Charles Spurgeon explains how all of our sins were borne by the Son of God.
A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Morning, June 10, 1866, by C. H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:6)
1. The verse opens with a confession of sin common to all the people intended in the verse. The whole of the elect people of God seem to me to be represented here; they have all fallen, those of them who have lived to years of responsibility have all actually sinned, and therefore in common chorus they all say from the first who entered heaven to the last who shall enter there, “All we like sheep have gone astray.” But the confession while thus hearty and unanimous, is also special and particular: “We have turned every one to his own way.” There is a particular sinfulness about every one of the individuals; all are sinful, but each one with some special aggravation not found in his fellow. It is the mark of genuine repentance that while it naturally associates itself with other penitents, it also feels that it must take up a position of loneliness. “We have turned every one to his own way” is a confession indicating that each man had sinned against light particular to himself, or sinned with an aggravation which he at least could not perceive in his fellow. This confession being thus general and particular has many other traits of excellence about it of which we cannot just now speak. It is very unreserved. You will observe that there is not a single syllable by way of excuse; there is not a word to detract from the force of the confession. It is moreover singularly thoughtful, for thoughtless people do not use a metaphor so appropriate as the text: “All we like sheep have gone astray.” Not like the ox which “knows its owner,” nor even like the donkey which “remembers its master’s crib”; nor even like the swine which if it wanders all day long comes back to the trough at night, but “like sheep we have gone astray”; like a creature cared for but not capable of grateful attachment to the hand that cares for it; like a creature wise enough to find the gap in the hedge by which to escape, but so silly as to have no propensity or desire to return to the place from which it had perversely wandered; like sheep habitually, constantly, wilfully, foolishly, without power to return, we have gone astray. I wish that all our confessions of sin showed a similar thoughtfulness, for to say that we are “miserable sinners” may be an increase of our sin unless we have really felt it, to use words of general confession without our soul entering into them may be only a “repentance that needs to be repented for,” an insult and mockery to high Heaven vented in that very place where there ought to have been the greatest possible tenderness and holy fear. I like the confession of the text because it is a giving up of all pleas of self-righteousness. It is the declaration of a body of men who are guilty, consciously guilty; guilty with aggravations, guilty without excuse; and here they all stand with their weapons of rebellion broken in pieces, saying unanimously, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”
2. I hear no dolorous wailings attending this confession of sin; for the next sentence makes it almost a song. “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It is the most grievous sentence of the three; but it is the most charming and the most full of comfort. It is strange that where misery was concentrated mercy reigned, and where sorrow reached her climax there it is that a weary soul finds sweetest rest. The Saviour bruised is the healing of bruised hearts.
3. I want now to draw the hearts of all who feel the confession to the blessed doctrine spoken of in the text: the Lord has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all.
4. We shall take the text first by way of exposition; then by way of application; and we shall conclude with serious and I hope profitable contemplation.
