Doctrine of Justification by Faith

Author: John Owen

Doctrine of Justification by Faith

Owen, John, 1616-1683

through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ;
explained, confirmed, and vindicated

by John Owen


General Considerations,

previous unto the Explanation of

the Doctrine of


First,The general nature of justification.

—State of the person to be justified antecedently thereunto, Romans 4:5; 3:19; 1:32; Galatians 3:10; John 3:18, 36; Galatians 3:22

—The sole inquiry on that state

—Whether it be any thing that is our own inherently, or what is only imputed unto us, that we are to trust unto for our acceptance with God

—The sum of this inquiry

—The proper ends of teaching and learning the doctrine of justification

—Things to be avoided therein

Secondly,A due consideration of God, the Judge of all, necessary unto the right stating and apprehension of the doctrine of justification, Romans 8:33; Isaiah 43:25; 45:25; Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:20.

—What thoughts will be ingenerated hereby in the minds of men, Isaiah 33:14; Micah 6:6, 7; Isaiah 6:5

—The plea of Job against his friends, and before God, not the same, Job 40:3-5, 43:406

—Directions for visiting the sick given of old

—Testimonies of Jerome and Ambrose

—Sense of men in their prayers, Daniel 9:7, 18; Psalm 143:2, 130:3, 4

—Paraphrase of Austin on that place

—Prayer of Pelagius

—Public liturgies

Thirdly,A due sense of our apostasy from God, the depravation of our nature thereby, with the power and guilt of sin, the holiness of the law, necessary unto a right understanding of the doctrine of justification.

—Method of the apostle to this purpose, Romans 1, 2, 3

—Grounds of the ancient and present Pelagianism, in the denial of these things

—Instances thereof

—Boasting of perfection from the same ground

—Knowledge of sin and grace mutually promote each other

Fourthly, Opposition between works and grace, as unto justification.

—Method of the apostle, in the Epistle to the Romans, to manifest this opposition

—A scheme of others contrary thereunto

—Testimonies witnessing this opposition

—Judgment to be made on them

—Distinctions whereby they are evaded

—The uselessness of them

—Resolution of the case in hand by Bellarmine, Daniel 9:18; Luke 17:10

Fifthly,A commutation as unto sin and righteousness, by imputation, between Christ and believers, represented in the Scripture.

—The ordinance of the scapegoat, Leviticus 16:21, 22

—The nature of expiatory sacrifices, Leviticus 4:29 etc.

—Expiation of an uncertain murder, Deuteronomy 21:1-9

—The commutation intended proved and vindicated, Isaiah 53:5, 6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:3, 4; Galatians 3:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:24; Deuteronomy 21:23

—Testimonies of Justin Martyr, Gregory Nyseen, Augustine, Chrysostom, Bernard, Taulerus, Pighius, to that purpose

—The proper actings of faith with respect thereunto, Romans 5:11; Matthew 11:28; Psalm 38:4; Genesis 4:13; Isaiah 53:11; Galatians 3:1; Isaiah 45:22; John 3:14, 15

—A bold calumny answered

Sixthly,Introduction of grace by Jesus Christ into the whole of our relation unto God, and its respect unto all the parts of our obedience.

—No mystery of grace in the covenant of works

—All religion originally commensurate unto reason

—No notions of natural light concerning the introduction of the mediation of Christ and mystery of grace, into our relation to God, Ephesians 1:17-19

—Reason, as corrupted, can have no notions of religion but what are derived from its primitive state

—Hence the mysteries of the gospel esteemed folly

—Reason, as corrupted, repugnant unto the mystery of grace

—Accommodation of spiritual mysteries unto corrupt reason, wherefore acceptable unto many

—Reasons of it

—Two parts of corrupted nature’s repugnancy unto the mystery of the gospel:

—1. That which would reduce it unto the private reason of men

—Thence the Trinity denied, and the incarnation of the Son of God; without which the doctrine of justification cannot stand

—Rule of the Socinians in the interpretation of the Scripture

—2. Want of a due comprehension of the harmony that is between all the parts of the mystery of grace

