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DOING THE WILL OF GOD THE DESIGŃ OF
HEBREWS X, 9.
6. REDEMPTION, by the precious blood of Christ, supposes that in his sufferings and death, he was doing the will of him who sent him.
Every step which Christ had to take; and, therefore every step which he did actually take, in accomplishing the glorious work of redemption, or in making atonement for sin, was previously delineated in the “Coun. sel of peace.”
Every thing which God's righteous Servant had to do, when he should come into the world, was comprised in the covenant of redemption. His work was plain before him. The Son knew what he had to do, and what “cruel mockings” he had to endure; and he knew what encouragement his righteous Father had given him. He knew that his holy Father would always be with him; and that when he should call upon his God, he should be heard.
Having his work completely drawn out before him, knowing the difficulties in his way, and the number, strength and policy of his enemies, Christ counted the cost, and cheerfully consented to undertake the arduous work; saying to his Father, “Thy law is in my heart."
Christ received from his Heavenly Father a commission, containing his whole work as the
the great Redeemer of man; and on being “faithful to him who ap, pointed him,” in the execution of it, he knew that his
reward would be great; "that he should see of the tra vail of his soul and be satisfied."
In coming into the world to make an atonement for sin, Christ acted the part of a servant: Being the Messiah, the Anointed of the Father, lie came not to do his own will, but the will of him who sent him.
Jesus speaks abundantly of himself as being sent of God. And on his mission, be grounded his authority in sending forth his aposties. After his resurrection, "Jesus said to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.'
The salvation of millions, the overthrow of the power of darkness, the glory of God, and the interest of the universe, depended upon Christ's ability, and fidelity in accomplishing his part of the work of him who sent him.
"Christ came not into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be savéd." But, if he had taken one wrong step, instead of saving the world, he would have destroyed it. It would in effect have delivered up the world into the hands of him, "who now worketh in the children of disobedience."
It was of singular importance that Christ should have a proper regard for the moral law that he should he holy and harmless that he should not destroy the law or the prophets, but fulfil them. But in this law we do not find a complete delineation of his work as our great High Priest and Redeemer.
To learn what the Seed of the woman had to do, in order to bruise the serpent's head, we must not look for it in the moral law. God never meant to delineate the work of the Redeemer on tables of stone. What we find here, though written with the finger of God, does not contain the commission of the great Immanuel. But this commission or law is found in the covenant of redemption. In merely fulfilling the moral law, Christ would not have bruised the head of
the serpent, nor would he have received a wound, by the power and influence of Satan, upon his own heel.
Fulfilling the moral law does not redeem from sin, does not make atonement. If suffering the penalty of the law were making atonement, then, many, who are now receiving the wages of sin, have been employed in the work of atonement for ages. But atonement for sin cannot be made by suffering deserved punishment. This will apply whether you were speaking of the transgressor himself, or of his substitute.
To suppose that atonement consists in suffering deserved evil, is totally inconsistent with the very idea of salvation by grace. For when a transgressor has suf fered all that which he deserved to suffer, he is exempted by law and justice from any further sufferings: the idea of grace or pardon is entirely out of the ques
Those sinners who are delivered from suffering, according to the Bible representation, are delivered in a way of grace; their sins are pardoned. But their salvation is through the atonement of Christ. Salvation through the atonement, therefore, is of grace. Consequently atonement cannot consist in suffering deserved punishment.
T'o this it may he objected, that, although a transgressor cannot make atonement for his sins, by suffering in his own person, yet the sufferings of another in his room and stead, would make an atonement for the sins of the transgressor: And, through this atonement he may be pardoned and saved by grace. I answer; whatever grace there might be in Christ, in suffering for the sinner, as stated by the objector; yet, there could be no grace in God the Father, who sent him, in exempting the sinner from punishment, when Christ had suffered in his room and stead all that which he 'deserved to suffer. A transgressor, however deserving of punishment, ought not to be punished himself and his substitute also. That this would be unreasonable, is too evident to need an argument to make it more plain.
Some divines make atonemeut to consist wholly in suffering the penalty of the moral law in the room and stead of the transgressor: And, as the wages of sin is death, they think therefore, that Christ, in order to make an atonement for sin, must suffer all that which is equivalent to the eternal damnation of all mankind. They suppose that the work of redemption is more extensive than the work of atonement, and therefore, suppose that the work of redemption comprehends the work of atonement, together with obeying all the precepts of the moral law. The work of atonement, therefore, with them is confined to suffering; but the work of redemption comprehends both obeying and suffering, That is, they believe that Christ redeemed his people from the curse of the law, by suffering its curse in their room and stead; and has procured for them a place at God's right hand in the heavens, by obeying the precepts of the moral law. But Christ never transgressed any precept of the moral law, and he never suffered any penalty of it. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." But Christ never sinned, neither did he ever die the death threatened the transgressor of the moral law. And however Christ kept perfectly within the bounds of all the commands and prohibitions of the moral law, yet, this did not in any degree, or in any sense, comprehend the work of atonement.
It was ever in the purpose of God to destroy the works of the devil, to restore the divine image which was lost in the apostasy of our first parents; and to save man from that eternal perdition to which he was exposed by transgression. To lay a foundation for the accomplishment of this divine purpose was a great work. For this end the Court of heaven commissioned the Son of God to come down into this world; for this world was the stage, on which the work of redemption was to be wrought. To him power and authority were delegated to enter upon, and to finish the work. To this end it was necessary, not only that Jesus be a divine Person, but also that he be possessed
of human nature. "For verily, he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham."*
As soon as Christ became man, and had accomplished the work which was appointed him, an atone. ment was made for fallen man, and therefore a foundation laid for his eternal salvation.
Sin was introduced into the world by the disobedience of man; and it was the will of God to put an end to sin by the sacrifice of one, who was more than a man, but clothed in human nature. It was the mind of God, that there should be one Perfect Man, through whom salvation should come to sinful man. Not only that he should begin to exist in a state of perfect holiness, but that he should continue so through the state of his trial. That he should not fail as the first man did by trangressing the law of his God; but that he should perfect a human character by doing the will of him who had appointed him to office, to act the part of a faithful High Priest,
Particular things were required of Adam aside from, the moral law, or law of nature. It would not have been a sin in Adam to eat, or a virtue not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden, if God had not said to him, Thou shalt not eat of it. So Christ had a work appointed him to perform, aside from the law given to Moses on the mount.
And as the particular law which Adam was under, when God said to him, Thou shalt not eat of a particular tree, may be called the law of Paradise, so the particular law which Christ or the Redeemer was under, aside from the moral law, may be called the law of redemption. This law Christ fulfilled in human nature, and in fulfilling this law, he did the will of him who sent him; and in doing this, he laid a foundation for man's salvation.
* Heb. ii, 16.