5. I. First, let us consider the text by way of EXPOSITION.
6. 1. It may be well to give the marginal translation of the text, “Jehovah has made to meet on him the iniquity of us all.” The first thought that demands notice is the meeting of sin. Sin I may compare to the rays of some evil sun. Sin was scattered throughout this world as abundantly as light, and Christ is made to suffer the full effect of the destructive rays which stream from the sun of sin. God as it were holds up a burning magnifying glass, and concentrates all the scattered rays in a focus upon Christ. That seems to be the thought of the text, “The Lord has focused upon him the iniquity of us all.” What was scattered abroad everywhere is here brought into terrible concentration; upon the devoted head of our blessed Lord all the sin of his people was made to meet. Before a great storm when the sky is growing black and the wind is beginning to howl, you have seen the clouds hurrying from almost every point of the compass as though the great day of battle were come, and all the dread artillery of God were hurrying to the field. In the centre of the whirlwind and the storm, when the lightnings threaten to set all heaven ablaze, and the black clouds fold on fold labour to conceal the light of day, you have a very graphic metaphor of the meeting of all sin upon the person of Christ; the sin of the ages past and the sin of the ages to come, the sins of those of the elect who were in heathendom, and of those who were in Jewry; the sin of the young and of the old, sin original and sin actual, all made to meet, all the black clouds concentrated and brought together into one great tempest so that it might rush in one tremendous tornado upon the person of the great Redeemer and substitute. Just as when a thousand streamlets dash down the mountain side in the day of rain, and all meet in one deep swollen lake; that lake is the Saviour’s heart, those gushing torrents are the sins of us all who are here described as making a full confession of our sins. Or to take a metaphor not from nature but from commerce; suppose the debts of a great number of people to be all gathered up, the scattered bonds and bills that are to be honoured or dishonoured on such and such a day, and all these laid upon one person who undertakes the responsibility of meeting every one of them without a single assistant; such was the condition of the Saviour; the Lord made to meet on him the debts of all his people so that he became responsible for all the obligations of every one of those whom his Father had given him whatever their debts might be. Or if these metaphors do not suffice to explain the meaning, take the text in our own version, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”; put upon him as a burden is laid upon a man’s back all the burdens of all his people; put upon his head as the high priest of old laid upon the scapegoat all the sin of the beloved ones so that he might bear them in his own person. The two translations you see are perfectly consistent; all sins are made to meet, and then having met together and been tied up in one crushing load the whole burden is laid upon him.
7. 2. The second thought is that sin was made to meet upon the suffering person of the innocent substitute. I have said “the suffering person” because the connection of the text requires it. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.” It is in connection with this, and as an explanation of all his grief, that it is added, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The Lord Jesus Christ would have been incapable of receiving the sin of all his people as their substitute had he been himself a sinner: but he was, with respect to his divine nature, worthy to be hymned as “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”; and, with respect to his human nature, he was by miraculous conception free from all original sin, and in the holiness of his life he was such that he was the spotless Lamb of God, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, and therefore he was on all accounts capable of standing in the room, place, and stead of sinful men. The doctrine of the text is, that Jesus Christ, who was man of the substance of his mother, and who was, nevertheless, very God of very God, most true and glorious Creator, Preserver, did stand in such a position as to take upon himself the iniquity of all his people, himself remaining still innocent; having no personal sin, being incapable of any, but yet taking the sin of others upon himself—it has been the custom of theologians to say—by imputation; but I question whether the use of that word, although correct enough as it is understood by us, may not have lent some colour to the misrepresentations of those who oppose the doctrine of substitution. I will not say that the sins of God’s people were imputed to Christ, though I believe they were; but it seems to me that in a way more mysterious than what imputation would express, the sins of God’s people were actually laid upon Jesus Christ; that in the view of God, not only was Christ treated as if he had been guilty, but the very sin itself was, I do not know how, but according to the text it was somehow laid upon the head of Christ Jesus: “For he has made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, so that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Is it not written, “He shall bear,” not merely the punishment of their sin, nor the imputation of their sin, but “He shall bear their iniquities?” Our sin is laid on Jesus in even a deeper and truer sense than is expressed by the term imputation. I do not think I can express it, nor convey the idea that I have in my own mind, but while Jesus never was and never could be a sinner,—God forbid that the blasphemous thought should ever cross our lips or dwell in our heart!—yet the sin of his people was literally and truly laid upon him.
