BEING A SECOND PART OF THE FORMER DIGRESSION — ARGUMENTS TO PROVE THE SATISFACTION OF CHRIST.
I. If Christ so took our sins, and had them by God so laid and imposed on him, as that he underwent the punishment due unto them in our stead, then he made satisfaction to the justice of God for them, that the sinners might go free; but Christ so took and bare our sins, and had them so laid upon him, as that he underwent the punishment due unto them, and that in our stead: therefore, he made satisfaction to the justice of God for them. The consequent of the proposition is apparent, and was before proved. Of the assumption there be three parts, severally to be confirmed: — First, That Christ took and bare our sins, God laying them on him. Secondly, That he so took them as to undergo the punishment due unto them. Thirdly, That he did this in our stead.
For the first, that he took and bare our sins, ye have it, John 1:29, ‘O ai]rwn, etc., — “Who taketh away the sin of the world;” 1 Peter 2:24, ‘Ov ajnh>negken, — “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body;” Isaiah 53:11, lBos]yi aWh , — “He shall bear their iniquities;” and verse 12, ac;n; , — “He bare the sin of many.” That God also laid or imposed our sins on him is no less apparent: Isaiah 53:6, “The LORD, made to meet on him the iniquity of us all;” 2 Corinthians 5:21, ‘Amarti>an ejpoi>hse, — “He hath made him to be sin for us.”
The second branch is, that in thus doing our Savior underwent the punishment due to the sins which he bare, which were laid upon him; which may be thus made manifest: — Death and the curse of the law contain the whole of the punishment due to sin, Genesis 2:17, tWmT; t/m , “Dying then shalt die,” is that which was threatened. Death was that which entered by sin, Romans 5:12: which word in these places is comprehensive of all misery due to our transgressions; which also is held out in the curse of the law, Deuteronomy 27:26, “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them.” That all evils of punishment whatsoever are comprised in these is unquestionably evident. Now, Jesus Christ in bearing our sins underwent both these: for “by the grace of God he tasted death,” Hebrews 2:9; by death delivering from death, Hebrews 2:14. He was not “spared, but given up to death for us all,” Romans 8:32. So also the curse of the law: Galatians 3:13, Geno>menov kata>ra, — he “was made a curse for us;” and ejpikata>raton, “cursed.” And this by the way of undergoing the punishment that was in death and curse: for by these “it pleased the LORD to bruise him, and put him to grief,” Isaiah 53:10; yea, oujk ejfei>sato, “he spared him not,” Romans 8:32, but “condemned sin in his flesh,” Romans 8:3. It remaineth only to show that he did this in our stead, and the whole argument is confirmed.
Now, this also our Savior himself maketh apparent, Matthew 20:28. He came dou~nai th<n yuch<n auJtou~ lu>tron ajnti< pollw~v, — “to give himself a ransom for many.” The word ajnti> always supposeth a commutation, and change of one person or thing instead of another, as shall be afterward declared: so Matthew 2:22; so 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 3:18, “He suffered for us, the just for the unjust;” and Psalm 69:4, “I restored” (or paid) “that which I took not away,” — namely, our debt, so far as that thereby we are discharged, as Romans 8:34, where it is asserted, upon this very ground, that he died in our stead. And so the several parts of this first argument are confirmed.
II. If Jesus Christ paid into his Father’s hands a valuable price and ransom for our sins, as our surety, so discharging the debt that we lay under, that we might go free, then did he bear the punishment due to our sins, and make satisfaction to the justice of God for them (for to pay such a ransom is to make such satisfaction); but Jesus Christ paid such a price and ransom, as our surety, into his Father’s hands, etc: ergo, —
There be four things to be proved in the assumption, or second proposition: — First, That Christ paid such a price and ransom. Secondly, That he paid it into the hands of his Father. Thirdly, That he did it as our surety. Fourthly, That we might go free. All which we shall prove in order:
First, For the first, our Savior himself affirms it, Matthew 20:28. He “came to give his life lu>tron,” a ransom or price of redemption “for many,” Mark 10:45; which the apostle terms ajnti>lutron, 1 Timothy 2:6, a ransom to be accepted in the stead of others: whence we are said to have deliverance dia< th~v ajpolutrw>sewv, “by the ransom-paying of Christ Jesus,” Romans 3:24. “He bought us with a price,” 1 Corinthians 6:20; which price was his own blood, Acts 20:28; compared to and exalted above silver and gold in this work of redemption, 1 Peter 1:18. So that this first part is most clear and evident.
Secondly, He paid this price into the hands of his Father. A price must be paid to somebody in the case of deliverance from captivity by it; it must be paid to the judge or jailer, — that is, to God or the devil. To say the latter were the highest blasphemy; Satan was to be conquered, not satisfied. For the former, the Scripture is clear: It was his “wrath” that was on us, John 3:36. It was he that had “shut us all up under sin,” Galatians 3:22. He is the great king to whom the debt is owing, Matthew 28:23-34. He is the only “law-giver, who is able to save and to destroy,” James 4:12. Nay, the ways whereby this ransom-paying is in the Scripture expressed abundantly enforce the payment of it into the hands of his Father; for his death and blood-shedding is said to be profora> and qusi>a, “an oblation and sacrifice,” Ephesians 5:2; and his soul to be Áv;a; , a sacrifice or “offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10. Now, certainly offerings and sacrifices are to be directed unto God alone.
Thirdly, That he did this as surety, we are assured, Hebrews 7:22. He was made e]gguov, a “surety of a better testament;” and, in performance of the duty which lay upon him as such, “he paid that which he took not away,” Psalm 69:4. All which could not possibly have any other end but that we might go free.
III. To make an atonement for sin, and to reconcile God unto the sinners, is in effect to make satisfaction unto the justice of God for sin, and all that we understand thereby; but Jesus Christ, by his death and oblation, did make an atonement for sin, and reconcile God unto sinners: ergo, —
The first proposition is in itself evident; the assumption is confirmed, Romans 3:24,25. We are justified freely by the ransom-paying, that is in Christ, whom God hath set forth to be iJlasth>rion, a propitiation, an atonement, a mercy-seat, a covering of iniquity; and that, eijv e]ndeixin th~v dikaiosu>nhv, for the manifestation of his justice, declared in the going forth and accomplishment thereof. So likewise Hebrews 2:17, he is said to be a “merciful high priest, eijv to< iJla>skesqai ta<v aJmarti>av tou~ laou~,” — “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people,” to reconcile God unto the people: the meaning of the words being, ijla>skesqai to<n Qeo<n peri< tw~n aJmartiw~n tou~ laou~, — to reconcile God, who was offended with the sins of the people; which reconciliation we are said to “receive,” Romans 5:11 (the word katallagh> there, in our common translation rendered “atonement,” is in other places in the same rendered “reconciliation,” being indeed, the only word used for it in the New Testament.) And all this is said to be accomplished, dij eJno<v dikaiw>matov, — by one righteousness or satisfaction; that is of Christ, (the words will not bear that sense wherein they are usually rendered, “By the righteousness of one,” for then must it have been dia< dikaiw>matov tou~ eJno<v.) And hereby were we delivered from that from which it was impossible we should be otherwise delivered, Romans 8:3.
IV. That wherein the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ whilst he was on earth doth consist, cannot be rejected nor denied without damnable error; but the exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ whilst he was upon the earth consisted in this, to bear the punishment due to our sins, to make atonement with God, by undergoing his wrath, and reconciling him to sinners upon the satisfaction made to his justice: therefore cannot these things be denied without damnable error. That in the things before recounted the exercise of Christ’s priestly office did consist is most apparent, — first, From all the types and sacrifices whereby it was prefigured, their chief end being propitiation and atonement; secondly, From the very nature of the sacerdotal office, appointed for sacrificing, Christ having nothing to offer but his own blood, through the eternal Spirit; and, thirdly, From divers, yea, innumerable texts of Scripture affirming the same. It would be too long a work to prosecute these things severally and at large, and therefore I will content myself with one or two places wherein all those testimonies are comprised; as Hebrews 9:13, 14,
“If the blood of bulls and of goats,” etc., “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God?” etc.
