Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ…
I. THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION.
1. Guard here against two errors:(1) That of those who conceive of justification as originating with the creature instead of the Creator;
(2) That Of those who exclude man, not only from meritorious acting, but from all concern in the reception of the boon.
2. That we may attach distinct ideas to the word, "justification," it is necessary for us to consider it in reference to the attributes and revealed will of the Divine Lawgiver.
3. Justification is vouchsafed to rebellious men on precisely the same ground as if they had continued steadfast and immoveable in their allegiance.
4. Justification includes pardon of sin, whether original or actual, and acceptance as righteous. Both are due to the voluntary substitution of the Son of God in our nature, who, by active obedience, fulfilled the law to the uttermost; and by penal suffering redeemed us from its curse.
II. THE NATURE OF THE FAITH BY WHICH WE ARE JUSTIFIED.
1. Its Divine origin. Like every other good gift, it comes from above; is implanted in the soul by the Holy Spirit, without whose omnipotent agency mankind are never withdrawn from a vain confidence in human deservings.
2. Its appropriating character. In the experience of the true believer, faith must attach itself to Christ as a Redeemer sufficient not only for other sinners, but all-sufficient for him; it must lay hold on His doings and sufferings, as supplying him with a sure ground of confidence.
3. The faith which is connected with justification is inseparably conjoined with all other Christian graces. Grievous mistakes have proceeded in consequence of men putting asunder things which God has joined together in the bonds of sacred union. Thus, faith has been often viewed as a simple act of the understanding conversant with certain doctrines, whilst its relation to the affections of the heart and the virtues of character has been greatly overlooked.
III. THE EVIDENCES WHICH SCRIPTURE FURNISHES OF A JUSTIFIED CONDITION.
1. Indications of which we are personally conscious (Acts 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:5, 19; 1 Peter 3:16, etc.).
2. External manifestations which our temper, converse, and ordinary transactions supply (Philippians 4:8).
(John Smyth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
WEB: yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law, because no flesh will be justified by the works of the law.