OUT OF TOMES
The writings of theologians and pastors who have come before us can serve as an invitation to think more prolongedly and with greater specificity on God, and His glorious works and ways. In this ongoing series, I cull quotations on passages of Scripture from Christian Classics Ethereal Library to help spur your consideration, discernment, mediation, and worship. You can link to the full sources below or start your own search on a biblical text here.
Christ was the price of “our chastisement,” that is, of the chastisement which was due to us. Thus the wrath of God, which had been justly kindled against us, was appeased; and through the Mediator we have obtained “peace,” by which we are reconciled. . . in Christ alone is life and salvation, he alone brought medicine to us, and even procures health by his weakness, and life by his death; for he alone hath pacified the Father, he alone hath reconciled us to him.
He had griefs and sorrows; being acquainted with them, he kept up the acquaintance, and did not grow shy, no, not of such melancholy acquaintance. Were griefs and sorrows allotted him? He bore them, and blamed not his lot; he carried them, and did neither shrink from them, nor sink under them. The load was heavy and the way long, and yet he did not tire, but persevered to the end, till he said, It is finished.
Was he scourged? It was that through “his stripes we might be healed.” Was he condemned, though innocent? It was that we might be acquitted, though guilty. Did he wear a crown of thorns? It that we might wear the crown of glory. Was he stripped of his raiment? It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness. Was he mocked and reviled? It that we might be honored and blessed. Was he reckoned a malefactor, and numbered among transgressors? It was that we might be reckoned innocent, and justified from all sin. Was he declared unable to save himself? It was that he might be able to save others to the uttermost. Did he die at last, and that the most painful and disgraceful of deaths? It was that we might live forevermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.
With his stripes we are healed, says the prophet there; there, before he was scourged, we were healed with his stripes; how much more shall I be healed now, now when that which he hath already suffered actually is actually and effectually applied to me? Is there any thing incurable, upon which that balm drops? Any vein so empty as that that blood cannot fill it?
So “God laid on Christ the iniquities of us all,” that “by his stripes we might be healed,” Isa. liii. 5, 6. Our iniquity was laid on him, and he bare it, verse 11; and through his bearing of it we are freed from it. His stripes are our healing. Our sin was his, imputed unto him; his merit is ours, imputed unto us. “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might become the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Cor. v. 21. This is that commutation I mentioned: he was made sin for us; we are made the righteousness of God in him. God not imputing sin unto us, verse 19, but imputing righteousness unto us, does it on this ground alone that “he was made sin for us.” And if by his being made sin, only his being made a sacrifice for sin is intended, it is to the same purpose; for the formal reason of any thing being made an expiatory sacrifice, was the imputation of sin unto it by divine institution. The same is expressed by the same apostle, Rom. viii. 3, 4, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.” The sin was made his, he answered for it; and the righteousness which God requires by the law is made ours: the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, not by our doing it, but by his. This is that blessed change and commutation wherein alone the soul of a convinced sinner can find rest and peace.
Because that which our blessed Surety took upon him for our cause, without taking to him any thing which is essential in sin, such as is to be a sinner like us, to do violence, to be justly accused of sin, that is different from sin; but Christ took on him the guilt of our sin, that is, the actual obligation to be punished for sin, while as he bare our sins in his own body on the tree, (1 Pet. 2:24,) “And was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities, and did bear on him the chastisement of our peace,” (Isa. 53:5,) “and died for our offences,” (Rom. 4:25; 5:6). And this punishment Christ could not have borne, except by law he had obliged himself, as our Surety, to pay our debts, (Heb. 10:4-8, and 7:22.) Now that in all his life and sufferings he did no violence, committed no sin, nor touched any contagion of sin in his own person, is evident; because he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners, (Heb. 7:26; 4:15; Isaiah 53:9). The proposition is sure; for if Christ was so made sin, and punished for sin, and liable to suffer for sin, and yet had not any sinful or blameworthy guilt on him; then that guilt of the person by which any is liable to punishment for sin, is some other thing than sin, and the blame-worthy guilt that is in sin; forasmuch as they are really separated, the one being in Christ, and the other not being in him, nay, nor could it be in him.
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended
Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!
Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.
Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.
Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.