8. 3. It has been asked, “Was it just that sin should thus be laid upon Christ?” Our reply is fourfold. We believe it was rightly so, first because it was the act of him who must do right, for “the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Jehovah, against whom the offence was committed, and who has ordained that the sin of the people spoken of should be laid upon Christ. To impugn this, then, would be to impugn the justice of Jehovah, and I pray that none of us may have the intestinal fortitude to do that. Shall the potsherd venture to strive with the potter? Shall the thing formed contend with the Creator of all things? Jehovah did it; and we accept it as being right, not caring what men may think of Jehovah’s own deed. Remember, moreover, that Jesus Christ voluntarily took this sin upon himself. It was not forced upon him, he was not punished for the sins of others with whom he had no connection and against his will; but he in his own self bore our sins in his own body on the tree, and while bearing it said, “No man takes my life from me, but I lay it down by myself.” It was according to his own eternal agreement made with the Father on our behalf; it was according to his own expressed desire, for he had a baptism to be baptized with, and he was constrained until it was accomplished; and therefore whatever injustice might be supposed, it is removed by the fact that he who was mainly concerned in it was himself voluntarily placed in such a position. But I would have you remember, beloved, that there was a relationship between our Lord and his people, which is too often forgotten, but which rendered it natural that he should bear the sin of his people. Why does the text speak of our sinning like sheep? I think it is because it would call to our memory that Christ is our Shepherd. It is not, my brethren, that Christ took upon himself the sins of strangers. Remember that there always was a union of a most mysterious and intimate kind between those who sinned and the Christ who suffered. What if I say that it is not unjust but according to law that when a woman gets into debt her husband should bear it? And the church of God sinning it was only right that her Husband, who had espoused her to himself, should become the debtor on her behalf. The Lord Jesus stood in the relationship of a married husband to his church, and it was not, therefore, a strange thing that he should bear her burdens. It was natural for the next of kin to redeem the inheritance, it was most seemly that Emmanuel, the next of kin, should redeem his lost church by his own blood. Remember that there was a union closer even than the marriage bond, for we are members of his body. You shall not punish this hand of mine without making the sentient nature which dwells in the brain to suffer with it; and does it seem strange to you that when the inferior members of the body have transgressed the Head should be made to suffer? It seems to me, my brethren, that while substitution is full of grace, it is not unnatural, but according to the laws of everlasting love. Yet there is a fourth consideration that may remove the difficulty of sin being laid upon Christ. It is not only that God laid it there, that Jesus voluntarily took it, and moreover was in such a union with his church that it was natural that he should take it, but you must remember that this plan of salvation is precisely similar to the method of our ruin. How did we fall, my brethren? Not by any one of us actually ruining himself. I grant you that our own sin is the basis of ultimate punishment, but the basis of our original fall lay in another. I had no more to do with my fall than I have to do with my restoration; that is to say, the fall which made me a sinner was wholly accomplished by the first Adam long before I was born, and the salvation by which I am delivered was finished by the second Adam on my behalf long before I saw the light. If we grant the fall,—and we must grant the fact, however we may dislike the principle,—we cannot think it to be unjust that God should give us a plan of salvation based upon the same principle of federal headship. Perhaps it is true, as has been conjectured by many, that because the fallen angels sinned one by one, there was no possibility of their restoration; but man sinning, not one by one in the first place, but transgressing under a covenant head, there remained an opportunity for the restoration of the race by another covenant headship. At any rate we, accepting the principle of the federal headship in the fall, joyfully receive it concerning the restoration in Christ Jesus. It seems right, then, based on these four reasons, that the Lord should make the sins of all his people to meet upon Christ.
9. 4. I ask you to observe in the fourth place, that sin lying upon Christ brought upon him all the consequences connected with it. God cannot look where there is sin with any pleasure, and though as far as Jesus is personally concerned, he is the Father’s beloved Son in whom he is well pleased; yet when he saw sin laid upon his Son, he made that Son cry, “My God! my God! why have you forsaken me?” It was not possible that Jesus should enjoy the light of his Father’s presence while he was made sin for us; consequently he went through a horror of great darkness, the root and source of which was the withdrawing of the conscious enjoyment of his Father’s presence. More than that, not only was light withdrawn, but positive sorrow was inflicted. God must punish sin, and although the sin was not Christ’s by his actually doing it, yet it was laid upon him, and therefore he was made a curse for us. What were the pangs which Christ endured? I cannot tell you. You have read the account of his crucifixion. Dear friends, that is only the shell, but the inward kernel who shall describe? It is certain that Christ not only bore all that humanity could bear, but there was a Deity within which added extraordinary strength to his humanity, and enabled it to bear far more than it would otherwise have been able to endure. I do not doubt that in addition to this the Godhead within gave a particular sensitiveness to the holiness of Christ’s nature, so that sin must have become even more abhorrent to him than it would have been to a merely perfect man. His griefs are worthy to be described according to the Greek Liturgy as “unknown sufferings.” The height and depth, the length and breadth of what Jesus Christ endured no heart can guess, nor tongue can tell, nor can imagination frame; God only knows the griefs to which the Son of God was put when the Lord made to meet upon him the iniquity of us all. To crown all there came death itself. Death is the punishment for sin, and whatever it may mean, whatever over and beyond natural death was intended in the sentence, “In the day you eat of it you shall surely die,” Christ felt. Death went through and through him, until “he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.” “He became obedient to death, even to the death of the cross.”
