Revelation 2:17

17 He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches). To him who overcomes (conquers), I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a white stone with a new name engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it. [Psalms 78:24; Isaiah 62:2.] AMP

Revelation 2:26

26 And he who overcomes (is victorious) and who obeys My commands to the [very] end [doing the works that please Me], I will give him authority and power over the nations; AMP

Revelation 2:27

27 And he shall rule them with a sceptre (rod) of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, and [his power over them shall be] like that which I Myself have received from My Father; [Psalms 2:8,9.] AMP

Observe, I am not here calling in question the fact, that all true saints do persevere in faith and obedience to the end; but am showing that such perseverance is a condition of salvation, or ultimate justification. The subject of the perseverance of the saints will come under consideration in its proper place.

6. The view of justification which I am opposing is contradicted by the consciousness of the saints. I think I may safely affirm that the saints in all time are very conscious of condemnation when they fall into sin. This sense of condemnation may not subject them to the same kind and degree of fear which they experienced before regeneration, because of the confidence they have that God will pardon their sin. Nevertheless, until they repent, and by a renewed act of faith lay hold on pardon and fresh justification, their remorse, shame, and consciousness of condemnation, do in fact, if I am not much deceived, greatly exceed, as a general thing, the remorse, shame, and sense of condemnation experienced by the impenitent. But if it be true, that the first act of faith brings the soul into a state of perpetual justification, so that it cannot fall into condemnation thereafter, do what it will, the experience of the saints contradicts facts, or, more strictly, their consciousness of condemnation is a delusion. They are not in fact condemned by the moral law as they conceive themselves to be.

7. If I understand the framers of the Westminster Confession of Faith, they regarded justification as a state resulting from the relation of an adopted child of God, which state is entered into by faith alone, and held that justification is not conditionated upon obedience for the time being, but that a person in this state may, as they hold that all in this life in fact do, sin daily, and even continually, yet without condemnation by the law, their sin bringing them only under his fatherly displeasure, and subjecting them to the necessity of repentance, as a condition of his fatherly favor, but not as a condition of pardon or of ultimate salvation. They seem to have regarded the child of God as no longer under moral government, in such a sense that sin was imputed to him, this having been imputed to Christ, and Christ's righteousness so literally imputed to him that, do what he may, after the first act of faith he is accounted and treated in his person as wholly righteous. If this is not antinomianism, I know not what is; since they hold that all who once believe will certainly be saved, yet that their perseverance in holy obedience to the end is, in no case, a condition of final justification, but that this is conditionated upon the first act of faith alone. They support their positions with quotations from scripture about as much in point as is common for them. They often rely on proof-texts that, in their meaning and spirit, have not the remotest allusion to the point in support of which they are quoted. I have tried to understand the subject of justification as it is taught in the Bible, without going into labored speculations or to theological technicalities. If I have succeeded in understanding it, the following is a succinct and a true account of the matter:

The Godhead, in the exercise of His adorable love and compassion, sought the salvation of sinners, through and by means of the mediatorial death and work of Christ. This death and work of Christ were resorted to, not to create, but, as a result of, the merciful disposition of God and as a means of securing the universe against a misapprehension of the character and design of God in forgiving and saving sinners. To Christ, as Mediator between the Godhead and man, the work of justifying and saving sinners is committed. He is made unto sinners "Wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). In consideration of Christ's having by His death for sinners secured the subjects of the divine government against a misconception of His character and designs, God does, upon the further conditions of a repentance and faith that imply a renunciation of their rebellion and a return to obedience to His laws, freely pardon past sin, and restore the penitent and believing sinner to favor, as if he had not sinned, while he remains penitent and believing, subject however to condemnation and eternal death, unless he holds the beginning of his confidence steadfast unto the end. The doctrine of a literal imputation of Adam's sin to all his posterity, of the literal imputation of all the sins of the elect to Christ, and of His suffering for them the exact amount due to the transgressors, of the literal imputation of Christ's righteousness or obedience to the elect, and the consequent perpetual justification of all that are converted from the first exercise of faith, whatever their subsequent life may be I say I regard these dogmas as fabulous, and better befitting a romance than a system of theology.

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].
31 So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord. [Jeremiah 9:24.] AMP

But it is said, that the Bible speaks of the righteousness of faith. "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith." "And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith". These and similar passages are relied upon, as teaching the doctrine of an imputed righteousness; and such as these: "The Lord our righteousness" (Philippians 3:9): "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I righteousness and strength" (Isaiah 45:24). By "the Lord our righteousness," we may understand, either that we are justified, that is, that our sins are atoned for, and that we are pardoned and accepted by, or on account of the Lord, that is Jesus Christ; or we may understand that the Lord makes us righteous, that is, that He is our sanctification, or working in us to will and to do of His good pleasure; or both, that is, He atones for our sins, brings us to repentance and faith, works sanctification or righteousness in us, and then pardons our past sins, and accepts us. By the righteousness of faith, or of God by faith, I understand the method of making sinners holy, and of securing their justification or acceptance by faith, as opposed to mere works of law or self-righteousness. Dikaiosune, rendered righteousness, may be with equal propriety, and often is, rendered justification. So undoubtedly it should be rendered in: "But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30). The meaning here doubtless is, that He is the author and finisher of that scheme of redemption, whereby we are justified by faith, as opposed to justification by our own works. "Christ our righteousness" is Christ the author or procurer of our justification. But this does not imply that He procures our justification by imputing His obedience to us.

