treat him (Payne). So long as any remnant of sin exists, no justification, in the sense of making holy, can be attributed to man. <210720>Ecclesiastes 7:20 ? ?Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.? If no man is just, in this sense, then God cannot pronounce him just, for God cannot lie. Justification, therefore, must signify a deliverance from legal penalties and an assignment of legal rewards. O. P. Gifford: There is no such thing as ?salvation by character?; what men need is salvation from character. The only sense in which salvation by character is rational or Scriptural is that suggested by George Harris, Moral Evolution, 409 ? ?Salvation by character is not self- righteousness, but Christ in us.? But even here it must be remembered that Christ in us presupposes Christ for us. The objective atonement for sin must come before the subjective purification of our natures. And justification is upon the ground of that objective atonement and not upon the ground of the subjective cleansing.
The Jews had a proverb that if only one man could perfectly keep the whole law even for one day, the kingdom of Messiah would at once come upon the earth. This is to state in another form the doctrine of Paul, in
<450709> Romans 7:9 ? ?When the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.? To recognize the impossibility of being justified by Pharisaic works was a preparation for the gospel. See Bruce, Apologetics, 419. The Germans speak of Werk-, Parteigerechtigkeit, Lehre-, Buchstaben, Negations-but all these are forms of self-righteousness. Berridge: ?A man may steal some gems from the crown of Jesus and be guilty only of petty larceny. The man who would justify himself by his own works steals the crown itself, puts it on his own head and proclaims himself, by his own conquests, a king in Zion.?
B. The difficult feature of justification is the declaration on the part of God that a sinner whose remaining sinfulness seems to necessitate the vindicated reaction of God?s holiness against him, is yet free from such reaction of holiness as is expressed in the penalties of the law.
The fact is to be accepted on the testimony of Scripture. If this testimony is not accepted, there is no deliverance from the condemnation of law. But the difficulty of conceiving of God?s declaring the sinner no longer exposed to legal penalty is relieved, if not removed, by the three-fold consideration:
(a) Christ has endured the penalty of the law in the sinner?s stead.
<480313> Galatians 3:13 ? ?Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us.? Denovan: ?We are justified by faith,
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