10. 5. Dear friends, for a moment think of the result of all this. Sin meets on Christ and Christ is punished for sin, and what then? Why then sin is put away. If the penalty is endured justice asks no more. The debt discharged—there is no debt; the claim made and the claim met—the claim ceases to be. Though we could not meet that claim personally, yet we have met it in one who is so united and allied to us that we are in him even as Levi was in the loins of Abraham. Jesus himself also is free. Upon him the gathered tempest has spent itself, and not a single cloud lingers in the serene sky. Though the waters came his love has dried them up, his suffering has opened the sluices, and made the floods for ever spend themselves. Though the bills were brought he has honoured them all, and there is not one outstanding account against a single soul for whom he died as a substitute.
6. We cannot close the exposition of this verse without just
remarking upon the “us” here intended. “The Lord has laid on him the
iniquity of us all.” It is usually conceded by us who hold the
doctrine of particular redemption that there was in the death of
Christ very much of generality and universality. We believe that the
atonement of Christ was infinite in value, and that if Christ had
decreed to save every man born of woman, he need not have suffered
another pang; there was sufficient in his atonement if he had so
willed it to have redeemed the entire race. We believe also that by
the death of Christ there is a general and honest invitation given to
every creature under heaven in terms like these:—“Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” We are not prepared, however,
to go an inch beyond that. We hold that from the very nature of the
satisfaction of Christ it could not have been made for anyone except
for his elect; for Christ either did pay the debts of all men or he
did not; if he did pay the debts of all men they are paid, and no man
can be called to account for them. If Christ was the surety of every
man living, then how in the name of common justice is Christ to be
punished, and man punished too? If it is replied that the man would
not accept the atonement, then I ask again, “Was there a satisfaction
given, for if so, it was given whether the man accepts it or not, or
else satisfaction by itself is powerless until man puts efficacy in
it, which is preposterous to suppose.” If you take away from us the
fact that Christ did really satisfy for those for whom he stood, we
cry like Jacob, “If I am bereaved I am bereaved”; you have taken away
all that is worth having, and what have you given us in its place?
You have given us a redemption, which confessedly does not redeem;
you have given us an atonement, which is made equally for the lost in
hell and for the saved in heaven; and what is the intrinsic value of
such an atonement? If you tell us that Christ made a satisfactory
atonement for every one of the human race, we ask you how it was that
he made an atonement for those that must have been in the flames of
hell thousands of years before he came into this world? My brethren,
ours has the advantage of universality in its proclamation and in its
bona fide offer, for there is no man living who shall believe in
Jesus who shall not be saved by Christ; but it has a greater
advantage than this; namely, that those who do believe are saved by
it, and they know that Christ made such an atonement for them that
for them to be punished for sin would be as much a violation of
justice as it would of mercy. Oh my soul! you know today that all
your sins were made to meet on Christ, and that he bore the
punishment for them all.
He bore that we might never bear,
His Father’s righteous ire.
12. Here is a rock to stand on, a safe resting place for those who trust in Jesus. As for you who do not trust him, your blood is upon your own heads! If you do not trust him, you have no part nor lot in this matter, you shall go down to your own punishment to bear it yourselves; the wrath of God abides on you; you shall find that the blood of Jesus has made no atonement for your sins. You have rejected the invitation that was given, and put far from you the cross of Christ, and upon your heads the pardoning blood shall never drop, and for you it shall never plead, but you must perish under the law, seeing you refuse to be saved under the gospel.
