Wednesday, March 31, 2010

JUSTIFICATION IN IT'S FOUR-FOLD STATE - PART 1


In this series I would like to start a study entitled: "Justification in it's four-fold state". We will study the doctrine (teaching) of justification in detail; as for the term: "it's four-fold state". I just mean that justification has four main elements, properties, parts to it, but they are all parts of the one justification found in the Word of God.

If you do a Word study on "justification", I trust you will find out that justification in the Bible means: "righteous, holy, saved, redeemed".

Justification in the God's Holy inspired Word means that God's elect (those sinners that God has chosen in Christ; Mark 13:20) are declared by God Almighty to be as righteous as Jesus Christ; not in their own persons, but by the wonderful doctrine of imputation.

Imputation means charged, reckoned.

If you use a bankcard to purchase something, the vendor "charges" (imputes) the transaction to your bank account. So it is with justification in the Bible - justification is God charging (imputing) Christ's righteousness to His elect, whereby in this present life they are declared righteous, justified, holy, saved, redeemed!

They are not righteous in themselves (Titus 3:5), but "in Christ": they are safe and secure.

What is Christ's righteousness?

Righteousness is perfect satisfaction to God's Law (His Word) and Justice (judgement based on His Law). Christ declared what God requires to be "righteous" (justified):

"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
(Matthew 5:48)

For a sinner to be declared "righteous" (justified): the standard of righteousness is God Himself: "even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (perfectly righteous).

Can a sinner meet this standard?

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."
(Ecclesiastes 7:20)

"There is none righteous, no, not one."
(Romans 3:10)

But there is good news (gospel) for God's elect: there is one person in history who is perfectly righteous, and He performed once the perfect sacrifice for His people and redeemed them, and in God's time He sends His Holy Spirit to His elect, where they are "born again", and come to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation!

This is "Christ's righteousness"!

It's a righteousness that He ALONE established (accomplished), and the Bible says of this righteousness:

"to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised Jesus our Lord from the dead."
(Romans 4:24)

Jesus Christ is the only righteousness that exists in the world today.

Jesus is called:

"THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS"
(Jeremiah 23:6)

Jesus Christ will be the standard of righteousness on judgement day:

"Because he (God) hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
(Acts 17:31)

For a sinner to be "justified", they must have Christ's righteousness imputed to them. There is no other justification in the Bible. If anyone tries to be righteous (justified) before God in any other way than Christ's righteousness they will be damned.

The Word of God speaks of those who go about to establish their own righteousness - by their works, instead of submitting to God's righteousness: Christ and Him crucified!

"For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
(Romans 10:3)

When God regenerates (converts; being born again) one of His elect, they look to Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation- they will see that Christ has met all that the Law requires of them:

"For Christ is the end (fulfillment; satisfaction) of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
(Romans 10:4)

Justification is the fact that God's elect are declared righteous because Christ's righteousness is imputed (charged) to them; and when they are born again, they will be taught of God this truth, and will come to Christ:

"Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."
(I Peter 1:23)

"And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
(John 6:45)

Are you in a state (existence) of justification?

Am I?

By the end of our study on justification we will know as we look at the scriptures.

We will begin the next study God willing of the four-fold state of justification:

1) Justification from eternity: God's testimony that in His mind which is eternal- He has always seen His elect (His people, sheep, the one true church) as justified.

2) Justification objectively at the cross: God's testimony will show us that God's elect were justified objectively (actually) in the object of their faith: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

3) Justification subjectively at regeneration: God's testimony will show that when God calls His elect through the true gospel (salvation conditioned; grounded, on Christ ALONE), accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the new birth (regeneration), they will come to experience subjectively (in their own person) the reality of God's justification of them.

4) Total justification: God's testimony will show us that at the end of time God will justify (redeem) the elect's bodies, and born again sinners will then experience total justification.

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
(Romans 3:24)

Amen!

By Craig Miklosik

JUSTIFICATION IN IT'S FOUR-FOLD STATE - PART 2


According to the Bible, justification is the fact that God in declaring His elect justified is stating that the judgement due them for their sins does not exist. To be declared justified by God means one is righteous, not-guilty, saved; not in their own selves, but in the person and work of the only Savior:

"Jesus Christ the righteous."
(I John 2:1)

If one finds themselves in a state of salvation, it is because God choose them in Christ, and sent Christ to save them which Christ accomplished at the cross, and God has revealed to them through the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit that God sees them as justified - in Christ!

This is the only justification found in the Bible.

In this study we will look at one of the four-fold states of justification: Justification from eternity.

There are Christians who do not believe in justification from eternity. I only present the scriptures from God's testimony, and then you may determine if what is presented is true.

I personally believe that a Christian might not understand justification from eternity, but I don't believe it can be denied as it is examined with God's testimony. We as creatures of time cannot really understand eternity; but hopefully we could agree that eternity has no beginning and no end; it is outside of time. Concerning eternity, it is said of God:

"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy."
(Isaiah 57:15)

"Now unto the King eternal."
(I Timothy 1:17)

God has no beginning and no end ("eternal") and God is outside of time where we dwell (inhabiteth eternity). The only concept (understanding, idea) we can have of things eternal is as God reveals eternal things to us in His Word; and then we can only accept them as true even if we can not understand them.

We will now look at Justification from eternity: God's testimony that in His mind which is eternal - He has always seen His elect (His people, sheep, the one true church) as justified.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."

(Ephesians 1:3-4)

God is declaring that the elect were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Before the foundation of the world our text says that God hath blessed the elect with all spiritual blessings in Christ. Although the elect do not realize this subjectively (justification subjectively at regeneration - in their persons) until they are born again in time, our text says that God declares us in Christ before creation. God declares that He can decree this even though we might not understand because God: "calleth those things which be not as though they are." (Romans 4:17).

Let's look at another verse:

"Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began."
(II Timothy 1:9)

Even though the elect don't experience (justification subjectively at regeneration) being saved, called, grace until they are born again, in the mind of God according to our text above (II Timothy 1:9) these blessings happened before the world began.

In our finite minds we start at the beginning and continue unto the end of something not knowing what is ahead; but God is seen as:

"Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
(Isaiah 46:10)

Consider a movie on a DVD. We start at the beginning, and in time watch it from beginning to end, not knowing the end from the beginning. God sees the DVD's events all at the same time for as our text above says He declares the end from the beginning: God sees all He has decreed in time before time:

"the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
(Hebrews 4:3)

"Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
(Acts 15:18)

All of God's works (everything that happens in time which all has been decreed by God) includes the most important work ever in history: Christ and Him crucified - the salvation of His people at Calvary! (justification objectively at the cross; Christ being the object of the elect's faith).

God's complete redemption of His people:

1) Justification objectively at the cross,
2) Justification subjectively at regeneration,
3) Total justification in our bodies...

...is summed up in one verse, and all these states of justification are in the past tense (seen by God as already having occurred), being predestinated by God who is not bound by time:

"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

(Romans 8:29-30)

This is the doctrine of justification from eternity: God's testimony that in His mind which is eternal - He has always seen His elect (His people, sheep, the one true church) as justified. Just because one might not be able to comprehend this doctrine doesn't mean it is not true:

"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my (God) ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
(Isaiah 55:9)

In our next study God willing we will look at - Justification objectively at the cross: we will see the heart of the gospel: that Jesus Christ has saved all His people from their sins!

"Being now justified by his blood."
(Romans 5:9)

Amen!

By Craig Miklosik

JUSTIFICATION IN IT'S FOUR-FOLD STATE - PART 3


In this study we are going to be looking at justification objectively at the cross: the truth from God's testimony that Jesus actually saved (justified) His people at the cross of Calvary!

Justification remember in God's Word means saved, redeemed, righteous. Objectively means that Jesus Himself is the object of the elect's faith. At the cross doesn't mean a piece of wood, or something you might wear around your neck: the cross represent ALL that Jesus accomplished in establishing salvation (righteousness, justification) for His elect.

Justification objectively (actually) at the cross: means that Jesus Christ saved His people from the wrath due their sins, and that the elect will look to Christ as the object of their faith for ALL of their salvation.

Let's now look to God's Word that testifies of these truths:

"He (God the Father) shall see of the travail (suffering) of his (Jesus') soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."
(Isaiah 53:11)

God is testifying in this verse that through the work of Jesus at the cross, Jesus actually saved (justified) His people right then and there.

False religion teaches a false gospel. Part of the falsehood which is preached almost everywhere is that Jesus Christ died for every one who has ever been born, and he made salvation "possible" for every one who has ever been born. This false teaching would mean that Jesus Christ actually (objectively) never really saved any one; but that He only made salvation "possible". This is a lie from the gates of hell. This lie then teaches that salvation is "conditioned" (grounded, dependent upon) the sinner. This lie actually teaches that Jesus Christ did all that He could do to save every one who has ever lived, but ALL His work is worthless unless the sinner "decides" to have Jesus as their Savior.

The Bible says "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD" (Psalm 3:8).