—This harmony proved

—Compared with the harmony in the works of nature

—To be studied

—But it is learned only of them who are taught of God; and in experience

—Evil effects of the want of a due comprehension hereof

—Instances of them

—All applied unto the doctrine of justification

Seventhly,General prejudices against the imputation of the righteousness of Christ:

—1. That it is not in terms found in the Scripture, answered

—2. That nothing is said of it in the writings of the evangelists, answered, John 20:30, 31

—Nature of Christ’s personal ministry

—Revelations by the Holy Spirit immediately from Christ

—Design of the writings of the evangelists

—3. Differences among Protestants themselves about this doctrine, answered

—Sense of the ancients herein

—What is of real difference among Protestants, considered

Eighthly, Influence of the doctrine of justification into the first Reformation.

—Advantages unto the world by that Reformation

—State of the consciences of men under the Papacy, with respect unto justification before God

—Alterations made therein by the light of this doctrine, though not received

—Alterations in the Pagan unbelieving world by the introduction of Christianity

—Design and success of the first reformers herein

—Attempts for reconciliation with the Papists in this doctrine, and their success

—Remainders of the ignorance of the truth in the Roman church

—Unavoidable consequences of the corruption of this doctrine

I.Justifying faith; the causes and object of it declared.

Justification by faith generally acknowledged

—The meaning of it perverted

—The nature and use of faith in justification proposed to consideration

—Distinctions about it waived

—A twofold faith of the gospel expressed in the Scripture

—Faith that is not justifying, Acts 8:13; John 2:23, 24; Luke 8:13; Matthew 7:22, 23

—Historical faith; whence it is so called, and the nature of it

—Degrees of assent in it

—Justification not ascribed unto any degree of it

—A calumny obviated

—The causes of true saving faith

—Conviction of sin previous unto it

—The nature of legal conviction, and its effects

—Arguments to prove it antecedent unto faith

—Without the consideration of it, the true nature of faith not to be understood —The order and relation of the law and gospel, Romans 1:17

—Instance of Adam

—Effects of conviction

—Internal: Displicency and sorrow; fear of punishment; desire of deliverance

—External: Abstinence from sin; performance of duties; reformation of life

—Not conditions of justification; not formal disposition unto it; not moral preparations for it

—The order of God in justification

—The proper object of justifying faith

—Not all divine verity equally; proved by sundry arguments

—The pardon of our own sins, whether the first object of faith

—The Lord Christ in the work of mediation, as the ordinance of God for the recovery of lost sinners, the proper object of justifying faith

—The position explained and proved, Acts 10:43; 16:31; 4:12; Luke 24:25-27; John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 6:29, 47; 7:38; Acts 26:18; Colossians 2:6; Romans 3:24, 25; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 1:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 5:19

II.The nature of justifying faith.

The nature of justifying faith in particular, or of faith in the exercise of it, whereby we are justified

—The heart’s approbation of the way of the justification and salvation of sinners by Christ, with its acquiescency therein

—The description given, explained and confirmed:

—1. From the nature of the gospel

—Exemplified in its contrary, or the nature of unbelief, Proverbs 1:30; Hebrews 2:3; 1 Peter 2:7; 1 Corinthians 1:23, 24; 2 Corinthians 4:3

—What it is, and wherein it does consist. —2. The design of God in and by the gospel

—His own glory his utmost end in all things

—The glory of his righteousness, grace, love, wisdom, etc.

—The end of God in the way of the salvation of sinners by Christ, Romans 3:25; John 3:16; 1 John 3:16; Ephesians 1:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 1:24; Ephesians 3:10; Romans 1:16; 4:16; Ephesians 3:9; 2 Corinthians 4:6

—3. The nature of faith thence declared

—Faith alone ascribes and gives this glory to God.

—4. Order of the acts of faith, or the method in believing

—Convictions previous thereunto

—Sincere assent unto all divine revelations, Acts 26:27

—The proposal of the gospel unto that end, Romans 10:11-17; 2 Corinthians 3:18 etc.

—State of persons called to believe

—Justifying faith does not consist in any one single habit or act of the mind or will

—The nature of that about which is the first act of faith

—Approbation of the way of salvation by Christ, comprehensive of the special nature of justifying faith

—What is included there in:

—1. A renunciation of all other ways, Hosea 14:2, 3; Jeremiah 3:23; Psalm 71:16; Romans 10:3.

—2. Consent of the will unto this way, John 14:6

—3. Acquiescency of the heart in God, 1 Peter 1:21.

—4. Trust in God.

—5. Faith described by trust

—The reason of it

—Nature and object of this trust inquired into

—A double consideration of special mercy

—Whether obedience be included in the nature of faith, or be of the essence of it

—A sincere purpose of universal obedience inseparable from faith

—How faith alone justifies

—Repentance, how required in and unto justification

—How a condition of the new covenant

—Perseverance in obedience is so also

—Definitions of faith

III.The use of faith in justification; its especial object farther cleared.

Use of faith in justification; various conceptions about it

—By whom asserted as the instrument of it; by whom denied

—In what sense it is affirmed so to be

—The expressions of the Scripture concerning the use of faith in justification; what they are, and how they are best explained by an instrumental cause

—Faith, how the instrument of God in justification

—How the instrument of them that do believe

—The use of faith expressed in the Scripture by apprehending, receiving; declared by an instrument

—Faith, in what sense the condition of our justification

—Signification of that term, whence to be learned

IV.Of justification; the notion and signification of the Word in Scripture.

The proper sense of these words, justification, and to justify, considered

—Necessity thereof

—Latin derivation of justification

—Some of the ancients deceived by it

—From "jus", and "justum"; "justus filius", who

—The Hebrew "hitsdik"

—Use and signification of it

—Places where it is used examined, 2 Samuel 15:4; Deuteronomy 25:1; Proverbs 17:15; Isaiah 5:23; 50:8, 9; 1 Kings 8:31, 32; 2 Chronicles 6:22, 23; Psalm 82:3; Exodus 23:7; Job 27:5; Isaiah 53:11; Genesis 44:16; Daniel 12:3

—The constant sense of the word evinced

—"Diakaio-oo", use of it in other authors, to punish

—What it is in the New Testament, Matthew 11:19; 12:37; Luke 7:29; 10:29; 16:15; 18:14; Acts 13:38, 39; Romans 2:13; 3:4

—Constantly used in a forensic sense

—Places seeming dubious, vindicated, Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-7; Revelation 22:11

—How often these words, "diakaio-oo" and "dikaioumai", are used in the New Testament

—Constant sense of this

—The same evinced from what is opposed unto it, Isaiah 1:8, 9; Proverbs 17:15; Romans 5:116, 18; 8:33, 34

—And the declaration of it in terms equivalent, Romans 4:6, 11; 5:9, 10; 2 Corinthians 5:20, 21; Matthew 1:21; Acts 13:39; Galatians 2:16 etc.

—Justification in the Scripture, proposed under a juridical scheme, and of a forensic title

—The parts and progress of it

—Inferences from the whole

Distinction of a first and second justification

—The whole doctrine of the Roman church concerning justification grounded on this distinction

—The first justification, the nature and causes of it, according unto the Romanists

—The second justification, what it is in their sense

—Solution of the seeming difference between Paul and James, falsely pretended by this distinction

—The same distinction received by the Socinians and others

—The latter termed by some the continuation of our justification

—The distinction disproved

—Justification considered, either as unto its essence or its manifestation

—The manifestation of it twofold, initial and final

—Initial is either unto ourselves or others

—No second justification hence ensues

—Justification before God, legal and evangelical

—Their distinct natures

—The distinction mentioned derogatory to the merit of Christ

—More in it ascribed unto ourselves than unto the blood of Christ, in our justification

—The vanity of disputations to this purpose

—All true justification overthrown by this distinction

—No countenance given unto this justification in the Scripture

—The second justification not intended by the apostle James

—Evil of arbitrary distinctions

—Our first justification so described in the Scripture as to leave no room for a second

