extremity of Christ?s suffering on the Cross was coincident with the most extreme manifestation of the guilt of the race. The greatness of this he theoretically knew from the beginning of his ministry. His baptism was not intended merely to set an example. It was a recognition that sin deserved death, that he was numbered with the transgressors and that he was sent to die for the sin of the world. He was not so much a teacher as he was the subject of all teaching. In him the great suffering of the holy God on account of sin is exhibited to the universe. The pain of a few brief hours saves a world, only because it sets forth an eternal fact in God?s being and opens to us God?s very heart.
Shakespeare, Henry V, 4:1 ? ?There is some soul of goodness in things evil, Would men observingly distil it out.? It is well to preach on Christ as an example. Lyman Abbott says that Jesus? blood purchases our pardon and redeems us to God, just as a patriot?s blood redeems his country from servitude and purchases its liberty. But even Ritschl, Just. and Recon., 2, goes beyond this, when he says: ?Those who advocate the example theory should remember that Jesus withdraws himself from imitation when he sets himself over against his disciples as the Author of forgiveness. And they perceive that pardon must first be appropriated, before it is possible for them to imitate his piety and moral achievement.? This is a partial recognition of the truth that the removal of objective guilt by Christ?s atonement must precede the removal of subjective defilement by Christ?s regenerating and sanctifying Spirit. Lidgett, Spir. Prince, of Atonement, 265-280, shows that there is a fatherly demand for satisfaction, which must be met by the filial response of the child. Thomas Chalmers at the beginning of his ministry urged on his people the reformation of their lives. But he confesses: ?I never heard of any such reformations being effected amongst them.? Only when he preached the alienation of men from God and forgiveness through the blood of Christ, did he hear of their betterment.
Gordon, Christ of Today. 129 ? ?The consciousness of sin is largely the creation of Christ.? Men like Paul, Luther and Edwards show this impressively. Foster, Christian life and Theology, 198-201 ? ?There is of course a sense in which the Christian must imitate Christ?s death, for he is to ?take up his cross daily? ( <420923>Luke 9:23) and follow his Master but in its highest meaning and fullest scope the death of Christ is no more an object set for our imitation than is the creation of the world. Christ does for man in his sacrifice what man could not do for himself. We see in the Cross the magnitude of the guilt of sin, our own self-condemnation, the adequate remedy, for the object of law is gained in the display of
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