Page:Anastasis A Treatise on the Judgment of the Dead.pdf/26

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theory more congenial to the thinking of the flesh, that "the righteous are not brought to judgment." Their argument is this: "We have," say they, "no righteousness of our own. Jesus Christ is our righteousness. He covers us. And the Deity beholding his righteousness, does not see our filthy rags. If we confess our sins, He is not only just to forgive us, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Here is truth misapplied, and which therefore nullifies it. The phrase "filthy rags," is nowhere used in Scripture as descriptive of "the righteousness of the righteous" (Ezek. xviii. 19–30). It is only used once; and then it is expressive of the "righteousness" of unpardoned, but repentant Israel (Isai. lxiv. 6). Hence, therefore, it is only correctly applied, not to the work of faith and labour of love, or good works of the righteous, but to the righteousness of unpardoned sinners. If a saint has no righteousness of his own, Jesus Christ will refuse to be righteousness for him at the judgment. He covers naked sinners, that, as saints, they may develop works; that by these works which perfect faith, they may be justified, as Abraham was (James ii. 21–26). Zealots in their frenzy do not perceive the difference between the justification of sinners and the justification of saints. Sinners are "justified by faith" in the obedience of faith,which is baptism; while saints are "justified by works" in the presence of the Righteous Judge "at his appearing and his kingdom." Hence, these theorists, who have "a zeal of God but not according to knowledge," in their argument condemn themselves. They declare that they have "no righteousness of their own." I fear this is the fact; and that their garments are as filthy as they say. If their theory brought such ragged pretenders to judgment, what would become of them in view of the man cast into outer darkness because of the filthiness of his garment? (Matt. xxii. 12–13). Truly, as they say, if they were required to appear in "raiment clean and white, which is the righteousness of the saints" (Rev. xix. 8), the lunacy of despair awaits them. But they are saved from this at present by self-deception. They seize hold of a great truth and misapply it, and from the mis-application, they extract comfort. "If any one sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one." This is said by John to those whom he styles his "little children." To such he also saith, "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." This is a great truth; but it is available only on certain conditions. The apostle shows, that mere confession is not enough. If the confessor walk in darkness, the confession is denounced as a lie; for "the Deity is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth; but, if we walk in the light, as