Doctrine of Eternal Justification
Originally Printed In 1790
Posted On October 6, 2018
An Address to the Congregation at the New Chapel, Dagger-Lane, Kingston-Upon-Hull, in which is vindicated THE DOCTRINE OF ETERNAL JUSTIFICATION. By Samuel Barnard, Minister of the Gospel.
Samuel Barnard was an Independent Minister of the Gospel for many years at New Chapel, Dagger-Lane, Hull; and later at Hope Street, Hull; and finally at Howard Street, Sheffield from 1803-1807.
Excerpts: This notion, that “the elect are condemned before God” before they believe, overturns the doctrine of the atonement, for if the elect be condemned before God, their sin must be charged before him, for sin and condemnation are inseparable; and if the sins of the elect stand charged before God, then God cannot be reconciled, and if God be not reconciled, the author has no Gospel to preach, for can it be Good News for a poor sinner to be informed that notwithstanding Christ hath died for sin, yet that very sin for which Christ died stands charged before God, and the persons who committed it condemned before him? Surely not, and yet this is the author’s opinion if his words have any meaning; so that at the most he can only represent in his preaching, that God is reconcilable, and that he will be quite reconciled upon our believing. I am sorry to find him among such company! Again, if this doctrine were true; namely, that “the elect are condemned before God,” it would be no hard matter to prove that he and all to whom he preaches must go to Hell; for if the sins of God’s people stand charged before Him, they must remain charged, for if Christ has not put away sin from before God by the sacrifice of Himself, he never will do it; and it is in vain for the author to say that it is put away upon our believing, for though faith receives, yet it does not make the atonement; and if sin be charged before God before we believe, it must remain charged after we have believed for all that faith can do for us. So that every soul, upon this plan must go to Hell, for who can go to Heaven with his sins charged, and he condemned before God? Now the passage which he brings to prove that “while the elect remain in unbelief they are condemned before God,” reads thus, “he that believeth not is condemned already, &c.,” and so he is as viewed in Adam, as he is also in his own conscience, but not before God as considered in Christ, for in that sense there is no condemnation to such. He proceeds to inform us, that an unbeliever cannot be in a state of special favour with God; that is, if I understand him right, God has no particular regard for, or love to an unbeliever. Now as he rightly observes the elect are unbelievers by nature, therefore the import of his reasoning is to show that God has no special love towards his elect until they believe. I would ask then, was it no mark of love or special favour towards the elect for God to give his Son to die for them? Was it no mark of God’s special favour for him to send his Spirit into their hearts to quicken, regenerate them? Though perhaps the author thinks that we believe first, and then God gives us his Son, and sends his Spirit into our hearts, and if so, I wish him all the comfort that such a tenet can afford him. He closes the paragraph by saying, “therefore we must be justified when we believe and not before.” Now if he means in our own consciences we grant it, but if he means before God we deny it; till he can prove that the Righteousness of Christ is not accepted in the behalf of his people till they believe.