Witsius on Double Justification

Continuing with my series on future justification(s) in Reformed Orthodoxy, I would like to quote a lengthy passage from Herman Witsius. It needs to be reiterated, however, that in this discussion on inherent righteousness, Witsius is not opposing imputed righteousness. Like all of the Reformed doctors that I’ve written about, he affirmed the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. This concept of inherent righteousness and indeed, the justification that comes from it, is in addition to the justification based on imputed righteousness. Witsius sees himself standing in the tradition of Calvin, Bucer, and others, and indeed, we have seen similar language from Pictet and Diodati. We will also see it in Baxter and Polhill.

Here is Witsius:

XXI. Thus much for the declaration of God concerning the actions of men. On the other hand, his declaration as to their state is of several kinds. For either God considers them as they are in themselves, according to inherent qualities, either vicious through corrupt nature, or holy and laudable through reforming grace; or as they are reputed in Christ the surety.

XXII. God can neither consider nor declare men to be otherwise than as they really are. For “his judgment is according to truth,” Rom. ii. 2. and therefore they, who are still under the dominion of sin, and walk with delight, according to their depraved lusts, are judged and declared by God to be unregenerate, wicked, and slaves of the devil, as they really are; for, “by no means does he clear the guilty,” Exod. xxxiv. 7 but they who are regenerated by his grace, created anew after his image, and heartily give themselves up to the practice of sincere holiness, are by him absolved from the sin of profaneness, impiety, and hypocrisy, and are no longer looked upon as dead in sins, slaves to the devil, children of the world; but as true believers, his own children, restored to his image, and endowed with his life. It was thus he justified his servant Job, declaring, “that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man one that feareth God and escheweth evil,” Job i.8. Continue reading

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