—Of the continuation of our justification; whether it depend on faith alone, or our personal righteousness, inquired

—Justification at once completed, in all the causes and effects of it, proved at large

—Believers, upon their justification, obliged unto perfect obedience

—The commanding power of the law constitutes the nature of sin in them who are not obnoxious unto its curse

—Future sins, in what sense remitted at our first justification

—The continuation of actual pardon, and thereby of a justified estate; on what it does depend

—Continuation of justifications the act of God; whereon it depends in that sense

—On our part, it depends on faith alone

—Nothing required hereunto but the application of righteousness imputed

—The continuation of our justification is before God

—That whereon the continuation of our justification depends, pleadable before God

—This not our personal obedience, proved:

—1. By the experience of all believers

—2. Testimonies of Scripture

—3. Examples

—The distinction mentioned rejected

VI.Evangelical personal righteousness, the nature and use of it.

—Final judgment, and its respect unto justification

Evangelical personal righteousness; the nature and use of it

—Whether there be an angelical justification on our evangelical righteousness, inquired into

—How this is by some affirmed and applauded

—Evangelical personal righteousness asserted as the condition of our righteousness, or the pardon of sin

—Opinion of the Socinians

—Personal righteousness required in the gospel

—Believers hence denominated righteous

—Not with respect unto righteousness habitual, but actual only

—Inherent righteousness the same with sanctification, or holiness

—In what sense we may be said to be justified by inherent righteousness

—No evangelical justification on our personal righteousness

—The imputation of the righteousness of Christ does not depend thereon

—None have this righteousness, but they are antecedently justified

—A charge before God, in all justification before God

—The instrument of this charge, the law or the gospel

—From neither of them can we be justified by this personal righteousness

—The justification pretended needless and useless

—It has not the nature of any justification mentioned in the Scripture, but is contrary to all that is so called

—Other arguments to the same purpose

—Sentential justification at the last day

—Nature of the last judgment

—Who shall be then justified

—A declaration of righteousness, and an actual admission into glory, the whole of justification at the last day

—The argument that we are justified in this life in the same manner, and on the same grounds, as we shall be judged at the last day, that judgment being according unto works, answered; and the impertinency of it declared

VII.Imputation, and the nature of it; with the imputation of the righteousness of Christ in particular.

Imputation, and the nature of it

—The first express record of justification determines it to be by imputation, Genesis 15:6

—Reasons of it

—The doctrine of imputation cleared by Paul; the occasion of it

—Maligned and opposed by many

—Weight of the doctrine concerning imputation of righteousness, on all hands acknowledged

—Judgment of the Reformed churches herein, particularly of the church of England

—By whom opposed, and on what grounds

—Signification of the word

—Difference between "reputare" and "imputare"

—Imputation of two kinds:

—1. Of what was ours antecedently unto that imputation, whether good or evil

—Instances in both kinds

—Nature of this imputation

—The thing imputed by it, imputed for what it is, and nothing else.

—2. Of what is not ours antecedently unto that imputation, but is made so by it

—General nature of this imputation

—Not judging of others to have done what they have not done

—Several distinct grounds and reasons of this imputation:

—1. "Ex justitia";

—(1.) "Propter relationem foederalem;"

—(2.) "Propter relationem naturalem;"

—2. "Ex voluntaria sponsione"

—Instances, Philemon on 18; Genesis 43:9

—Voluntary sponsion, the ground of the imputation of sin to Christ.

—3. "Ex injuria", 1 Kings 1:21.

—4. "Ex mera gratia," Romans 4

—Difference between the imputation of any works of ours, and of the righteousness of God

—Imputation of inherent righteousness is "ex justitia"

—Inconsistency of it with that which is "ex mera gratia," Romans 4

—Agreement of both kinds of imputation

—The true nature of the imputation of righteousness unto justification explained

—Imputation of the righteousness of Christ —The thing itself imputed, not the effect of it; proved against the Socinians

VIII.Imputation of the sins of the church unto Christ.

