[K:NWTS 23/2 (Sep 2008) 38-39]

Zanchi on Justification[1]

Translated by James T. Dennison, Jr.

Nor do we approve of those who ground our justification on the remission of sins alone, denying the imputation of the righteousness and obedience of Christ, which seems to us to contend with the Scriptures. Isaiah 7 [sic! 9:6]: “A child has been given to us.” Romans 5[:19]: “Just as by the disobedience of one man many have been constituted sinners, even so by the obedience of one many are constituted righteous.”

The disobedience of Adam was a transgression of the divine command, therefore the obedience of Christ not only consists in his death alone, but also in his complete antecedent observation of the law. In the same manner, (since) that disobedience of Adam is wholly imputed to us, why not accordingly also the whole obedience of Christ? Likewise, in a twofold manner, we have been made sinners by the disobedience of Adam, namely by the imputation of his transgression and by the guilt of his sin (i.e., of concupiscence) overflowing (derivationem) into us. Why therefore are we not of the same opinion with regard to Christ? The efficacy of his obedience with regard to the commandments of God the Father is in fact imparted to us, in order that we may also begin to obey the law of God. What prevents (us) therefore! why may we not say that his complete obedience is imputed to us?

1 Corinthians 1[:30]: “He has been made by God to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.” Philippians 2[:8-9]: “He became obedient even to death, on account of which humbling of himself and obeying even to death, God has exalted him and us in him.” He has merited eternal glory both for himself and us by his obedience, even as all the scholastics and fathers teach. Therefore his obedience also to the law is imputed to us for righteousness.

Galatians 4[:4-5]: “He was made under the law, that he might redeem those who were under the law.” Therefore he kept the law for our sake and for our salvation. The testimony of the fathers, as the living teachers of this age, we omit for the sake of brevity. To sum up: we believe (this) concerning Christ—as it were, for the sake of us men and for the sake of our salvation, he descended from heaven and was incarnate, so also because of just that judicial process (caussam), he has kept the law and has performed all things pertaining to the forum of justice (egisse).

[1]  Giralamo (Jerome) Zanchi (Zanchius) (1516-1590) was, along with Peter Martyr Vermigli (1500-1562), one of the two noted Italian Reformers of the formative Protestant era. In fact. Zanchi was converted by Vermigli when the latter was prior at San Frediano in Lucca, Italy. It was from Lucca that the famille Turretini originated and emigrated, eventually to Geneva, Switzerland in the 16th century, and, in the 17th century, gave to the Reformed world arguably the greatest theologian of the Protestant scholastic era, Francis Turretin (1623-1687). Zanchi would cross the Alps in 1551 in order to escape the persecution of the Roman Catholic Inquisition and settled in Strasbourg (1553-1563). From 1563-67, he was pastor of an Italian church in Chiavenna (the Grisons, Switzerland). In 1568, he became the colleague of Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583) at Heidelberg, Germany where he served as Professor of Divinity until 1577. He then became pastor to a congregation in Neustadt an der Haardt until his death. I have translated anew a portion of his remarks from “Eiusdem Zanchii in suam Confessionem Observationes,” Caput XIX: De Iustificatione as found in Giralamo Zanchi, De religione Christiana fides—Confession of Faith, ed. by Luca Baschera and Christian Moser (2007) 2:602-4.