Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stephen Charnock on God's Holiness

"The holiness of God in his hatred of sin appears in our justification, and the condition of all that would enjoy the benefit of redemption.  His wisdom has so tempered all the conditions of it, that the honor of his holiness is as much preserved, as the sweetness of his mercy is experimented by us; all the conditions are records of his exact purity, as well as of his condescending grace.  Our justification is not by imperfect works  of creatures, but by an exact and infinite righteousness, as great as that of the Deity which had been offended:  it being the righteousness of a Divine person, upon which account it is called the righteousness of God; not only in regard to God's appointing it, and God's accepting it, but as it is a righteousness of that person that was God, and is God.  Faith is the condition that God requires to justification; but not a dead, but an active faith, such a 'faith as purifies the heart' (James 2:20; Acts 15:9).  He calls for repentance, which is a moral retracting our offences, and an approbation of contemned righteousness and a violated law; an endeavor to gain what is lost, and to pluck out the heart of that sin we have committed.  He requires mortification, which is called crucifying; whereby a man would strike as full and deadly a blow at his lusts, as was struck at Christ upon the cross, and make them as certainly die, as the Redeemer did.  Our own righteousness must be condemned by us, as impure and imperfect:  we must disown everything that is our own, as to righteousness, in reverence to the holiness of God and the valuation of the righteousness of Christ.  He hath resolved not to bestow the inheritance of glory without the root of grace.  None are partakers of the Divine blessedness that are not partakers of the Divine nature:  there must be a renewing of his image before there be a vision of his face (Heb. 12:14).  He will not have men brought out into a relative state of happiness by justification, without a real state of grace by sanctification; and so resolved he is in it, that there is no admittance into heaven of a starting, but a persevering holiness (Rom. 2:7)"
Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God: On the Holiness of God, 138.

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