13. II. Let us come briefly to the APPLICATION.
14. Dear hearer, a friend now asks you a question. There is a countless company whose sins the Lord Jesus bore; did he bear yours? Do you wish to have an answer? Are you unable to give one? Let me read this verse to you and see if you can join in it. I do not mean join in it saying, “That is true,” but feeling that it is true in your own souls. “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” If there is in you this morning a penitential confession which leads you to acknowledge that you have erred and strayed like a lost sheep, if there is in you a personal sense of sin which makes you feel that you have turned to your own way, and if now you can trust in Jesus, then a second question is not needed; the Lord has laid on him your iniquity, and the iniquity of all such as confess their sin and look only to Christ. But if you will not trust in Christ, I cannot say to you that the Lord has taken the sin from you and laid it upon Christ, for in my soul I know that living and dying as you now are, that sin of yours will rise up in judgment against you to condemn you. Dear friend, I will venture to say to you, are you reconciled to God’s way of getting rid of sin? Do you feel any joy in your heart at the thought of Jesus bearing sin for you and suffering for you? If you do not, I cannot offer you the consolation which the text gives to those who submit to it. But let me ask you, do you mean to bear your sin yourself? Do you know what that means? Jesus smarted when he bore the sin of his people, but what a smart shall yours be when you bear your own! “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” There are some nowadays who are exceedingly angry about the doctrine of everlasting punishment; I, too, might be angry about it if it were an invention of man; but when it is most certainly threatened in God’s Book, it is vain for me to kick against the pricks; my question should not be, “How can I dispute against it?” but “How can I escape from it?” Dear hearer, do not venture into God’s presence with your sins upon yourself; even our God is a consuming fire, and his fury will break forth against you when you come to stand there.
Do you imagine that your own merits may make atonement for sin? I
beseech you think what Christ had to do before he could cast sin off
from himself, what griefs he bore, through what an ocean of wrath he
passed; and do you think that your poor merits, if they are merits,
can ever avail to do what the Saviour suffered so much to accomplish?
Do you hope to escape without a punishment? If you do, let me beseech
you to think the matter over; for if God struck his own Son, do you
think he will permit you to go scot free? If the King of Glory, when
he only takes others’ sins upon him, must needs die, what do you
think will become of you, poor worm of the dust? Do you think that
God will be unjust in order to save you? Do you suppose that he will
say to you “Hail fellow, well done!” and revoke his own sentence,
because you do not choose to be saved by a plan which is both just to
him and safe for you? Shall God be unjust to pander to your fancies,
or indulge your lusts? Sinner, bow the knee to this plan of
salvation, for may it be known to you—and I speak now, knowing what I
say, and coolly too—there is, no other plan of salvation under
heaven. There may be other ways of salvation preached, but no other
foundation can be laid by man except what is laid—Jesus Christ the
Righteous. If you shall struggle after salvation individually, and
hope to get to heaven apart from the headship of Christ, you may
struggle, but you shall be like the Jews of old, who had a zeal for
God but not according to knowledge; if you shall be going about to
establish your own righteousness, but not submitting yourself to the
righteousness of Christ, you shall perish. But let me ask you, does
this plan not commend itself to you? If I trust Jesus, this is to me
the evidence that he took my sins and suffered in my place. Oh the
joy it gives me! I speak to you honestly of my own experience now;
there is no doctrine that fires my soul with such delight as that of
substitution. The doctrine of atonement, as it is often preached, is
a hazy, misty doing of something by which the law is honoured, or
perhaps dishonoured, for I scarcely know which to call it; this
yields me no joy; but when I know that Christ was literally and
positively, not metaphorically and by way of figure, but literally
and positively the substitute for his own people, and when I know
that trusting in him I have the evidence of being one of his people,
why my soul begins to say, “Now let me live! I’m clean, through
Jesus’ blood I’m clean. Now let me die! for I shall boldly stand in
the day of resurrection, through Jesus my Lord.” Why, soul, it seems
to me as if it were enough to make you leap into the arms of Christ,
crucified! covered with blood for you! disinterestedly suffering for
his own enemies so that they might live! Oh do not stay away!
Come, guilty souls, and flee away
Like doves to Jesus’ wounds;
This is the welcome gospel day,
Wherein free grace abounds.
God loved the church, and gave his Son
To drink the cup of wrath;
And Jesus says he’ll cast out none
That come to him by faith.
16. III. Now consecrate a few minutes to hallowed CONTEMPLATION. You do not need talk, you need thought: I will give you four things to think about.
1. The first is the astounding mass of sin that must have been
laid on Christ. Now do not jump at it, and say, “Yes, the sins of
the millions of his elect.” Do not leap at that, get at it by
degrees. Begin with your own sin. Have you ever felt that?—your own
sin. No, you never felt the full weight of it; if you did you would
have been in hell. It is the weight of sin that makes hell. Sin bears
its own punishment in its own weight. Do you remember when you felt
that the pains of hell got hold upon you, and you found trouble and
sorrow? That hour when you called upon the name of the Lord, saying,
“Oh Lord, I beseech you, deliver my soul!” Then you only felt as it
were the lightest end of your sins, but all your sins, what must they
weigh! How old are you? You do not know how old you may be before you
enter into rest, but he carried all the sins of all your years. All
the sins against light and knowledge, sins against law and gospel,
weekday sins, Sabbath sins, hand sins, lip sins, heart sins, sins
against the Father, sins against the Son, sins against the Holy
Spirit, sins of all shapes, all laid upon him; can you get the idea
now? Now multiply that. Think of the sins of all the rest of his
people; persecutions and murders at the door of such a one as Saul of
Tarsus; adultery at the door of David—sins of every shape and size,
for God’s elect have been among the chief of sinners; those whom he
has chosen have not been the best of men by nature, but some of them
the very worst, and yet sovereign grace delighted to find a home for
itself where seven demons had dwelt before, indeed, where a legion of
demons held their carnival. Christ looks abroad among the sons of
men, and while a Pharisee is passed by, Zacchaeus the tax collector
is selected—and the sins of all these with their full weight laid
upon him. The weight of sin would have crushed all these into hell
for ever, and yet Christ bore all that weight; and what if I venture
to say the very eternity and infinity of wrath that was due for all
that mass of sin, the Son of God, marvellously sustained by the
infinity of the Godhead within, bore and sustained the whole. I would
like to stop a minute and let you think it over, but when you go home
perhaps you will spend half an hour very profitably in thinking that
The enormous load of human guilt
Was on my Saviour laid;
With woes as with a garment he
For sinners was array’d.
18. 2. The next subject I offer you for contemplation is this, the amazing love of Jesus which brought him to do all this. Remember Paul’s way of putting it. “Scarcely for a righteous (or strictly just) man will one die; perhaps for a good (or benevolent) man one might even dare to die; but God commends his love towards us in that, while we were yet sinners, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly.” When Christ has renewed us by his Spirit, there may be a temptation to imagine that some excellency in us won the Saviour’s heart; but, my brethren, you must understand that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners. Not that infant washed and swaddled, not that fair maiden with the jewel in her ear, and with the pure golden crown upon her head, not that lovely princess, presented like a chaste virgin to her husband; no, that was not what Jesus saw when he died. He saw all that in the glass of his prescience, but the actual condition of that fair maid was very different when he died for her; she was cast out, unwashed, unsalted, unswaddled, in her blood, a foul, filthy thing. Ah! my brethren, there is no filthy thing under heaven so filthy as a filthy sinner. When there was not a ray of beauty to be discovered in us, when neither without nor within a single thing could be found to commend us, but we were morally altogether abhorrent to the holy nature of Christ, then—oh wondrous grace!—he came from the highest heaven so that the mass of our sin might meet on him. I found this question the other day which seemed a novel one to me. The question was asked thus: “Suppose you had a child that had leprosy, or some other foul disease. Suppose this dear child of yours was infected and contaminated to the most loathsome degree in every part, until the eyes were blinded and the hands were rotting, and the heart was turning to stone, and the whole body was covered with wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores. Now, suppose there were no cure for this child but for your perfectly sane and healthy soul, suppose it to be such, to be put into that child’s body, and for you to bear that child’s diseases instead of that child; would you consent to it?” I can suppose a mother’s love yielding even to that; but the more disgusted you had been with those putrifying sores, the more terrible would the task become. Now, that only touches the fringe of the work which Jesus did for us when he himself took our sins and bore our sicknesses. There is such a wonderful union between Christ and the sinner that I venture to say there are some expressions in the New Testament and in the Old with regard to Christ’s connection with the sin of man that I would not dare to use except as direct quotations from Holy Writ; but being there you shall see how wondrously the love of Jesus Christ induced him to take upon himself our sad condition and plight. But, oh the love! oh the love! Indeed, I will not speak of it; you must muse upon it. Silence is sometimes the best eloquence; and it will be best for me to say to you, oh the depths of the love of Jesus! unsearchable, past finding out! God over all, blessed for ever, should have laid on him the iniquity of us all!
