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stack in the way of his love towards us, God appointed a method of reconciliation in Christ. And there is much contained in the word "propitiation;" for God, in a certain ineffable manner, at the same time that he loved us, was nevertheless angry with us, till he was reconciled in Christ. This is implied in the following passages: "He is the propitiation for our sins." (f) Again: "It pleased the Father, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself." (o) Again: "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them." (w) Again: "He hath made us accepted in the Beloved."(x) Again: "That he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross." (y) The reason of this mystery may be learned from the first chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians, where Paul, having taught that we are chosen in Christ, adds at the same time, that we are accepted in him. How did God begin to favour those whom he had loved before the creation of the world, but by the manifestation which he made of his love when he was reconciled by the blood of Christ? For since God is the fountain of all righteousness, he must necessarily be the enemy and judge of every sinner. Wherefore the beginning of his love is the righteousness described by Paul: "He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we may be made the righteousness of God in him."(2:) For his meaning is, that by the sacrifice of Christ we obtain gratuitous righteousness so as to be acceptable to God, though by nature we are the children of wrath, and alienated from him by sin. This distinction is indicated also wherever the grace of Christ is connected with the love of God; whence it follows that our Saviour bestows on us what he has purchased; for otherwise it would be inconsistent to ascribe this praise to him distinctly from the Father, that grace is his, and proceeds from him.
III. Now that Christ by his obedience has really procured and merited grace from the Father for us, is certainly and justly concluded from various passages of Scripture. For I assume this as granted: If Christ has satisfied for our sins; i!
(01 John ii. 2. («) Col. i. 19, 20. (») 2 Cor.». 19.
(x) Eph. i. 6. (j) Eph. ii. 16. (r) 2 Cor. v. 21.
he has sustained the punishment due to us; if he has appeased God by his obedience; in a word, if he has suffered the just for the unjust; then salvation has been obtained for us by his righteousness, which is the same as being merited. But according to the testimony of Paul, "We were reconciled by his death, by whom we have received the atonement," or reconciliation. (a) Now there is no room for reconciliation without a previous offence. The sense therefore is, that God, to whom our sins had rendered us odious, has been appeased by the death of his Son, so as to be propitious to us. And the antithesis, which follows just after, is worthy of careful observation: "As by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (6) For the meaning is, that as by the sin of Adam we were alienated from God and devoted to destruction, so by the obedience of Christ we are received into favour, as righteous persons. Nor does the future tense of the verb exclude present righteousness; as appears from the context. For he1 had before said, " The free gift is of many offences unto justification." (c)
IV. But when we say that grace is procured for us by the merit of Christ, we intend, that we have been purified by his blood, and that his death was an expiation for sins. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." (d) "This blood is shed for the remission of sins." (e) If the non.imputation of our sins to us be the effect of the blood which he shed, it follows that this was the price of satisfaction to the justice of God. This is confirmed by the declaration of the Baptist: "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Cf) For he opposes Christ to all the sacrifices of the law, to shew that what they prefigured was accomplished in him alone. Now we know what Moses fre. quently says, that an atonement shall be made for sin, and it shall be forgiven. In short, the ancient figures give us a fine exhibition of the power and efficacy of the death of Christ. And the apostle copiously discusses this subject in the Epistle to the Hebrews, judiciously assuming this as a fundamental
(a) Rom. v. 10, 11. (A) Rom. v. 19. (c) Rorn. v. 16.
(i0 t.John i. 7. (0 Matt. xxvi. 28. (/) John i. 29.
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principle, that "without shedding of blood there is no remission." Whence he infers, that Christ hath "once appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself:" and that "he was offered to bear the sins of many." (i) He had already said, that " Not by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood; he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption." (k) Now when he argues in this manner; "If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh; how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works?" (/) it evidently appears that we too much undervalue the grace of Christ, unless we attribute to his sacrifice an expiatory, placatory, and satisfactory efficacy. Therefore it is immediately added; " 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 eternal inheritance." (w) But we ought particularly to consider the relation described by Paul, that he was "made a curse for us." (n) For it would be unnecessary, and consequently absurd, for Christ to be loaded with a curse, except in order to discharge the debts due from others, and thereby to obtain a righteousness for them. The testimony of Isaiah likewise is clear, that "the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (o) For if Christ had not made a satisfaction for our sins, he could not be said to have appeased God by suffering the punishment to which we were exposed. This is confirmed by a subsequent clause: " For the transgression of my people was he stricken."(^) Let us add the interpretation of Peter, which will remove all difficulty, that" he bare our sins in his own body on the tree;"(y) which imports that the burden of condemnation, from which we have been relieved, was laid upon Christ.
