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77

to give knowledge of salvation to his people

by the forgiveness of their sins.


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77. To give knowledge of salvation Zacharias now touches the principal subject of the gospel, when he says that the knowledge of salvation consists in the forgiveness of sins. As we are all “by nature the children of wraths” (Ephesians 2:3,) it follows, that we are by nature condemned and ruined: and the ground of our condemnation is, that we are chargeable with unrighteousness. There is, therefore, no other provision for escaping eternal death8181     “Mortis;” La mort mortelle.” but by God

“reconciling us unto himself, not imputing our trespasses unto us,”
(2 Corinthians 5:19.)

That this is the only righteousness which remains to us before God, may be easily gathered from the words of Zacharias. For whence comes salvation, but from righteousness? But if the children of God have no other way of obtaining the knowledge of salvation except through the forgiveness of sins, it follows, that righteousness must not be sought in any other quarter. Proud men attempt to forge and manufacture a righteousness out of the merits of good works. True righteousness is nothing else than the imputation of righteousness, when God, out of free grace, acquits us from guilt. Besides, it ought to be observed that Zacharias is not speaking of strangers from the covenants of promise,” (Ephesians 2:12) but of the people of God. Hence it follows, that not only does the commencement of righteousness depend on the forgiveness of sins, but it is by imputation8282     “Imputative, ut italoquar.” — “Par imputation, c'est a dire, d'autant que la justice de Christ laur est imputee.” — “By imputation, that is to say, in so far as the righteousnes of Christ is imputed to them” that believers are righteous before God to the very end: for they cannot appear before his tribunal in any other way than by betaking themselves daily to a free reconciliation.




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