19. 3. Wonder of wonders that I need another minute to get you thinking on another subject, the matchless security which this plan of salvation offers. I do not see in what point that man is vulnerable who can feel and know that Christ has borne his sin. I look at the attributes of God, and though to me, as a sinner, they all seem bristling as with sharp points, thrusting themselves upon me; yet when I know that Jesus died for me, and did literally take my sin, what fear do I have of the attributes of God? There is justice, sharp and bright, like a lance; but justice is my friend. If God is just, he cannot punish me for sin for which Jesus has offered satisfaction. As long as there is justice in the heart of Deity, it cannot be that a soul justly claiming Christ as his substitute can himself be punished. As for mercy, love, truth, honour, everything matchless, Godlike and divine about Deity, I say of all these, “You are my friends; you are all guarantees that since Jesus died for me I cannot die.” How grandly does the apostle put it! It seems to me as if he never was worked up by the Holy Spirit to such a pitch of eloquence as when he was speaking about the death and resurrection of the Saviour, he propounds that splendid question, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” There, where eternal justice sits upon a flaming throne, the apostle gazes with eye undimmed into the ineffable splendour, and though some one seems to say, “The Judge will condemn,” he replies, “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies.” Can he justify and then condemn us? He justifies those for whom Christ died, for we are justified by his resurrection. How then shall he condemn? And then he lifts up his voice yet again—“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes, rather who is risen again, who sits at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” On other grounds a man must feel unsafe, but here he may know himself to be certain. Go you who will, and build upon your sandy foundations; run up your superstructures until they are as high as Babel’s tower, and tumble down around your ears unable to support their own weight; but as for me, my soul shall rest upon this solid rock of substitution; and clinging to the rock with confident resolve, I know that I have no cause for fear since Jesus died for me.
4. Lastly, I desire to give you as a subject for contemplation,
and I urge you do not forget it, this question, “What then are the
claims of Jesus Christ upon you and upon me?” Brothers and sisters,
I have sometimes wished to be eloquent; never when I had a cause to
plead in which I was myself involved, but when I have had to speak
for Jesus. But indeed, there is no need of eloquence here. Your
hearts shall be the pleaders, his agonies shall be the plea. Did our
blessed Lord take your sin, my brethren, and suffer all its terrific
consequences for you, so that you are delivered? By his blood and
wounds, by his death, and by the love that made him die, I implore
you to treat him as he should be treated! Love him as he should be
loved! Serve him as he should be served! You will tell me that you
have obeyed his precepts. I am glad to hear it. Are you sure that you
have? “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Have you kept the
ordinances as he delivered them? Have you sought to be obedient to
him in all respects? In all your Lord’s appointed ways have you
scrupulously pursued your journey? If you can say this I am not
content; it does not seem to me that with such a leader as Christ
mere obedience should be all. Napoleon singularly enough had power to
get the hearts of men twisted and twined about him; when he was in
his wars there were many of his captains and even of his private
soldiers who not only marched with the quick obedience of a soldier
wherever they were ordered, but who felt an enthusiasm for him. Have
you never heard of him who threw himself in the way of the shot to
receive it in his bosom to save the Emperor? No obedience, no law
could have required that from him, but enthusiastic love moved him to
do it; and it is such enthusiasm that my Master deserves in the very
highest degree from us. It is out of and beyond all categories of
law, it is far exceeding all that law ventured to ask, and yet not
supererogation (a) for all that, for you are not under the law but
under grace; and you will do more out of love than you would have
done out of the compulsion of demand. What shall I do for my Master?
