In what sense are we justified by our works?

Suppose a person freely justified by the grace of God, through faith in the blood of Christ, without respect unto any works, obedience, or righteousness of his own, we do freely grant,

(1.) That God does indispensably require personal obedience of him; which may be called his evangelical righteousness.

(2.) That God does approve of and accept, in Christ, this righteousness so performed.

(3.) That hereby that faith whereby we are justified is evidenced, proved, manifested, in the sight of God and men.

(4.) That this righteousness is pleadable unto an acquitment against any charge from Satan, the world, or our own con- sciences.

(5.) That upon it we shall be declared righteous at the last day, and without it none shall so be.

And if any shall think meet from hence to conclude unto an evangelical justification, or call God’s acceptance of our righteousness by that name, I shall by no means contend with them. And wherever this inquiry is made, — not how a sinner, guilty of death, and obnoxious unto the curse, shall be pardoned, acquitted, and justified, which is by the righteousness of Christ alone imputed unto him — but how a man that professes evangelical faith, or faith in Christ, shall be tried, judged, and whereon, as such, he shall be justified, we grant that it is and must be, by his own personal, sincere obedience.

John Owen, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith , Chapter VI

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