Here the death of Christ is compared to, exalted above, and in the antitype answereth, the sacrifices of expiation which were made by the blood of bulls and goats; and so must, at least spiritually, effect what they did carnally accomplish and typically prefigure, — namely, deliverance from the guilt of sin by expiation and atonement: for as in them the life and blood of the sacrifice was accepted in the stead of the offerer, who was to die for the breach of the law, according to the rigour of it, so in this of Christ was his blood accepted as an atonement and propitiation for us, himself being priest, altar, and sacrifice. So, Hebrews 10:10-12, he is said expressly, in the room of all the old, insufficient, carnal sacrifices, which could not make the comers thereunto perfect, to offer up his own body a sacrifice for sins, for the remission and pardon of sins through that offering of himself; as it is Hebrews 10:19. And in the performance also do we affirm that our Savior underwent the wrath of God which was due unto us. This, because it is by some questioned, I shall briefly confirm, and that with these following reasons: —
First, The punishment due to sin is the wrath of God: Romans 1:18, “The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness;” Romans 2:5, “The day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” Ephesians 2:3, “Children of wrath;” John 3:36. But Jesus Christ underwent the punishment due to sin: 2 Corinthians 5:21, “Made sin for us;” Isaiah 53:6, “Iniquity was laid upon him;” 1 Peter 2:24, “He bare our sins in his own body on the tree.” Therefore he underwent the wrath of God. Secondly, The curse of the law is the wrath of God taken passively, Deuteronomy 24:20, 21. But Jesus Christ underwent the curse of the law: Galatians 3:13, “Made a curse for us,” the curse that they lie under who are out of Christ, who are “of the works of the law,” verse, 10.
Therefore he underwent the wrath of God. Thirdly, The death that sinners are to undergo is the wrath of God. Jesus Christ did taste, of that death which sinners for themselves were to undergo; for he died as “our surety,” Hebrews 7:22, and in our stead, Matthew 20:28. Hence his fear, Hebrews 5:7; agony, Luke 22:44; astonishment and amazement, Mark 14:33; dereliction, Matthew 27:46; sorrow, heaviness, and inexpressible pressures, Matthew 26:37- 39.
V. That doctrine cannot be true nor agreeable to the gospel which strikes at the root of gospel faith, and plucks away the foundation of all that strong consolation which God is so abundantly willing we should receive; but such is that of denying the satisfaction made by Christ, his answering the justice and undergoing the wrath of his Father. It makes the poor soul to be like Noah’s dove in its distress, not knowing where to rest the soles of her feet. When a soul is turned out of its self-righteousness, and begins to look abroad, and view the heaven and earth for a resting place, and perceives an ocean, a flood, an inundation of wrath, to cover all the world, the wrath of God revealing itself from heaven against all ungodliness, so that it can obtain no rest nor abiding, — heaven it cannot reach by its own flight, and to hell it is unwilling to fall; — if now the Lord Jesus Christ do not appear as an ark in the midst of the waters, upon whom the floods have fallen, and yet has got above them all for a refuge, alas! what shall it do? When the flood fell there were many mountains glorious in the eye, far higher than the ark; but yet those mountains were all drowned, whilst the ark still kept on the top of the waters. Many appearing hills and mountains of self-righteousness and general mercy, at the first view, seem to the soul much higher than Jesus Christ, but when the flood of wrath once comes and spreads itself, all those mountains are quickly covered; only the ark, the Lord Jesus Christ though the flood fall on him also, yet he gets above it quite, and gives safety to them that rest upon him. Let me now ask any of those poor souls who ever have been wandering and tossed with the fear of the wrath to come, whether ever they found a resting-place until they came to this: — God spared not his only Son, but gave him up to death for us all; that he made him to be sin for us; that he put all the sins of all the elect into that cup which he was to drink of; that the wrath and flood which they feared did fall upon Jesus Christ (though now, as the ark, he be above it, so that if they could get into him they should be safe). The storm hath been his, and the safety shall be theirs. As all the waters which would have fallen upon them that were in the ark fell upon the ark, they being dry and safe, so all the wrath that should have fallen upon them fell on Christ; which alone causeth their souls to dwell in safety? Hath not, I say, this been your bottom, your foundation, your resting-place? If not (for the substance of it), I fear you have but rotten bottoms. Now, what would you say if a man should come and pull this ark from under you, and give you an old rotten post to swim upon in the flood of wrath? It is too late to tell you no wrath is due unto you; the word of truth and your own consciences have given you other information. You know the “wages of sin is death,” in whomsoever it be; he must die in whomsoever it is found. So that truly the soul may well say, “Bereave me of the satisfaction of Christ, and I am bereaved. If he fulfilled not justice, I must; if he underwent not wrath, I must to eternity. O rob me not of my only pearl!” Denying the satisfaction of Christ destroys the foundation of faith and comfort.