What shall I do for my Lord? How shall I exalt him? My brothers and
sisters, my highest aim before God, next to the conversion of the
unconverted among you, is this, that you who do love Christ may
really love him and act as if you did. I hope you will never become a
dead cold church. Oh may my ministry never help to lull you into such
a state as that! If Jesus Christ does not deserve everything from you
he does not deserve anything; you do not know anything about his
claims if you do not feel that
If you could make some reserve,
And duty did not call;
You love the Lord with zeal so great
That you must give him all.
Christ stands for me, oh may I learn to stand for him, and plead for
him, and live for him, and suffer for him, and pray for him, and
preach and labour for him as he may help me! May I remind you each
individually as you all followed your own way, and individually had
some sin to increase that burden, pay him individual service!
Contribute from your substance to the common work of the church, and
do that constantly, and as a matter of delight. Our College which is
doing so much service greatly needs, and demands the help of all who
love our work, and love the Lord’s truth. But in addition to that, do
something for yourself, speak for Christ yourself, have some work in
hand on your own account. Do, I say again, at all times assist the
work of the combined body, for that will be a great work, God being
in us as our life and support, and let no man withhold his substance
from Christ’s cause; but still that is not all, he does not ask for
your pocket only but for your heart. It is not the pence, it is the
activities of the soul; it is not the shillings and the guineas and
so on, but it is your very innermost soul, the core of your spirit.
Oh Christian, by the blood of Jesus devote yourself to him again! In
the old Roman battles it sometimes happened that the strife seemed
dubious, and a captain inspired by superstitious patriotism would
stand upon his sword and devote himself to destruction for the good
of his country, and then, according to those old legends, the battle
always turned. Now, men and brothers, sisters, every one of you who
have tasted that the Lord is gracious, devote yourselves today to
live, to die, to spend, and to be spent for King Jesus. You will be
no fool, for no man ever had an ambition more worthy. You will not be
devoting yourself to one who does not deserve it. You know how much
you owe him; indeed, you do not know, to the fullest extent, the
depth of your obligation, but you know you owe him all that you have;
your escape from hell and your hope of heaven. Follow me this morning
in these verses—
’Tis done, the great transaction’s done;
I am my Lord’s, and he is mine:
He drew me, and I follow’d on,
Charm’d to confess the voice divine.
Now rest, my long divided heart;
Fix’d on this blissful centre rest;
With ashes who would grudge to part,
When call’d on angel’s bread to feast?
High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renew’d shall daily hear;
Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.
[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon—Isaiah 53]
(a) Supererogation: R. C. Theology. The performance of good works beyond what God commands or requires, which are held to constitute a store of merit which the Church may dispense to others to make up for their deficiencies. OED
“The New Theology”
One of the most prominent preachers of the so called “New
Theology” has recently given fresh currency to the old Jewish idea
that Isaiah 53 applies to the prophet Jeremiah! The following Sermons
by C. H. Spurgeon, all upon various verses of this chapter, show what
he thought about the matter:—
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1075, “A Root out of a Dry Ground” 1066)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1099, “The Man of Sorrows” 1090)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3033, “Why Christ Is Not Esteemed” 3034)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2499, “Christopathy” 2500)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 834, “The Universal Remedy” 825)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1068, “A Simple Remedy” 1059)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2000, “Healing by the Stripes of Jesus” 2001)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “A Dire Disease Strangely Cured” 2888)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 694, “Sin Laid on Jesus” 685)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 925, “Individual Sin Laid on Jesus” 916)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1543, “The Sheep before the Shearers” 1543)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 173, “The Death of Christ” 166)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 561, “Expiation” 552)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2186, “Our Expectation” 2187)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2963, “Unmitigated Prosperity” 2964)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 458, “The Friend of Sinners” 449)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1385, “Jesus Interceding for Transgressors” 1376)
(See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2070, “Christ’s Connection with Sinners the Source of his glory.” 2071)
These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).
Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.