Wednesday, March 24, 2010
THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST'S SUFFERINGS
"He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all."
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