a true and real union, (but which is only passive on their part,) [the elect] are united to Christ when his Spirit first takes possession of them, and infuses into them a principle of new life: the beginning of which life can be from nothing else but from union with the Spirit of Christ…. Further, since faith is an act flowing from the principle of spiritual life, it is plain, that in a sound sense, it may be said, an elect person is truly and really united to Christ before actual faith.—HERMAN WITSIUS1
How does regeneration relate to the believer’s union with Christ and his justification by faith alone? As on other matters, the Puritans were not silent on this question. Thomas Halyburton (1674–1712), a Puritan-minded minister and theologian in the Church of Scotland, provides a particularly incisive look into the relationship between regeneration and justification in his work A Modest Inquiry Whether Regeneration or Justification Has the Precedency in Order of Nature.2 Does justification, “in the order of nature, precede the renovation of our natures by the spirit of Christ…. Or, on the other hand, are elect sinners first renewed, regenerated, and furnished with a principle of life…whereon justification follows in the same instant of time, yet as consequent in order of nature?”3 Sensitive to the intricacies bound up with this question, Halyburton catalogs a number of difficulties on both sides of the question.
Supposing that regeneration precedes justification, Halyburton lists the following seven difficulties: (1) How can God, in His wisdom, impart His image to a sinner who is under a curse? (2) How then can a sinner who is under God’s curse be“dignified with the image of God”? (3) How can the object of justification be a renewed saint, which would seem to contradict Romans 4:5? (4) Can a soul partake of spiritual life before union with Christ? “Union is by faith, by which we come to Christ for life: but this renders it needless, because we have life before union.” (5) This order would make receiving the Spirit antecedent to union and faith, but we receive the Spirit by faith (Gal. 3:14). (6) This would make the heart purified before faith, but the heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:9). (7) A person becomes a Christian by the Word; the Word is received by faith, which suggests that faith should precede regeneration.4 These various problems and mysteries follow from the view that regeneration precedes justification.
On the other hand, if justification precedes regeneration, there are also several difficulties involved. The first is ecclesiastical in nature, namely, Reformed divines “harmoniously teach the contrary”; and the Reformed confessions likewise deny that justification precedes regeneration. Moreover, how can acts of life exist if there is not an abiding principle for them from which to proceed? Even more pertinently, how can a dead soul “be the subject of this noblest act of faith that unites to Christ”? After all, there are many acts of justifying faith, such as assenting, choosing, approving, and resting in Christ. Can a dead soul do these things? The fruit of faith needs a root, and a dead root will not do.5 Halyburton claims that these and other difficulties exist with the view that justification precedes regeneration.
Reformed theologians in seventeenth-century Britain typically posited a threefold union with Christ in terms of God’s immanent, transient, and applicatory works. Some even spoke of justification in relation to these three stages, which led to the doctrine of eternal justification.6 “Immanent union” refers to being elected in union with Christ from all eternity, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4); “transient union” refers to believers’ union with Christ in time past, in His mediatorial death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3–11); and “applicatory union” refers to the believer’s experience of union with Christ in the present time (Eph. 2:5–6). Peter Bulkeley (1583–1659) follows this threefold pattern when he refers to the doctrine of justification, first, “as purposed and determined in the mind and will of God…. Second, as impetrated and obtained for us by the obedience of Christ…. Third, as actually applied unto us.”7 The third stage of union with Christ is often referred to as our“mystical” union with Christ.
Halyburton notes these distinctions and stresses that each part of this threefold union with Christ is related to the others in a fundamental way. Those who were elected in Christ in eternity past are those for whom Christ died and rose again in time past, and they are the ones to whom the Holy Spirit applies all the benefits of Christ’s mediatorial work. There is a unity in God’s will. All three persons of the Godhead concurred in the work of salvation in the eternal covenant of redemption. That is to say, the salvation of the elect is certain because it is rooted in the eternal, unchangeable decree of God. Moreover, there was a “general justification” effected by Christ’s oblation, but this is not “justification properly and strictly called.”8 Even for those who spoke of justification as eternal (e.g., Thomas Goodwin [1600–1680]), a sinner nevertheless abides under the wrath of God until he or she believes.9
Clearly, therefore, there are various ways in which believers are united to Christ, and they are all necessary for salvation. No one will come to faith in Christ who has not been elected in eternity, and not without the benefit of Christ’s oblation and intercession. This chapter will address “applicatory union,” the mystical or experiential union between the believer and Christ. The Puritans seemed to be agreed on the relationship between the believer’s experiential union with Christ and the believer’s personal regeneration.
