an unalterable condition of present pardon of past sin, and of present acceptance with God. 

(2.) That the penitent soul remains justified no longer than this full-hearted consecration continues. If he falls from his first love into the spirit of self-pleasing, he falls again into bondage to sin and to the law, is condemned, and must repent and do his “first work,” must return to Christ, and renew his faith and love, as a condition of his salvation. This is the most express teaching of the Bible, as we shall fully see.