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SUFFERING THE WRATH OF GOD NOT ESSENTIAL
MATTHEW xvi, 21. From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his
disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the ELDERS and CHIEF PRIESTS, and scribes and be killed, and raised again the third day.
Also, Matthew iïi, 17. And, lo, a voice from heaven, saying, this is my be
loved Son in whom I um well pleused.
5. THE Son of man, in making an atonement for sin, did not suffer the wrath of God. This, in redemption by the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish, and without spot, is not implied. Among all the sufferings of the Sun, he never suffered the wrath of the Father.
It is granted that the sufferings of our Saviour were great and manifold. But in ali bis trials, and, in the midst of every scene of suffering, he was supported with the clear apprehension that his Father was well pleased with him. “Never did the Father view this Son of his love with greater complacency and delight, than when he was making his soul an offering for sin: And never did he feel” greater tenderness tor bim, than while enduring the bruise of Satan upon bis heel, in the work of redemption. In this work he failed pot, neither was he discouraged till he had finished is
upon the cross at mount Calvary In the accomplishment of this glorious work, he forever secured the love and most cordial approbation of his father. Therefore doth my Father love me,” says Jesus, because I lay down my life.” Behold the hour conicth, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered every ove to his own, and shall leave ine alone,and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me And he that sent me, is with me: 'The Father hath not left me alone: for I do always those things which please him.” This declaration of Christ was confirmed by a voice from heaven “THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED.” --Expressions so unreserved, must be considered as absolutely inconsistent with any idea of God's displeasure against him, or even any absence of his Father's smiles.
It is thought by some, that because Christ has delivered us from the curse of the law, that he. therefore endured the curse himself. But could not Christ deliver us from evil without enduring that evil himself? Is this the way to redeem men from sin and suffering? Must the innocent Redeemer suffer the curse due to the transgressor in order to his redemption? If this be the idea of redemption, what then is gained? Is it just and right? is there any display of wisdom and goodness, in laying suffering upon the innocent, and in letting the guilty go free? If Christ have suffered the wrath of God which is due to the transgressor, how then would it bejest to lay the suffering upon the transgressor also? According to this, justice requires that all sinners be saved for whom Christ died. But the Bible proclamation of redemption is through rich and free grace. Being delivered from the wrath of God, through grace, it follows that the wrath of God was not suffered by Jesus Christ.
Perhaps some will say, that this statement is not correct. that the argument is not valid, it agrees not with Scripture; for, Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law," says Paul in his Epistle to the Gae jatians, “being made a curse for us.” To this I reply: if we attend to the connexion, and to that which led the apostle to this form of expression, being made a curse for us, we shall readily see the meaning of the text. It is granted that Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, and that he was made a curse for us; but in what sense was he made a curse for us? This we learn from what follows: "For it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” The passage to which the apostle refers, is written in Deuteronomy.* “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang bim on a tree; his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God.”) Here we see that the man, who had committed a crime for which he was to be put to death by being banged, was accursed of God. Among the Jews there were many ways of putting criminals to death, but we have no account that any were considered as accursed of God but those who were hanged on a tree. Those then who were put to death by being hanged were accursed of God The Jews who were the murderers of the Son of God, viewed him as a blasphemer, and worthy of death, even the ignominious death of being hanged upon a tree.
And for our redemption from the curse of the law, it was necessary for some good reason, that Christ should submit to death, even the death of the cross, or to be hung upon a tree. Christ always knew what death he should die, and that he might bruise the serpent's head, it was necessary that he should die upon a tree. Hence in a view of the predicted manner in which he must die, “Now,” says Christ, “is the judgment of this world; now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should dic." This was the manner among the Jews of executing the vilest malefactors. Christ was crucified, and he was put in the highest place of shame and disgrace, even between two murderers. “Then were two thieves crucified with him, the one on the right hand, the other on the left.” “This was done with a view of adding to the ignominy of our Sa. viour's sufferings. But this act of malignity, like many other instances of the same nature, answered a purpose which the authors of it little thought of or intended. It was the completion of a prophecy of Isaiah, in which, alluding to this very transaction, he says of the Messiah, he was numbered with the transgressors.'”* Hence, says Christ, “This that is written must be ac. complished in me, and he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end." Now, does it follow, that Christ suffered the curse of the divine law, and so the wrath of God, because he was treated by his murderers as one of the vilest of men; and therefore put in the place with those who were accursed of God? Cannot a good man be murdered and hung upon a tree, and yei not suffer the curse of the law of God? A law which dooms the impenitent sinner to hell, to a place where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched?
* Deut. xxi, 22, 23.
One of the malefactors who expired upon the tree with Christ, was a penitent, and was,' therefore, pardoned; and, on that very day went with Christ into Paradise. Did he suffer the curse of the law of God? He did not. But why? he was hung upon a tree; and it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. In the same sense that Christ was accursed of God, the penitent who died with him was accursed of God; but neither of them suffered the curse of the divine law or the wrath of God.
I believe, some suppose that the wine-press, mentioned in Isaiah Ixiji, 3, means the wine-press of the wrath of God; and that Christ in treading this wine-press, bore the wrath and curse of God.
* Porteus, Bishop of London.
But what is here said of Christ evidently expresses his complete conquest and triumph over his enemies. We have in this chapter a dialogue between Isaiah and Clirist. Isaiah says, “Who is this that cometh from Elom with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?” Christ answers, "I that speak in righteousness, inignty to save.” Isaiah says. “Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the wine fat?" Christ an
"I have trodden the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trainple them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raunent. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: there. fore mine own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and nake them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”
There was a time when Christ was rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: "but now he appears as a mighty conqueror sprinkled with the blood of prostrate enemies. Once he was oppressed, he was afflicted, he opened not his mouth, he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; he was taken from prison and from judgment; he was cut off out of the land of the living; he was slain; he was buried: "but now he victoriously treads the wine-press of his indig. nation; he tramples upon the people in his anger; the day of vengeance is in his heart; he is glorious in his apparel; he travels in the greatness of his strength." There is nothing in this place which has the appear. ance of Christ's suffering the wrath of God, or of suffering at all. But the whole language is that of victory and triumph over his enemies. What language