Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Christ has borne our punishment

Blue Iris

Any theology which offers the pardon of sin without a punishment, ignores the major part of the character of God. God is love, but God is also just — as severely just as if he had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if he had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all his attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy. Sin must be punished. This is the voice which thunders from the midst of the smoke and the fire of Sinai — “The soul that sinneth it shall die;” “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” “Sin must be punished” is written on the base of the eternal throne in letters of fire; and, as the damned in hell behold it, their hopes are burned to ashes. Sin must be punished, or God must cease to be.

The testimony of the Gospel is not that the punishment has been mitigated or foregone, or that justice has had a sop given it to close its mouth. The consolation is far more sure and effectual; say ye unto the daughter of Zion that “the punishment of her iniquity is accomplished.” Christ hath for his people borne all the punishment which they deserved; and now every soul for whom Christ died may read with exultation — “The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished.” God is satisfied, and asks no more. Sin deserved God’s wrath; that wrath has spent itself on Christ. The black and gathering clouds had all been summoned to the tempest, and manhood stood beneath the dark canopy waiting till the clouds of vengeance should empty out their floods. “Stand thou aside!” said Jesus — “Stand thou aside, my spouse, my Church, and I will suffer in thy stead.”

From a sermon entitled "A Message From God For Thee," delivered November 16, 1862. Flickr photo by Rosana Prada; some rights reserved.

No comments: