Quarles?s Emblems: ?O groundless deeps! O love beyond degree! The Offended dies, to set the offender free!?
Spurgeon, Autobiography, 1:95 ? ?When I was in the hand of the Holy Spirit, under conviction of sin, I had a clear and sharp sense of the justice of God. Sin, whatever it might be to other people, became to me an intolerable burden. It was not so much that I feared hell, as that I feared sin and all the while I had upon my mind a deep concern for the honor of God?s name and the integrity of his moral government. I felt that it would not satisfy my conscience if I could be forgiven unjustly. But then there came the question: ?How could God be just, and yet justify me who had been so guilty? The doctrine of the atonement is to my mind one of the surest proofs of the inspiration of Holy Scripture. Who would or could have thought of the just Ruler dying for the unjust rebel??
This substitution is unknown to mere law and above and beyond the powers of law. It is an operation of grace. Grace, however, does not violate or suspend law but takes it up into itself and fulfills it. The righteousness of law is maintained, in that the source of all law, the judge and ?punisher?, he voluntarily submits to bear the penalty and bears it in the human nature that has sinned.
Matheson, Moments on the Mount, 221 ? ?In conscience, man condemns and is condemned. Christ was God in the flesh, both priest and sacrificial victim (5Th. 9:12). He is ?full of grace? ? forgiving grace ? but he is ?full of truth? also, and so ?the only-begotten from the Father? ( <430114>John 1:14). Not forgiveness that ignores sin, not justice that has any mercy. He forgave the sinner because he bore the sin.? Kaftan, referring to some modern theologians who have returned to the old doctrine but who have said that the basis of the atonement is, not the juridical idea of punishment, but the ethical idea of propitiation. It is affirmed as follows: ?On the contrary, the highest ethical idea of propitiation is just that of punishment. Take this away and propitiation becomes nothing but the inferior and unworthy idea of appeasing the wrath of an incensed deity. Precisely the idea of the vicarious suffering of punishment is the idea which must in some way be brought to a full expression for the sake of the ethical consciousness.
The conscience awakened by God can accept no forgiveness, which is not experienced as at the same time, a condemnation of sin. Jesus, though he was without sin and deserved no punishment, took upon himself all the evils which have come into the world as the consequence and punishment of sin, even to the shameful death on the Cross at the hand of sinners.
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