Philippians 3:9

9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith : KJV

Isaiah 45:24

24 Only in the Lord shall one say, I have righteousness (salvation and victory) and strength [to achieve]. To Him shall all come who were incensed against Him, and they shall be ashamed. [1 Corinthians 1:30,31.] AMP

1 Corinthians 1:30-31

30 But it is from Him that you have your life in Christ Jesus, Whom God made our Wisdom from God, [revealed to us a knowledge of the divine plan of salvation previously hidden, manifesting itself as] our Righteousness [thus making us upright and putting us in right standing with God], and our Consecration [making us pure and holy], and our Redemption [providing our ransom from eternal penalty for sin].
31 So then, as it is written, Let him who boasts and proudly rejoices and glories, boast and proudly rejoice and glory in the Lord. [Jeremiah 9:24.] AMP

The doctrine of a literal imputation of Christ's obedience or righteousness is supported by those who hold it, by such passages as the following: "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying, `Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin'" (Romans 4:5-8). But here justification is represented only as consisting in forgiveness of sin, or in pardon and acceptance. Again, "To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. For He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:19,21). Here again the apostle is teaching only his much loved doctrine of justification by faith, in the sense that upon condition or in consideration of the death and mediatorial interference and work of Christ, penitent believers in Christ are forgiven and rewarded as if they were righteous.

Romans 4:5-8

5 But to one who, not working [by the Law], trusts (believes fully) in Him Who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited to him as righteousness (the standing acceptable to God).
6 Thus David congratulates the man and pronounces a blessing on him to whom God credits righteousness apart from the works he does:
7 Blessed and happy and to be envied are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered up and completely buried.
8 Blessed and happy and to be envied is the person of whose sin the Lord will take no account nor reckon it against him. [Psalms 32:1,2.]

2 Corinthians 5:19-21

19 It was God [personally present] in Christ, reconciling and restoring the world to favor with Himself, not counting up and holding against [men] their trespasses [but cancelling them], and committing to us the message of reconciliation (of the restoration to favor).
20 So we are Christ's ambassadors, God making His appeal as it were through us. We [as Christ's personal representatives] beg you for His sake to lay hold of the divine favor [now offered you] and be reconciled to God.
21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]. AMP

Foundation of the justification of penitent believers in Christ. What is the ultimate ground or reason of their justification?

1. It is not founded in Christ's literally suffering the exact penalty of the law for them, and in this sense literally purchasing their justification and eternal salvation. The Westminster Confession of Faith affirms as follows: chapter on Justification, section 3 "Christ by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to His Father's justice in their behalf. Yet, inasmuch as He was given by the Father for them, and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead, and both freely, not for anything in them, their justification is only of free grace, that both the exact justice and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners." If the framers of this confession had made the distinction between the grounds and conditions of justification, so as to represent the gracious disposition that gave the Son, and that accepted His obedience and satisfaction in their stead, as the ground or moving cause, and the death and work of Christ as a condition or a means, as "that without which" the benevolence of God could not wisely justify sinners, their statement had been much improved. As it stands, the transaction is represented as a proper quid pro quo, a proper full payment of the debt of the justified. All the grace consisted in giving His Son, and consenting to the substitution. But they deny that there is grace in the act of justification itself. This proceeds upon the ground of "exact justice." There is then according to this, no grace in the act of pardon and accepting the sinner as righteous. This is "exact justice," because the debt is fully canceled by Christ. Indeed, "Christian, what do you think of this?" God has, in the act of giving His Son and in consenting to the substitution, exercised all the grace He ever will. Now your forgiveness and justification are, according to this teaching, placed on the ground of "exact justice." You have now only to believe and demand "exact justice." One act of faith places your salvation on the ground of "exact justice." Talk no more of the grace of God in forgiveness! But stop, let us see. What is to be understood here by exact justice, and by a real, full satisfaction to His Father's justice? I suppose all orthodox Christians to hold, that every sinner and every sin, strictly on the score of justice, deserves eternal death or endless suffering. Did the framers of this confession hold that Christ bore the literal penalty of the law for each of the saints? Or did they hold that by virtue of His nature and relations, His suffering, though indefinitely less in amount than was deserved by the transgressors, was a full equivalent to public justice, or governmentally considered, for the execution of the literal penalty upon the transgressors? If they meant this latter, I see no objection to it. But if they meant the former, namely, that Christ suffered in His own person the full amount strictly due to all the elect, I say,

(1.) That it was naturally impossible.

(2.) That His nature and relation to the government of God was such as to render it wholly unnecessary to the safe forgiveness of sin, that He should suffer precisely the same amount deserved by sinners.

(3.) That if, as their substitute, Christ suffered for them the full amount deserved by them, then justice has no claim upon them, since their debt is fully paid by the surety, and of course the principal is, in justice, discharged. And since it is undeniable that the atonement was made for the whole posterity of Adam, it must follow that the salvation of all men is secured upon the ground of "exact justice." This is the conclusion to which Huntington and his followers came. This doctrine of literal imputation, is one of the strongholds of universalism, and while this view of atonement and justification is held they cannot be driven from it.

(4.) If He satisfied justice for them, in the sense of literally and exactly obeying for them, why should His suffering be imputed to them as a condition of their salvation? Surely they could not need both the imputation of His perfect obedience to them, so as to be accounted in law as perfectly righteous, and also the imputation of His sufferings to them, as if He had not obeyed for them. Is God unrighteous? Does He exact of the surety, first, the literal and full payment of the debt, and secondly, perfect personal obedience for and in behalf of the sinner? Does He first exact full and perfect obedience, and then the same amount of suffering as if there had been no obedience? And this, too, of His beloved Son?