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NOTE A, p. 76.—THE REVELATION OF GOD'S LOVE IN
THE DEATH OF CHRIST AND HIS RESURRECTION THEODOR HÄRING, in his suggestive little work, Zur Versöhnungslehre (1893), shows that without the resurrection of Christ the revelation of God's love furnished by His death would have been incomplete. The point is so important, and is so well put by the author, that I quote his words:-
“Daher wird auch in diesem Zusammenhang besonders deutlich, warum dieser Liebe bis in den Tod der Erweis der Todesüberwindung nicht fehlen darf, wenn sie jenen Glauben hervorzurufen soll im Stande sein: der Todesüberwindung eben nicht nur in dem Sinn, dass sie in der Todesprobe Stand gehalten, mithin sich als eine in diesem Menschen seinem natürlichen Leben überlegene Macht erwiesen hat, sondern als die höchste Macht alles Wirklichen. Mit andern Worten; ohne das Kreuz kein Erweis der höchsten Liebe, wenn man das Wesen der Liebe ins Auge fasst; ohne Auferstehung kein Erweis der höchsten Liebe, wenn man darnach fragt, ob sie die alles beherrschende Wirklichkeit ist. In den Worten höchst' und 'göttlich, die wir unwillkürlich gebrauchen, wo vom Tod Jesu die Rede ist, liegt ein Anlass zur Zweideutigkeit. Grössere Liebe,' 'göttlichere Liebe' giebt es nicht dem sittlichen Werte nach, als die sich in den Tod opfernde; aber damit ist noch nicht notwendig gesagt, ob sie göttlich ist in dem Sinn, dass sie als das Wesen Gottes unzweideutig sich brundgibt. Eine Wirklichkeit ist sie selbstverständlich, wenn immer sie die Kraft in einem Menschenherzen gewonnen, die von Natur stärkste Kraft unseres inneren Lebens zu überwinden; aber Glaube, Vertrauen auf Gottes Liebe, das jeder Anfechung widerstehen kann, entsteht nur, wächst und vollendet sich nur, wenn die Liebe Gottes als die Wirklichkeit, ohne gleichen, als die schlechthinige, jede andere Wirklichkeit, auch die des Todes überragende, sich offenbart” (pp. 46, 47).
Note B, p. 85.—ON SACRIFICIAL LANGUAGE IN
PAUL'S EPISTLES There are in all only three passages that can be quoted in this connection. The first is Rom. iii. 25, referred to in the text. The second is Eph. V. I, “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and sacrifice unto God for a sweet-smelling savour.” The death of Christ, however, is here spoken of as a sacrifice in the moral sense, in so far as it was the sublime expression of His Love and self-surrender to the Will of God; and in this respect it reveals a principle for the imitation of believers, who are to act in the same spirit, and so make their lives also an offering and a sacrifice unto God.
The remaining passage is i Cor. v. 7: "For Christ our Passover is sacrificed, or slain, for us, wherefore let us keep the feast,” etc. The whole passage is an exhortation to believers to live out the Christian life in a spirit of holy gladness. The Passover lamb was not strictly an offering, but a memorial of the death that signalised the deliverance of Israel from Egypt; and when Christ is spoken of as our Passover (lamb), believers are reminded that the means of their redemption from sin is also a death, that calls for the renunciation of all sin on the part of those who are to partake of its benefit. The Passover lamb was slain in order to be eaten at a feast from which all leaven was excluded, and our Passover was put to death in order that, partaken of by us, He might be the author in us of a Life to which everything of the nature of sin was entirely alien.
There is not a hint here of Christ's death in the sense of a sin-offering.
Among those who are opposed to the dogmatic understanding of the sacrificial language in Paul's Epistles in
reference to the death of Christ may be mentioned R. Schmidt (Die Paulinische Christologie), Weiss (Bibl. Theol. of the N. T., i. p. 426, Eng. Trans. (Clark)), Seeberg (Der Tod Christi), Jowett (St. Paul's Epistles), Essay on Atonement and Satisfaction. It is a striking fact that Paul nowhere teaches that believers were to cease partaking in the sacrificial system then in vogue, which we would have expected him to do had he held and taught, with the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, that the death of Christ was of the nature of a sin-offering, and made the continued offering of sacrifices under the law an anachronism, if not a sin. Mackintosh thinks this omission accidental (The Natural History of the Christian Religion, p. 398).
