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Q. 7. Are the sufferings of Christ to be viewed as punishment inflicted upon Him?
A. By no means. An innocent being may suffer, but cannot, strictly speaking, be punished. Punishment supposes criminality, and is the infliction of natural evil or misery for the commission of moral evil or sin. Christ may, however, be considered as bearing, in a sense, the punishment of our sins.
Q. 8. Why was the atonement of Christ necessary.
lent; for He ever has been, and ever will be benevolent to all His creatures, susceptible of pleasure and pain, whatever their character may be in reference to holiness. 2. But it was necessary, that God might show His hatred to sin, and love to holiness, and that He might be honorable and just, and still be merciful. If God were to pardon without an atonement, where would be an exhibition of His hatred to sin and love to holiness? for His conduct would in nowise show it-where would be His regard to His character, law, and government? for there would appear to be a total disregard of them. (c) 3. That the atonement was necessary may be argued from the fact that Christ died to effect it. It is not to be supposed, that the Father or the Son would have consented to this, had it not been absolutely necessary. (d) 4. That the atonement was necessary is evident from express testimony of the Bible. (e)
(c) Rom. iii. 25, 26. 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; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
(d) John i. 16. 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.-Matt. xxvi. 39. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.-Heb. ii. 10. For it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
(e) Lev. xvii. 11. For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and
Q. 9. Will not repentance and future obedience sufficiently atone for transgression, or be an adequate ground of pardon?
A. Certainly not; for they can make no atonement. Repentance cannot change the nature of sin, nor annihilate it, nor repair the injury it has done. Present and future obedience cannot obliterate past crimes and mischief. Past obedience can as well atone for present and future sins, as present and future obedience can atone for past sins.
Q. 10. How extensive is the atonement?
A. It is general, and extends in its sufficiency to all the human family.
Q. 11. How does this appear to be the case?
A. 1. From the character of Christ. The Saviour is a being of infinite dignity and worth. Hence His sufferings and death are of infinite value and efficacy; and hence the atonement is sufficient for all mankind. To conclude otherwise, would be derogatory to the glcrious character of the Redeemer. 2. The atonement from its nature appears to be as sufficient for all, as for a part of the human race. It is that, on account of which God can consistently dispense grace to the guilty-can be just, and still the justifier of all who believe, however large the number. 3. This doctrine may be proved from the commands, invitations, and exhortations of Scripture. God is sincere in all his dealings with men. Consequently, he would not command, invite, and exhort all to accept of salvation, if it were not provided for
I have given it to you upon the altar, to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.-Heb. ix. 22. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.-Rev. vii. 14. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.-Eph. i. 7. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.-Rev. v. 9. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.
them. The inference, then, is, that the atonement is sufficient for all. (f) 4. Another argument to prove the sufficiency of the atonement, is the command, given in the Scriptures, to pray for all men. God would not command us to pray for all men, unless salvation were provided for all. (g) 5. The Scriptures teach this doctrine by express declarations. (h) Q. 12. Was there any being in the universe, who could make an atonement, but the Son of God? A. It would seem not. A mere creature certainly cannot make an atonement; for all he can do, he is bound to do as for himself. Among all the variety of beings in the universe, Christ alone has power to lay down his life, and to take it again. This arises from the circumstance, that He is Divine and human. And it is a combination of these two natures, which alone
(f) Mark xvi. 15, 16. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.-Acts xvii. 30. And the times of this ignorance God winked at, but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.-Is. xlv. 22. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.-Is. lv. 1. Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.-Rev. xxii. 17. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.
(g) 1 Tim. ii. 1. I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.
(h) 1 John ii. 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.-Heb. ii. 9. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. -1 Tim. ii. 6. Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.-2 Cor. v. 14, 15. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again.-John i. 29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
qualifies Him to make an atonement. In the work of mediation, Christ acts according to both his natures. With each nature, He performs that part which is peculiarly appropriate to it. (i)
Q. 13. Why was the incarnation of Christ necessary?
A. It was necessary, that Christ might be capacitated to suffer and die in the same nature which had sinned, and thus make an atonement. (j)
Q. 14. If the atonement is sufficient for the salvation of all men, why are not all men actually saved?
A. Because they do not comply with the condition on which salvation is offered. Opposition to God, impenitency, and an evil heart of unbelief, are the only obstacles in the way of the salvation of any. If sinners perish then, they will have none to blame but themselves. (k)
Q. 15. Is there a difference between atonement and redemption, as the words are commonly used?
(i) John x. 17, 18. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.
(j) Heb. ii. 14. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.-Heb. ix. 14, 15. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
(k) Rom. iii. 19. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.-Luke xiii. 3. I tell you, Nay; but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.-Mark xvi. 16. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be damned.-John v. 40. And ye will not come to me that ye might have life.-John iii. 19. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
A. There is. Atonement is for sin; redemption is from sin and suffering. We may distinguish between atonement and the application of atonement, but not between redemption and the application of redemption. We may pray for redemption, but not for atonement. Sometimes, however, the word redemption is used in Scripture as including atonement for sin, as well as deliverance from sin and suffering.
Q. 16. Is it important to distinguish between atonement and redemption in their strict sense?
A. It is very important. Not to do this lays the foundation for great errors. Make this distinction, and none would ever infer the doctrine of universal salvation from the general extent of the atonement. There is a wide difference between an entertainment's being made, and the partaking of this entertainment. So there is a wide difference between the sufficiency of the atonement and its efficiency. It is sufficient for the whole world; but it is efficient to the salvation of those only who repent and believe. Its sufficiency depends upon its nature; but its efficiency depends upon its application, by the Spirit of God.
Q. 17. Is the atonement a fundamental doctrine of the gospel?
A. It is. Belief in Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice for sin, our substitute substantially for the penalty of the law, is urged in the Scriptures, as an indispensable condition of salvation. Christ crucified is the theme and glory of the gospel. (1)
(7) John xiv. 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. -Acts iv. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.-1 Cor. i. 23, 24. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.— 1 Cor. ii. 2. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and him crucified.-Gal. vi. 14. God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus