Heinrich Bullinger on Justification by Works

Continuing in my series on Reformed theologians who affirm a sort of final justification by works, it seems to me Bullinger falls into this category in the following text:

So then, as often as the godly doth read, that our own works do justify us, that our own works are called righteousness, that unto our own works is given a reward and life everlasting; he doth not by and by swell with pride, nor yet forget the merit of Christ: but, setting a godly and apt interpretation upon such-like places, he doth consider that all things are of the grace of God, and that so great things are attributed to the works of men, because they are received into grace, and are now become the sons of God for Christ his sake; so that at the last, all things may be turned upon Christ himself, for whose sake the godly know that they and all theirs are in favour and accepted of God the Father.

This comes in the context of a sermon that is crystal clear on justification sola fide. Bullinger does not think it impossible to affirm, in a suitably qualified sense, that “our own works do justify us” or that they receive “life everlasting”, once the more foundational and controlling truth of justification by grace through faith is properly understood.