"Justification by Faith Alone"
Your Weekly Exposure to Edwards
Gospel Driven Disciples posts some highlights from the prolific works of Jonathan Edwards. The following excerpt is taken from Justification by Faith Alone, published by Soli Deo Gloria.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:4)
We are justified only by faith in Christ, and not by any manner of virtue or goodness of our own.
To be justified is to be approved and accepted; but a man may be said to be approved and accepted in two respects: the one is to be approved really, and the other to be approved declaratively. Justification is twofold: it is either the acceptance and approbation of the judge itself, or the manifestation of that approbation by a sentence or judgment declared by the judge, either to our own consciences or to the world. If justification is understood in the former sense, for the approbation itself, that is only that by which we become fit to be approved; but if it is understood in the latter sense, for the manifestation of this approbation, it is by whatever a proper evidence of that fitness. In the former, faith alone is concerned, because it is by that only in us that we become fit to be accepted. In the latter, whatever is an evidence of our fitness is alike concerned.
The great and most distinquishing difference beween the covenant of grace and that of works is that by the covenant of grace we are not this justified by our own works, bt only by faith in Jesus Christ. It is on this account chiefly tha the new covenant deserves the name of a covenant of grace, as I evident by Romans 4:16: “…therefore it is of faith, that it might be of grace.” Therfore justification by works (Galatians 1:6-7) is not an evangelical doctrine, but a legal one; it is no gospel at all.
Note: Edwards is at times most difficult to read and grasp. Some attempts at grappling with his great mind can cause severe head-aches. That is why I expose you to him. Stretch your thinking and reasoning capacity! Read and re-read his writings. Work through them with the same energy and determination used when eating a coconut, or a crab, or any other food you have to beat with a mallet or a club in order to enjoy. Work at it and then enjoy the “juices” of godly truth that oozes out of the passage at hand and drips down into your soul!