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him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him.” 2 Tim. ii. 10–12.
The Apostle Peter encourages Christians to suffer patiently for well doing by such considerations as the following :
“ For even hereunto are ye called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps.” i Peter ii. 20, 21.
“For it is better, if the will of the Lord be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing ; for Christ also once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God." 1 Pet. iii. 17, 18.
66 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind.” 1 Pet. iv. 1.
Were Christians exhorted to arm " themselves with a “mind" to suffer the "wrath of God," as substitutes for others? If not, why should we suppose that such was the mind which was in their Lord ?
It is next to be shown that the Apostles suffered for Cbrist.
That they should so suffer was foretold by Christ himself:
" and some of you shall they cause to be put to death, and ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake.” Luke xxi. 16, 17.
When Ananias was sent to Paul, Christ said, “I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake." Acts vii. 16.
That Paul regarded his sufferings as not only for his brethren, but for Christ, may appear from the following passages :
« Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake.” 2 Cor. xi. 10.
Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus ; for we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake.” 2 Cor. x. 11.
“For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ not only to believe, but to suffer for his sake." Philip. i. 29.
I have now to add, that the Apostles also suffered for God, or for God's sake.
“ For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Ps. xliv. 22.
Paul quotes this passage, and applies it to the sufferings which he and others were called to endure,—" As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long." Rom. viii. 16.
From the numerous passages which have been quoted, it is very clear that there are several distinct senses, in which one person may be said to suffer or die for another. The question ,naturally occurs, In which of these senses did Christ suffer and die for sinners ? The prevalent opinion has been, that he suffered and died as a substitute for sinners. But to this hypothesis there are many objections; some of which may be briefly stated.
1. The death which Christ endured for us was natural or temporal death ; yet all men, the friends as well as the enemies of Christ, are still liable to natural death. How then could Christ's death be a substitute for ours ?
2. If it be said, that he suffered "the wrath of God our substitute ; why are we still liable to penal sufferings ?
3. The hypothesis that God inflicted on the innocent the penal evils due to us, ascribes to God a mode of con
duct, and a principle of government, which he forbids men to adopt, and which he himself has positively disclaimed.
4. The principle which the hypothesis ascribes to God, is always unjust and cruel when adopted by men.
5. To interpret the phrases, in relation to Christ, < suffered for us " and "died for us," as meaning substituted suffering and death, is to depart from all the analogies of the Bible, in the use of such phrases in relation to other persons; excepting merely the cases which relate to forbidden conduct and a disclaimed principle.
After God had forbidden the Israelites to punish the innocent for the offences of the guilty, and had assured them that this practice did not pertain to his mode of government; is it to be admitted that he adopted this very principle for the display of his justice? If we know in what sense a good shepherd is said to lay down his life for his sheep, we may know in what sense the Lord Jesus laid down his life for us. For he was the good Shepherd, and we were as his sheep gone astray. In seeking our recovery he had to encounter enemies and dangers, and to endure sufferings and death. The object of Christ's mission was the recovery of men from a state of sin and misery, to reconcile them to God that they might become obedient and happy. As in pursuing this benevolent object he exposed himself to suffering and to death, and not only thus exposed himself, but actually suffered and died; it is with perfect propriety, and according to a common use of language said of him that he suffered for us,-died for us,-laid down his life for us. But that his sufferings were not the effects of God's displeasure against him as our substitute, is, to my mind, very clear from the following passages of Scripture :
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John iii. 16.
“But God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” Rom. v. 8.
“He who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” Rom. viii. 32.
66. That he by the GRACE of God should taste death for every man.” Heb. ii. 9.
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins." 1 John iv. 10.
I hardly know of any language which could more clearly convey the idea, that both the mission and the sufferings of the Son of God were the fruits of God's love to sinful men.
Even in regard to the “propitiation," or réconciling sacrifice, John says, "Herein is love!” the love of God, not his "wrath.” It seems to me that the gospel does not exhibit God to us, as such an austere Sovereign, that he cannot forgive even a penitent, without inflicting the deserved evils on an innocent victim; but, as a being who has indeed a father's heart, and is disposed, by tender compassion for his guilty offspring, to do all that wisdom and love shall dictate to reconcile and save them. In the exercise of the purest love, he sent his Son," not to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.”. Though God well knew that the mission of his Son would cost him his life ;-and though the Son was one in whom he was ever well pleased; yet such was his love to us, that he did not withhold this object of his most tender affection, but delivered him up for us all, when this
became necessary to the accomplishment of his benevolent purpose respecting our salvation.
This delightsul view of the subject appears to me clearly authorized by the Gospel; and with great propriety the intelligence of such love may be called good tidings. This view of the subject seems also to accord with God's long-suffering conduct towards Adam and his posterity, subsequent to the fall; and with the benignity of the Divine character as revealed to Abraham, to Moses, and to the people of Israel,—both by words and symbolical institutions. I may add, that this view of the subject excludes the awful, the painful, and, to me, unnatural idea of God's displaying avenging justice on an innocent and holy victiin, as necessary to the exercise of forgiving love toward his penitent children. It is presumed that this supposed example of the mode of Divine forgiveness, has never been, and never can be, imitated by any enlightened and benevolent being in the universe. Yet every Christian is required to forgive, as God forgives! This thought may be further illustrated in a subsequent chapter.
In what Sense did the Messiah bear the Sins of Many ?
“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isa. liii. 6.
“ For he shall bear their iniquities.” v. 11. - And he bare the sins of many." v. 12.