The Chief Blessing?
Of all the blessings of salvation, which is the chief or primary blessing? Is it justification by faith, that “article of faith by which the church stands or falls” (articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae)?10 In the judgment of several significant Puritan theologians, union with Christ, not justification by faith, is the chief blessing a Christian receives from God. The believer’s union with Christ enables him to receive all the benefits of Christ’s work, including justification, adoption, and sanctification. To have Christ is to have all.
John Calvin’s famous statement in the opening words of the third book of the Institutes, on the importance of union with Christ shows the basic continuity between the Reformers and the Puritans on this point.11 Calvin asks, “How do we receive those benefits which the Father bestowed on his only-begotten Son—not for Christ’s own private use, but that he might enrich poor and needy men?” He answers, “First, we must understand that as long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.”12 In plain terms therefore Calvin argues the absolute necessity of union with Christ for salvation. So long as we stand apart from Christ, nothing He did as mediator can be of use to us.
The Puritans agreed with Calvin on the necessity of union with Christ. For John Owen (1616–1683), union with Christ is the “principle and measure of all spiritual enjoyments and expectations.”13 He notes moreover that the first spiritual grace is “dignity,” that is, “it is the greatest, most honourable, and glorious of all graces that we are made partakers of.”14Thomas Goodwin similarly comments that “being in Christ, and united to him, is the fundamental constitution of a Christian.”15 These comments provide insight into how union with Christ relates to justification, adoption, and sanctification.
Union with Christ and the Ordo Salutis
As Halyburton notes, the common Reformed view on the order of justification and regeneration is that the latter precedes the former. But what about the role of union with Christ in relation to regeneration and justification? Goodwin affirms, as one would expect, that union with Christ is the “first fundamental thing of justification, and sanctification and all.”16 Thus, in specific relation to justification, Goodwin maintains that “all acts of God’s justifying us depend upon union with Christ, we having him, and being in him first, and then thereby having right to his righteousness.”17
But in relation to regeneration or, more specifically, effectual calling, Goodwin argues that union with Christ precedes regeneration. Christ first “apprehends” the believer: “It is not my being regenerate that puts me into a right of all those privileges, but it is Christ [who] takes me, and then gives me his Spirit, faith, holiness, &c. It is through our union with Christ, and the perfect holiness of his nature, to whom we are united, that we partake of the privileges of the covenant of grace.”18 This statement appears to indicate that union with Christ logically (not chronologically), precedes not only justification—a typical Reformed view—but even regeneration (narrowly considered).
What makes Goodwin’s views on this matter perplexing is the fact that within the space of six pages he affirms there is a “threefold union with Christ”19 and a “twofold union with Christ.”20 The first union is a relational union, like the union between a husband and wife. “And this union is fully and completely done when first we are turned to God, and when Christ takes us.”21
The second union involves the dwelling of Christ in the human body (Eph. 3:17)—“an actual inbeing of his person.” The third is objective, that is, having Christ as an object of faith “as the faculty doth view an object.”22 When Goodwin later speaks of the twofold union, he has in mind the first two under the heading of a “substantial union and communicative union.”23
The union that we are especially concerned with is the first union, the union whereby the sinner is married to Christ. How does this happen? Returning to Goodwin’s comment above that “Christ takes me, and then gives me his Spirit, faith, holiness, &c.,” we are faced with the question of whether union with Christ precedes faith itself.
Goodwin’s The Object and Act of Justifying Faith is helpful in answering this question. In it, he speaks of the act of the will completing the union between Christ and the believer, which makes believers “ultimately one with him.”24 However, as the bride, we are simply confirming the union that has taken place. So, contrary to the common view of marriage, which requires the consent of both partners since a man cannot marry a woman against her will, there is a spiritual union on Christ’s part to the elect that does not require assent from the sinner “because it is a secret work done by his Spirit, who doth first apprehend us ere we apprehend him.”25 That is to say, Christ establishes a union with the elect sinner by “apprehending” him and then giving the Spirit to him. But this union is only complete (“ultimate union”) when the sinner exercises faith in Christ. This basic pattern is confirmed later in Goodwin’s work on justifying faith:
It is true indeed the union on Christ’s part is in order of nature first made by the Spirit; therefore Philip. iii. 12, he is said first to “comprehend us ere we can comprehend him;” yet that which makes the union on our part is faith, whereby we embrace and cleave to him…. It is faith alone that doth it. Love indeed makes us cleave to him also, but yet faith first.26
Goodwin is at his finest when he speaks of Christ “taking,” “apprehending,” and “comprehending” the sinner. Christ “takes hold of us before we believe” and “works a thousand and a thousand operations in our souls to which our faith concurs nothing…. Christ dwells in us and works in us, when we act not and know not our union, nor that it is he that works.”27
Before the new believer is aware, our Lord unites us to Himself (“takes hold of us”) and works in us. The Spirit then regenerates the sinner, who in turn exercises faith toward Christ and completes the union. From that union flow all other spiritual blessings.