V. The apostles explicitly declare, that he paid a price to redeem us from the sentence of death. " Being justified freely
(i) Heb. ix. 22, 26, 28. (*) Heb. ix. 12.
(/) Heb. ix. 13,14. (m) Heb. ix. 15.
(n) Gal. iii. 13. (o) Isaiah liii. 5.
(/>) Isaiah Uih 8. (?) 1 Peter li. 2*
by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood." (r) Here Paul celebrates the grace of God, because he has given the price of our redemption in the death of Christ: and then enjoins us to betake ourselves to his blood, that we may obtain righteousness, and may stand secure before the judgment of God. Peter confirms the same when he says, "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious, blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot." (a) For there would be no propriety in the comparison, unless this blood had been the price of satisfaction for sin: for which reason Paul says, "Ye are bought with a price." (O Nor would there be any truth in his other assertion, that "there is one Mediator, who gave himself a ransom," (v) unless the punishment due to our demerits had been transferred to him. Therefore the same apostle defines "redemption through his blood" to be "the forgiveness of sins:" (w) as though he had said, We are justified or acquitted before God, because that blood is a complete satisfaction for us. Which is consonant with the following passage, that "he blotted out the hand.writing, which was contrary to us, nailing it to his cross." (x) For these words signify the payment or compensation which absolves us from guilt. There is great weight also in these words of Paul: "If righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (y) For hence we conclude, that we must seek from Christ what the law would confer upon any one who fulfilled it: or, which is the same, that we obtain by the grace of Christ what God promised in the law to our works: ** which" commandments "if a man do, he shall live in them." (z) This the apostle confirms with equal perspicuity in his sermon at Antioch, asserting that "by Christ all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses." (a) For if righteousness consist in an observance of the law, who can deny that Christ merited favour for us, when by bearing this burden himself he reconciles us
(r) Rom. iii. 24, 25. («) 1 Peter i. 18,19. (f) 1 Cor. vi. 20.
(«) 1 Tim. ii. 5, 6. (w) Col. i. 14. (x) Col. ii. 14.
(y) Gal. u. 21. (z) Lev. xviii. 5. («) Acts xiii. 39.
to God, just as though we were complete observers of the law ourselves. The same idea is conveyed in what he afterwards writes to the Galatians, that " God sent forth his Son, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." (A) For what was the design of that subjection to the law, but to procure a righteousness for us, by undertaking to perform that which we were not able to do. Hence that imputation of righteousness without works, of which Paul treats; (c) because that righteousness which is found in Christ alone is accepted as ours. Nor indeed is the "flesh" of Christ called our "food" (d) for any other reason but because we find in it the substance of life. Now this virtue proceeds solely from the crucifixion of the Son of God, as the price of our righteousness. Thus Paul says, "Christ hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet.smelling savour."(f) And in another place, "He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Cf) Hence it is inferred, not only that salvation is given us through Christ, but that the Father is now propitious to us for his sake. For it cannot be doubted, but this, which God declares in a figurative way by Isaiah, is perfectly fulfilled in him; "I will" do it "for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake."(^.) Of this the apostle is a sufficient witness, when he says, " Your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." (A) For although the name of Christ is not expressed, yet John in his usual manner designates him by the pronoun «»t«?, he. In this sense the Lord declares, "As I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." (/) With which corresponds the following declaration of Paul: "Unto you it is given for the love of Christ (urej XV"") not on'y to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake." (k)
VI. But the inquiry made by Lombard and the schoolmen, whether Christ merited for himself, discovers as much foolish curiosity, as the assertion does presumption when they affirm it. For what necessity was there for the only.begotten Son of God to descend, in order to make any new acquisition for
(b) Gal. iv. 4,5. (c) Rom. iv. 5. (i/) John vi. 55.
(>•) Eph. v. 2. ( /) Rom. W. 25. (g) Isaiah xxxvii. 35:
(/.) 1 John iL 12. (•) John vi. 57. (*■) Phil. i. 29.