Rome, in these words, has denied the gospel of Christ. They place their curse upon the Protestant and biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone. which is the gospel of our salvation. They have denied justification by faith alone, which I will seek to make a case for below. They confess that faith is necessary, but it is not enough. They confess that grace is necessary, but it is, again, not enough. I assert and will seek to prove that the Bible teaches that faith alone is that which justifies the wicked and not grace/faith plus anything in us.
Christ’s active obedience is what was imputed to us, which we discussed in chapter 8 (see here). His active obedience refers to Lord’s keeping the Law of God perfectly for us and in our place. All that righteousness which the Lord Jesus earned, the Father credits to us. It is as though we had lived the perfect life of Christ in complete obedience to God. That is how God sees His children. But it is not only His active but also passive obedience which justifies us. His passive obedience refers to His obedience to the Father even to the point of death and torture. It is through Christ’s righteousness and death that we are justified and are in the right with God. Christ provided us a perfect righteousness by perfectly obeying and living the Law of God in our place and He took the penalty of the Law, which was ours, upon Himself. Christ’s righteousness is given and credited to us. It is not mixed and infused with our own righteousness. The apostle Paul says:
Phil. 3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—
Paul does not find comfort in his own righteousness, which comes through the law and doing “good” things which the law commands. But he finds his comfort, peace, and rest in the righteousness which comes through faith in Christ. This righteousness is from God. It was given to Paul by God and that “through faith in Christ”. Charles J. Ellicott notes:
But . . . the righteousness which is of God by (on condition of) faith.—This verse is notable, as describing the true righteousness; first imperfectly, as coming “through faith of Jesus Christ,” a description which discloses to us only its means, and not its origin; next, completely, as “a righteousness coming from God on the sole condition of faith”—faith being here viewed not as the means, but as the condition, of receiving the divine gift (as in Act. 3:16). It may be noted that in the Epistle to the Romans, we have righteousness “through faith,” “from faith,” “of faith;” for there it was needful to bring out in various forms the importance of faith. Here, now that the urgent necessity has passed, we have the stress laid simply on the opposition of the gift of God through Christ to the merit of the works of the Law; and faith occupies a less prominent, though not less indispensable, position.
In another place, Paul says:
1 Cor. 1:30-31 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
The Lord Christ is our righteousness. We do not have a righteousness of our own. Indeed, Isaiah says that all our good works are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) and Paul says that none is righteous, no...