CMF eZine The online magazine of the Christian Military Fellowship. 18 August Romans 1:18 - The Wrath of God Revealed By Bob Flynn Romans 0 Comment Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness," (NASB) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" (KJV) "But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness." (NLT) John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NASB) Luke 3:7 "So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (NASB) Luke 21:23 "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;" (NASB) Romans 2:5 "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," (NASB) "The Word of God continues to stand in the World. The cross of Christ, although it occurred nineteen hundred years ago, continues to stand as the great witness to the wrath of God. Similarly, the wrath of God is being revealed continuously upon those who break the laws of God in nature. It is a standing revelation" Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. "Notice the object of God's wrath. Paul, in two words, has summed up all of human sin, placing it in two great divisions: ungodliness and unrighteousness. 'Ungodliness' is a sin against the being of God. Man is not only a moral sinner (he is unrighteous), but man is a religious sinner (he is ungodly). The unrighteous man live as if there were no will of God revealed; the ungodly man lives as if there were no God." Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. 1. Divine Wrath: Wrath is used with reference to both God and man. When used of God it is to be understood that there is the complete absence of that caprice and unethical quality so prominent in the anger attributed to the gods of the heathen and to man. The divine wrath is to be regarded as the natural expression of the divine nature, which is absolute holiness, manifesting itself against the willful, high-handed, deliberate, inexcusable sin and iniquity of mankind. God's wrath is always regarded in the Scripture as the just, proper, and natural expression of His holiness and righteousness which must always, under all circumstances, and at all costs be maintained. It is therefore a righteous indignation and compatible with the holy and righteous nature of God (Num 11:1-10; Deu 29:27; 2Sa 6:7; Isa 5:25; Isa 42:25; Jer 44:6; Psa 79:6). The element of love and compassion is always closely connected with God's anger; if we rightly estimate the divine anger we must unhesitatingly pronounce it to be but the expression and measure of that love (compare Jer 10:24; Ezek 23; Amo 3:2). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia When I see that I have been delivered from an abandonment in hell, the exhortation of Paul, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;", becomes more sobering in the midst of this chaotic world. Grace becomes larger still when I consider that my very presence is, in the flesh, an offense against God's perfect holiness and righteousness. I am blessed beyond an ability to express in words the thankfulness in a heart redeemed. Heavenly Father let my mind ponder these thoughts throughout the day that I might in some small way comprehend, in some small way, the length and breadth of your love. Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness," (NASB) "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;" (KJV) "But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness." (NLT) John 3:36 "He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (NASB) Luke 3:7 "So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" (NASB) Luke 21:23 "Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;" (NASB) Romans 2:5 "But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God," (NASB) "The Word of God continues to stand in the World. The cross of Christ, although it occurred nineteen hundred years ago, continues to stand as the great witness to the wrath of God. Similarly, the wrath of God is being revealed continuously upon those who break the laws of God in nature. It is a standing revelation" Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. "Notice the object of God's wrath. Paul, in two words, has summed up all of human sin, placing it in two great divisions: ungodliness and unrighteousness. 'Ungodliness' is a sin against the being of God. Man is not only a moral sinner (he is unrighteous), but man is a religious sinner (he is ungodly). The unrighteous man live as if there were no will of God revealed; the ungodly man lives as if there were no God." Dr. Alva J. McClain, Romans: The Gospel of God's Grace. 