Larger font
Smaller font
Copy
Print
Contents

Looking Unto Jesus

 - Contents
  • Results
  • Related
  • Featured
No results found for: "".
    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents

    06 THE LESSON OF THE CROSS

    HAVING wrought perfectly the will of God in his sinless life, Christ, as the world’s sacrifice, approached the cross. He was without sin, but was made sin for us. “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:6. He bore “our sins in his own body on the tree.” 1 Peter 2:24. “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh [margin, beareth] away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. And let it here be noted to what event these scriptures apply. It was when he was on the tree - the cross - that he bore in his own body our sins, as Peter testifies. It was there that He, as the Lamb of God, bore the sin of the world, as John affirms. But then he was acting in the capacity of a sacrifice, not as priest, which is a very different matter, as will hereafter appear. As a sacrifice his work was for the whole world indiscriminately, without respect to character. It was necessary that the ransom provided for men should be thus universal, that all might accept it who would. But this does not save all indiscriminately, and make the doctrine of universal salvation true; for man is a free moral agent, and his acceptance of the gift of God must be voluntary, not forced. And that acceptance he is to manifest by coming to Christ, as our great High Priest, who stands ready to apply the benefits of his life and death to all who desire to receive them, and who will express that desire in the appointed way, but to no others. The sacrifice was thus made ample enough to cover the cases of all men; for he who was made sin for us, was the Maker of all. The offering was sufficient to cancel the sins of all men, because the life thus voluntarily given up was the equivalent of every life which had been derived from him. And yet it saves none by force.LUJ 38.1

    Let mercy set forth the situation in the following colloquy with the law: “O Law, we know that to your claims are justly forfeited the lives of all men; for all have sinned; and the righteous sentence of the Judge of all is that the wages of sin is death. But if man is left to pay that penalty himself, he must perish; and we wish to save him. Therefore provision has been made by the Lord Jesus to meet these demands you have upon the lives of all transgressors. You are not asked to relax your claims; but you are asked to let them fall upon a substitute, who takes their place, in the case of all who will accept him as such. The Lord offers himself. He will be the sacrifice on man’s behalf, for against him on his own behalf you have no claims. For the love wherewith he has loved them, freely this Saviour gives his life and death to all who will receive the gift. He permits them to identify themselves with him. He gives himself as a ‘city of refuge’ into which whosoever will may run and be safe. To all such Christ’s life and death become their own. From the standpoint of sacrifice, their death in him offers a surrender of life for transgression; from the standpoint of life, the robe of righteousness wrought out in Christ’s spotless life, covers all their own, in that they have the fair garments they would have had, if they had never been transgressors. In Christ, O Law, for every penitent man, behold your claims all satisfied.”LUJ 39.1

    “Enough,” responds the Law. “My claims are honored, my demands are met. The sinner may go free.”LUJ 39.2

    And to secure this blessed privilege, the sinner has but to take Christ by faith, as the “Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”LUJ 40.1

    Thus the great problem, not how the righteous may be justified, but how the sinner may be justified, his sin be canceled, and he be saved, without any relaxing of the law, without infringing upon the claims of justice, without any disparagement to the honor, dignity, and safety of the government of God, is gloriously solved. A right disposition on the part of the penitent to safeguard the future, is secured; for he must come under the control of a spirit of obedience and submission. But this alone is not sufficient for a basis of pardon to the offender. There must be in God’s own nature a sense of satisfied justice; and the sufferings and death of Christ for sin, furnish just such a basis for his pardoning love. And all man has to do, all that he can do, is just to accept the atonement so freely provided for him. When he confesses his sin, and is forgiven, his pardon comes not from anything that he has done, but only from what has been done for him by another. Is it not the wonder of wonders that any one should refuse to be reconciled to God? Is it not the amazement of all heaven that any in the sore need of sinful men, should reject the “unspeakable gift”? Does not the appalling spectacle of refusal justify the saying that “there is only one miracle greater than faith, and that is the miracle of unbelief”?LUJ 40.2

    A word, in passing, should be offered concerning the testimony borne to the strength and immutability of the law of God through the fact that God was thus manifest in the flesh, and died for men. “Do we then make void the law through faith?” is the stirring question of the apostle in Romans 3:31. And the answer is equally impressive: “God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” [NO PAGE NUMBER] PICTURELUJ 40.3

    Out of the catastrophe of sin, but three paths appeared: one was to let the law take its course, the wages of sin, which is death, be inflicted, and man perish. Another was atonement for sin through the death of Christ, to save men. The third was to take away the law, by which is the knowledge of sin; so that, inasmuch as “where no law is, there is no transgression” (Romans 4:15), men might be considered guiltless, and so not under the sentence of condemnation and death. The first, to let men perish, Christ’s love for the human race would not permit him to do; the last, to take away the law, he could not do, as that would be not only a triumph of Satan, but worse, it would be the abandoning of the universe to chaos and ruin, the abdication of his throne by the Lord Jehovah, and the unconditional surrender of the field to sin. Could the law have been relaxed, or changed, or abolished, man could have been released from the grasp and doom of sin (except as sin would in the end have accomplished the destruction of all things), without the death of the Son of God. But this could not be. Law must be maintained. The order and safety of the universe rest upon it. Any alternative less than the death of Christ, which could have saved man, would surely have been adopted, rather than that he should pass so fearful an ordeal. Therefore one look at the divine victim expiring on the cross, should forever fix this fact in every mind, that the throne of God can as soon be overturned as that the law can be abolished, or in the least jot or tittle be subjected to a change. So invulnerable its strength, so invincible its claims, that nothing less than the death of God’s own Son could rescue guilty man from its awful power. Thus the death of Christ establishes the law; thus faith in Christ, as the only one who can save men from the transgression of the law, establishesLUJ 41.1

    PICTURE AND TEXT the law; and this every believer confesses when he flees to Christ to save him from his sins, and from the just doom to which the law holds him so long as guilt defiles his soul. Sin is a reality, and the gospel, good news, because the law still lives.LUJ 42.1

    The offering of Christ was accepted by the Father. He testified to this by raising him from the dead, and setting him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. Ephesians 1:20, 21. In that high position he acts as priest in man’s behalf. Hebrews 8:1, 2; 7:25. And this position he will hold at the right hand of the Father while the gospel continues and mercy is offered to men, and until all his enemies are subjected to him and made his footstool, and he makes the momentous change from the position of priest to that of king. For this was the instruction and the promise of the Father to him when he ascended from the work he had finished on earth, to his Father’s throne in heaven: “Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Psalm 110:1. And the apostle expressly declares that Christ now occupies on the throne of his Father the position set forth in the psalm just quoted, and is waiting the fulfilment of that promise. Mark his language: “But this man [Christ], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God: from henceforth expecting [or waiting with expectation, ] till his enemies be made his footstool.” Hebrews 10:12, 13. This making his enemies his footstool, will be the giving to him by the Father, of the kingdom, to be composed of those, not only whom he has created, but whom he has also redeemed by his own blood. Psalm 2:8; Daniel 7:14; Matthew 13:41-43; Acts 20:28. And when he has reached this stage in his work, and the kingdom is formally committed to his control, he comes to take his people to himself (John 14:3), to destroy those enemies who have been made his footstool, who would not have him to reign over them (Luke 19:27), to raise the righteous dead, and change the righteous living to immortality. 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52. And then after completing the work of Judgment (Revelation 20:4) he will bid his people take the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34), in which kingdom they are to reign forever and ever. Daniel 2:44; 7:27; Luke 1:32, 33.LUJ 42.2

    Larger font
    Smaller font
    Copy
    Print
    Contents