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Gems from John Davenant (1576 – 1641)

Category Articles
Date February 22, 2011

An extract from Words Old and New: Gems from the Christian Authorship of all Ages (pp. 137-139).1

1. In justification we are liberated from the chains of our sins, so far as they bound us for condemnation, yea, even so far as they held us under the dominion of Satan; and this suffices for its being truly said that the chains of our sins are broken asunder by the grace of God; for the remains thereof, abiding in us, have not the nature of a chain, but are themselves enchained by the grace now predominant over them, and treading them, as it were, under foot.

2. As original righteousness comprehended the spiritual light of the mind, so original sin implies the densest mental darkness.

3. We acknowledge that God infuses a righteousness, in the very act of justifying; but we deny that the sentence of God, in justifying, has respect to this as the cause by which man is constituted justified.

4. The perfect obedience of Christ, the Mediator, is the formal cause of our justification.

5. The justification of believers does not rest on this, that they have in themselves a quality of new righteousness, which they would venture to subject to a legal examination of the strict judgment of God; but that, by and through the merits of the Redeemer, in whom they believe, they are not to undergo such judgments, but are dealt with as if they had in themselves exact legal righteousness.

6. The obedience of Christ, whereby He fulfilled the law, is so imputed to His mystical members, that, in consideration of it, they stand guiltless before God, justified and accepted to everlasting life

7. God, by His decree, transferred the fulfilling of the law to Christ, the God-man, and willed that that obedience and righteousness which Christ performed, in our flesh, should become ours by imputation. The Apostle most clearly teaches that Christ was made subject to the law, not for Himself, but for us; whence it will follow, that the fruit of His obedience redounds to us; which is the same as that the righteousness of Christ, or His perfect fulfilling of the law, is imputed to us.

8. Christ not only made satisfaction for us by undergoing the penalty of the cross, but also by taking upon Himself the burden of the law.

9. The blood of Christ washes and reconciles to God, not the righteous and those who are fulfilling the law, but sinners and the transgressors of the law.

10. How will he obtain peace by faith, who is uncertain whether he possesses faith or not? Faith resembles a great light, which makes itself visible as well as other things.

11. The Romanists admit that there is an assurance of hope, of the remission of sins, &c., but assent not to there being an assurance of faith. It is vain to make a distinction between the assurance of hope and the assurance of faith, seing the hope of salvation cannot fluctuate in the justified man, unless his faith in Christ fluctuates at the same time; nor can faith remain assured, except where hope maintains the same certainty.

12. Such is the efficacy of the promises of the Gospel, that, as soon as anyone receives them by a living faith, and applies them to himself, he straightway derives from thence firm and solid consolation. But how can the promise of the forgiveness of sins yield to the believer solid comfort, while he remains uncertain whether he has faith or not? . . . Faith wrought by the Spirit apprehends the forgiveness of sins, and the paternal love of God towards us. This faith, in laying hold of the free love of God towards us, does not make men reckless and easy; but the want of this assurance is the cause why men wallow in earthly lusts. ‘Men do not’ (says Bernard) ‘repay the love of God with a return of love, unless as the Spirit reveals to them, through faith, the eternal purpose of God respecting their future salvation.’

Notes

    • Words Old And New

      Gems From the Christian Authorship of All Ages

      by Horatius Bonar


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      An extract from Words Old and New: Gems from the Christian Authorship of all Ages (pp. 137-139).1 1. In justification we are liberated from the chains of our sins, so far as they bound us for condemnation, yea, even so far as they held us under the dominion of Satan; and this suffices for its […]

The Trust publishes John Davenant’s commentary on Colossians, in the Geneva series. This includes a biography of the author by Josiah Allport, the editor.

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