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same obligations of the law with us, Gal. 4:4; and though he had no sin of his own, yet standing before God as our surety, the iniquities of us all were laid upon him, Isa. 53: 6; and from him did the Lord exact satisfaction for our sins, Rom. 8: 32, in the sufferings of his soul, Matt. 27: 46, and his body, Acts, 2: 23; and with this obedience of his Son he is fully pleased and satisfied, Eph. 5: 2, and hath in token thereof raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand, Eph. 1: 20, and for his righteousness' sake acquitted and discharged believers, who shall never more come into condemnation, Rom. 8: 1, 34. All this is plain in Scripture our faith in the satisfaction of Christ is not built on the wisdom of man, but the everlasting sealed truth of God; yet such is the perverse nature of man, and the pride of his heart, that whilst he should be humbly adoring the grace of God, in providing such a surety for us, he is found accusing the justice and diminishing the mercy of God, and raising all the objections which Satan and his own heart can invent, to overturn that blessed foundation upon which God hath built his own honor and his people's salvation.
INFERENCE 1. If the death of Christ was that which satisfied God for our sins, there is infinite evil in sin, since it could not be expiated but by an infinite satisfaction. Fools make a mock at sin, and there are few in the world who are duly sensible of its evil; but certainly, if God should exact of thee the full penalty, thy eternal sufferings could not satisfy for the evil there is in one vain thought. You may think it severe, that God should subject his creatures to everlasting sufferings for sin, and never be satisfied with them any more. But when you have well considered, that the Being against whom you sin is the infinitely blessed God, and how God dealt with the angels that fell, you will change your mind. Oh the depth of the evil of sin! If ever
you wish to see how great and horrid an evil sin is, measure it in your thoughts, either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who is wronged by it; or by the infinite sufferings of Christ, who died to satisfy for it; and then you will have deeper apprehensions of its enormity.
2. If the death of Christ satisfied God, and thereby redeemed us from the curse; then the redemption of souls is costly; souls are precious and of great value with God. "Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition; but with the precious blood of the Son of God, as of a lamb without spot." 1 Pet. 1: 18, 19. Only the blood of God is an equivalent for the redemption of souls. Gold and silver may redeem from human, but not from hellish bondage. The whole creation is not a value for the redemption of one soul. Souls are very dear; he that paid for them found them so yet how cheaply do sinners sell their souls! But you that sell your souls cheap, will buy repentance dear.
3. If Christ's death satisfied God for our sins, how unparalleled is the love of Christ to poor sinners! It is much to pay a pecuniary debt to free another, but who will pay his own blood for another? We have a noted instance of Zaleucus, who decreed, that whoever was convicted of adultery should have both his eyes put out. But his own son was brought before him for that crime; and the people interposing, made suit for his pardon. At length the father, partly overcome by their importunities, and not unwilling to show what lawful favor he might to his son, first put out one of his own eyes, and then one of his son's; thus showing himself both a merciful father and a just lawgiver; so tempering mercy with justice, that both the law was satisfied, and his son spared. This is written by the historian as
an instance of singular love in his father, to pay one half of the penalty for his son. But Christ did not divide and share the penalty with us, he bare it all. Zaleucus did it for his son, who was dear to him; Christ did it for enemies that were fighting and rebelling against him: "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5: 8.
4. If Christ, by dying, has made full satisfaction, then God can consistently pardon the greatest of sinners that believe in Jesus; and consequently his justice can be no bar to their justification and salvation. He is "just to forgive us our sins." 1 John, 1:9. What an argument is here for a poor believer to plead with God! Lord, if thou save me by Jesus Christ, thy justice will be fully satisfied; but if thou damn me, and require satisfaction at my hands, thou canst never receive it: I can never make payment, though I lie in hell to eternity. One drop of his blood is more worth than all my polluted blood. Oh how satisfying is this to the conscience of a poor sinner who feels that the multitude, aggravations, and amazing circumstances of his sins, prevent the possibility of their being pardoned! Can such a sinner as I be forgiven? Yes, if thou believest in Jesus, thou mayest; for in him God can pardon the greatest transgressors: "Let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption." Psalm 130: 7.
5. If Christ has made such full satisfaction, how much is it the concern of every soul to abandon all thoughts of satisfying God for his own sins, and betake himself to the blood of Christ, the ransomer, by faith, that in that blood they may be pardoned? It would grieve one's heart to see how many poor creatures are drudging and toiling at a task of repentance, and revenge upon themselves, and reformation, and obedience, to satisfy God for what they have done against him: and alas! it can
not be they do but lose their labor; could they swelter their very hearts out, weep till they can weep no more, cry till their throats be parched, alas, they can never recompense God for one vain thought; for such is the severity of the law, that when it is once offended, all we can do to make amends is vain; it will not discharge the sinner for all the sorrow in the world. Indeed, if a man be in Christ, sorrow for sin is something, and renewed obedience is something: God looks upon them favorably, and accepts them graciously in Christ: but out of him they avail no more than the entreaties and cries of a condemned malefactor to reverse the legal sentence of the judge. Reader, be convinced that one act of faith in the Lord Jesus pleases God more than all thy strivings to meet the claims of his law, through thy whole life, can do.
THE INHERITANCE PURCHASED BY THE OBLATION OF Christ.
THE SECOND EFFECT OF HIS PRIESTHOOD.
"But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. 4:4, 5.
The payment of our debt, expressed by our redemption, or buying us out from the obligation and curse of the law, was considered in the last discourse.
The purchase of an inheritance for the redeemed, expressed here by their "receiving the adoption of sons," is our present subject. Adoption, according to the civil law, has been defined as "a lawful act, an imitation of nature, invented for the comfort of them that have no children of their own." "Divine adoption is that spe
cial benefit whereby God, for Christ's sake, accepteth us as sons, and makes us heirs of eternal life with him."
Between this civil and sacred adoption there is a twofold agreement, and disagreement. They agree in this, that both flow from the pleasure and good-will of him who adopts; and in this, that both confer a right to pri vileges which we have not by nature: but in this they differ, one is an act imitating nature, the other transcends nature; the one was found out for the comfort of them that had no children; the other for the comfort of them that had no father. This divine adoption is, in Scripture, either taken properly for that act or sentence of God by which we are made sons, or for the privileges with which the adopted are invested: and so it is used Rom. 8: 23, and in the passage now before us. We lost our inheritance by the fall of Adam; we receive it, as the text speaks, by the death of Christ, which restores it again to us by a new and better title. The doctrine hence is, that
The death of Jesus Christ has not only satisfied for our debts, but purchased a rich inheritance for the children of God.
"For this end he is the Mediator of the new testament, that, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." Heb. 9: 15.
We will here see what Christ paid; what he purchased; and for whom.
I. What Christ paid. Divines comprise the virtue and fruits of the priesthood of Christ in these two things, Solutio debiti, et acquisitio hæreditatis, payment and purchase. Accordingly the obedience of Christ has a double relation, the relation of a legal righteousness, and of a merit over and beyond the law.
Here divines rightly distinguish between the sub