Owen highlights a number of ways in which union with Christ functions as the “greatest” of all graces. In terms of the present question, his point that union with Christ is the “first and principal grace in respect of causality and efficacy” is most pertinent to how we locate union with Christ in the ordo salutis. Like Goodwin, Owen claims that union with Christ is the cause of all other graces a believer receives: “Hence is our adoption, our justification, our sanctification…our perseverance, our resurrection, our glory.”28
Therefore, union with Christ is the ground of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers.29 Owen’s lengthy work on justification (volume 5) confirms the logical priority of union with Christ before other graces such as justification.30 But regarding the relationship between union and regeneration, Owen seems to take a view similar to Goodwin’s. At first glance it appears this is not so, for Owen argues that no one “who hath not been made partaker of the washing of regeneration and the renovation of the Holy Ghost, can possibly have any union with Christ.”31
This seems to posit a logical priority of regeneration to union. But Owen then remarks immediately after that statement: “I do not speak this as though our purifying were in order of time and nature antecedent unto our union with Christ, for indeed it is an effect thereof; but it is such an effect as immediately and inseparably accompanieth it, so that where the one is not, there is not the other.”32
With a little more precision than Goodwin, though basically affirming the same position, Owen asserts that the act whereby Christ unites Himself to His elect is the same act whereby He regenerates them.33
Dutch theologian Herman Witsius (1636–1708), writing on the Continent in the same period as Owen and Goodwin—his work was a contribution to the British Antinomian and Neonomian debates—takes a similar position concerning the relationship between regeneration and union with Christ. He affirms,
By a true and real union, (but which is only passive on their part,) [the elect] are united to Christ when his Spirit first takes possession of them, and infuses into them a principle of new life: the beginning of which life can be from nothing else but from union with the Spirit of Christ…. Further, since faith is an act flowing from the principle of spiritual life, it is plain, that in a sound sense, it may be said, an elect person is truly and really united to Christ before actual faith.
Witsius sounds very much like Goodwin and Owen in insisting that the elect are united to Christ when Christ’s Spirit “takes possession of them” and regenerates them. And he likewise affirms that union precedes actual faith. But then he makes a similar point to Goodwin’s, namely, that a “mutual union” inevitably follows from the principle of regeneration:
But the mutual union, (which, on the part of an elect person, is likewise active and operative), whereby the soul draws near to Christ, joins itself to him, applies, and in a becoming and proper manner closes with him without any distraction, is made by faith only. And this is followed in order by the other benefits of the covenant of grace, justification, peace, adoption, sealing, perseverance, etc.34
Not only is the “mutual union” emphasized by the act of faith in the sinner, but also by the fact that the benefits of the covenant of grace (e.g., justification) flow out of this union.
