God justifies the ungodly who are no longer ungodly?

Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

We read indeed, that God justifies the ungodly, Rom. 4:5; but this cannot, in fair construction, imply that the man when justified, is ungodly, still holding fast his sins, and refusing to return. For his being justified by God, is as a thousand arguments that he has returned to God…He who exercises [faith], cannot be called ungodly, in the usual sense of the word. He is radically holy, having holy faith. The true sense therefore of these words, that God justifies the ungodly, I conceive to be the same, as when our Lord said, the blind see, and the deaf hear, Luke 7:2. It cannot be that these persons were actually blind, when they saw; or deaf, when they heard: but that being once so, they now both saw and heard. In like manner, God is said to justify the ungodly, i.e. him who had hitherto been so.

The quote is from Thomas Bell. When I have time I will research who he is.

2 thoughts on “God justifies the ungodly who are no longer ungodly?

  1. barlow

    There are two in the DNB – one from the Relief church in Scotland (1733-1802) and one from earlier in British history (born around 1551). The 1551 guy became protestant and helped Protestants “hunt down” priests, etc. The other guy had solid evangelical credentials. I wonder who is the source of the quote?

  2. Patrick

    The author is the one from the Relief church. He translated Witsius’ Conciliatory Animadversions into English, along with his own notes. The quote comes from note #20 (pp. 260-261) where he is discussing the relationship between faith and repentance.


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