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is drawn also from the same words; as man cannot effect his own justification, and all are included under sin, and none but the just and righteous can have salvation, we must all look up to and rely upon the tender mercies of a most compassionate, benevolent, bountiful, righteous, and just God for pardon and justification. The third fact, that justification will take place at the day of judgment is to be concluded, not only from the word “judgment,” but also from the words, “in thy sight,” which being connected with, or relating to judgment, are always considered as meaning or having a reference to the day of judgment. The future tense is also used, and it cannot be supposed that God is to enter into judgment either with David or mankind generally at any other time than at the day of judgment; this conclusion cannot be doubted.
The next three verses from Rom. ii. 13. iii. 20. Gal. ii. 16. all speak the same language, that no man can be justified by the law, meaning the law of Moses, and speak of justification as future, not only using the future tense, but with the additional words, either “ before God” or “ in his sight,” which words generally relate to the day of judgment, but not always. By the last verse it is very plain, the great object St. Paul had in view, was to convince the Galatians, that faith instead of the works of the law was a necessary requisite in justification, and he particularly says, “we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ.” Did justification, in fact, take place upon believing, St. Paul, and all who are included in the word, “we,” were at the time justified; but in the 17th verse (which was written to prove a different fact from what is stated in the 16th) instead of saying in plain direct terms, that “we, who are justified by the faith of Christ,” he says, “but if while we seek to be justified,” these words in the common acceptation and plain understanding of them must shew, that instead of having actually obtained justification, they were in pursuit of, or using means to obtain it; and it may be remarked, that St. Paul has not in any instance stated he was justified: it is not to be conceived, writing so much as he has upon justification, had he intended to have shewn the fact, that justification took place in this life, he would not have stated it in plain and direct terms, and not left a matter of such importance to be concluded from the tenses of verbs or other doubtful expressions; his great point or intention was to prove that no reliance was to be placed upon the works of the law to obtain justification, and to do away the idea of boasting, and to make faith in Christ an indispensable condition in the work of justification, as the instrument or mean through which it was to be obtained.
In Gal. iii. 11. both justification and salvation are mentioned, and are from the manner of expression so connected, it is impossible to separate them, or to suppose that justification and salvation are not to take place at the same time; the words “in the sight of God,” are very significant to shew, that justification must take place at the day of judgment, united and explained as they are by the words, “ for the just shall live by faith ;” the conjunction “for” seems purposely put to connect the former with the latter part of the verse; it may be here asked, when are the just to live by faith, that is, when will the just have salvation by or through faith? The answer is plain, undoubtedly at the day of judgment.
In the three verses quoted from Col. i. we have important matter, and in words so plain it is impossible to misunderstand them. It is stated the Colossians had by wicked works been enemies of Christ, that is, great sinners, but whom he had reconciled by his death, that he might present them (to God) holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in his sight. The words “reconciled in the body of his flesh through death,” mean that Christ having been made the atonement or propitiation for their sins, they were put into the way, if they used the proper means, of being accepted by God or obtaining justification. We will now endeavour to learn when they were to be thus presented. Had the subject closed at the words, “ in his sight,” in the 22d verse, a doubt might have arisen whether any other time than the day of judgment was intended : and whether the Colossians might not have become holy, &c. at the time they had faith, but the 23d verse puts the matter out of doubt by annexing an absolute condition, that they should continue in the faith, and from the words used, must mean, as long as the existence of the persons to whom applied; therefore the condition having such a continuance, the effect could not be obtained till the condition was fulfilled, and these persons could not be holy, &c.; that is, cleansed and absolved of their sins during life, because they might at any time while living, have been guilty of a breach of the condition, and as they could not be justified without a remission of their sins, they could not be justified during life ; and to give a sense to the words “ in his (God's) sight,” coupled with this condition, the reasonable construction of the words of these verses must be, that the day of judgment was intended : it cannot be mistaken.
In considering the two verses in Heb. iii. 6. 14. it may not be improper to see what is scripturally the meaning of the word “ confidence.” Mr. Cruden, in his Concordance, has, among other explanations, defined it to be “ Trust; a due resolution; a free and bold profession of Christ and the Gospel;" and also,
a wellgrounded persuasion of audience and acceptance.” Whether it has all or any of these meanings in the above verses, may not be material for our present purpose ; but we may safely conclude, that having confidence in the hope which Christians have by the Gospel of Christ, must mean, a firm reliance that their confidence which they have by or through faith, will in due time be proved to have been well founded.
St. Paul, in the 6th verse, speaking of Christ's house, says, “ whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.” And in the 14th verse, “ For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end." These verses shew, as far as words can shew, that those who have confidence and rejoicing of the hope, are not, and cannot be of the house of Christ, unless they continue in the confidence and rejoicing firm unto the end, which must be until death; and that none can be made “partakers of Christ,” unless they hold the beginning of their confidence stedfast unto the end. The word “ partakers of Christ”