That we say, Faith only justifieth, ought to offend no man.
For if this be true, that Christ only redeemed us, Christ only bare our sins, made satisfaction for them, and purchased us the favour of God; then must it needs be true that the trust only in Christ’s deserving and in the promises of God the Father, made to us for Christ’s sake, doth alone quiet the conscience, and certify it that the sins are forgiven. And when they say, A man must repent, forsake sin, and have a purpose to sin no more, as nigh as he can, and love the law of God; therefore faith alone justifieth not: I answer, That and all like arguments are naught, and like to this—I must repent and be sorry; the gospel must be preached me, and I must believe it, or else I cannot be partaker of mercy, which Christ hath deserved for me. Therefore Christ only justifieth me not; or Christ only hath not made satisfaction for my sins. As this is a naughty argument, so is the other.
Now go to, reader, and according to the order of Paul’s writing, even so do thou. First, behold thyself diligently in the law of God, and see there thy just damnation. Secondly, turn thine eyes to Christ, and see there the exceeding mercy of thy most kind and loving Father. Thirdly, remember that Christ made not this atonement that thou shouldest anger God again; neither died he for thy sins, that thou shouldest live still in them; neither cleansed he thee, that thou shouldest return, as a swine, unto thine old puddle again; but that thou shouldest be a new creature, and live a new life after the will of God, and not of the flesh.
“A Prologue upon the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans” Works, 1:509–510.
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