(Immediately Before Our Justification, God Sees Us Only As Ungodly)
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Romans iv. 5 The following things may be noted in this verse:...That justification respects a man as ungodly. This is evident by these words,—that justifieth the ungodly; which cannot imply less, than that God, in the act of justification, has no regard to any thing in the person justified, as godliness, or any goodness in him; but that immediately before this act, God beholds him only as an ungodly creature...
(The Two Sides Of Justification: Removal Of Guilt and Granting Of Righteousness)
A person is said to be justified, when he is approved of God as free from the guilt of sin and its deserved punishment, and as having that righteousness belonging to him that entitles to the reward of life. That we should take the word in such a sense, and understand it as the judge’s accepting a person as having both a negative and positive righteousness belonging to him, and looking on him therefore as not only free from any obligation to punishment, but also as just and righteous, and so entitled to a positive reward, is not only most agreeable to the etymology and natural import of the word, which signifies to pass one for righteousness in judgment, but also manifestly agreeable to the force of the word as used in Scripture.
(Christ, The Second Adam, Completed His Trials On Our Behalf. Therefore He Was Justified By Resurrection And Everlastingly Rewarded. By His Resurrection/Justification The Justification And Reward Of The Elect In Him Was Secured)
If Adam had finished his course of perfect obedience, he would have been justified: and certainly his justification would have implied something more than what is merely negative; he would have been approved of, as having fulfilled the righteousness of the law, and accordingly would have been adjudged to the reward of it. So Christ, our second surety, (in whose justification all whose surety he is, are virtually justified,) was not justified till he had done the work the Father had appointed him, and kept the Father’s commandments through all trials; and then in his resurrection he was justified. When he had been put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit, 1 Pet. iii. 18. then he that was manifest in the flesh was justified in the spirit, 1 Tim. iii. 16.; but God, when he justified him in raising him from the dead, did not only release him from his humiliation for sin, and acquit him from any further suffering or abasement for it, but admitted him to that eternal and immortal life, and to the beginning of that exaltation that was the reward of what he had done. And indeed the justification of a believer is no other than his being admitted to communion in the justification of this head and surety of all believers; for as Christ suffered the punishment of sin, not as a private person, but as our surety; so when after this suffering he was raised from the dead, he was therein justified, not as a private person, but as the surety and representative of all that should believe in him. So that he was raised again not only for his own, but also for our justification, according to the apostle, Rom. iv. 25. “Who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.” And therefore it is that the apostle says, as he does in Rom. viii. 34. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.”
(In Justification, God Does Not Regard A Person's Faith As A Work, As Goodness, But Only As That Which Connects Them To Christ Their Righteousness)
When it is said, that we are not justified by any righteousness or goodness of our own, what is meant is, that it is not out of respect to the excellency or goodness of any qualifications or acts in us whatsoever, that God judges it meet that this benefit of Christ should be ours; and it is not, in any wise, on account of any excellency or value that there is in faith, that it appears in the sight of God a meet thing, that he who believes should have this benefit of Christ assigned to him, but purely from the relation faith has to the person in whom this benefit is to be had, or as it unites to that mediator, in and by whom we are justified.
(The Supreme Judge Treats Us As Legally One With Christ Because We Are, In Fact, One With Him. Our Justification Is Not A Legal Fiction But A Legal Reality Due To Our Really Being Married To Christ)
Eph. i.6. “Who hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Our being in him is the ground or our being accepted. So it is in those unions to which the Holy Ghost has thought fit to compare this. The union of the members of the body with the head, is the ground of their partaking of the life of the head; it is the union of the branches to the stock, which is the ground of their partaking of the sap and life of the stock; it is the relation of the wife to the husband, that is the ground of her joint interest in his estate; they are looked upon, in several respects, as one in law. So there is a legal union between Christ and true Christians; so that (as all except Socinians allow) one, in some respects, is accepted for the other by the Supreme Judge.
(Edwards writes later in the sermon...) "What is real in the union between Christ and his people, is the foundation of what is legal; that is, it is something really in them, and between them, uniting them, that is the ground of the suitableness of their being accounted as one by the Judge."
(After God's One Way- Monergistic- Regeneration Of The One To Be Justified, The Person Is Able To Actively Unite Themselves To Christ By True Faith.)
As there is nobody but what will allow that there is a peculiar relation between Christ and his true disciples, by which they are in some sense in Scripture said to be one so I suppose there is nobody but what will allow, that there may be something that the true Christian does on his part, whereby he is active in coming into this relation or union; some uniting act, or that which is done towards this union or relation (or whatever any please to call it) on the Christian’s part. Now faith I suppose to be this act.
I do not now pretend to define justifying faith, or to determine precisely how much is contained in it, but only to determine thus much concerning it, viz. That it is that by which the soul, which before was separate and alienated from Christ, unites itself to him, or ceases to be any longer in that state of alienation, and comes into that forementioned union or relation to him; or to use the scripture phrase, it is that by which the soul comes to Christ, and receives him; and this is evident by the Scriptures using these very expressions to signify faith. John vi. 35-39. “He that cometh to me, shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me, shall never thirst..."
(Edwards later writes in this sermon...) The entire active uniting of the soul, or the whole of what is called coming to Christ, and receiving of him, is called faith in Scripture;
(Paul's Most Passionate Appeal To His Readers Is The Doctrine Of Justification By Faith Alone)
The apostle Paul is abundant in teaching, that “we are justified by faith alone, without the works of the law!” There is no one doctrine that he insists so much upon, and that he handles with so much distinctness, explaining, giving reasons, and answering objections.
(To Say That We Are Justified On Condition Of Continued Obedience Is To Say That We Are Not Yet Justified)
Some that oppose this doctrine indeed say, that the apostle sometimes means that it is by faith, i.e. a hearty embracing the gospel in its first act only, or without any preceding holy life, that persons are admitted into a justified state; but, say they, it is by a persevering obedience that they are continued in a justified state, and it is by this that they are finally justified. But this is the same thing as to say, that a man on his first embracing the gospel is conditionally justified and pardoned. To pardon sin, is to free the sinner from the punishment of it, or from that eternal misery that is due to it; and therefore if a person is pardoned, or freed from this misery, on his first embracing the gospel, and yet not finally freed, but his actual freedom still depends on some condition yet to be performed, it is inconceivable how he can be pardoned otherwise than conditionally; that is, he is not properly actually pardoned, and freed from punishment, but only he has God’s promise that he shall be pardoned on future conditions. God promises him, that now, if he perseveres in obedience, he shall be finally pardoned, or actually freed from hell; which is to make just nothing at all of the apostle’s great doctrine of justification by faith alone. Such a conditional pardon is no pardon or justification at all, any more than all mankind have, whether they embrace the gospel or no; for they all have a promise of final justification on conditions of future sincere obedience, as much as he that embraces the gospel.