But this lie would have to say: salvation belongeth unto the so-called "free-will" of man. The true gospel that we are looking at today is salvation conditioned on Christ and His work ALONE; this lie that Jesus Christ died for every one who has ever been born is salvation conditioned on the sinner. This lie is called by the name "universal atonement" - that Jesus Christ died for the sins of everyone, saving no-one, and that the majority of those for whom He made an atonement for end up in hell.

It is a doctrine of devils and a damnable heresy.

The true gospel - salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE for HIS ELECT ONLY is the only atonement (satisfaction for sin) found in the Bible.

Please see our text above in Isaiah 53:11 - God states that Jesus Christ "justified many": those are the elect.

Who are the elect?

The elect are those who God ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48), they are those for whom Christ died for ("justified many"), and it is those to whom the Holy Spirit gives the new birth to (John 3:3); and those who are regenerated (receive the new birth) come to Christ through believing the gospel (John 6:45).

Let's look at some other verses to prove that Jesus Christ established righteousness (justification) at the cross of Calvary for His people:

"Seventy weeks (in the Hebrew: heptads or 490 years - a prophecy of when Christ would come) are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy" (Daniel 9:24).

This is speaking of what Jesus Christ accomplished when He came to earth and established righteous for His elect at the cross of Calvary!

"And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
(Matthew 1:21)

God is testifying here that Jesus SHALL save HIS PEOPLE from their sins. And He purchased (justified) the church of God (his people) at the cross of Calvary:

"Feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."
(Acts 20:28)

"Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled (justified) to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

(Romans 5:9-10)

Please consider this verse:

"Who (Christ) was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for (because) our justification."
(Romans 4:25)

This verse tells us that Christ justified the elect at the cross, which demanded His resurrection!

As for the lie mentioned above: "universal atonement": that Christ died for the sins of every one who has ever been born: just looking at the few verses I quoted above: if "universal atonement" was true: 1) that would mean that every one who was ever born is justified - which is a lie; or 2) Christ did not accomplish what He said He would - which is a lie; therefore: universal atonement is a lie.

The true atonement in the Bible is a "Particular, effectual atonement" that Christ established for His people. It was particular to only include them, and it was effectual- the elect where justified at the cross of Calvary:

"By His own blood he entered in once into the holy place (the presence of God), having obtained eternal redemption for us."
(Hebrews 9:12)

This is God's testimony concerning: justification objectively (actually) at the cross: that at the cross of Calvary God justified His people there in the person and work of the God-man Jesus Christ!

In our next study God-willing, we will see God's people that Christ justified at the cross coming to believe the true gospel: salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE: justification subjectively at regeneration: that those who Christ justified at the cross will come to hear the true gospel, repent of their false religion, and through the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth come to believe in Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation!

And God's people will testify:
"God forbid that I should glory (have confidence in), save (except) in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
(Galatians 6:14)

By Craig Miklosik

JUSTIFICATION IN IT'S FOUR-FOLD STATE - PART 4


In this study we will be looking at - Justification at the time of regeneration.

Before we do, let's review what we've studied so far;

1) Justification from eternity: God's testimony that in His mind which is eternal - He has always seen His elect (His people, sheep, the one true church) as justified.

2) Justification objectively at the cross: God's testimony that God's elect were justified objectively (actually) in the object of their faith: Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Now we will look at - Justification at the time of regeneration: God's testimony that when God calls His elect through the true gospel (salvation conditioned; grounded) upon Christ ALONE, accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the New Birth ("being born again"; regeneration), they will come to experience (in their own persons) the reality of God's justification of them.

We will look at Justification at the time of regeneration in three parts:

1) regeneration
2) repentance
3) conversion (or faith; believing).

Regeneration: regeneration is the coming of the Holy Spirit into the person of one of God's elect: it's called in the Bible being "born again". Let us hear from God's testimony the description of regeneration, or the coming of the Holy Spirit into the person of one of God's elect:

John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily (truly), I say unto thee, Except a man be born again (born from above - from God), he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:4
Nicodemus (a religious leader) saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

John 3:5
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:6
That which is born of the flesh (first birth by parents) is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit: being born again) is spirit.

John 3:7
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

John 3:8
The wind bloweth where it listeth (where it wants to), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

God is saying that regeneration is when one is "born again", or born from above. To be a Christian, one "must be born again" (John 3:7). Religion will tell you all different ways on how you can be born again; what YOU must do. But these are all lies. Read the passage above again. God likens regeneration to the wind: As God is sovereign (all powerful) in directing every wind that blows on the earth, so is He sovereign in sending His Spirit in the New Birth: the sinner came do nothing to bring the Holy Spirit:

"A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."
(John 3:27)

"It is the Spirit (Holy Spirit) that quickeneth (gives life; Spiritual life); the flesh profiteth nothing (the flesh = the sinner; cannot give spiritual life to oneself): the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life".
(John 6:63)

If one is born again, it is ALL the work God. If one believes that they were born again by something they did: their works, their prayer, their decision; these sinners testify that they have not been born again for:

"no man can say Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."
(I Corinthians 12:3)

"Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost."
(Titus 3:5)

Regeneration is a sovereign act of God whereby He sends His Holy Spirit to one of His elect:

Galatians 4:4
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law,

Galatians 4:5
To redeem (justify) them (the elect) that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Galatians 4:6
And because you are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Aba, Father.

Now let's look at:

Repentance: repentance means a change of mind; a turning. In the Bible, God reveals that repentance is to turn away from what one of God's elect falsely believed about God, and turn to the true gospel: salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE. One must repent to come to see their justification - The Lord Jesus said:

"I tell you, Nay: but except you repent, ye shall all likewise perish."
(Luke 13:3)

Today in religion, repentance is rarely preached, and if it is, it is usually a lie. Today the masses are told: "just be sorry for your sin, and accept Jesus as your Savior".

This is NOT repentance!

Repentance is a complete change from the idol (false God or false views of God) that one had; and a complete forsaking (casting away) of that idol, and turning to the true gospel: salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE.

True repentance comes from God:

"the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."
(Romans 2:4)

True repentance is when GOD comes in regeneration and shows the elect sinner that they are worshiping an idol; and points them to Christ: and they repent of that idol or false god or false view of God's salvation:

"If God peradventure (if He wills) will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
(II Timothy 2:25-26)

"and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God."
(I Thessalonians 1:9)

True repentance is part of - Justification at the time of regeneration - The justified sinner will be given the Holy Spirit in:

1) regeneration
2) repentance,
3) conversion (faith, believing):

Those whom God regenerates, those whom He gives repentance to: He gives them conversion: faith to believe in Christ ALONE for all of salvation. And God converts His elect through the true gospel: salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ:

Christ and Him crucified:

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; wether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?"
(Romans 6:16)

God is telling us here that we are servants (slaves) to either: "sin unto death" (following an idol or false god), or "obedience unto righteousness" (believing the true gospel).

"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you."
(Romans 6:17)

God is telling us here that His elect "were the servants of sin" (following an idol or false god); "but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (God regenerating one, giving one repentance, and faith to believe the gospel).

"Being then made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness."
(Romans 6:18)

"Being then made free from sin" (when one believes the gospel they see that they are justified from their sins even though still a sinner), "ye became servants of righteousness" (when one becomes a slave to the fact that they are declared righteous (justified) by God: In Christ!

In Romans 6:16-23 there is an in depth declaration of:

1) regeneration
2) repentance
3) conversion.

I did an in depth study on this in the past which you can find HERE


Conversion is God taking a sinner, and revealing to them through 1) regeneration, 2) repentance: and belief of the gospel through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Justification at the time of regeneration: God's testimony that when God calls His elect through the true gospel, accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the New Birth, they will come to experience in their persons the reality that God has justified them:

"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification (setting one apart) of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ."

(II Thessalonians 2:13-14)

God uses His true gospel to give His elect knowledge of their salvation in Christ. The true gospel is: God's absolute promise: to save a sinner, giving them ALL of salvation, including the work of the Holy Spirit in them, and all of heaven's glories to come: all conditioned (based, founded) on the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed (charged) to the sinner. This is the only gospel God uses to call His people!

Christ's call to His people:

"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel".
(Mark 1:15)

By Craig Miklosik

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

THE REASON FOR CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS


Sermon preached by Mr. J. J. Farley at Union Chapel, Bethersden, 1971.

"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?"
(Luke 24:26)

Very many times since the event which I have read to you took place have the solemnities of the crucifixion of the Son of God been brought before, and meditated upon, by the servants of God to the people of God.

This day for some reason my thoughts seem to have been led away from the chapters which are customarily used on this occasion. I felt some reluctance in speaking, or attempting to speak, on a word which was found in a chapter which deals with His triumph instead of His crucifixion.

And yet, you see, I have before me in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself a reason hinted at for the sufferings. And will it not assist us, if God be pleased to lead us into it; will it not assist us just as much to worship Him, if He shall reveal to us the reason for the sufferings as well as knowing what they were? This we have already discovered by the reading which has taken place. We have read as far as our intellects could understand what the dear Lord suffered.

