The most precious jewels

The Homily on Salvation, or Justification, continues to rejoice in what Christ has done for us. Wrath and mercy meet at the cross, where Jesus paid our ransom and satisfied God’s justice.

We must have faith, as the Homily shows us from Paul’s letter to the Romans. But even that is a precious gift from God, supplying what we lack in our weakness—though we must exercise it all the days of our life. Here’s how Cranmer preaches this liberating message:

“In Romans, the Apostle touches especially three things, which must concur and go together in our justification: on God’s part, his great mercy and grace; on Christ’s part, justice — that is, the satisfaction of God’s justice, or the price of our redemption by the offering of his body and shedding of his blood, with fulfilling of the law, perfectly and throughly; and on our part, true and lively faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, which yet is not ours, but by God’s working in us…

And yet that faith does not exclude repentance, hope, love, dread, and the fear of God to be joined with faith in everyone that is justified. But it excludes those things from the office of justifying. So that although they are all present together in the one who is justified, yet they do not all justify together. Nor does faith exclude the justice of our good works, necessarily to be done afterwards of duty towards God. For we are clearly bound to serve God in doing good deeds commanded by him in his holy scripture, all the days of our life. But it excludes them, so that we may not do them to this intent — to be made good by doing of them.

For all the good works that we can do are imperfect, and therefore not able to deserve our justification. But our justification comes freely, by the mere mercy of God — and of so great and free mercy, that whereas all the world was not able of themselves to pay any part towards their ransom, it pleased our heavenly father, of his infinite mercy without any desert or deserving in us, to prepare for us the most precious jewels of Christ’s body and blood, whereby our ransom might be fully paid, the law fulfilled, and his justice fully satisfied.

So that Christ is now the righteousness of all them that truly do believe in him. He for them paid their ransom by his death. He for them fulfilled the law in his life. So that now, in him and by him, every true Christian may be called a fu|filler of the law since that which their infirmity lacks, Christ’s justice has supplied.”

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