NOTE C, p. 87.-ON THE MEANING OF 2 Cor. V. 21.
This passage bears a strong resemblance to that in Rom. v. considered in the text. The phraseology and point of view are different, but the meaning is much the same. The design of the death of Christ is stated to be “ that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”; while in Rom. v. 19 it is thus put, “that we might be made righteous." The abstract term, “the righteousness of God,” is employed in writing to the Corinthians, in order to be in line with the form of speech he uses in reference to the death of Christ, where the abstract term is made use of, being required by the nature of the case: “He hath made Him to be sin ” (not a sinner) “ for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (ver. 21). The effect of His “ being made sin for us " is thus precisely the same as that attributed in Rom. v. to His "obedience.” In both cases alike it is, that we might be brought into right relations to God, into the enjoyment of His favour.
In writing to the Corinthians, the point emphasised by Paul is God's part in so appointing and arranging the death of Christ as to execute thereby His saving purpose : “ Christ was made sin for us." His aim is to trace all up to God (ver. 18), to show that the great reconciliation originated with God, and that His grace is conspicuous in the entire transaction. On the other hand, in writing to the Romans his object is to magnify the work of the Second Adam, the Divine instrument for accomplishing the reconciliation. Accordingly, we read, in the former case, that Christ, while sinless and undeserving of death, was “made sin," was made to appear a sinner by being subjected in the providence of God to death, the punishment of sin. By dying the shameful death on the cross, He was placed in the position of a transgressor, and was caused to experience in body and soul sufferings that were in sorrowful contrast to what was proper to Him as the Sinless One; and this, that we might be treated as the opposite of what we really are, and accepted as righteous. He was dealt with as a sinner in the death He endured, that we might be dealt with as righteous in the favour we receive. How His being dealt with as a sinner secured our being dealt with as righteous is not explained in this passage, but is explained, in so far as it admits of explanation, in the passage in Rom. v., where His obedience to the will of God, manifested in His consenting to die the death He did not deserve, is declared to possess that moral worth that has efficacy to secure our acceptance in God's sight.
Some have found an explanation in the words " for us”; and taking útep in the sense “in our room and stead,” they interpret the clause as meaning that in being dealt with as a sinner, Christ took our place, and had laid upon Him the punishment that was due to us, so that God can now deal with us as those who have already in the Person of Christ borne the punishment of sin, and cannot in justice be punished a second time. It is possible to take this meaning out of the words. But they do not of themselves suggest it. The preposition útép means properly “on our behalf,” for our sakes. And there is an awkwardness in taking it in the sense of “in our place” here, because it would make Paul say, God hath made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our place, that is, instead of making us to be sin, but in fact we are sinners
already. The more serious difficulty which this interpretation encounters is referred to in the lecture.
On the whole, I am unable to attach to this passage the significance in relation to a theory of the Atonement that Dr. Denney does, who speaks of it as “the keystone of the whole system of apostolic thought” (“Commentary on Second Epistle to the Corinthians,” p. 218—Expositor's Bible). I am disposed to regard rather the passage in Romans in this light. It is just in a doctrinal Epistle such as Romans is that we might look for a clearly defined statement on the subject.
NOTE D, p. 88.—ON ROM. III. 23–26. This passage is a crux to the exegete. The thought is compressed, and the construction of the relative clauses difficult. I state what appears to me, after a careful study, to be the meaning. I follow the translation of Weizäcker (New Testament), which is based on what seems to be the most natural understanding of the clauses, and which suggests the sense of the whole. He renders from ver. 2 1 thus :
“But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, even the righteousness of God by faith in Jesus Christ, for all them that believe, for there is no difference; for all men have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but are justified (or accepted) as righteous by an act of His own free favour, by means of the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a Propitiation through faith in His blood, that He might manifest His Righteousness-on account of having overlooked the sins that were formerly committed, because God exercised forbearance, having respect (or, with a view) to the manifestation of His righteousness that has now taken place, in order, then, that He might be seen to be one who, righteous Himself, accepts as righteous him that is of faith in Jesus."
The leading thought of the whole passage is that the design of the Death of Christ, and of that gracious arrangement under which believers have in His death a means of