"But does not the apostle James say that Abraham was justified by works?
"The answer is easy. Works declare us to be righteous before men; but they do not make us righteous before God. Works are evidences of our justification, not causes. The only name graven upon the golden plate of Christ our High Priest must be, 'THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.'
"Use two: Of exhortation. (1.) Adore the infinite wisdom and goodness of God that found out a way to justify us by 'rich grace and precious blood.' We were all involved in guilt; none of us could plead 'not guilty'; and being guilty, we lay under a sentence of death. Now that the Judge Himself should find out a way to justify us, and the creditor Himself contrive a way to have the debt paid, and not distress the debtor, should fill us with wonder and love. The angels admire the mystery of free grace in this new way of justifying and saving lost man, (1 Pet 1:12); and should not we, who are nearly concerned in it, and on whom the benefit is devolved, cry out with the apostle, 'O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!' "