—Grounds of it

—The nature of his suretiship

—Causes of the new covenant

—Christ and the church one mystical person

—Consequents thereof

Imputation of sin unto Christ

—Testimonies of the ancients unto that purpose

—Christ and the church one mystical person

—Mistakes about that state and relation

—Grounds and reasons of the union that is the foundation of this imputation

—Christ the surety of the new covenant; in what sense, unto what ends

—Hebrews 7:22 opened

—Mistakes about the causes and ends of the death of Christ

—The new covenant, in what sense alone procured and purchased thereby

—Inquiry whether the guilt of our sins was imputed unto Christ

—The meaning of the words, "guilt," and "guilty"

—The distinction of "reatus culpae", and "reatus poenae", examined

—Act of God in the imputation of the guilt of our sins unto Christ

—Objections against it answered

—The truth confirmed

IX.The formal cause of justification, or the righteousness on the account whereof believers are justified before God.

—Objections answered

Principal controversies about justification:

—1. Concerning the nature of justification, stated

—2. Of the formal cause of it

—3. Of the way whereby we are made partakers of the benefits of the mediation of Christ

—What intended by the formal cause of justification, declared

—The righteousness on the account whereof believers are justified before God alone, inquired after under these terms

—This the righteousness of Christ, imputed unto them

—Occasions of exceptions and objections against this doctrine

—General objections examined

—Imputation of the righteousness of Christ consistent with the free pardon of sin, and with the necessity of evangelical repentance

—Method of God’s grace in our justification

—Necessity of faith unto justification, on supposition of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

—Grounds of that necessity

—Other objections, arising mostly from mistakes of the truth, asserted, discussed, and answered

X.Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. The first argument from the nature and use of our own personal righteousness.

Arguments for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

—Our own personal righteousness not that on the account whereof we are justified in the sight of God

—Disclaimed in the Scriptures, as to any such end

—The truth and reality of it granted

—Manifold imperfection accompanying it, rendering it unmeet to be a righteousness unto the justification of life

XIV. The exclusion of all sorts of works from an interest in justification.

What is intended by "the law," and the "works" of it, in the epistles of Paul

—All works whatever are expressly excluded from any interest in our justification before God

—What intended by the works of the law

—Not those of the ceremonial law only

—Not perfect works only, as required by the law of our creation

—Not the outward works of the law, performed without a principle of faith

—Not works of the Jewish law

—Not works with a conceit of merit

—Not works only wrought before believing, in the strength of our own wills

—Works excluded absolutely from our justification, without respect unto a distinction of a first and second justification

—The true sense of the law in the apostolical assertion that none are justified by the works thereof

—What the Jews understood by the law

—Distribution of the law under the Old Testament

—The whole law a perfect rule of all inherent moral or spiritual obedience

—What are the works of the law, declared from the Scripture, and the argument thereby confirmed

—The nature of justifying faith farther declared

XV.Faith alone.

Of faith alone

XVI.The truth pleaded farther confirmed by testimonies of Scripture.

—Jeremiah 23:6

Testimonies of Scripture confirming the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

—Jeremiah 23:6 explained and indicated

XVII. Testimonies out of the evangelists considered.

Testimonies out of the evangelists considered

—Design of our Savior’s sermon on the mount

—The purity and penalty of the law vindicated by him

—Arguments from thence

—Luke 18:9-14 the parable of the Pharisee and publican explained and applied to the present argument

—Testimonies out of the gospel by John, chap. 1:12; 3:14-18etc.

XVIII.The nature of justification as declared in the epistles of St. Paul, in that unto the Romans especially.

—Chap. 3 (4, 5, 10; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:8, 9.)