VI. Another argument we may take from some few particular places of Scripture, which, instead of many, I shall produce: — As, first, 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.” “He made him to be sin for us;” how could that be? are not the next words, “He knew no sin?” was he not a Lamb without blemish, and without spot? Doubtless; “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” What then is this, “God made him to be sin?” It cannot be that God made him sinful, or a sinner by any inherent sin; that will not stand with the justice of God nor with the holiness of the person of our Redeemer. What is it, then? “He made him to be sin who knew no sin?” Why, clearly, by dispensation and consent, he laid that to his charge whereof he was not guilty. He charged upon him and imputed unto him all the sins of all the elect, and proceeded against him accordingly. He stood as our surety, really charged with the whole debt, and was to pay the utmost farthing, as a surety is to do if it be required of him; though he borrow not the money, nor have one penny of that which is in the obligation, yet if he be sued to an execution, he must pay all. The Lord Christ (if I may so say) was sued by his Father’s justice unto an execution, in answer whereunto he underwent all that was due to sin; which we proved before to be death, wrath, and curse.
If it be excepted (as it is) “That God was always well pleased with his Son, — he testified it again and again from heaven, — how, then, could he lay his wrath upon him?” Ans. It is true he was always well pleased with him; yet it “pleased him to bruise him and put him to grief.” He was always well pleased with the holiness of his person, the excellency and perfectness of his righteousness, and the sweetness of his obedience, but he was displeased with the sins that were charged on him: and therefore it pleased him to bruise and put him to grief with whom he was always well pleased.
Nor is that other exception of any more value, “That Christ underwent no more than the elect lay under; but they lay not under wrath and the punishment due to sin.” Ans. The proposition is most false, neither is there any more truth in the assumption; for — First, Christ underwent not only that wrath (taking it passively) which the elect were under, but that also which they should have undergone bad not he borne it for them: he “delivered them from the wrath to come,” Secondly, The elect do, in their several generations, lie under all the wrath of God in respect of merit and procurement, though not in respect of actual endurance, — in respect of guilt, not present punishment, So that, notwithstanding there exceptions, it stands firm that “he was made sin for us, who knew no sin.” Isaiah 53:5,
“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Of this place something was said before; I shall add some small enlargements that conduce to discover the meaning of the words. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him;” that is, he was chastised or punished that we might have peace, that we might go free, our sins being the cause of his wounding, and our iniquities of his being bruised, all our sins meeting upon him, as verse 6; that is, he “bare our sins,” in Peter’s interpretation. He bare our sins (not, as some think, by declaring that we were never truly sinful, but) by being wounded for them, bruised for them, undergoing the chastisement due unto them, consisting in death, wrath, and curse, so making his soul an offering for sin. “He bare our sins;” that is, say some, he declared that we have an eternal righteousness in God, because of his eternal purpose to do us good. But is this to interpret Scripture, or to corrupt the word of God? Ask the word what it means by Christ’s bearing of sin; it will tell you, his being “stricken” for our transgressions, Isaiah 53:8, — his being “cut off” for our sins, Daniel 9:26. Neither hath the expression of bearing sins any other signification in the word: Leviticus 5:1, “If a soul hear the voice of swearing, if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.” What is that? he shall declare himself or others to be free from sin? No, doubtless; but, he shall undergo the punishment due to sin, as our Savior did in bearing our iniquities. He must be a cunning gamester indeed that shall cheat a believer of this foundation.
More arguments or texts on this subject I shall not urge or produce, though the cause itself will enforce the most unskillful to abound. I have proceeded as far as the nature of a digression will well bear. Neither shall I undertake, at this time, the answering of objections to the contrary; a full discussion of the whole business of the satisfaction of Christ, which should cause me to search for, draw forth, and confute all objections to the contrary, being not by me intended. And for those which were made it that debate which gave occasion to this discourse, I dare not produce them, lest haply I should not be able to restrain the conjectures of men that I purposely framed such weak objections, that 1 might obtain an easy conquest over a man of straw of mine own erection, so weak were they and of so little force to the slashing of so fundamental a truth as that is which we do maintain. So of this argument hitherto.