John Bunyan

(28 November 1628 – 31 August 1688 / Elstow, Bedfordshire, England.)

Of Imputed Righteousness


Now, if thou wouldst inherit righteousness,
And so sanctification possess

In body, soul, and spirit, then thou must
To Jesus fly, as one ungodly first;

And so by him crave pardon for thy sin
Which thou hast loved, and hast lived in;

For this cannot at all forgiven be,
For any righteousness that is in thee;

Because the best thou hast is filthy rags,
Profane, presumptuous, and most beastly brags

Of flesh and blood, which always cross doth lie
To God, to grace, and thy felicity.

Then righteousness imputed thou must have,
Thee from that guilt and punishment to save

Thou liest under as a sinful man,
Throughout polluted, and that never can

By any other means acquitted be,
Or ever have true holiness in thee.

The reason is, because all graces are
Only in Christ, and be infused where,

Or into those whom he doth justify,
By what himself hath done, that he thereby

Might be the whole of all that happiness
The sinner shall enjoy here, and in bliss.

Besides, if holiness should first be found
In those whom God doth pardon, then the ground

Why we forgiven are would seem to be,
He first found holiness in thee and me;

But this the holy Scriptures will refute,
And prove that righteousness he doth impute

Without respect to goodness first in man;
For, to speak truth indeed, no goodness can

Be found in those that underneath the law
Do stand; for if God goodness in them saw,

Why doth he once and twice say, There is none
That righteous be; no, not so much as one;

None understandeth, none seek after God,
His ways they have not known, but have abode

In wickedness, unprofitably they
Must needs appear to be then every way.

Their throats an open sepulchre, also
Their mouths are full of filthy cursings too;

And bitterness, yea, underneath their lips
The asp hath poison. O how many slips

And falls in sin must such poor people have!
Now here's the holiness that should them save,

Or, as a preparation, go before,
To move God to do for them less or more?

No, grace must on thee righteousness bestow,
Or, else sin will for ever thee undo.

Sweet Paul this doctrine also doth express,
Where he saith, Some may have righteousness,

Though works they have not; and it thus may stand,
Grace by the promise gives what the command

Requireth us to do, and so are we
Quitted from doing, and by grace made free.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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