Goodwin, Owen, and Witsius are affirming what John Ball (1585–1640) had said earlier in A Treatise of Faith. Speaking of the order of spiritual blessings that believers receive from Christ, Ball affirms that faith is the “band whereby we are united unto Christ; after Union followeth Communion with him; Justification, Adoption, Sanctification be the benefits and fruits of Communion.”35 Commenting on the importance of union with Christ, Ball later affirms that after we are made one with Christ, “he and all his benefits are truly and verily made ours; his name is put upon us, we are justified from the guilt and punishment of sin, we are clothed with his righteousness, we are sanctified against the power of sin, having our nature healed and our hearts purified.”36
John Preston (1587–1628) likewise affirms that “to be in Christ is the ground of all salvation.”37 Thus, union with Christ is the motive for good works since all graces and privileges flow from this union.38 Christ will take away not only the guilt but also the power of sin in those to whom He is united, which explains the importance of union with Christ for soteriology.39
Thomas Cole (1627–1697) entertains a very important question that helps explain the subtle ways in which regeneration and justification relate. He asks, “Whether the first step in Regeneration be from Sin to Holiness, or from a sinful state and nature to Christ, that we may be made holy by him?” That is, are we made clean first, or are we joined to Christ first? Cole says,
There can be no Change made in our Nature by the Spirit of Christ in our Sanctification, but upon a Change of State from our closing in with the Blood of Christ for Justification. The Spirit of Christ doeth always follow the Blood of Christ; ’tis the Purchase of that Blood; so that the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, extends himself in all his saving Operations, no further than the Body of Christ; none but Members vitally joined to Christ their Head, can be quickened by him; therefore no man or woman can be savingly wrought upon by the Spirit of Christ, who continue in a state of separation from him.40
Cole has carefully noted how all these benefits come from Christ, and therefore regeneration must be seen in the light of our union with Christ. He then offers a very precise definition of regeneration, saying that “Regeneration is the Implantation of the Soul into Christ.”41
William B. Evans has recently argued that for the Puritans, communion with Christ “tended to displace ‘union with Christ.’”42 This charge is utterly unconvincing as the evidence above shows. Union with Christ is the basis for communion with Him and, like Calvin, the Puritans viewed union with Christ in His divine-human person as the necessary context in which, and the means by which, redemptive benefits were applied to the elect. Evans’s point assumes that the Puritans deviated from a Reformed christological focus, but clearly they understood how union and communion worked together. William Bridge (1600–1671) said that “union is the root of communion” and “union is the ground of communion.” In context, Bridge is explaining the benefits of our union with Christ. He did not displace union with Christ but instead affirmed it as the foundation for his practical theology.43 Similarly, Obadiah Grew (1607–1689) said, “Union is the ground of all our comfort, and privilege we have by the Lord Jesus Christ: Our communion springs from our Union with him.”44 Bridge and Grew did not sever the believer’s communion with Christ from his union with Him.
There is a reason union with Christ is first in the order of nature and regeneration precedes justification. When Christ takes and unites the sinner to Himself, the Spirit regenerates the sinner. In regenerating the sinner, he is still guilty, that is, legally in a state of sin. True, he has a new nature, but that has not altered his legal status for past offenses (and all offenses thereafter)—no more than a murderer is exonerated because afterwards he becomes a model citizen. According to Stephen Charnock (1628–1680), it is when the sinner looks in faith to Christ that his status changes.45
Justification “gives us a right, the other [regeneration] a fitness.” He also says, “In justification we are freed from the guilt of sin, and so have a title to life; in regeneration we are freed from the filth of sin, and have the purity of God’s image in part restored to us.”46 Sinners are not justified because they were regenerated, but because Christ has paid the penalty of His sins and has applied all His benefits to them.47
The real is before the legal because both are needed, and in one sense neither depends on the other; both depend on the believer’s union with Christ from whom the believer derives all saving benefits. Yet there is another sense in which justification depends on regeneration—that is, the person is enabled to believe by regeneration and is justified by faith alone. Charnock says, “Justification is relative; regeneration internally real. Union with Christ is the ground of both; Christ is the meritorious cause of both.”48
Another aspect of union with Christ is addressed by William Lyford (1598–1653). He very precisely stated that we are united to Christ before we exercise faith, and that we in turn exercise faith to lay hold of Christ. Such a statement may be misunderstood, however carefully stated. Apparently the Synod of New England charged John Cotton (1585–1652) of teaching an error when he allegedly stated “that we are completely united to Christ, before, or without any faith wrought in us by the Spirit.”49 Cotton refuted the charge to the Synod’s satisfaction, yet it seems the word “completely” was the source of his problem. Lyford believed it could be misleading to distinguish between the act of faith we exercise and the habit of faith we possess in our union with Christ, for “it seems to favour of the Leaven of Antinomianism and Enthusiasm.”