1. Divine Wrath: Wrath is used with reference to both God and man. When used of God it is to be understood that there is the complete absence of that caprice and unethical quality so prominent in the anger attributed to the gods of the heathen and to man. The divine wrath is to be regarded as the natural expression of the divine nature, which is absolute holiness, manifesting itself against the willful, high-handed, deliberate, inexcusable sin and iniquity of mankind. God's wrath is always regarded in the Scripture as the just, proper, and natural expression of His holiness and righteousness which must always, under all circumstances, and at all costs be maintained. It is therefore a righteous indignation and compatible with the holy and righteous nature of God (Num 11:1-10; Deu 29:27; 2Sa 6:7; Isa 5:25; Isa 42:25; Jer 44:6; Psa 79:6). The element of love and compassion is always closely connected with God's anger; if we rightly estimate the divine anger we must unhesitatingly pronounce it to be but the expression and measure of that love (compare Jer 10:24; Ezek 23; Amo 3:2). International Standard Bible Encyclopedia When I see that I have been delivered from an abandonment in hell, the exhortation of Paul, "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling;", becomes more sobering in the midst of this chaotic world. Grace becomes larger still when I consider that my very presence is, in the flesh, an offense against God's perfect holiness and righteousness. I am blessed beyond an ability to express in words the thankfulness in a heart redeemed. Heavenly Father let my mind ponder these thoughts throughout the day that I might in some small way comprehend, in some small way, the length and breadth of your love. Related Romans 1:17 - God's Righteousness Revealed Romans 1:17 "For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.'" (NASB) "For therein is the G1343 righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The G1342 just shall live by faith." (KJV) "This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, 'It is through faith that a righteous person has life.'" (NLT) G1343 (Strong) δικαιοσυ?νη dikaiosune? dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically (Christian) justification: - righteousness. G1342 (Strong) δι?καιος dikaios dik'-ah-yos From G1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): - just, meet, right (-eous). Righteousness (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia) ri?´chus-nes (?????, caddi?k?, adjective, “righteous,” or occasionally “just” ???, cedhek?, noun, occasionally = “riahteousness,” occasionally = “justice”; δικαιος, di?kaios, adjective, δικαιοσυ?νη, dikaiosu?ne?, noun, from δι?κη, di?ke?, whose first meaning seems to have been “custom”; the general use suggested conformity to a standard: righteousness, “the state of him who is such as he ought to be” Righteousness (Noah Webster) RIGHTEOUSNESS, n. ri'chusness. 1. Purity of heart and rectitude of life; conformity of heart and life to the divine law. Righteousness, as used in Scripture and theology, in which it is chiefly used, is nearly equivalent to holiness, comprehending holy principles and affections of heart, and conformity of life to the divine law. It includes all we call justice, honesty and virtue, with holy affections; in short, it is true religion. 2. Applied to God, the perfection or holiness of his nature; exact rectitude; faithfulness. 3. The active and passive obedience of Christ, by which the law of God is fulfilled. Dan 9. 4. Justice; equity between man and man. Luke 1. 5. The cause of our justification. The Lord our righteousness. Jer 23. Our misery and ruin being the product and consequent of our iniquity, that which will show us the way of salvation must needs show us the way of justification, and this the gospel does. The gospel makes known a righteousness. While God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners, it is necessary we should have a righteousness wherein to appear before him; and, blessed be God, there is such a righteousness brought in by Messiah the prince (Dan_9:24) and revealed in the gospel; a righteousness, that is, a gracious method of reconciliation and acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. Mathew Henry (1662 - 1714) Righteousness by Faith Orville J. Nave (1841-1917), A.M., D.D., LL.D. (Army Chaplain) Go Army! Genesis 15:6 "And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith." (NLT) Romans 4:3 "For the Scriptures tell us, 'Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.'" (NLT) Romans 4:5 "But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners." (NLT) Romans 4:9 "Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith." (NLT) Romans 4:11 "Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith." (NLT) Romans 4:13 "For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith." (NASB) Romans 4:22 "And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. (NLT) Romans 4:24 "for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in Him, the One who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead." (NLT) In Christ we have all that we require. His Gospel reveals His righteousness whose purpose is our redemption, transformation, and adoption. The concept that began the reformation, that we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. Dear Heavenly Father how amazing is your love. It is like the words of the song: The love of God has been extended to a fallen race, Through Christ the savior of all men, there's hope in saving grace The Love of God is greater far, than gold or silver ever could afford, It reaches past the highest star and covers all the world! His power is eternal..eternal, His glory is supernal..supernal! When all this earth shall pass away, there'll always be the Love of God! It goes beneath the deepest stain that sin could ever leave, Redeeming souls to live again, who will, on Christ believe- will believe! The love of God is greater far, than gold or silver, ever could afford, It reaches past the highest star, and covers all the world! His power is eternal...eternal! His glory is supernal...supernal! When all this earth shall pass away, there'll always be, the Love Of God! (Bill Gaither) From faith to faith; that is, as say some, from the faith of God to the faith of men; from the faith of preachers to the faith of hearers; from the faith of the Old to the faith of the New Testament saints; or rather from one degree of faith to another; for faith, as it grows and increases, has clearer sights of this righteousness, as held forth in the Gospel. For the proof of this, a passage of Scripture is cited, Habakkuk 2:4 Dr. John Gill (1690-1771) Good Friday 1604 - Bishop Lancelot Andrewes Good Friday 1604 — Biship Lancelot Andrewes Lamentations 1:12 Have ye no regard, O all ye that pass by the way? Consider, and behold, if ever there were sorrow like My sorrow, which was done unto Me, wherewith the Lord did afflict Me in the day of the fierceness of His wrath. At the very reading or hearing of which verse, there is none but will presently conceive, it is the voice of a party in great extremity. In great extremity two ways: 1. First, in such distress as never was any, "If ever there were sorrow like My sorrow;" 2. And then in that distress, having none to regard Him; "Have ye no regard, all ye?" To be afflicted, and so afflicted as none ever was, is very much. In that affliction, to find none to respect him or care for him, what can be more? In all our sufferings, it is a comfort to us that we have a sicut;* that nothing has befallen us, but such as others have felt the like. But here, si fuerit sicut; "If ever the like were"—that is, never the like was. Again, in our greatest pains it is a kind of ease, even to find some regard. Naturally we desire it, if we cannot be delivered,* if we cannot be relieved, yet to be pitied. It sheweth there be yet some that are touched with the sense of our misery, that wish us well, and would give us ease if they could. But this Afflicted here findeth not so much, neither the one nor the other; but is even as He were an out-cast both of Heaven and earth. Now verily an heavy case, and worthy to be put in this book of Lamentations. I demand then, "Of whom speaketh the Prophet this? of himself, or of some other?" This I find; there is not any of the ancient writers but do apply, yea in a manner appropriate, this speech to our Saviour Christ. And that this very day, the day of His Passion, truly termed here the day of God’s wrath, and wheresoever they treat of the Passion, ever this verse cometh in. And to say the truth, to take the words strictly as they lie, they cannot agree, or be verified of any but of Him, and Him only. For though some other, not unfitly, may be allowed to say the same words, it must be in a qualified sense; for in full and perfect propriety of speech, He and none but He. None can say, neither Jeremy, nor any other, si fuerit dolor Meus, as Christ can; no day of wrath like to His day, no sorrow to be compared to His, all are short of it, nor His to any, it exceedeth them all. And yet, according to the letter, it cannot be denied but they be set down by Jeremy in the person of his own people, being then come to great misery; and of the holy city, then laid waste and desolate by the Chaldees.* What then? Ex Ægypto vocavi Filium Meum, "out of Egypt have I called My Son,"* was literally spoken of this people too, yet is by the Evangelist applied to our Saviour Christ.* "My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" at the first uttered by David; yet the same words our Saviour taketh Himself,* and that more truly and properly, than ever David could; and of those of David’s, and of these of Jeremy’s, there is one and the same reason. Of all which the ground is that correspondence which is between Christ, and the Patriarchs, Prophets, and people before Christ,* of whom the Apostle’s rule is, omnia in figurâ contingebant illis; "that they were themselves types," and their sufferings forerunning figures of the great suffering of the Son of God. Which maketh Isaac’s offering, and Joseph’s selling, and Israel’s calling from Egypt, and that complaint of David’s, and this of Jeremy’s, appliable to Him; that He may take them to Himself, and the Church ascribe them to Him, and that in more fitness of terms, and more fulness of truth, than they were at the first spoken by David, or Jeremy, or any of them all. And this rule, and the steps of the Fathers proceeding by this rule, are to me a warrant to expound and apply this verse, as they have done before, to the present occasion of this time; which requireth some such Scripture to be considered by us as doth belong to His Passion, Who this day poured out His most precious Blood, as the only sufficient price of the dear purchase of all our redemptions. Be it then to us, as to them it was, and as most properly it is, the speech of the Son of God, as this day hanging on the cross, to a sort of careless people, that go up and down without any manner of regard of these His sorrows and sufferings, so worthy of all regard. "Have ye no regard? O all ye that pass by the way, consider and behold, if ever there were sorrow like to my sorrow, which was done unto me, wherewith the Lord afflicted me in the day of the fierceness of His wrath." Here is a complaint, and here is a request. A complaint that we have not, a request that we would have the pains and Passions of our Saviour Christ in some regard. For first He complaineth, and not without cause, "Have ye no regard?" And then, as willing to forget their former neglect, so they will yet do it, He falleth to entreat, "O consider and behold!" And what is that we should consider? The sorrow which He suffereth, and in it two things; the quality, and the cause. 