identification of the sinless with the sinner is vital to the gospel.? Lucy Larcom: ?There be sad women, sick and poor. And those who walk in garments soiled; Their shame, their sorrow I endure; By their defeat my hope is foiled; The blot they bear is on my name; Who sins, and I am not to blame??
(g) The sufferings of Christ, as finite in time, do not constitute a satisfaction to the infinite demands of the law. We answer that the infinite dignity of the sufferer constitutes his sufferings a full equivalent, in the eye of infinite justice. Substitution excludes identity of suffering; it does not exclude equivalence. Since justice aims its penalties not so much at the person as at the sin, it may admit equivalent suffering when this is endured in the very nature that has sinned.
The sufferings of a dog and of a man have different values. Death is the wages of sin and Christ, in suffering death, suffered our penalty. Eternity of suffering is unessential to the idea of penalty. A finite being cannot exhaust an infinite curse but an infinite being can exhaust it, in a few brief hours. Shedd, Discourses and Essays, 307 ? ?A golden eagle is worth a thousand copper cents. The penalty paid by Christ is strictly and literally equivalent to that which the sinner would have borne although it is not identical. The vicarious bearing of it excludes the latter.? Andrew Fuller thought Christ would have had to suffer just as much, if only one sinner were to have been saved thereby.
The atonement is a unique fact, only partially illustrated by debt and penalty. Yet the terms ?purchase? and ?ransom? are Scriptural, and mean simply that the justice of God punishes sin as it deserves and that, having determined what is deserved, God cannot change. See Owen, quoted in Campbell on Atonement, 58, 59. Christ?s sacrifice, since it is absolutely infinite, can have nothing added to it. If Christ?s sacrifice satisfies the Judge of all, it may well satisfy us.
(h) If Christ?s passive obedience made satisfaction to the divine justice, then his active obedience was superfluous. We answer that the active obedience and the passive obedience are inseparable. The latter is essential to the former and both are needed to secure for the sinner, on the one hand, pardon and on the other hand, that, which goes beyond pardon, namely, restoration to the divine favor. The objection holds only against a superficial and external view of the atonement.
For more full exposition of this point, see our treatment of Justification and also, Owen, in Works, 5:175-204. The apostle Paul insists on both
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