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25 Whom God hath 'set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the + remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; * Or, foreordained.
+ Or, passing over.
natural goodness and mercy, without re- Christ: the redemption-price was his LIFE. gard “to any other consideration what- “The Son of Man came to give his life ever ;” and yet in this very verse another a ransom, aut pov, for many,” Matt. xx. and leading consideration is brought in,- 28. “In whom we have redemption, “through the redemption that is in TNV anolutpwow, through his BLOOD,” Eph. Jesus Christ.” But beside this, it is i. 7. That deliverance of man from sin, plain from the context, that the freeness misery, and all other penal evils followof our justification denotes the manner ing his transgression, which constitutes in which the blessing is bestowed, not our redemption by , is not therefore a the means by which it was PROCURED. gratuitous deliverance, granted without a Nor do the means by which our justifica- consideration, as an act of God's supposed tion was effected, in any respect, alter its prerogative to dispense with his own nature as a gift, or in the least diminish laws; but the ransom, the redemptionits freedom. We are justified freely by price, was exacted and paid, one thing his grace through the redemption that is was given for another, “the precious in Jesus Christ ; but this redemption was blood of Christ,” for condemned captive not procured by us. It was the result of the pure love of God, who, compassionat- Mr. Locke greatly trifles on this pasing our misery, himself provided the sage. He urges that redemption is somemeans of our deliverance, by sending times used in scripture where no price is his only begotten Son into the world, paid as
Figuratively and who voluntarily submitted to die upon loosely it may, but never where our rethe cross, that he might reconcile us to demption by Christ is spoken of; and God. Thus was the whole an entire act however many instances could be brought of mercy on the part of God and our from the Old Testament of the use of the Saviour, begun and completed for our word, without reference to a ransom, they benefit, but without our intervention; and are all irrevelant to the argument; for therefore, in respect to us, the pardon of in our redemption the Aulpov, the ransom, sin must be accounted a gift, though it is repeatedly, expressly, and emphatically comes to us through redemption.
mentioned, and that price is said to be Through the redemption that is in Jesus “the blood of Christ.” He urges too, Christ.- Redemption has sometimes been and in this foolish objection he has been restrained to the liberation of captives, followed by many, that if redemption neby paying a ransom, Aut pov, or redemp- cessarily supposes a price paid, it must be tion-price; but Grotius has fully shown, paid to those who hold us captive, sin or that it is used both by sacred and profane Satan; forgetting that to be subject to sin writers to signify, not merely the libera- and Satan, is, by God's righteous decision, tion of captives, but deliverance from made a part of man's punishment. The
or any other evil ; and that satisfaction is therefore to be made to the ransom, turpov, signifies everything God, under whose law we are doomed which satisfies another, so as to effect to these and other miseries, and not to this deliverance. In the gospel, that from the instruments by whom the penalties which we are redeemed is sin, and all the of that law are carried into effect. evils and miseries consequent upon it: this
Verse 25. Whom God hath set forth to redemption is effected by Christ,--through be a propitiation. The word rendered the redemption that is in or by Jesus propitiation in other passages of the New
Testament is aojos : here the adjective the LIFE, of Christ, sacrificially offered. Laoinprov is employed, probably with Juua Socinus interpreted propitiation to mean or legelov, understood; and so it means an no more than the destruction of sin; expiatory sacrifice. In the LXX. and the which is unsupported by a single Greek Epistle to the Hebrews it is used for the authority. The modern Socinians depart mercy-seat or covering of the ark; and from their master, and allow that it if the allusion were to that, it would fol- means the pacifying of an offended party; low, that as this mercy-seat was sprinkled but contend that God is pacified by rewith the blood of the appointed victims, pentance. So that at last they allow recand became the medium of gracious inter- toral wrath in God, but still overlook, course between God and the Israelites re- not merely the meaning, but the very presented by their high priest, so our Lord words of the text, where, not our repentmay be called the propitiatory, as being ance, but Christ, in his character of Rethe person in and through whom, upon deemer, or RANSOM-PAYER, is said to be the offering of his blood, God holds gra- the propitiation set forth. The SETTING cious intercourse with penitent men. PORTH of this propitiation is also an imThe former sense is, however, to be pre- portant circumstance introduced. The ferred,—uhom God hath set forth to be a most satisfactory sense of goedelo, which propitiatory sacrifice. To propitiate is to has been rendered both foreordained, appease, to turn away the wrath of an and substituted, is that of our own transoffended person.
In this case the wrath lation; which, in fact, includes the to be turned away is the wrath of God. Others: for as God himself is said to have Not that he is implacable, the unfounded set forth, publicly exhibited and proposed, objection which many bring against the this propitiation, he himself before apdoctrine of the atonement. There is not pointed or ordained it; the paternal only no implacability in God, but a most mercy gave the Son, and he was the Lamb tender affection towards the sinning race, which from the beginning "God prowhich is proved by the gift of his Son. vided for a burnt offering,” and provided This is the most eminent proof of his as a substitute for guilty men. Through love, that for our sakes “he spared not all the promises and types of the law his own Son.” Thus he is the fountain there was a setting forth, in some degree, and first moving cause of that scheme of of this propitiation, yet not a clear rerecovery and salvation which the death velation, nor could be until the true saof Christ wrought into efficiency. The crifice was offered. Then it was fully question is not whether God is love, but exhibited and proposed both by the publiwhether he is nothing but love; whether cation of the gospel and the divine instihe is not holy and just; whether we, his tution of the Lord's supper; in which creatures, are or are not under law; all his disciples “show forth his death” ir whether this law has any penalty; and its sacrificial nature, and as the propitiawhether God, in his rectoral character, tion for the sins of the world, and will is bound to execute and uphold that law. continue to do so “until he come ” as the These points are settled by what the righteous Judge of all. Every thing relative apostle has already said, or his argument to the sacrifice of Christ bears the most amounts to nothing: we are under law, public character, and is in accordance and under guilt,—these are his decisions : with its peculiar and universal exhibited. the justice of God he also declares to be He was offered up before the world; the punitive, and we are therefore under doctrine of his cross forms the great subthat “wrath of God which is revealed ject of the evangelical ministry; it is that from heaven against all ungodliness and which is commanded to be preached, pubunrighteousness of men.” Thus God is lished, and proclaimed to every creature ; angry with us, and so a propitiation be- whilst the institution of the church, which comes necessary to turn away that anger is not a secret society, but “a city set on from us.
This propitiation is the blood, a hill,” holds up to the faith and trust of
men, from age to age, that grand atone- phrase used, faith in his blood, indicates ment by which alone the guilty are re- the nature of the faith itself; for it surely conciled to God.
cannot mean that every man who believes Through faith in his blood. This im- historically that the blood of Christ was portant clause expresses the means by actually shed, nor that every man who which the propitiation becomes available believes that his blood was the general to each individual. By its virtue all atonement for sin, will be saved; for mankind are placed under a gracious and then, indeed, heaven would be peopled merciful administration, and provision is with the unsanctified and unholy, since made for their salvation independent of many admit these truths with the fulness any efforts of their own; but, in order of conviction, who still live in the practhat actual personal reconciliation with an tice of sin : but the meaning is, Trust in offended God may take place, there must his blood, the reliance of a sinner conscibe personal faith in his blood. Faith is pre- ously sinful and penitent, one, as the apossented to us under two leading views: the tle had said, “whose mouth is stopped,” first is that of assent or persuasion, the se- who denies nothing, palliates nothing, but cond that of confidence or reliance. The sinks in silent shame, as guilty before God; former may exist without the latter ; and, that is, he feels, confesses, that he is guilty, though the basis, is certainly not that and relies upon the propitiation which God faith which is made the condition and hath set forth. Both Jews and Gentiles instrument of our salvation. One is TRUSTED in something, however delusive, mere intellectual assent; the other is a to avert from them the divine displeasure, work of the heart, a motion of the soul or to secure the favour of superior towards God, to lay hold upon his cove- powers. These things were to be wholly nant engagements, and to rest in them. renounced, and the full and exclusive The faith by which the elders “obtained trust of a contrite heart be reposed in a good report
was of this character: that true and only propitiation which was it united assent to the truth of God's manifestly set forth by God, and which revelations with a noble confidence in his demanded, by the strength of its demonpromises.—“Our fathers TRUSTED in thee, strations, reliance of the most absolute and were not confounded.” So here the kind.
END OF THE EXPOSITION.