Wednesday with the Wesleys

4.Of this justice and mercy of God knit together, speaketh St. Paul in the third chapter to the Romans, “All have [sinned and come short] of the glory of God, but are justified freely by his grace through [the] redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath [set forth to be a propitiation] through faith in his blood” [v. 23-25]. And in the tenth, “Christ is the end of the law [for] righteousness to every [one] that be-lieveth” [v. 4]. And in the eighth chapter, “That which was impossible by the law, inasmuch as it is weak [through] the flesh, God sending his own son in the [likeness] of sinful flesh, [and for] sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us [who] walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit” [v. 3-4].

5.In these places the apostle toucheth especially three things which must go together in our justification: upon God’s part, his great mercy and grace; upon Christ’s part, the satisfaction of God’s justice by the offering his body and shedding his blood, with the fulfilling of the law perfectly and thoroughly; and upon our part, true and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, so that in our justification there is not only God’s mercy and grace, but his justice also. And so the grace of God doth not shut out the [righteousness] of God in our justification, but only shut-teth out the [righteousness] of man, that is to say, the [righteousness] of our works.

6.And therefore St. Paul declareth nothing on the behalf of man concerning his justification but only a true and lively faith, which [itself] is the gift of God. And yet that faith doth not shut out repentance, hope, love and the fear of God, to be joined with faith in every man that is justified. But it shutteth them out from the office of justifying, so that although they be all present together in him that is justified, yet they justify not all together.

7. Neither doth faith shut out good works, necessary to be done afterwards, of duty towards God  (for we are most bounden to serve God in doing good works commanded in Scripture all the days of our life). But we may not do them to this intent, to be [justified] by doing them. For all the good works we can do are not able to deserve our justification. But our justification cometh freely [of] the mere mercy of God, and of so great and free mercy that, whereas all the world was not able to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased [him], without any of our deserving, to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ’s body and blood whereby our ransom might be paid, the law fulfilled and his justice satisfied. So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly believe in him. He for them fulfilled the law in his life, so that now in him and by him every Christian may be called a fulfiller of the law, forasmuch as that which their infirmity lacked, Christ’s [righteousness] hath supplied.

John Wesley “Salvation of Mankind”

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