Testimonies out of the Epistles of Paul the apostle

—His design in the fifth chapter to the Romans

—That design explained at large, and applied to the present argument

—Chap. 3:24-26 explained, and the true sense of the words vindicated

—The causes of justification enumerated

—Apostolical inference from the consideration of them

—Chap. 4, design of the disputation of the apostle therein Analysis of his discourse

—Verses 4, 5, particularly insisted on; their true sense vindicated

—What works excluded from the justification of Abraham

—Who it is that works not

—In what sense the ungodly are justified

—All men ungodly antecedently unto their justification

—Faith alone the means of justification on our part

—Faith itself, absolutely considered, not the righteousness that is imputed unto us

—Proved by sundry arguments

Romans 5:12-21

—Boasting excluded in ourselves, asserted in God

—The design and sum of the apostle’s argument

—Objection of Socinus removed

—Comparison between the two Adams, and those that derive from them

—Sin entered into the world

—What sin intended

—Death, what it comprises, what intended by it

—The sense of these words, "inasmuch," or, "in whom all have sinned," cleared and vindicated

—The various oppositions used by the apostle in this discourse: principally between sin or the fall, and the free gift; between the disobedience of the one, and the obedience of another; judgment on the one hand, and justification unto life on the other

—The whole context at large explained, and the argument for justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, fully confirmed

Romans 10:3, 4 explained and insisted on to the same purpose

1 Corinthians 1:30

—Christ, how of God made righteousness unto us

—Answer of Bellarmine unto this testimony removed

—That of Socinus disproved

—True sense of the words evinced

2 Corinthians 5:21

—In what sense Christ knew no sin

—Emphasis in that expression

—How he was made sin for us

—By the imputation of sin unto him

—Mistakes of some about this expression

—Sense of the ancients

—Exception of Bellarmine unto this testimony answered, with other reasonings of his to the same purpose

—The exceptions of others also removed

Galatians 2:16

Ephesians 2:8-10

—Evidence of this testimony

—Design of the apostle from the beginning of the chapter

—Method of the apostle in the declaration of the grace of God

—Grace alone the cause of deliverance from a state of sin

—Things to be observed in the assignation of the causes of spiritual deliverances

—Grace, how magnified by him

—Force of the argument and evidence from thence

—State of the case here proposed by the apostle

—General determination of it, "By grace are ye saved"

—What is it to be saved, inquired into

—The same as to be justified, but not exclusively

—The causes of our justification declared positively and negatively

—The whole secured unto the grace of God by Christ, and our interest therein through faith alone

—Works excluded

—What works?

—Not works of the law of Moses

—Not works antecedent unto believing

—Works of true believers

—Not only in opposition to the grace of God, but to faith in us

—Argument from those words

—Reason whereon this exclusion of works is founded

—To exclude boasting on our part

—Boasting, wherein it consists

—Inseparable from the interest of works in justification

—Danger of it

—Confirmation of this reason, obviating an objection

—The objection stated

—If we be not justified by works, of what use are they? answered

Philippians 3:8, 9

—Heads of argument from this testimony

—Design of the context

—Righteousness the foundation of acceptance with God

—A twofold righteousness considered by the apostle

—Opposite unto one another, as unto the especial and inquired after

—Which of these he adhered unto, his own righteousness, or the righteousness of God; declared by the apostle with vehemency of speech

—Reasons of his earnestness herein

—The turning point whereon he left Judaism

—The opposition made unto this doctrine by the Jews

—The weight of the doctrine, and unwillingness of men to receive it

—His own sense of sin and grace

—Peculiar expressions used in this place, for the reasons mentioned, concerning Christ; concerning all things that are our own

—The choice to be made on the case stated, whether we will adhere unto our own righteousness, or that of Christ’s, which are inconsistent as to the end of justification

—Argument from this place

—Exceptions unto this testimony, and argument from thence, removed

—Our personal righteousness inherent, the same with respect unto the law and gospel

—External righteousness only required by the law, an impious imagination

—Works wrought before faith only rejected

—The exception removed

—Righteousness before conversion, not intended by the apostle

XIX.Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

—Personal holiness and obedience not obstructed, but furthered by it

—Objections against the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ

—Nature of these objections

—Difficulty in discerning aright the sense of some men in this argument

—Justification by works, the end of all declension from the righteousness of Christ

—Objections against this doctrine derived from a supposition thereof alone

—First principal objection: Imputed righteousness overthrows the necessity of a holy life

—This objection, as managed by them of the church of Rome, an open calumny

—How insisted on by some among ourselves

—Socinus’ fierceness in this charge

—His foul dishonesty therein

—False charges on men’s opinions making way for the rash condemnation of their persons

—Iniquity of such censures

—The objection rightly stated

—Sufficiently answered in the previous discourses about the nature of faith, and force of the moral law

—The nature and necessity of evangelical holiness elsewhere pleaded

—Particular answers unto this objection

—All who profess this doctrine do not exemplify it in their lives

—The most holy truths have been abused —None by whom this doctrine is now denied exceeds them in holiness by whom it is formerly professed, and the power of it attested

—The contrary doctrine not successful in the reformation of the lives of men

—The best way to determine this difference

—The one objection managed against the doctrine of the apostle in his own days

—Efficacious prejudices against this doctrine in the minds of men

—The whole doctrine of the apostle liable to be abused

—Answer of the apostle unto this objection

—He never once attempts to answer it by declaring the necessity of personal righteousness, or good works, unto justification before God

—He confines the cogency of evangelical motives unto obedience only unto believers

—Grounds of evangelical holiness asserted by him, in compliance with his doctrine of justification:

—1 Divine ordination

—Exceptions unto this ground removed

—2. Answer of the apostle vindicated

—The obligation of the law unto obedience

—Nature of it, and consistency with grace

—This answer of the apostle vindicated

—Heads of other principles that might be pleaded to the same purpose

XX.The doctrine of the apostle James concerning faith and works

—Its agreement with that of St. Paul

—Seeming difference, no real contradiction, between the apostles Paul and James, concerning justification

—This granted by all

—Reasons of the seeming difference

—The best rule of the interpretation of places of Scripture wherein there is an appearing repugnancy

—The doctrine of justification according unto that rule principally to be learned from the writings of Paul

—The reasons of his fullness and accuracy in the teaching of that doctrine

—The importance of the truth; the opposition made unto it, and abuse of it

—The design of the apostle James

—Exceptions of some against the writings of St. Paul, scandalous and unreasonable

—Not, in this matter, to be interpreted by the passage in James insisted on, chap. 2.

—That there is no repugnancy between the doctrine of the two apostles demonstrated

—Heads and grounds of the demonstration

—Their scope, design, and end, not the same

—That of Paul; the only case stated and determined by him

—The design of the apostle James; the case proposed by him quite of another nature

—The occasion of the case proposed and stated by him

—No appearance of difference between the apostles, because of the several cases they speak unto

—Not the same faith intended by them

—Description of the faith spoken of by the one, and the other

—Bellarmine’s arguments to prove true justifying faith to be intended by James, answered

—Justification not treated of by the apostles in the same manner, nor used in the same sense, nor to the same end

—The one treats of justification, as unto its nature and causes; the other, as unto its signs and evidence

—Proved by the instances insisted on

—How the Scripture was fulfilled, that Abraham believed in God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness, when he offered his son on the altar

—Works the same, and of the same kind, in both the apostles

—Observations on the discourse of James

—No conjunction made by him between faith nor works in our justification, but an opposition

—No distinction of a first and second justification in him

—Justification ascribed by him wholly unto works

—In what sense

—Does not determine how a sinner may be justified before God; but how a professor may evidence himself so to be

—The context opened from verse 14, to the end of the chapter


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Chicago: John Owen, "Doctrine of Justification by Faith," Doctrine of Justification by Faith, ed. William H. Goold in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ Explained, Confirmed, & Vindicated, Works, Vol. 5 Original Sources, accessed May 25, 2024,

MLA: Owen, John. "Doctrine of Justification by Faith." Doctrine of Justification by Faith, edited by William H. Goold, in The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ Explained, Confirmed, & Vindicated, Works, Vol. 5, Original Sources. 25 May. 2024.

Harvard: Owen, J, 'Doctrine of Justification by Faith' in Doctrine of Justification by Faith, ed. . cited in 1850-55, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith Through the Imputation of the Righteousness of Christ Explained, Confirmed, & Vindicated, Works, Vol. 5. Original Sources, retrieved 25 May 2024, from