There is one great event, which every day attracts more admiration than do the sun, and moon, and stars, when they march in their courses. That event is, the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. To it the eyes of all the saints who lived before the Christian era were always directed; and backwards, through the thousand years of history, the eyes of all modern saints are looking.
Taking our text, then, as a guide, we propose to visit Calvary, hoping to have the help of the Holy Spirit whilst we look upon him who died upon the cross. I would have you notice this morning, first of all, the cause of Christs death “It pleased the Lord to bruise him.” “It pleased Jehovah to bruise him,” saith the original; “he hath put him to grief.” Secondly, the reason of Christs death “ When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. “Christ died because he was an offering for sin. And then, thirdly, the effects and consequences of Christs death. “He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
FIRST, we have here THE ORIGINS OF CHRISTS DEATH. “It pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” He who reads Christs life, as a mere history, traces the death of Christ to the enmity of the Jews, and to the fickle character of the Roman governor. In this he acteth justly, for the crime and sin of the Saviours death must lay at the door of manhood. But he who reads the Bible with the eye of faith, desiring to discover its hidden secrets, sees something more in the Saviours death than Roman cruelty or Jewish malice: he sees the solemn decree of God fulfilled by men, who were the ignorant, but guilty instruments of its accomplishment. He looks beyond the Roman spear and nail, beyond the Jewish taunt and jeer, up to the Sacred Fount, whence all things flow, and traces the crucifixion of Christ to the breast of Deity.
Now, beloved, there be many who think that God the Father is at best but an indifferent spectator of salvation. Others do belie him still more. They look upon Him as an unloving, severe Being, who had no love to the human race, and could only be made loving by the death and agonies of our Savior. Now, this is foul libel upon the fair and glorious grace of God the Father, to whom for ever be honor: for Jesus Christ did not die to make God loving, but he died because God was loving.
Christ was sent into the world by his Father, as the consequence of the Fathers affection for his people. Yea, he “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
The fact is, that the Father as much decreed salvation, as much effected it, and as much delighted in it, as did either God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit. And when we speak of the Savior of the world, we must always include in that word, if we speak in a large sense, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, for all these three, as one God, do save us from our sins.
First it is traceable in decree. God, the one God of heaven and earth, hath the book of destiny entirely in his power. In that book there is nothing written by a strangers hand.
The penmanship of the solemn book of predestination is from beginning to end entirely divine.
He determined that Christ should be born of the Virgin Mary, that he should suffer under Pontius Pilate, that he should descend into Hades, that thence he should rise again, leading captivity captive, and then should reign for ever at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Nay, I know not but that I shall have Scripture for my warrant when I say, that this is the very eve of predestination, and that the death of Christ is the very center and main-spring by which God did fashion all his other decrees, making this the bottom and foundation-stone upon which the sacred architecture should be builded.
Christ was put to death by the absolute foreknowledge and solemn decree of God the Father, and in this sense “it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.”
But a little further, Christs coming into the world to die was the effect of the Fathers will and pleasure. Christ came not into this world unsent. He had laid in Jehovahs bosom from before all worlds, eternally delighting himself in his Father, and being himself his Fathers eternal joy.
“In the fullness of time” God did rend his Son from his bosom, his only-begotten Son, and freely delivered him up for us all. Herein was matchless, peerless love, that the offended judge should permit his co-equal Son to suffer the pains of death for the redemption of a rebellious people.
Look ye there, and see the place where his only Son hung dead upon the cross, the bleeding victim of awakened justice! Here is love indeed; and here we see how it was, that it pleased the Father to bruise him.
Beloved, it is not only true that God did design and did permit with willingness the death of Christ; it is, moreover, true that the unutterable agonies that clothed the death of the Savior with superhuman terror, were the effect of the Fathers bruising of Christ in very act and deed.
This, my brethren, was the climax of the Saviours woe, that his Father turned away from him, and put him to grief.
WHAT WAS THE REASON OF THE SAVIORS SUFFERING? We are told here, “Thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” Christ was thus troubled, because his soul was an offering for sin. Now, I am going to be as plain as I can, while I preach over again the precious doctrine of the atonement of Christ Jesus our Lord.