Surely here now we have His own words as to the design. This was needful. There is hidden here something more than appears on a momentary glance at these first two words: "Ought not?" These have stayed with me a great deal during the past week: "Ought not?"

Is it without purpose?

Was it entirely without fruitful effects?

Was it just a promiscuous happening?

Or, was it indeed in the counsels of God from all eternity?

"Ought not?"

Must it not be so?

Is there not a cause?

Is there not a reason why the Lord Jesus should leave the realms of glory, and come down and suffer as never anyone else suffered?

Was this entirely without purpose?

Ought not this to have been?

Well, may the Lord show us in His mercy at least somewhat of why it was, why it ought to be so. That our small meditation on these solemn things may be the means of causing us to worship Him sincerely before we separate, is my earnest desire.

There is an outstanding reason. My thoughts were assisted when another word was brought to my mind. You know it occurs in that intimate communion Jesus had with His Father, which we read in the 17th chapter of John. The first clause of one verse was sufficient to set me thinking: "I have glorified Thee on the earth" (v. 4).

"Glorified Thee."

How?

In what way particularly?

Well, I shall never be able to tell you or anyone else fully how He glorified His Father. But it has been shown to me, I believe, that He glorified Him very much, and therefore He ought to have suffered these things, because in so doing He proved all the Scriptures in the prophecies concerning Himself to have been the Word of God.

There is nothing more stable than the Word of God, and it must be fulfilled. So often I am brought to this in my little ministry: the words of Jesus Himself frequently emphasize that the Scripture must be fulfilled - "the Scripture cannot be broken." Well, there have been since that time many of those that oppose the Scriptures, and there are many today - who question its veracity and truthfulness and its divine origin. The Lord Jesus Christ in this solemn way proved that the words of those who had spoken or written in time past had come from God, and He honoured God in the fulfilment of the prophecies of His own Word as revealed to His own servants. There was honour to God here in this. No wonder He was able to say, "I have glorified Thee on the earth," because He had proved that which He gave utterance to. You will find in the 5th chapter of Matthew, verse 17: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfil." We have a solemn word too: "This that is written must yet be accomplished in Me." I would like you to consider that very carefully - "must be accomplished in Me."

That He was deeply concerned with fulfilling the mind and will of His Father, even in all its most painful matters concerning Himself, we find in various Scriptures.

One which occurs to the mind at the 'moment shows the intense exercise of His soul concerning this as He approached the time. To complete the verse I partly quoted, it is this: "The things concerning Me have an end"; they were coming to the close, were nearing the finish of His stay on earth, and there remained now the solemn completion of the work the Father had given Him to do.

But as He approached it, let me remind you how clearly His humanity was revealed, as well as His divinity. You will find in the Word of God that He said this: "Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father save Me from this hour." We are told by those who are far wiser than I, that this clearly shows Jesus to be man, human man, sinless but human. "My soul is troubled, what shall I say now of this which confronts Me?" But His divinity we are assured is clearly shown in the next declaration: "But for this cause came I to this hour."

There ought to be this. There is no avoiding it. It must be passed through for the honour and glory of God. "Ought not Christ to have suffered?"

Another reason is that He is the divinely appointed Surety of His people. Their sins - the tremendous total of them, the dreadful guilt of them, the awful number of them - were laid upon Him. I cannot say this too reverently (I hope I have said that sincerely): "The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" - all who fear God. There was one who said, and some of us have a little feeling in that direction: "How huge the heavy load of all When only mine's so great!"

Consider that there ought to be this, because without it not one sin of all the election of grace should be pardoned. This is a profound truth. It should form the subject of our amazement and meditation, gratitude and thankfulness, to a suffering Saviour. I can only wish you had before you this morning a more deeply taught and gracious servant of God to speak to you on such solemn things. May the Lord still lead me into the truth and enable me to deliver the message He sees shall be for His glory and your instruction and edification, if it is His holy will.

"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?" The sins of the Lord's people were to be atoned for. There was no other way. God provided no other way than that there should be the shedding of blood. The Word says, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission"; and therefore blood must be shed which is pure, sinless and holy.

Where is it to be found?

Not on earth as such. But He came to earth who was and is pure and holy, and He did shed His precious blood for poor sinners, and thus became, in a most glorious sense, the Lamb of God.

The Paschal Lamb is set forth, and blood was used for the protection and preservation of the literal national people of God in time past, as a type of what His blood should be, whom I have referred to as the Lamb of God. This precious blood has atoned for your sin and mine, if our names are written in the Lamb's book of life, and we are predestinated to obtain salvation. Therefore - solemnly I would say it - He ought to suffer death, He ought to shed His blood, because this is so essential for the atonement of sin. But we are still unclean, my friends.

Do you realize this?

We are unclean and cannot stand before God until clean; clean, that is, in God's sight - which, I am told is a simple interpretation of the word "justification."

Being justified is to stand clean and sinless, regarded as sinless by God Himself, through His Son.

Ought not this precious blood to have been shed, which alone can cleanse from all sin?

O, it is vitally necessary!

Without it we stand unforgiven and unclean in the sight of God. I do hope, my dear friends young and old, that you solemnly realize this. It is absolutely essential to be pardoned and cleansed.

Still there is more to perform for poor sinners.

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things to procure eternal life?

All human beings are born and, short of being in the covenant of grace, are under the condemnation of death. There is no eternal life in that sense, as set before us in the Scriptures, for the whole race of humanity. Unless grace reach their hearts, and they be included in the electing love of God, there is for them no propitiation, no Saviour, no eternal life. The Scriptures are clear in this. But the way to it was this way, the solemn way, the suffering way. He must die that they might live. This is the essence (condensed very much I admit) of the gospel of Jesus Christ. One must live a holy life; One must fulfil in every jot and tittle the sacred and holy law of God. It must be fulfilled on our behalf, or God's honour would still be tarnished. God's honour was restored when the Lord fulfilled the law on behalf of His people, made it honourable, and honoured God in so doing.

When He died, then He opened a way to heaven, as well as atoning for sin and cleansing His people. Being God, He was able to say of His sheep before all this took place: "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand."

.. Eternal life, at His request,
To every saint is given;
Safety on earth, and, after death,
The plenitude of heaven."


"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?"

Think what His sufferings accomplished!

I know that for the most part we are, quite rightly, deeply concerned about our own soul's salvation. Under the Spirit's instruction, as we journey on through life, this is far from becoming something that we regard as of lesser importance. It becomes increasingly important, because we are led by the Spirit into some knowledge of a deepening need of salvation. This is the way, by the Spirit's instruction, by which the Lord Jesus becomes precious, exceedingly precious. As we journey on nearer to the end it becomes to us, if we consider it more frequently and clearly, a more marvellous thing, a more miraculous thing, that such a one should ever be completely pardoned, completely washed, and favoured with eternal life and the complete freedom from condemnation.

Now, my friends, this is becoming to many of us who are heading along in this path a wonder of wonders, and nothing short of a miracle, that such should reach the glories and wonder of heaven, and dwell with Jesus there. Consider what the Lord accomplished when He suffered these things. Consider the tremendous amount of sin He atoned for and the huge number who have profited under, and are blessed through, this solemn and sacred suffering mentioned in my text.

Then consider, if you can, the wisdom of God in providing such a way of escape, such a refuge for sinners, such a way by which there could be communion with Himself. This is another of the reasons why He ought to have suffered, because this establishes for every child of God contact with God through Him. I once made a great mistake unintentionally in a certain statement in my ministry, which happily I was able to correct immediately. I said that today we are favoured with this direct contact with God, and we have no need of a priest. There I was wrong. "We have no need of an earthly priest,"

I should have said. We have great need of a Priest, that great High Priest whom God has provided; and in suffering, by suffering and through suffering we read He became that High Priest who can be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities, being tempted in all points as we are" (much more than we are) "yet without sin." I believe now, if you care to consider this carefully and seek for grace to meditate upon it, you will see this as a wonderful, lasting reason why Christ ought to have suffered. I will, as helped, bring before you a most solemn portion of the Word of God, which is beyond my understanding completely: "Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." There is a profound truth there, too deep for human minds to reach. The truth there is so high as to be out of reach. Faintly we see this. I travel along in this respect very close to the apostle and his words.

What were they?

"Now we see through a glass darkly."

Reception is obscured, often obstructed, generally misty, very small.

But have we seen, my dear friends, enough to cause us to seek earnestly to be led more deeply, sweetly and experimentally into the truth as it is in Jesus?

"Yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered." He was the great Exemple, you know, as well as the Saviour of sinners. If I might drop just a word here: an obedient Saviour who fully fulfilled all the will of God has every right to expect that those who say by their actions, and sometimes by their words, that they desire to be followers of Him, are also obedient children. If they should happen to have to learn this obedience by walking to some extent in the path He walked, they will learn the lesson surely, they will learn it securely.

In spite of all the previous excuses which may have been made, or hindrances raised up, they will be brought to this finally (never in the measure that He said, but after the same manner and under the influence of the same Spirit which was so much in the Lord Jesus); "Not My will, but Thine be done."

Here is a reason then for the Lord's sufferings, because it is only through them that any poor sinner is brought to that condition to say, "Thy will be done, whatever it may cost"; and it does usually cost something. You cannot be a follower of the Lord Jesus without walking in the path He Himself has laid down.

"What is that?" you will say. It is this: "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

"Ought not Christ to have suffered these things?"

They crucified Him under the charge that He had falsely said He was the King of the Jews. He is the King of the whole earth; He is the King of Israel. There was no false charge; it was misunderstood. But it ought so to have been.

Because why?

His kingdom was not of this world. The kingdom is in the hearts of His people. He said so Himself: "The kingdom of God is within you."

O may it prove to be within you and me, as we seek to adore Him who ought to have suffered, because it was the mind and will of God the Father: who ought to have suffered because there was no other way by which sin could be pardoned, and cleansing wrought and eternal life given; and poor sinners constrained to become worshippers of God in spirit and in truth. All this was involved and is the result of and the fruit of the sufferings of Christ. Now I must here say, very carefully, that there were other things accomplished relative to the final salvation of the people of God and their entry into heaven, but these we do not normally deal with in seeking to speak today of the sufferings of Christ. The Lord has seen fit to give me, I do trust, this portion to speak to you from, which I have read and feebly tried to deal with, and there are yet a few words in the text which I have not yet been able to bring before you: "Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?"

There is another reason why the Lord Jesus must suffer. The Scriptures must be fulfilled and, unless He had come to earth and had been the propitiation for His people, how could He then have been received again into the kingdom of heaven in accordance with, and compliance to, the word: "Open the gates that the King of Glory may come in."

You see, He had to enter; it was ordained that He should enter as a triumphant Saviour, then and there to receive adoration in heaven from the angelic host as the triumphant Victor over death, sin, the grave and Satan. His praise was to be enlarged and emphasized by the redeemed spirits of ransomed souls in heaven, later to be augmented from those now on earth and maybe those yet to be born.

"Ought not Christ to have suffered," to have brought such honour and glory to God, which shall be endless in the proclamation of it?

Ought not this to have been attended to in every detail for the honour and glory of dod, who had designed this plan?

Briefly, I would recount the part of the Persons in the Trinity in this solemn matter of salvation, desiring to show that there is clearly a necessity for Jesus to suffer as He did for His people. The plan of salvation was devised or designed by the wisdom of God the Father, and in accordance with His holy will. There is no need for any other reason for the salvation of sinners than that it should be in accordance with the mind and will of God Himself. Coupled with this, the Lord Jesus Himself said, "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," in accordance with His design.

It is exactly what He wills, and therefore, your salvation is secure. But this plan involved the gift of His Son, and this involved that He should be the Surety of His people; and He should come, be born into the world, live in the way they live and experience the things they experience (only to so much greater experience of opposition, scorn and derision) in order to prove Himself to be the very essence of patience and complete obedience to the path which was laid down for Him to walk in.

This was essential, because it was in the provision of God and part of the plan, and no part could be omitted of the suffering any more than there will be of the joy and benefits accruing thereto.

The one must be as equally fulfilled as the other. But while that point is in my mind, I feel I must just mention this. The Lord Jesus knew perfectly well, since He is the Fulfiller of Scripture, that there was this appointment for Him as well: "He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."

I felt I must bring this before you, because this Scripture will equally be fulfilled to the honour and glory of the Lord Jesus Himself. He will receive eternal satisfaction for His serious and solemn sufferings throughout the whole of eternity. And, I do venture to believe, there are a few occasions now when He receives honour from His people here below, and there is to Him a feeling of satisfaction that His work when upon earth is bearing fruit - fruit in the lives and deaths of His people, and fruit to His own and His Father's honour and glory.

There was a reason for it, and it can all be summed up in a very few words - the worship of God. You will say, "Was that the only real reason why all this was accomplished, and all this preaching goes on about the gospel of Jesus Christ?"

Well, I will quote from the Word of God, the words of the Lord through the prophet, which Jesus fulfilled: "This people have I formed for Myself; they shall show forth My praise." Then there ought to have been this, because God will be worshipped in spirit and in truth. All the sacrifices that were diligently and carefully attended to through all that period of time previous to the coming of the Lord Jesus pointed to, and were types and shadows of, this one great Sacrifice.

When John the Baptist saw One coming toward him, he uttered a great and profound truth when he said, "Behold the Lamb of God." It is my desire that you and I may be favoured by faith frequently to see Him in the sanctuary; to see Him in His Word; and to see how fully and blessedly He was in every detail the Lamb of God.

"And to enter into His glory." Ought not Christ to have suffered these things so that in entering into His glory He became visibly and actually the way to bliss for all His people?

I expect in this house of prayer you have more that once sung that hymn about Jesus:

"Jesus is the way to God,
Jesus is the way to bliss."


And it was essential that He should suffer these things and to enter into His glory, for now there is an open way into heaven for the whole election of grace. He said - and what it meant I shall never succeed in fully bringing before the people of God, but I hope the Spirit will reveal to you somewhat of what is hidden in these words - "I am the way." "I am the way." Man has contrived, and still does contrive, many ways of approaching God.

I am not prepared to go into them or anything of the kind. I am still very much a learner in the way, but I would much rather (and do hope I may be kept so to the end of time with me) look alone to this Way by which I may be favoured to approach to God, have contact with Him through His blessed Son.

And so, in coming towards the close of my few remarks this morning, I now see why it was necessary for the Lord Jesus to suffer as He did. You see, we could not approach God while upon earth, still inhabiting a sinful body, unless there was a Mediator; and this Mediator must be One who could plead from the standpoint of authority with God; He must be able to deal - I want to say this very reverently - on equal terms with God, as being God.

And then you see He can receive, and does receive, the prayers His Spirit indites, and makes them acceptable to God, receivable by Him through His own Person; because these are offered, if they are offered rightly, in His name and through His merits.

And if you and I, in
prayer to God, feel to come to God by Him, we come rightly. I believe I may go one step further and say that when you feel an inward interest in the intercession of the Lord Jesus on your behalf, you will know what it is to feel liberty in letting your requests be made known unto God; because you will feel that there is One who has atoned for you and cleansed you and renders you acceptable in the sight of the Holy God of heaven.

It was essential, most necessary, that Jesus should suffer, and that He should then enter into His glory.

Coming to the close, I could earnestly wish that everyone in this house of prayer should be keenly exercised to know this: "Am I His, or am I not?"

My dear friends, may I put it to you most affectionately?

Does it cause you anxious thought? Do you question, "Do I love the Lord, or no?" It is so essential.

The time is passing on more rapidly perhaps than we are aware toward the end of all things, a time not known to me or anyone on earth, according to the words of Jesus Himself. But we need a vital interest in the solemn truths read to you this morning, and a few things I may have been enabled to say which are right in the sight of God.

It is essential that you should seek earnestly to know how you stand, not in my sight, or in the sight of your fellow creatures, but in the sight of God. A solemn question occurs at the end of certain verses in the hymnbook we used when I was a boy.

That solemn question has remained with me, and is very frequently still in my heartand my heart's desires flow from the need of a satisfactory answer to it. It says simply, but so solemnly, concerning eternity and heaven: "O say, will you be there?"

You will be there, my friends, if the Lord suffered for you, and has gone into His glory to prepare a place for you. He has said for your comfort and mine, if this be the case, "I go away. I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also."

THE SUFFERINGS OF CHRIST


Sermon preached by Mr. G. J. Denyer at Zoar Chapel, Canterbury, 1959.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief: when Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."
(Isaiah 53:10)

There is no subject, dear friends, so blessed, if a minister of Christ is enabled with some gracious unction to speak of it, as the subject before us. Also there is no subject so solemn, and for which a man so much needs special help, so that he treads not on this holy ground without removing the shoes from off his feet, spiritually considered.

That is how I feel this morning, as for many hours now this subject has possessed my spirit. May the Lord help me, and may He help you, for these are vital matters. The subject before us is glorious.

What subject so glorious, so deep-reaching, so sublime, as the subject of the incarnation, the humiliation, the suffering, the death, the resurrection, the ascension of this precious Saviour of sinners?

I would like to speak in the beginning a little in the order of the text: "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him."

This term pleased - "it pleased the Lord" - is one that I would like to speak from a little.

Pleasure, as we understand it naturally, is that sensation by which our natural faculties are expressed. According to the feelings of our heart, so they may be expressed in a way of pleasure or in a way of pain. But pleasure has a very wide meaning; and there is one sense in which I believe this is particularly meant in our text. Pleasure, naturally, is often a successor to pain. It is a very true word, that naturally there is no pleasure without pain; and so I have it before me in this subject that this pleasure spoken of in the text is like the pleasure which is
preceded by pain.

I cannot but believe that God the Father, in His infinite love and mercy to those sinners whom He gave to His only begotten Son to redeem, gave them to Him in eternity.

They always were His people; the gift was made in eternity; but how solemn to the Father was that which was to take place, the suffering, the humiliation of Christ!

We cannot begin to enter into what it meant to God Himself in the great and tremendous matter of redemption. O, to think of the Son of God, beloved in the Trinity, beloved of the Father and the Holy Spirit, leaving that glorious abode to come to a sin-stained earth-the terrible nature of that humiliation to the Lord Jesus Christ, and what it meant to His dearly beloved Father!

But it pleased Him. All the suffering that the Lord Jesus Christ was to undergo in fulfilling His office in the covenant of redemption of all these people, yes all of that suffering it pleased the Lord to lay upon Him.

Here the word is very definite: "It pleased the Lord" - the Lord - "to bruise Him." Satan, that great enemy and adversary of the church, is not spoken of here as bruising the Son of God.

Although he, as the awful instrument, caused suffering untold, misery unparallelled, to that glorious Person, yet it is here clearly and plainly set forth that the Lord bruised Him; and we shall find in the prophecy of Zechariah this word spoken by the Father: "Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts. Smite the shepherd."

Smite! Awful, solemn word!

But it pleased the Lord that He should speak that word, and by that word this glorious Son was to fulfil all His covenant engagements, and with equal pleasure to Him as to the Father. I fully believe this, that the pleasure of the glorious Son of God in suffering for this multitude of sinners was equal to the pleasure the Father had in sending and smiting Him.

I believe there was no difference, that that pleasure was equal in every respect to each of the three Persons in the glorious Trinity.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him."

This bruising would have this glorious effect of exalting Christ, the eternal Son of the eternal Father; it would have the effect of exalting Him in a way in which He could not be exalted without carrying out that glorious scheme of redemption.

The exaltation of Christ, the pleasure which He has with the Father in that exaltation, is derivable from His glorious work of redemption which He so wonder fully fulfilled. "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him." I believe that, according to the Scriptures, it is the will of God the Father that all glory shall be to His Son for the work of redemption; and we read that Christ Himself said, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth."

Now I might drop a word here to some. Perhaps there are some in this congregation who are in a very fearful and perplexed state relative to their religion.

Does the pleasure here set forth that God the Father has, that God the Son has, the One in the giving and the Other in the carrying out, and the joy that the Holy Spirit has in conveying this blessing to the people - does that pleasure find in your soul an echo, even to hear of it, to read it, to hear it proclaimed from time to time by ministers of Christ, and to meditate upon it?

Does it afford to you, has it ever afforded to you, greater pleasure than every natural pleasure you have ever enjoyed?

I ask that question affectionately, for I believe by the answer is set forth much of that which we know and that which we lack. That which pleased God should please the sinner taught by grace; that which displeases God should be hated by the sinner called by grace.

Therefore I say in the very outset, let this be a test: has this been our greatest pleasure, to have some contemplation, some meditation upon this glorious word here, "Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him"?

Has it come to you at any time with pleasure such as nothing else can give?

And in that pleasure have you felt a hope of interest in it?

Now it is only those who are interested in it who feel this pleasure in their soul. It is not a natural pleasure. It is entirely distinct. It is only those who are interested in this that feel that pleasure in their soul as they hear, and at times receive, the news, the glory of this great redemption.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him."

I read for a purpose this morning that wonderful 22nd Psalm, because there I believe David prophetically sets forth the sufferings of Christ.

In fact, I believe only the Lord Jesus Christ can be intended by much of that which is contained in practically the whole of the Psalm.

For instance, it could not have been said of David, "They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture." That, I believe, was definitely prophetic of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And so as we read that Psalm down we shall see how well the Lord Jesus, in His appeals and His sufferings, is set forth by the psalmist.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him."

I note in that Psalm the pleasure that the psalmist sets forth. You may read it. I would say, read it as often as you can. It is a wonderful Psalm, if you are definitely interested.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him."

"He hath put Him to grief."


Put Him to grief!

Here is grief which is definite, grief to which he was put: and this applies similarly to what I have already said: He, the Father, hath put Him to grief. Let me for a few moments speak a little of what grief really is.

Grief is usually that which we endure when we have had pleasure. It is just turned the other way round. To be "put to grief" usually signifies the loss of that which we once enjoyed, and oftentimes a loss which is irreparable.

Now here we have a wonderul setting forth of the suffering of the Lord Jesus Christ. The pleasure He knew and enjoyed when He dwelt in heaven was to be succeeded by unparallelled grief to which the Father was to put Him. I have many times tried to ponder what it must have meant to the holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ; because you will find this, that in each case it is the soul that suffers; not only the body, but the soul. It is the soul that is referred to in the text.

The grief that was endured when He came to this world and tasted the bitter effects of sin!

He tasted it!

Yes, sin, to the Lord Jesus Christ, as laid upon Him in His humiliation, had the
bitterest taste that is possible to be known; and so to those who are interested in His work this effect will be known. Sin, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, will be made to have the bitterest taste of anything you know.

That will be the teaching; and as you travel on, if taught by the Holy Spirit, sin will become more and more bitter to you in its taste.

O, it will!

That is the teaching of God the Holy Spirit. You will be enabled by grace to follow out, and to walk out, that pathway in which the Lord Jesus walked. He came from heaven to earth, a pure, holy Person; He had sin laid upon Him, in this sense that He was made to taste it and to feel the bitterness, the horror and the solemnity
of it.

I have thought sometimes like this with regard to the solemnity of the sin of the people of God being laid upon their precious Redeemer: it was that which Christ had not known before. It was to Him that bitterness which none of us can begin to enter into, because we are unholy, we are unclean, and we like sin, really, in our nature.

It is not bitter to us. There is something in the nature of even the most upright, even the most honourable among men, which likes sin, and because of that all sorts of sins will be excused: "O, this does not matter; there is no harm in that." When we say, "There is no harm in that," it means that we like it, and if it is sinful we make it an excuse, so that we can indulge our terribly corrupt nature.

Now nothing of that existed in the precious Lamb of God. His holy nature abhorred sin; and so (if my friends will follow me) because of His intense hatred to sin, His holy hatred to sin, and the grief to which the Father put Him when He sent Him to be in this sinful world, what can have been the grief that He endured when assailed with this awful thing, sin, and having to taste it, having to bear it, having to atone for it as only it could be atoned for, by the Atoner tasting it, drinking the cup right to the bitter dregs?

Dear friends, I speak this to you, if haply you may be led in contemplation a little on the sufferings of Christ, and that it might be the means of endearing Him to you, even though you may not perhaps feel you have an interest in Him. A truly anxious, desiring soul, that is seeking to know the Lord Jesus Christ, will not turn away from that which exalts Him and sets forth His glory, but will seek and desire to know it.

"He hath put Him to grief."

Now, "When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin." Turning back to that 22nd Psalm, you will find there that it was the soul of the psalmist that was his chief trouble. In the 20th verse he says, "Deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dogs."

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin." Here is another point upon which we may make a clear separation: The holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ was made an offering for sin, and it is only the soul actually of a person that can be offered. The body may be offered, but does not Paul say, in the Epistle to the Corinthians, speaking of 'charity, "Although I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing"? Only the soul.

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin," signifies, I believe, that Christ in His holy soul knew and endured sufferings beyond, far beyond the sufferings of His body.

"The pangs of His body were great, But greater the pangs of His mind."

Now we may form some judgment of the reality of our religion if we come to ask ourselves, whatever suffering we endure, is it the suffering of the soul?

You see, we each have our providential trials, we each have our difficulties, each of us is brought into dark places at different times in our lives.

But the soul; do we know what soul travail is-the bitterness that is felt in the soul when outside things may be, and are, pleasing and good and congenial?

But the soul, the soul that is burdened by sin!

Every sin, dear friends, is against tile soul. Many sins that people commit are against their bodies, but actually the chief part of that sin is against their soul.

We read concerning wisdom, "He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul."

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."

O, to think of that holy soul of the Lord Jesus Christ, given, entirely given!

Everything that Christ possessed, every glorious, blessed attribute that He had!

Was He holy?

Was He righteous?

Was He just?

Was He a God of love, of compassion?

It is all to do with the soul.

If we have only natural compassion it comes short, but if our compassion is the compassion of our soul - we speak about people putting their whole heart and soul into an object; it means they give themselves entirely.

And so it was with Christ. Every attribute that He had, everything in which He was rich, every grace in His glorious fulness, was given as a sweet offering and a sweet smelling savour to the Father when He, as our sacrifice, offered Himself once for all, a pure, spotless offering.

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."

Now let me come to our own cases.

What is our feeling?

If in any measure we have been taught by Him, do we, as I said at the beginning, find pleasure in that which gives pleasure to God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son?

If we do, then there is some hope that we know something of these things for ourselves.

"He hath put Him to grief."

Does the grief that the Lord Jesus Christ suffered find in us a response in that sympathetic sorrow which we hope we know at times?

"He hath put Him to grief."

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."

What is our conception of this?

What is our feeling toward it?

Do we rejoice?

