Manton on first and "second" justification

Discussion in 'Federal Vision/New Perspectives' started by JSauer, Dec 14, 2013.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JSauer

    JSauer Puritan Board Freshman

    I was reading Beeke's Puritan Theology today and I came to the section on the role of good works in our final judgment and eternal rewards. I was surprised to read that Thomas Manton seemed to believe in a distinct first and second justification that sounds a lot like the federal vision position. Is this the only Puritan who had this idea of a second justification according to works?

    The main source is Manton's "Paul and James Reconciled" basically saying that Paul was talking about our first justification by faith alone, and James was speaking about a second justification according the works.
  2. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    if this be true,though I'm not affirming this position is, The First Justification is the Primary One involving Eternal Salvation, purely Forensic & Imputed whereas the Second "justification" would be a wisdom is Justified by her children type of thing or
    evidential stating how true Justification (the first type) produces real & abiding fruit.
    Though I'm sceptical of the need of a dubious Second Justification,as we've already passed from death to life, this is nothing more than going back to the law for Justification, let him who says we are Justified by law or Law + faith be accursed.
    Manton may have muddled it trying for reconciliation of the two,
    "Manton's "Paul and James Reconciled" basically saying that Paul was talking about our first justification by faith alone, and James was speaking about a second justification according the works." this makes no sense as James was speaking of Abraham's earthly not about his final judgment and eternal reward.
    There will definitely be rewards for our service here on earth, though these are only rewards of a non meritorious nature that don't involve Forensic Justification or a judgment of our eternal destiny.
  3. JSauer

    JSauer Puritan Board Freshman

    I completely agree with you which is why the chapter surprised me.

    The chapter in Puritan Theology starts on page 789 and all the Manton quotes are in that chapter. Or you can search Manton "Paul and James Reconciled" and it should be on the first results page.

    I am not equating the new perspectives view with Thomas Manton's. I am just curious if he was the only Puritan to use that sort of language to describe our final judgment/vindication. It seems like using the word "justification" shouldn't be used in a second sense in regard to works and I don't see how that squares with any reformed confession. Owen's work on justification makes a point to refute the idea of a second justification by works which makes me wonder who he was refuting.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2013
  4. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    This is standard Reformed language in the context of the Romanist controversy. If it is taken out of context it can easily be misunderstood. Romanists speak of first and second justification and appeal to the different senses of the word in Paul and James. In reply, the Reformed note that the different senses are in fact two different concepts. James is not referring to the same justification as Paul. The second justification is only the manifestation and evidence of the first justification. All who are justified in the first sense shall be justified in the second sense. Rome makes a separation and claims that some are justified in the first sense who shall not be justified in the second sense. The Reformed reject this separation. Insofar as the proponents of the FV make a separation they are following Romanism and departing from the Reformed faith.

    When the second justification is referred to as the day of judgment the terms used are "acquitted" or "vindicated." It should be noted that the relationship of faith and works is unchanged. Faith continues to be the instrument by which Christ and His righteousness is received and applied, while works is the fruit and evidence of faith. On the day of judgment it is not bare works which are rewarded, but works which manifest and give evidence of the state of the individual as either a believer or an unbeliever.
  5. JSauer

    JSauer Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you-- that clears it up for me. He is really using the language of second justification as an argument against Rome rather than advocating an actual second justification by works alone. That makes sense. I hope I didn't offend anyone by asking the question.

    I have also learned that the term "vindication" is less confusing than "second justification".
  6. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Not at all. It is a good question and it encourages discernment.
  7. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    It's unfortunate this use of Language (second Justification) & the fact that Protestants let Romanists dictated the structure of the Argument ie letting there be a doctrine referred to as second justification.

    I believe If you read the James account you will see it's the same event as Paul's that is being referred to,which is Abrahams Justification before God, though seen from 2 different ASPECTS, Paul is Attributing Abrahams Justification
    to His Faith in God,Abraham Believed God and it was attributed to him for Righteousness, that is Forensic & Imputed,

    whereas James is referring to the actual substance of Abrahams Faith, that it was a living, spiritual, working by love
    Faith which bore righteous fruit,works & that it produced actual obedience to God! So Faith without works is Dead also.

    to prove that it is referring to the same event as Paul, James even says in James 2:23
    And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:
  8. Rev. Todd Ruddell

    Rev. Todd Ruddell Puritan Board Junior

    Note these quotations from Manton:

    1. Faith does not justify as a mutual cause together with works, as if they did co-operate together; but we must distinguish. There is a first and second justification, the one ascribed to faith, the other to works. This opinion maketh as if we were beholden to grace only for some courtesies, where we cannot engage God of ourselves. It is true James saith, ‘Not by faith, but by works;’ but that is only to justify faith. It is a false faith that doth not end in works; but works have nothing to do in justification. God abhorreth such a profane medley; he would have it wholly of grace. The papists exact an imaginary faith, and so are put upon a necessity of eking it out with works. The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (Vol. 3, p. 440).

    and here:

    1. The Papists say that Paul speaketh of the first justification, by which a man, if unjust, is made just; and that by works he understandeth works done without faith and grace, by the sole power and force of free-will. But James speaketh of the second justification, whereby of just he is made more just; and by works he understandeth such as are performed in faith, and by the help of divine grace. To this I answer—(1.) That it confoundeth justification with sanctification. (2.) That the distinction is false, and hath no ground in scripture. We can merit nothing after we are in a good estate, and are saved by grace all our lives: Rom. 1:17, ‘the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, for the just shall live by faith.’ If the righteousness whereby a sinner is justified be wholly absolved by faith, there is no place for works at all. But the apostle saith, throughout the whole life it is revealed from faith to faith; besides, the apostle Paul excludeth all works, even those done by grace. It is true, this error is less than that of the Pelagians, who said that by natural abilities the law might be kept to justification. However, it is not enough to ascribe justificatory works to the grace of God. So did the Pharisee: Luke 18:11, 12, ‘God, I thank thee,’ not myself. Yet he went not away justified. It is ill to associate nature with grace, and to make man a coadjutor in that in which God will have the sole glory. (3.) It is little less than blasphemy to say, We are more just by our own works than by the merits of Christ received by faith;3 for to that justification, whereby a man is made more just, they admit works. (4.) The phrase of being more just suiteth not with the scope of the apostle, who doth not show how our righteousness is increased, but who hath an interest in it. Neither will the adversaries grant that those against whom the apostle disputeth had a first and real righteousness; and beside, it is contradicted by the example of Rahab, who, according to their explication, cannot be said to be justified in their second way of justification, and yet in our apostle’s sense she is justified by works; and therefore the Popish gloss will not remove the seeming contrariety between the apostles. The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (Vol. 04, pp. 261–262).
  9. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Would it be correct to say that the Apostle James in dealing with those who abused the Apostolic doctrine of justification by faith alone, "made play" of the word "justified", to point out that there is another sense in which the believer is justified by works?

    Sent from my HTC Wildfire using Tapatalk 2
  10. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Can it be established that he was dealing with those who abused the doctrine? If so, what kind of abuse? From other parts of the epistle it would appear that the problem lay in the direction of legalism or a form of Judaistic nomism. Their "works" and "judgements" were based on a standard other than God's perfect law of liberty.

    I think it safest to take the teaching of James as presenting a necessary part of the doctrine of justification, namely what has come to be called "declarative justification," i.e., works declare or give evidence of actual justification. James Buchanan provides an helpful explanation of the terminology.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page