I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.—Jeremiah 23.21.

David Dickson's

Truth's Victory Over Error

Chapter. XI.

Of Justification.


"DOTH God freely justify those whom he effectually calleth, not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous, not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone?"

Yes; Rom. 9.30. Rom. 3.24.

Well then, do not the Papists, Socinians, and Quakers err, who maintain, That the righteousness, whereby we are justified before God, is not without us, but within us, and inherent?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because if inherent righteousness did justify us, then good works would justify us, but the scripture denies that, Rom. 3.20. Therefore, says the text, by the deeds of the law, shall no flesh be justified in his sight: and ver. 28, therefore we conclude, that a man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law. See Rom. 4.6. Gal. 2.16. Eph. 2.8,9. Titus 3.5. In all which places, works are secluded expressly from our justification.

2d, Because the righteousness whereby we are justified, is not our proper own, 2 Cor. 5.21. For he, viz. God, hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him, Phil. 3.8,9. And be found in him, not having on my own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

3d, Because we are not justified by the law, Acts 13.38,39.

4th, Because our justification is given to us freely, Rom. 4.4,5. Rom. 11.6.

5th, Because our inherent righteousness is imperfect, 1 Kings 8.46. For this Scripture says, there is no man that sinneth not. See that parallel place, 1 John 1.8. where it is said, If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

6th, Because if we were justified by inherent righteousness, we should have matter to boast of, which is contrary to Paul's doctrine, Eph. 2.9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

7th, Because the righteousness of a Christian man, is the justifying of the ungodly, Rom. 4.5.

Quest. II. "Doth God justify men by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness?"

No; Rom. 4.5-8. 2 Cor. 5.19,21. Rom. 3.22,24,25,27,28. Titus 3.5,7. Eph. 1.7. Jer. 23.6. 1 Cor. 1.30,31. Rom. 5.17,18,19.

Well then, Do not the Arminians err, who maintain, That faith itself, and the act of believing, is imputed to us for righteousness?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because faith is that by which we receive righteousness, Acts 26.18. Therefore if it be that by which we receive righteousness, it cannot be righteousness itself; because that which is received is far different, and another thing from that, whereby we receive it.

2d, Because we are not justified by inherent righteousness, as is proven evidently against the Papists in the last foregoing question; all which reasons do clear evince, that we are not justified by the imputation of faith itself, or by the act of believing, as our righteousness.

Quest. III. "Is faith, which is the alone instrument of justification, alone in the person justified?"


"Is it ever accompanied with all other saving graces; and is no dead faith, but worketh by love?"

Yes; James 2.17,22,26. Gal. 5.5.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, That justifying faith may be truly and really separated from love, saving hope, and all the rest of the Christian virtues?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also, James 2.26.

2d, Because faith worketh by love, Gal. 5.6. that is by shewing forth the works of love in us, towards God and our neighbor.

3d, Because faith purifies the heart, Acts 15.9.

4th, Because he that hath faith is in Christ; but he that is in Christ bringeth forth much fruit, John 15.5.

5th, Because those who have faith are buried with Christ, and walk in newness of life, Rom. 6.4. that is, in holiness and purity, which accompany faith.

6th, Because he that saith, I know God, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2.4.

Quest. IV. "Did Christ, by his obedience and death, fully discharge the debt of all those who are thus justified, and did he make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to the Father's justice in their behalf?"

Yes; Rom. 5.8,9. 1 Tim. 2.5,6. Dan. 9.24,26. Heb. 10.10,14. Isa. 53.4,5,6,10,11,12.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, That Christ hath not made a full satisfaction to divine justice, for the sins of those who are justified: And that human satisfactions do, in part, satisfy the justice of God for sin?


Do not likewise the Socinians err, who deny, All true and proper satisfaction to Christ's suffering?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because the prophet says, He hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows, was wounded for our transgressions, was bruised for our iniquities, Isaiah 53.4,5.

2d, Because by one offering, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified; Heb. 10.14.

3d, Because human satisfactions being finite, can never satisfy in part, or in whole, the infinite justice of God, for the punishment of sin, Job 35.6.

4th, Because he hath blotted out the hand writing of ordinances, which was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross, Col. 2.14.

5th, Because there is nothing more frequent in scripture, than that Christ was a propitiation for our sins, Rom. 3.25.

6th, Because Christ says, I lay down my life for my sheep, and no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, John 10.15,18.

7th, Because, the Son of man came to give his life a ransom for many, Mat. 20.28. 1 Tim. 2.6. Eph. 5.2. Gal. 3.13. Rev. 5.9. 1 John 2.2.

Quest. V. "Are the elect justified, until the Holy Spirit, in due time, actually apply Christ to them?"

No; Col. 1.21,22. Titus 3.4-7.

Well then, do not the Antinomians err, who maintain, That the elect are justified from eternity, or when the price of redemption was paid?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because all that are justified have been strangers and enemies to God, and children of wrath, Eph. 2.3. Col. 1.21. Titus 3.3. 1 Cor. 6.10,11.

2d, Because none are justified, until they believe in Christ, 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.

Quest. VI. "Can those who are justified by reason of their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not having the light of his countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance?"

Yes; Psalm 89.31,32,33. Psalm 32.5. Psalm 51.7-12. Mat. 26.75. 1 Cor. 11.30,32.

Well then, do not the Antinomians err, who maintain, That God's love and favour towards those that are justified, cannot consist with his anger and chastisement towards them?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because Christ says, as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten, Rev. 3.19.

2d, Because David was chastened for his adultery and murder, 2 Sam. 12.10.

3d, Because the Lord says, If my children forsake my law, and walk not in my judgements, then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes, Psalm 89.30,31.

4th, Because God was provoked with the sins of the Corinthians, for which he punished them, 1 Cor. 10.22. and 11.30.

Quest. VII. "Is the justification of believers, under the Old Testament, one and the same in all respects with the justification of believers, under the New Testament?"

Yes; Gal. 3.9,13,14. Rom. 4.22,23. Heb. 13.8.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, That the manner of justification is not one and the same, under both the Testaments?


By what reasons are they confuted?

1st, Because Abraham was justified by faith in Christ, Gen. 15.6. And he believed in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness. That is, God of his mere grace held him righteous and justified, that had no righteousness in himself, whereby to subsist and stand before his justice seat, and that through faith in his promises, and in the promised Mediator.

2d, Because Isaiah teacheth, that both himself and other believers were justified by the knowledge of Christ, chap. 53.11.

3d, Because the Holy Ghost expressly testifies, that Christ died for the believers under the Old Testament, Heb. 9.15.

4th, Because the justification of believing Jews under the Old Testament, and believers under the New are compared between themselves as equal, Acts 15.11.