Christ was an offering for sin, in the sense of a substitute. God longed to save; but, if such a word may be allowed, Justice tied his hands. “I must be just,” said God; “that is a necessity of my nature. Stern as fate, and fast as immutability. is the truth that I must be just. But then my heart desires to forgive--to pass by Mans transgressions and pardon them. How can it be done?” Wisdom stepped in, and said, “It shall be done thus:” and Love agreed with Wisdom. “Christ Jesus, the Son of God, shall stand in mans place, and he shall be offered upon Mount Calvary instead of man.”
Now, mark: when you see Christ going up the Mount of Doom, you see man going there: when you see Christ hurled upon his back, upon the wooden cross, you see the whole company of his elect there; and when you see the nails driven through his blessed hands and feet, it is the whole body of his Church who there, in their substitute, are nailed to the tree. And now the soldiers lift the cross, and dash it down into the socket prepared for it. His bones are every one of them dislocated, and his body is thus torn with agonies which cannot be described. Tis manhood suffering there; tis the Church suffering there, in the substitute.
And when Christ dies, you are to look upon the death of Christ, not as his own dying merely, but as the dying of all those for whom he stood as the scapegoat and the substitute. It is true, Christ died really himself; it is equally true that he did not die for himself, but died as the substitute, in the room, place, and stead of all believers.
There was our debt, huge and immense; he paid the utmost farthing of whatever his people owed; and now there is not so much as a doit or a farthing due to the justice of God in the way of punishment from any believer; and though we owe God gratitude, though we owe much to his love, we owe nothing to his justice; for Christ in that hour took all our sins, past, present, and to come, and was punished for them all there and then, that we might never be punished, because he suffered in our stead.
Do you see, then, how it was that God the Father bruised him ? Unless he had so done, the agonies of Christ could not have been an equivalent for our sufferings; for hell consists in the hiding of Gods face from sinners, and if God had not hidden his face from Christ, Christ could not I see not how he could have endured any suffering that could have been accepted as an equivalent for the woes and agonies of his people.
Methinks I heard some one say, “Do you mean us to understand this atonement that you have now preached as being a literal fact?”
There are in the world many theories of atonement: but I cannot see any atonement in any one, except in this doctrine of substitution. Many divines say that Christ did something when he died that enabled God to be just, and yet the Justifier of the ungodly. What that something is they do not tell us. They believe in an atonement made for everybody; but then, their atonement is just this. They believe that Judas was atoned for just as much as Peter; they believe that the damned in hell were as much an object of Jesus Christs satisfaction as the saved in heaven; and though they do not say it in proper words, yet they must mean it, for it is a fair inference, that in the case of multitudes, Christ died in vain, for he died for them all, they say; and yet so ineffectual was his dying for them, that though he died for them they are damned afterwards.
I had rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than an universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of man be joined with it. Why, my brethren, if we were only so far atoned for by the death of Christ that any one of us might afterwards save himself, Christs atonement were not worth a farthing, for there is no man of us can save himself no not under the gospel; for if I am to be saved by faith, if that faith is to be my own act, unassisted by the Holy Spirit, I am as unable to save myself by faith as to save myself by good works.
But do you know the limit of it? Christ hath bought a “multitude that no man can number.” The limit of it is just this: He hath died for sinners; whoever in this congregation inwardly and sorrowfully knows himself to be a sinner, Christ died for him; whoever seeks Christ, shall know Christ died for him; for our sense of need of Christ, and our seeking after Christ, are infallible proofs that Christ died for us.
What better testimony can we bear to the love and faithfulness of God than the testimony of a substitution eminently satisfactory for all them that believe on Christ?
You may be as sure you are Gods elect as you are sure of your own existence; for this is the infallible proof of election a sense of need and a thirst after Christ.
The first effect of the Saviours death is, “He shall see his seed.” Men shall be saved by Christ. Men have offspring by life; Christ had an offspring by death. Men die, and leave their children, and they see not their seed; Christ lives, and every day sees his seed brought into the unity of the faith. One effect of Christs death is the salvation of multitudes.
There was not so much as an atom of chance-work in the Saviours death. Christ knew what he bought when he died; and what he bought he will have that, and no more, and no less.
Gods good pleasure is, that this world shall one day be totally redeemed from sin; Gods good pleasure is, that this poor planet, so long swathed in darkness, shall soon shine out in brightness, like a new- born sun. Christs death hath done it. The stream that flowed from his side on Calvary shall cleanse the world from all its blackness.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible