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wanes, but ever waxes, when the Lord shall come from heaven, “whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come;" so that there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
CHAPTER I. 10.
HERE We have combined in one the cross on which the Saviour said, “ It is finished,” and those many crowns -the crowns of creation, providence, and redemption -wearing which he will come again to be admired by all that believe, and to be glorified throughout the universe in that day. We read here, first of all, of his delivering us from the wrath to come; the result and fruit of the work of expiation, atonement, and sacrifice. We read next of his coming again, at the end of the age, or, as it is rendered, the end of the world : “We wait for his Son from heaven,” from whence he will descend at the last act of this perplexed and mingled drama, in which we play a part so momentous. And lastly, we read of our relative attitude between the cross, by which we are delivered from the wrath to come, and the crown, when its wearer shall return and make all things new. Meanwhile we are represented as waiting until He come from heaven whom God raised from the dead.
We have first of all presented to us the fact that Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come. It is therefore plain, that, irrespective of and without an interest in his interposing sacrifice, we were exposed to what is here called wrath-a wrath ever accumulating
-wrath that is still to come, when millions of years have been spent in enduring it—a wrath that shall have no exhaustion and no end. Why were we exposed to such wrath, so dreadful and so enduring? for wrath here is simply the punitive retribution and judgment of God pronounced upon every soul that doeth evil. It is as much part of God's economy that he should punish the guilty, as that he should glorify and make happy the perfectly innocent. Were he to finch
-if I may use the expression—from the infliction of penalty provoked by sin, there would be no confidence in him that he would make good the promise he has given to them that love, and from the first and without faltering obey him. It is a law as lasting as the attribute of Deity itself, that the soul that sins shall die ; and it is a law co-equal and cotemporaneous, that the soul which is perfectly holy shall remain perfectly happy for ever and ever. These two great laws are the very pillars that sustain God's moral government: the denial of the one or the other is the abjuration of all that Scripture clearly and unequivocally reveals. In the denial of these there is the logical rejection of order and government, right and wrong. These laws, applied as tests and criteria to our character, prove that we have sinned-sinned in Adam, and sinned in ourselves. Were we detached from Adam, and tested by our own doings or deserts for a single day, we should be found guilty; and the breach of law is death; the transgression of it is the sure passport to wrath, tribulation, and anguish upon every soul of man that doeth evil. All flesh has sinned; all humanity is wrecked and undone ; and if left alone just as it is, it goes like the rush of a stream to the ocean into endless and inexhaustible wrath to come. In this state and condition, we hear glorious news : Jesus has delivered us from the wrath to come; rescued us from a ruin we had provoked—that some of us had even challenged ; and has reinstated us in a glory that we had forfeited, and that some of us had no desire to win back; and he has done so not by gold or silver, or any such corruptible things, but we are told by his own precious blood, as the blood of a lamb without spot and without blemish. Here is the whole gospel in a nutshell : sinners ruined by nature, restored by Christ; sinners inevitably rushing into wrath to come, drawn back, and placed under another attraction, and through Christ's sacrifice made heirs and inheritors of glory to come. But how did he thus deliver us? He took our place; the curse we deserved he endured; the wrath we had provoked he took into his own bosom; so that by what he suffered I escape the everlasting curse ; and that law which I could not and cannot now obey, obedience to which, nevertheless, is the only right and title to heaven, he obeyed for me; so that by what he suffered I am delivered from the curse ; by what he did I am entitled to the glory and the blessing; and hence in Jesus Christ that beautiful chapter, the 53d of Isaiah, is no more a prophet's vision, but a great reality and a blessed experience : “He was wounded for our transgression, the chastisement of our peace was upon him ; and by his stripes we are healed ;” and he, the Man of Sorrows, made atonement for sin, and was numbered as a sacrifice with transgressors.
What intensity must there be in that sin which needed such an atonement, and by such a victim ! The blood of bulls and of goats could not wash it away; all the rites of Levi could not remove it; it needed the efficacy of an infinite sacrifice to redeem from an eternal ruin the heirs by nature of wrath to come. And what a love must there have been in God, to withhold not his own Son—to give him up to the death for us all! What a magnificent text, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him may not perish, but have eternal life.” In these very words, “gave his only-begotten Son,” we have presumptive evidence that Jesus Christ was God : “ to wait for his Son ;" in the fact that he was raised from the dead, and the intimation, therefore, that he died, we have the evidence that Christ was man. You ask, how the expression “his Son” can prove he was God ? The Jews took up stones to stone 'him because he said he was “the Son of God, making himself equal with God." The Jews understood the import of their own distinctive phraseology; they understood the full reach of the expression, “God's Son;" and when they heard Jesus of Nazareth assume the sublime title, they felt, and justly, that either he was God or he was a blasphemer; there was no standing-place between. If he was not God, he blasphemed, and the Jews justly took up stones to stone him ; if he was God, as we believe he was, then we deplore their insensibility, and blindness, and sin.
We have the evidence, in the next place, that he was man ; for the very words on which I am now commenting teach us he was raised from the dead. If he died, he must have been man. God cannot die ; and therefore, in the fact that Jesus died, we have as clear evidence that he was man, as in the other fact, that he