The Signs of the Times


November 10, 1890

Justification by Faith



Paul declared, “I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” The apostle recognized the claims of the law, and did not break out against it because it revealed to him his true situation. He acknowledged the likeness which it presented, but he did not say to the law, “Cleanse me, purify me.” He turned at once to Calvary. He fell on the Rock Christ Jesus, and was broken. He knew that repentance which needeth not to be repented of. He understood that “by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified;” for it is not the province of law to save, but to condemn; not to pardon, but to convict. It cannot to any degree lessen the rigor of its claims. If one requirement could be set aside, the whole law might be abolished; for to change any commandment to save a defaulter would make of none effect the value of the rest. The law cannot save those whom it condemns; it cannot rescue the perishing. There is but one hope for the sinner. Is it in outward ceremonies? in rigorous performance of religious duties? is it in mourning and penance, and in devoting hours to prayer and meditation? in practicing self-denial? in giving to the poor, and in doing deeds of merit?—No, none of these things will work the salvation of the soul. The question is asked, “Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”—No; no man can stand before God in his own merit. Those who are saved will be saved because Jesus has paid the full debt; and man can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to merit salvation. Christ says, “Without me, ye can do nothing.” Then whose is the merit?—It all belongs to our Redeemer. All the capabilities of man come alone through Christ, and we may say of our best performances, “All things come of thee, and of thine own have we given to thee.” ST November 10, 1890, par. 1

It is the grace of Christ that draws men unto himself, and in him alone is hope and salvation for the sinner. Man is unworthy of any favor from God; but as Christ becomes his righteousness, he may ask and receive, in his name and through his merit, the grace and favor of God. Jesus bore the just penalty of the law, that we might have his grace; but this fact does not mean the subversion of the law. Paul asks, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid; yea, we establish the law.” The bestowal of the grace of Christ upon the repentant sinner is that he may be brought into perfect harmony with the government of heaven. In the cross, mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. ST November 10, 1890, par. 2

When we look to the cross of Calvary, we see that the highest claims of the law were met in the efficiency of the offering. Hence, Jesus is called “the Lord our righteousness.” When we lay hold on the merit of Christ, and are able to say, “The Lord is my Saviour, my righteousness,” then we are justified by faith, and have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ST November 10, 1890, par. 3