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Justifying Righteousness at the Hand of Christ
by Augustus Toplady

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:4)

The works of the law, and the righteousness of the law, are synonymous terms. By the former, we are expressly told, no flesh can be justified: nor consequently, by the latter, as performed by us. Why? Because every man is a fallen creature; and to the corruption of his nature, is hourly adding the accumulated iniquity of actual transgressions. Therefore, by such a partial, imperfect, and polluted conformity to the moral law, no person can possibly be accepted unto life. And yet, without justification, man must be lost forever. He must, therefore, either give up all hope of salvation, or seek for a justifying righteousness at the hand of Christ. Now Christ came for this very end, to fulfill all righteousness; not for himself, who was and is the source and center of all holiness; but for us, who had lost our original rectitude (good), and are become the degenerate plants of a strange vine. The Son of God left his glory, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled for us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. This must certainly be the genuine import of the text under consideration, the exact sense of which according to the genius of the original, stands thus: "That the righteousness required by the law might be fulfilled for us," i.e. in our stead, or on our account. What the law was desirous of but through weakness, could not obtain: that did Christ perform for us.

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