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Boasting Excluded


What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?

—Matthew 22:42


What think you then, if I tell you, that you are to be justified freely through faith in Jesus Christ, without any regard to any work or fitness foreseen in us at all? For salvation is the free gift of God, I know no fitness in man but a fitness to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone forever. Our righteousnesses, in God’s sight, are but as filthy rags. He cannot away with them. Our holiness, if we have any, is not the cause but the effect of our justification in God’s sight. ‘We love God, because he first loved us.’

We must not come to God as the proud Pharisee did, bringing in as it were a reckoning of our services. We must come in the temper and language of the poor Publican, smiting upon our breasts and saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ For Jesus Christ justifies us whilst we are ungodly. He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The poor in spirit only, they who are willing to go out of themselves and rely wholly on the righteousness of another, are so blessed as to be members of his kingdom. The righteousness, the whole righteousness of Jesus Christ, is to be imputed to us, instead of our own, ‘for we are not under the law but under grace. And to as many as walk after this rule, peace be on them’ for they and they only are the true Israel of God. In the great work of man’s redemption, boasting is entirely excluded. Which could not be, if only one of our works was to be joined with the merits of Christ.

Our salvation is all of God, from the beginning to the end. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. Man has no hand in it. It is Christ who is to be made to us of God the Father, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and eternal redemption. His active as well as his passive obedience, is to be applied to poor sinners. He has fulfilled all righteousness in our stead, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. . . . And the very moment we do apprehend it by a lively faith, that very moment we may be assured, that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin. ‘For the promise is to us and to our children and to as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ . . . For the righteousness of Jesus Christ is an everlasting, as well as a perfect righteousness. It is as effectual to all who believe in him now, as formerly. And so it will be, till time shall be no more.

—George Whitefield, “What Think Ye of Christ?” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:409–410.

Posted 2019·01·23 by David Kjos
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Posted in: George Whitefield · Propitiation · The Sermons of George Whitefield

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