(From “The Preaching of Christ Crucified, the Means of Salvation”)
“Christ died for the ungodly!” Romans 5:6
In the cross of Christ, God’s hatred to sin is manifested in the most striking light — and the evil of sin is exposed in the most dreadful colors! Now it appears, that such is the divine hatred against all sin, that God can by no means forgive sin, without punishment; and that all the infinite benevolence of His nature towards His creatures cannot prevail upon Him to pardon the least sin — without an adequate atonement.
Nay, now it appears that when so malignant and abominable a thing is but imputed to His dear Son, His co-equal, His darling, His favorite — that even He could not escape unpunished — but was made a monument of vindictive justice to all worlds!
What can more strongly expose the evil of sin — than the cross of Christ? Sin is such an intolerably malignant and abominable thing, that even a God of infinite mercy and grace, cannot let the least instance of it pass unpunished!
It was not a small thing which could arm God’s justice against the Son of His love. Though He was perfectly innocent in Himself — yet when He was made sin for us — God spared not His own Son — but delivered Him up unto death — the shameful, tormenting, and accursed death of the cross!
Go, you fools, who make a mock at sin! Go and learn its malignity and demerit — at the cross of Jesus!
WHO is it that hangs there writhing in the agonies of death…
His hands and feet pierced with nails,
His side gashed with a spear,
His face bruised with blows,
drenched with tears and blood,
His heart melting like wax,
His whole frame racked and disjointed,
forsaken by His friends, and even by His Father,
tempted by devils,
and insulted by men?
Who is this amazing spectacle of woe and torture? It is…
Jesus, the eternal Word of God,
God’s Elect, in whom His soul delights,
God’s beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased!
And WHAT has He done? He did no wickedness; He knew no sin — but was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
And WHY then, all these dreadful sufferings from Heaven, earth, and Hell?
Why, He only stood in the law-place of sinners
— He only received their sin by imputation.
And you see what it has brought upon Him!
You see how low it has reduced Him!
What a horrid evil must that be — which has such tremendous consequences, even upon the Darling of Heaven!
Oh! what still more dreadful havoc would SIN have made, if it had been punished upon the sinner himself in his own person! Surely all the various miseries which have been inflicted upon our guilty world in all ages, and even all the punishments of Hell — do not so loudly proclaim the terrible desert and malignity of sin — as the cross of Christ!
The infinite malignity of sin, and God’s hatred to it, appear nowhere in so striking and dreadful a light — as in the cross of Christ! Let a reasonable creature take but one serious view of that cross — and surely he must ever after tremble at the thought of the least sin!