Yet he also recognized that it does impart some truth as long as the “Faith is begun in action”—he was weary of viewing this union as being complete without the immediate exercise of faith. “The Union then is begun by action of the Spirit on us, and of Faith put forth by us to lay hold on Christ.”50
Lyford adds one more point that is critical to the Puritans’ view of union with Christ and justification. How can someone else’s righteousness become ours? This was a question raised by the Papists. Lyford answers by pointing to our union with Christ: “Christ and the Believer be not Two, but One.” He explains, “Peter cannot be saved by the righteousness that is in Paul, because they be two; but the Members are saved by the righteousness of their Head, because Head and Members are not two.”51
The same answer is offered by Obadiah Grew. “A man’s capacity for such propriety in Christ’s righteousness, is this union with Christ.” Union with Christ is the ground on which His righteousness can become ours. “As by marriage-union the Wife is honourable by her Husbands honour…. Thus comes it to pass by our union of espousals to Christ, My beloved is mine, and I am his: that we have an interest and propriety in his merit and spirit, in his righteousness and life.”52
Lyford and Grew believed that our union with Christ was the best refutation of the Papists’ denial of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Because we are united to Christ, His righteousness can be and is imputed to us by faith.
For the Puritans, the doctrine of regeneration was a fundamental aspect of soteriology, and its relation to the believer’s union with Christ was hugely significant. Union with Christ was typically understood in a threefold manner: immanent/eternal, transient/redemptive-historical, and applicatory/mystical. The redemption purposed by God in eternity and accomplished by Christ in time is incomplete until it is applied in the experience of the believer.
The special work of the Spirit is to apply the benefits of Christ’s mediation to the elect. There is a strict correspondence between Christ’s work and the Spirit’s work. For this reason, regeneration must never be considered apart from Christ; positively stated, regeneration must always be understood in relation to union with Christ.
What this chapter has shown is not only the fundamental necessity of regeneration for salvation but also its close connection to union with Christ. The risen Savior first apprehends the elect and makes them alive by His Spirit operating as the Spirit of Christ, so they can receive from Christ all the benefits of the work He accomplished on their behalf, as their mediator. Faith is only possible because Christ, through the Spirit, has joined Himself to the sinner. In response, the sinner exercises faith toward Christ, as an effect of regeneration. With the union complete, the sinner receives from Christ everything that Christ merited, including justification, adoption, and sanctification. This, in a nutshell, is the Puritan understanding of the relationship between regeneration and union with Christ.
- 1. Herman Witsius, Conciliatory, or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain, under the Unhappy Names of Antinomians and Neonomians, trans. Thomas Bell (Glasgow: W. Lang, 1807), 68.
- 2. Thomas Halyburton, A Modest Inquiry Whether Regeneration or Justification Has the Precedency in Order of Nature, in The Works of the Rev. Thomas Halyburton… (London: Thomas Tegg & Son, 1835).
- 3. Halyburton, A Modest Inquiry, in Works, 547.
- 4. Halyburton, A Modest Inquiry, in Works, 547.
- 5. Halyburton, A Modest Inquiry, in Works, 548.
- 6. See chapter 8, “Thomas Goodwin and Johannes Maccovius on Justification from Eternity.”
- 7. Peter Bulkeley, The Gospel-Covenant (London: Tho[mas] Parker, 1674), 358.
- 8. Halyburton, A Modest Inquiry, in Works, 550.
- 9. That is, “until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them” (WCF, 11.4).
- 10. Interestingly, Robert J. McKelvey has shown that Martin Luther may never have called justification the article by which the church stands or falls, even though the concept belongs to him. McKelvey writes: “Though the ‘stands or falls’ wording is often attributed to Martin Luther a primary source has never been cited. He could still be the originator of the phrase, as attribution to him comes as early as the seventeenth century. For example, William Eyre refers to justification as ‘articulus stantis aut cadentis Ecclesiae, as Luther calls it’…. Thus, Richard John Neuhaus…wrongly argues that the ‘stands or falls’ phrase did not originate until the eighteenth century.” Robert J. McKelvey, “That Error and Pillar of Antinomianism: Eternal Justification,” in Drawn into Controversie: Reformed Theological Diversity and Debates within Seventeenth-Century British Puritanism, Michael A. G. Haykin and Mark Jones (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011), chap. 10.
- 11. Three recent studies on Calvin that address his doctrine of union with Christ are worth considering, though they are not without their different emphases and disagreements in places. See Cornelis P. Venema, Accepted and Renewed in Christ: The “Twofold Grace of God” and the Interpretation of Calvin’s Theology (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2007); Todd J. Billings, Calvin, Participation, and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union with Christ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); and Mark A. Garcia, Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin’s Theology (Milton Keynes: Paternoster, 2008). Cf. Lee Gatiss, “The Inexhaustible Fountain of All Goodness: Union with Christ in Calvin’s Commentary and Sermons on Ephesians,” Themelios 34, no. 2 (July 2009): 194–206.
- 12. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), 3.1.1.
- 13. John Owen, An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, in The Works of John Owen, D.D. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), 20:146.
- 14. Owen, Epistle to the Hebrews, in Works, 20:148.
- 15. Thomas Goodwin, Of Christ the Mediator, in The Works of Thomas Goodwin, ed. Thomas Smith (1861–1866; repr., Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 5:350.
- 16. Goodwin, Of Christ the Mediator, in Works, 5:350.
- 17. Thomas Goodwin, The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith, in The Works of Thomas Goodwin (1861–1866; repr., Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 8:406.
- 18. Goodwin, Of Christ the Mediator, in Works, 5:350.
- 19. Thomas Goodwin, Exposition of Various Portions of the Epistle to the Ephesians, in The Works of Thomas Goodwin (1861–1866; repr., Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006), 2:404.
- 20. Goodwin, Epistle to the Ephesians, in Works, 2:409.
- 21. Goodwin, Epistle to the Ephesians, in Works, 2:409–10.
- 22. Goodwin, Epistle to the Ephesians, in Works, 2:404.
- 23. Goodwin, Epistle to the Ephesians, in Works, 2:410.
- 24. Goodwin, The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith, in Works, 8:273.
- 25. Goodwin, The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith, in Works, 8:273.
- 26. Goodwin, The Object and Acts of Justifying Faith, in Works, 8:463.
- 27. Goodwin, Works, 2:404.
- 28. Owen, Epistle to the Hebrews, in Works, 20:150.
- 29. Owen, Epistle to the Hebrews, in Works, 20:150.
- 30. See chapter 31, “John Owen on Justification by Faith Alone.”
- 31. John Owen, Pneumatologia, or, A Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, in The Works of John Owen, D.D. (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1991), 3:464.
- 32. Owen, Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, in Works, 3:464.
- 33. Owen, Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit, in Works, 3:464.
- 34. Witsius, Conciliatory, or Irenical Animadversions on the Controversies Agitated in Britain, 68.
- 35. John Ball, A Treatise of Faith (London: for Edward Brewster, 1657), 85.
- 36. Ball, Treatise of Faith, 132.
- 37. John Preston, The Saints Qualification, in An Abridgment of Dr. Preston’s Works… (London: J. L. for Nicholas Bourn, 1648), 738.
- 38. Preston, The Saints Qualification, in An Abridgment, 739–40.
- 39. Preston, The Saints Qualification, in An Abridgment, 749.
- 40. Thomas Cole, A Discourse of Regeneration… (London: for Will Marshall, 1698), 81–82.
- 41. Cole, A Discourse of Regeneration, 83.
- 42. William B. Evans, Imputation and Impartation: Union with Christ in American Reformed Theology (Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2008), 78.
- 43. William Bridge, The Works of the Rev. William Bridge (1845; repr., Beaver Falls, Pa.: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1989), 1:371. This reference is taken from the fourth sermon of the series, “The Spiritual Life and In-Being of Christ in All Believers.”
- 44. Obadiah Grew, The Lord Jesus Christ the Lord Our Righteousness (London, 1669), 97.
- 45. Stephen Charnock, “A Discourse on the Nature of Regeneration,” in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock (1845; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985), 3:89.
- 46. Charnock, “A Discourse on the Nature of Regeneration,” in Works, 3:90.
- 47. “We are not justified by an inherent righteousness; yet we are not justified without it. We cannot be justified by it [i.e., regeneration].” Stephen Charnock, “The Necessity of Regeneration,” in The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock (1845; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1985), 3:43.
- 48. Charnock, “The Necessity of Regeneration,” in Works, 3:43.
- 49. William Lyford, The Plain Mans Senses Exercised… (London: for Richard Royston, 1655), 120. See David D. Hall, ed., The Antinomian Controversy, 1636–1638: A Documentary History (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1990), 34–42, which deals with the believer’s union with Christ.
- 50. Lyford, The Plain Mans Senses Exercised, 121–22.
- 51. Lyford, The Plain Mans Senses Exercised, 125–26.
- 52. Grew, The Lord Jesus Christ, 96–98.
Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Theological Seminary) has written over one hundred books. He is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as the editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, the editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books, the president of Inheritance Publishers, and vice president of the Dutch Reformed Translation Society.