Do we feel the glorious nature of that offering made for sin?

This hymn has been very sweet to me in times past:

"Not all the blood of beasts,
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain."


"But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our sins away;
A sacrifice of nobler name,
And richer blood than they."


Now this is where the sinner comes in:

"My faith would lay her hand
On that dear head of Thine,
While like a penitent I stand,
And there confess my sin."


My dear friends, have you ever, in your desires, felt you could lay the tiny, feeble hand of your faith upon that glorious head of this sublime Saviour whose soul was made an offering for sin, and see in that glorious Person all your salvation and all your hope, even in desire?

Ah, I go back many years to times when I felt again and again my whole soul go with that sweet hymn when it was given out.

Friends, there is one Object to faith, one only Object to faith. Faith never lets go her grip of this one Object. However tried and tempted faith may be, it never lets go a crucified, risen, exalted Saviour.

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin."

Now there is a glorious issue to all this.

"When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed."

"He shall see His seed."


There is a great depth in that word. In His sufferings, in His own humiliation, Christ sees His seed. I believe it indicates this, that the pleasure that the Trinity know in this glorious working of the plan of salvation, as They behold this work progressing, is that They see the seed of Christ.

He sees it. O, He always did see His seed, always in eternal purpose. He knew it. He saw this seed which was to serve Him, this generation which in Himself was perfect and complete in God's covenant purpose.

But the actual gathering in of this seed was shown, I believe (and in a glorious way the Lord Jesus Christ rejoiced in it), when He uttered those wonderful words, "It is finished."

He saw His seed; He saw in the completion of His work a multitude of sinners redeemed, and He rejoiced in it. The Father saw it and rejoiced in it; the Holy Spirit saw it and rejoiced in making it known to them.

Now again I say, dear friends, is this rejoicing shared by us?

It will be, if we have but the tiniest real desire. Even though we may not have been raised to the sweet and blessed assurance and knowledge of our interest in it, we shall rejoice, even in our desires.

Have you ever felt, dear friends, when you have read the Scriptures, and these glorious things about the blessed Lord Jesus Christ have you never felt a little joy in your soul, to think that such glorious things are spoken of Jesus, and to believe that He is approachable, and that His promises will be fulfilled, even though you may feel that, so far, they have been delayed in your own case?

You are still waiting, but do you never rejoice?

Has it been all misery?

No; though there is a bitterness.

"Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. When Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."
(Isaiah 53:10)

There is one more point that I might just touch on before I conclude.

All this of which I have been trying to speak will always culminate in this wondrous, glorious effect in those sinners who are being taught by this good Spirit: the longer they live the more they will be brought to feel that it is by grace and grace alone that we are saved. "Grace all the work shall crown." Yes; and it will be the great pleasure of these people, however small and however feeble they may feel to be, to put the crown on His head and rejoice in being able to do so.

Sinners, and only sinners, are they who know this.

May the Lord bless His own precious word, and pardon all that has been amiss; for His dear Name's sake. Amen.

THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS


"He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."
(Romans 8:32)

These words bear a full proportion to the design for which I have taken them; that is, they shew us the sufferings of Christ in their reality and their imputation.

That Messiah the Prince is come, that He was cut off, but not for Himself, that He suffered "the just for the unjust, to bring us to God."

He finished transgression, made an end of sin; He put it away, by the offering ofHimself; He made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in an everlasting righteousness.

As the doctrine of the cross is the glory of our religion, it is the foundation of all our hope. The apostle brings it in with a connection; for, saith he in the former verse, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" The consequent is inseparable, the argument invincible, and therefore his care is to let it be seen that the antecedent is true; to which purpose he offers the text in evidence;

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all; how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"

He had before observed, "That all things shall work together for our good," and now that all things shall be given in as our property.

According to what he says in another place, "All things are yours; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours." The promise takes a large compass; as to the matter of our enjoyment, it reaches to all things; as to the way of it, it is given freely; He does it liberally, and upbraideth not, so that we are not straitened in God, either as to the work of His hand, or the design of His heart. As He is a sun and shield, as He gives grace and glory, so He withholds no good thing from those that walk uprightly.

And we are assured of what He will do by what He has done.

If there is anything that He would have grudged, or held back, it must have been the very mercy that He has bestowed already. But it is doing as much as can be to give us His own Son; and it is impossible any future grant should go higher. We may look upon what is past as a pledge of what is to come.

The doctrine of the text is: "That God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all"; and the application we are allowed to make of it is as great and happy as the truth itself, dear and certain that "He will with Him also freely give us all things."

It is the former of these that I would now consider; and cannot think upon any better way of doing it for expedition and plainness, than by making the parts of the text to be the plan of the sermon.

You find the apostle is speaking of the most high God, that He is for us. As David says, "The Lord is on my side, I will not fear: what can man do unto me?" It is the argument that Christ Himself has used, "The Lord God will help Me, therefore I shall not be confounded: He is near that justifies Me: who is he that will condemn Me?"

And thus the apostle concludes that it signifies very little who is against us, seeing God is for us. Now, this he proves, from what He has done already.

1. He appointed His own Son to be the trustee, the security, the price and assurance of our salvation.

2. This He did to that extremity as not to spare Him from any torments that human nature was able to endure.

3. To all these sufferings there was a divine order: He delivered Him up.

4. This was "for us all," in our room and stead; He was punished that we might have a way to escape; and therefore He might say to divine justice, as He did to those that apprehended Him, "If ye seek Me, let these go their way."

These are the plain and easy contents of the words, and they amount to this proposition, that: a) The troubles that Christ endured were, b) a divine
appointment, in the room of His people.

The blow which they deserved fell upon Him. It was thus ordained, it was thus received. "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."

What manner of love is this; to give us so great a Person, as God's own Son?

To do it in so dear a way, as not to spare Him; and that with so kind a view, that it should not only be to us, but for us: these are things that deserve to be taken apart.

By Thomas Bradbury

SUBSTITUTION


Now, brethren, it is in such trying circumstances as these [a soul crying, "What must I do to be saved?"], that the Spirit of grace, in His own peculiar light, unfolds the mystery of Christ's substitution.

We may illustrate this point by a very simple comparison. Suppose that one of you were drowned in debt, had nothing to pay, became utterly bankrupt, and were about to have all your goods sold, your family cast on the world, and yourselves thrown into prison; and that, in this state of matters, a benevolent and wealthy individual stepped forward and said, I will go into his shoes I will be the debtor let him go free; and that the creditor, assured of his excellence, and wealth, and liberality, accepted of the offer you would watch with interest what followed, nor would you be content till the discharge from all obligation were put into your hands.

Now we have shown that the case of sinners (and when we say sinners we mean every man, woman and child in this assembly in their natural state) is very similar to this.

And what is to be done?

It is out of the question for you to discharge the debt; one single sin is sufficient to send you into eternal banishment from God and the glory of His power; and though you were to labour for a thousand years, with all the might you possess and all the means you can obtain, you could not produce one act of obedience to the law, but must, in your very efforts, be sinking deeper and deeper every hour into guilt and ruin, for the "law worketh wrath"; and "as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse."

But, in this condition, the Son of God incarnate, in glory ineffable, with riches unsearchable, from love unspeakable, steps forward and says to the Father the God whom sinners have offended, and at whose hand they deserve nothing but wrath to the uttermost, "I will go into their room. Let all their sins be laid upon Me; I will bear them. Let all their obedience be upon Me; I will render it. Let all their concerns be upon Me; I will manage them."

The Father loves the Son; He knows His worth, His sufficiency, His grace; and He accepts Him as the substitute of poor, bankrupt, perishing sinners.

"Sacrifice and offering Thou didst not desire. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of Me, I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea. Thy law is within My heart."

From Jonathan R. Anderson's - The Spirit of Grace and Supplication.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

CHRIST CRUCIFIED


"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:21)

I shall not enter into the opening of this scripture, but only propose some few things that may be a suitable subject for your present meditation.

There are three things concerning God the Father; three things concerning the Son; and three things concerning ourselves, all in these words that I have mentioned, and all suitable for us to be acting faith upon.

I. I would remember, if the Lord help me, the sovereignty of God the Father, His justice and His grace. His sovereignty: "He made Him"; God the Father made Him. His justice: "He made Him to be sin"; a sacrifice and an offering for sin. And His grace: "That we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ".

1. The sovereignty of God. I could mention that this sovereignty of God extends itself to all persons chosen, and show for whom Christ should be made sin; for He was not made sin for all, but for them who became "the righteousness of God in Him".

Also the sovereignty of God over things, dispensing with the law so far that He suffered for sin "who knew no sin", and we, who had sinned, were let go free. The sovereignty of God in appointing the Son to this work: "He made Him", for none else could. He was the servant of the Father; so that the whole foundation of this great transaction lies in the sovereignty of God over persons and things in reference unto Christ. Let us then remember to bow down to the sovereignty of God in this ordinance of the Lord's supper.

2. There is the justice of God. "He made Him to be sin", imputed sin to Him, reckoned to Him all the sins of the elect, caused all our sins to meet upon Him, made Him a sin-offering, a sacrifice for sin, laid all the punishment of our sins upon Him. To this end He sent Him forth to be a propitiation for sin, to declare His righteousness. The Lord help us to remember that His righteousness is in a special manner exalted by the death of Christ. He would not save us any other way but by making Him to be sin.

3. There is the grace of God which manifests itself in the aim and design of God in all this matter. What did God aim at? It was "that we might become the righteousness of God in Him", that we might be made righteous, and freed from sin.

II. There are three things that lie clear in the words that we may call to remembrance concerning the Son. There is His innocency, His purity: He "knew no sin". There is His sufferings: He was "made to be sin". And there is His merit: it was "that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". Here is another object for faith to meditate upon.

1. There are many things in Scripture that direct us to thoughtsof the spotless purity, righteousness and holiness of Christ when we think of His sufferings. The Lamb of God "without spot". He did no sin, nor had any guile in His mouth. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners". Faith should call this to mind in the sufferings of Christ that "He knew no sin". That expression sets sin at the greatest distance from Jesus Christ.

2. The sufferings of Christ: "He was made sin", a comprehensive word that sets out His whole sufferings. Look, whatever the justice of God, the law of God, whatever the threatenings of God did require to be inflicted as a punishment for sin, Christ underwent it all. They are dreadful apprehensions that we ourselves have, or can take in concerning the issue and effect of sin, from the wrath of God, when under convictions and not relieved by the promises of the gospel. But we see not the thousandth part of the evil of sin that follows inseparably from the righteousness and holiness of God. The effects of God's justice for sin will no more enter into our hearts fully to apprehend than the effects of His grace and glory will; yet, whatever it was, Christ underwent it all.

3. Then there is the merit of Christ, which is another object of faith that we should call over in the celebration of this ordinance. Why was He made sin? It was "that we might become the righteousness of God in Him". It is answerable to that other expression in Gal. 3. 13, 14: He hath borne the curse, "was made a curse for us". To what end? That "the blessing of faithful Abraham might come upon us"; or, that we might be completely made righteous. The design of our assembling together is to remember how we come to be made righteous; it is by Christ's being made sin.

III. We may see three things concerning ourselves.

1. Our own sin and guilt: He was made sin "for us". If Christ was made sin for us, then we were sinners.

2. We may remember our deliverance; how we were delivered from sin and all the evils of it. It was not by a word of command or power, or by the interposition of saints or angels, or by our own endeavours, but by the sufferings of the Son of God. And,

3. God would have us remember and call to mind the state whereinto we are brought, which is a state of righteousness; that we may bless Him for that which in this world will issue in our righteousness, and in the world to come, eternal glory.

These things we may call over for our faith to meditate upon. Our minds are apt to be distracted; the ordinance is to fix them; and if we act faith in an especial manner in this ordinance, God will be glorified.

An address given at the Lord's Supper by John Owen, 1669

SUBSTITUTION


Notes of Sermon preached at Manchester, Gospel Standard - 1954.

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(II Corinthians 5:21)

This great Scripture contains one of the most profound and glorious doctrines of our most holy faith, the doctrine of substitution, without which there can be no salvation, without which every sinner must be eternally damned, without which there can be no reconciliation of sinners with a holy sin-hating God.

But the mystery of it, and the wisdom manifested in this divine contrivance for the salvation of lost sinners, will never be fully explored by the mind of man. "He", that is, the eternal God, holy, just, omnipotent, pure, hating sin "He hath made Him who knew no sin," that is, His own Son incarnate, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, "to be sin for us" us men, sinful men deserving hell, "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

This is a work of divine grace, a work of divine wisdom. It is the effect of divine love, and it embraces the exercise of divine justice. Only God who is the Creator, and Law-giver, and Judge, can deal with sin and sinners. From His high and holy throne in heaven God could eternally deal with sin and sinners in condemning them.

But it pleased God in His infinite goodness, in His loving purpose and determination, to save sinners, to bless some of the human race with eternal blessedness.

Man was created perfect in holiness, able to keep every commandment and to serve God acceptably without any fear or sin or default. This beautiful state of innocence had a glory about it, but it lasted but a brief period; for sin came in and marred the whole.

Oh what a horrible thing, what an awful fact, what a dreadful event it was when sin entered into the world, and death by sin!

And what is more, when by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, it passed upon us all; for we all sinned in Adam who was the federal head of the human race a terrible, awful, real truth that!

No exception; no single person since Adam's day has been innocent, pure, and sinless; but we are all infected by that dreadful thing, that deadly soul-killing disease, that God-dishonouring thing, sin. We are all unrighteous.

How little we think about it, and the fell consequences of it!

How much religion and profession there is in the world of religion without any adequate sense of sin!

But if we are taught by the Holy Ghost and convicted by Him of our personal guilt and sinnership, it will be a very serious business with us. I believe everyone taught by the divine Spirit, as convinced, will be brought down to a sense of condemnation and helplessness in experience, so that he is shut up feelingly to the wrath of God against his sin.

Now here comes in experimentally the solemn realisation of man's utter inability by any rational power that he possesses, to devise or obtain a way of relief and deliverance. One may have been brought up under the sound of truth, and have more or less become acquainted, and indeed not a little pleased it may be, with the sound and form of truth, but never yet convicted so as to be condemned and brought before the judgment seat of God in the conscience. But now a very solemn thing takes place, and that is an experience of the utter futility of any mere notional acquaintance with the gospel.

You will prove that notion will never do you any good when your sins are real, when your guilt is felt, and when your sentence is passed upon the conscience, and you fall down under a sense of condemnation and ruin. You then want more than notion, you need the substance of the text, to bring you forth, to enable you to hope for mercy.

I can remember in my own little experience, the time when I could not see notwithstanding all my natural acquaintance with religion how I could possibly be saved, though I had known the external form of truth from the cradle. When real conviction comes home, it seems to obliterate everything, and the dark cloud of condemnation and the dreadful load of guilt seems to preoccupy the whole mind, and there is a dread of hell.

Where to go the sinner knows not, what to do he cannot tell. He finds himself helpless, and in himself hopeless. But in that solemn state, I believe the Holy Ghost does lead people to the doctrine of the text in some measure of clearness and power. An abstract God in all His divine attributes is terrible to a guilty soul, but a God revealed in Christ, in the Person of the Lord Jesus, the Man of God's right hand, is attractive and gives a hope.

"He hath made Him" Him, His co-equal and divine Son.

If we read and accept the truth of the Scriptures, we cannot avoid the doctrine of the Trinity. It is written throughout the Scriptures implicitly and explicitly a sacred truth. "He" the eternal Father "hath made Him" the eternal Son "to be sin for us."

God cannot be made sin, but He who is God, and eternally was with God and was God, as His eternal Son, took our nature for that purpose, that He might be made sin, that the Father might deal with sin in our nature, not in our own persons; in our nature united to the divine nature in the Person of Immanuel. This, the justice of God, and the grace of God, and the love of God, and the mercy of God necessitated in pursuance of God's purpose to save. For sin cannot go by default; it cannot be commuted and disregarded by God. When sin has been committed, it must be dealt with by God.

Oh how solemn it is!

Every sin we commit, every sinful thought we entertain, and our very sinnership must be dealt with by God, either in His vindictive justice in condemning us eternally to perdition, in banishment from Him in hell, under the curse, or be dealt with by God in the Person of a Substitute. In His infinite wisdom, mercy, and grace, God contrived the plan to permit and provide such a Substitute as should be able to receive by divine imputation all the sins of His chosen people. It was for this purpose the Son of God took human nature.

Oh the mystery, the mercy, the blessedness of the incarnation of God the eternal Son!

As revealed by the Holy Ghost, it is made I believe to convinced sinners a most precious truth, that God the Son took our nature into union with His eternal Person, the Word was made flesh, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. But without sin; He knew no sin.

Jesus Immanuel, never was tainted with sin, never had a sinful thought. Holy, pure, spotless, and separate from sinners, was Jesus of Nazareth.

Blessed truth!

Oh what nourishment that truth has been to my own heart many a time: "Yet without sin." And again in the Hebrews: "He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin."

"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin."

Now this means that the Lord Jesus Christ stood in the place of the election of grace; stood in their law-place, God imputing to Him the sins against His law that His people had committed. In the 53rd [chapter] of Isaiah, that wonderful portrait as it were of a suffering Saviour, it is said : "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."

An act of sovereign grace!

Oh dear friends, think of it, that God should take, in the initiative of His will, in His love, in His wisdom, and in His grace, that He should take this course in order to secure the salvation of those who deserved eternal ruin!

There was no compulsion in God. It was free grace in God to lay these sins on His dear Son. It was mighty grace in the Son of God to condescend in the covenant to engage to be a Substitute and a Surety, and to take our nature, to receive that imputation and to obey His divine Father in submitting to the curse, in laying down His life a ransom. And it is great grace in the Holy Spirit to reveal this through the Scriptures, and to reveal it in some measure to the understandings, the hearts and consciences of those whom He convicts of sin.

"He hath made Him to be sin."

This imputation of sin to Christ involved the cross.

Though He were a Son, though He were the holy and eternal Son of God in human nature incarnate, though He were a spotless and holy Man, though through the whole of His spotless life He ever did that which was perfectly holy, just, and pure, and pleasing to His divine Father, "yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him, and to put Him to grief."

There is no exhibition in the universe, and never will be, of the heinousness of sin, the holiness and justice of God, and the grace and mercy of God, as is made in the cross of Christ nothing to equal it, nothing to come near it.

Hell itself will not display the nature of sin like the cross of Christ displays it. In the 8th [chapter] of Romans the apostle speaks of it like this:

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."

He was not spared, notwithstanding the dignity of His Person, the holiness of His human nature, the perfection of His obedience He was not spared from the unmitigated wrath of outraged justice in the law.

He was made sin so really, that He stood in the exact place in which His people stood as sinners, and received in His holy Person the solemn vindictive wrath due to their sins.

It is beyond our imagination, but if we get a little sacred manifestation of this in our hearts, it will embitter sin to us, and make the grace of God wonderful, and give us to see what nothing else will, how a sinner deserving eternal damnation can be saved.

But the great point in our experience concerning this substitution will be this: "Was it for crimes that I had done He groaned upon the tree?"

My dear friends and fellow-sinners, here we are to-day, and we may be in eternity tomorrow. Our late dear friend, Mr. Raven, was here last year, and in heaven a fortnight after. We may be in eternity soon.

How stands the case with us?

If you have a solemnizing sense of your own sin, if you possess your sins in your conscience by the effectual convincing of the Holy Ghost, and therefore cannot dispossess yourself of them, I would say this to you, that the only way to be delivered from your sin and to be experimentally reconciled to God, is to know by the Spirit's witness that Christ stood in your place. Now if the Lord Jesus really stood in your place, in my place, we shall never be condemned. The justice of God forbids that. Not only the mercy, and love, and grace of God, all of which were blessedly active in the work of substitution, but the inflexible justice of God was there, and was there satisfied.

Oh but what this involved, to the harmless Lamb of God!

I believe it would be good for us, if led by the Holy Ghost reverently to contemplate what this meant to the dear Redeemer.

He was made sin, a sacrifice for sin; God dealt with Him as if He were the sinner, as He stood Surety and Substitute for an innumerable company of elect persons who were sinners; all the curse due to all their sins was there poured upon Him.

He paid to justice all its due. How inconceivable were the billows of divine wrath, the huge load of guilt, and the awful curse!

We have a few solemn and sacred indications of what His holy soul underwent when He was thus standing as Substitute and Surety. When He was in the Garden there came from His sacred sinless body great drops of blood, as it were, falling down to the ground.

Man did not produce that sweat of blood; man had not then touched Him; but it was the agony of His holy soul on account of imputed sin.

O sinner! does not sin look black?

Do not you feel sometimes you can hardly bear yourself as a sinner, in view of what sin caused the holy Lamb of God?

I wish we might get a sin-killing heart-melting sight by faith of an agonizing Redeemer. It would make us holy, and yet would make us confess very freely our unholiness and great sinnership. "Sweet the moments, rich in blessing," when glimpses of Gethsemane and Calvary are granted to a sinful, poor, condemned creature.

There is hope you will never sink to hell if Christ agonized for your sins, seeing He exhausted all the curse. If He drank down the cup of penal wrath for you, there is no drinking it afresh. But everyone for whom Christ stood will, must of necessity, through the faithfulness and immutability of God and His grace, come into a state to feel his need of all this, and to seek an interest in it, to repent of sin, and trust alone for salvation in the Person and work of Christ.

"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin."

And an end was made of sin, when Christ was made sin for His people.
His sacrifice, the hell that He drank up in that cup, the curse that He exhausted in His sufferings and death, was all in expiation of sin, obliterating it, casting it into the depths of the sea. The Son of Man came to undo, to obliterate, to destroy, the works of the devil, by obeying and suffering.

Oh the mystery of it!

But though the mystery is profound, the truth of it will be a strength to you, my friends, a solid ground of hope. You may call this doctrinal; it is doctrinal. But if our experience does not derive from the doctrine of Christ, it is spurious experience.

"That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

Not only that we might escape the wrath to come, which is a vast thing. Oh I have known in my early days something, just a little, of what Paul speaks of in this chapter, the terror of the Lord : "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men."

For a poor wretch of a sinner, drenched in sin, suffocated by guilt, burdened with intolerable loads, and with the sword of justice hanging over him, it is indeed a terrible experience. But that is removed by the death of Christ, and removed from the conscience by the Spirit when He brings the atonement into the conscience. That is the experience of divine remission; the "knowledge of salvation by the remission of sin" (Luke 1:77).

Christ Himself, by His Holy Spirit, remits sin in His kingly authority as now exalted: "Him hath God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

But that remission of sin flows through His death, is the consequence of His sufferings.

But not only is a person for whom Christ stood Surety and Substitute, forgiven and delivered from condemnation, he is made righteous, made the righteousness of God in Christ.

Oh that is something very great!

Some of you may feel it is too great even to think about, much less to experience. But if God imputes the righteousness of Christ to you, reckons to your account the perfect obedience of His beloved incarnate Son, and gives you to know that you are justified by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, that will bring peace with God, and a sense of standing before Him accepted, guiltless, justified, righteous.

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

This can never be demonstrated by human language, but if the Holy Spirit causes us to know that we have a standing in, and are covered by, the merit and righteousness of Jesus Christ, because He stood in our sins and was covered by the wrath of God, and died and rose again for our justification, then we shall have something, at least in hope, of what the apostle had in this chapter. He said that He knew that if the earthly house of his tabernacle were dissolved, he had a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Then he said:
"Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, with our house which is from heaven, if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked; that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

A justified person before God is delivered from death, and has before him immortal glory, acceptance with a holy God. Sinlessness will ultimately be his enjoyed experience. But even here, Christ is made wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, as the Holy Spirit forms Him in the sinner's heart, and gives union with Him, and power to believe and plead His merit.

"When thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand."

The Lord Jesus was "made sin", but by His death He made an end of
sin, and when He rose from the dead the third day, according to the Scriptures, it was clearly manifested that God could be just, and the Justifier of all convinced people who feel and mourn over their ungodliness, and who believe on Jesus Christ.

Now is that where our hope is?

There is no other ground of hope, and I believe it is not an exaggeration for me to say that no one truly convicted of sin, and brought down to repentance and faith in the substitutionary work, merit, righteousness, blood, and intercession of Christ, will ever stand condemned before God.

May the Lord give us to try our interest.

What is an interest tried and proved?

It is what is in this chapter: "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit."

An earnest is a part of the inheritance. It is a receiving into the conscience, by the Holy Ghost, an assurance of interest in Christ. It is like a title for heaven.

The doctrine of Christ is inscribed in the Scripture, the work of redemption was effected by Christ on the cross ; but that work of Christ is in the fruit of it brought by the word of reconciliation into the soul's experience by the Spirit of Christ.

Then a sinner rejoices in his portion, and can say in his measure: "Surely in the Lord have I righteousness and strength."

And occasionally some of the Lord's people have been enabled humbly to hope and believe that they will one day stand unashamed and accepted before God in perfect holiness; and all because Christ died, because He died as a Surety and Substitute, and because He lives in heaven as Mediator and King of grace, and there has all authority to bestow the fruits of His precious death by His Spirit upon poor sinners who are convicted.

It is declared in the prophet: "He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied; by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many" not only not condemn, but "justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities."

And if I may for a moment just refer to that phrase: "By His knowledge", did not the Lord Jesus know when in the Garden, when on the tree, and did He not from eternity know those for whom He died?

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us."

How many of us can say we really hope that we are included in that "us"?

"That we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."

Only God can make us righteous, make us the righteousness of God. Only God could make Immanuel to be sin for us.

No righteousness of our own will do; but this will be sufficient. Christ knows for whom He suffered and died.

Oh blessed be His Name, He knows, and He will tell you if you ask Him, in His own time, if He died for you!

I hope never to forget while I have my memory, what that word was once made to me, and even to-day has been a little revived, where the Lord Jesus said in the prophet: "I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud thy sins; return unto Me, for I have redeemed thee."

It will never be undone, and if we return to Him by the Spirit's power with fresh convictions and repentance and confessions, that precious suffering death is sufficient, His righteousness is sufficient, His merit is enough. Having forgiven you all trespasses a thick cloud.

Well, we must die to know the fulness of this text, but as by faith we are favoured to enter into it a little here below, it will endear the Redeemer to us, and cause us to admire the Father's love in not sparing His own Son but delivering Him up, for the redemption of poor sinners, and the dear Redeemer's willingness to endure it all.

"How willing was Jesus to die!" to bear sin, to bear it away.
May He endear Himself to us, and may we ever remember our obligations to Him, for a hope in the mercy of God, and a hope of heaven.