1. The quality, Si fuerit sicut; ‘if ever the like were;’ and that either in respect of Dolor, or Dolor Meus, ‘the sorrow suffered,’ or ‘the Person suffering.’ 2. The cause: that is God That in His wrath, in His fierce wrath, doth all this to Him. Which cause will not leave us, till it have led us to another cause in ourselves, and to another yet in Him; all which serve to ripen us to regard. These two then specially we are moved to regard. 1. Regard is the main point. But because therefore we regard but faintly, because either we consider not, or not aright, we are called to consider seriously of them. As if He should say, Regard you not? If you did consider, you would; if you considered as you should, you would regard as you ought. Certainly the Passion, if it were throughly considered, would be duly regarded. Consider then. So the points are two: 1. The quality, and 2. the cause of His suffering. And the duties two: 1. To consider, and regard; 2. So to consider that we regard them, and Him for them. "Have ye no regard," &c.? To ease this complaint, and to grant this request, we are to regard; and that we may regard, we are to consider the pains of His Passion. Which, that we may reckon no easy common matter of light moment, to do or not to do as we list; first, a general stay is made of all passengers, this day. For, as it were from His cross, doth our Saviour address this His speech to them that go to and fro, the day of His Passion, without so much as entertaining a thought, or vouchsafing a look that way. O vos qui transitis! "O you that pass by the way," stay and consider. To them frameth He His speech, that pass by; to them, and to them all, O vos omnes, qui transitis, "O all ye that pass by the way, stay and consider." Which very stay of His sheweth it to be some important matter, in that it is of all. For, as for some to be stayed, and those the greater some, there may be reason; the most part of those that go thus to and fro, may well intend it, they have little else to do. But to except none, not some special person, is hard. What know we their haste? their occasions may be such, and so urgent, as they cannot stay. Well, what haste, what business soever, pass not by, stay though. As much to say as, Be they never so great, your occasions; they are not, they cannot be so great as this. How urgent soever, this is more, and more to be intended. The regard of this is worthy the staying of a journey. It is worth the considering of those, that have never so great affairs in hand. So material is this sight in His account. Which serveth to shew the exigence of this duty. But as for this point, it needeth not be stood upon to us here at this time; we are not going by, we need not be stayed, we have stayed all other our affairs to come hither, and here we are all present before God, to have it set before us, that we may consider it. Thither then let us come. That which we are called to behold and consider, is His sorrow. And sorrow is a thing which of itself nature inclineth us to behold,* "as being ourselves in the body," which may be one day in the like sorrowful ease. Therefore will every good eye turn itself, and look upon them that lie in distress.* Those two in the Gospel that passed by the wounded man, before they passed by him, though they helped him not as the Samaritan did, yet they looked upon him as he lay.* But, this party here lieth not, He is lift up as the serpent in the wilderness, that unless we turn our eyes away purposely, we can neither will nor choose but behold Him. But because, to behold and not to consider is but to gaze, and gazing the Angel blameth in the Apostles themselves,* we must do both—both "behold" and "consider;" look upon with the eye of the body, that is "behold;" and look into with the eye of the mind, that is "consider." So saith the Prophet here. And the very same doth the Apostle advise us to do. First, ἀφορᾷν, to look upon Him, that is, to "behold,"* and then ἀναλογίζεσθαι, to think upon Him, that is, to "consider" His sorrow. Sorrow sure would be considered. Now then, because as the quality of the sorrow is, accordingly it would be considered—for if it be but a common sorrow the less will serve, but if it be some special, some very heavy ease, the more would be allowed it; for proportionably with the suffering, the consideration is to arise;—to raise our consideration to the full, and to elevate it to the highest point, there is upon His sorrow set a si fuerit sicut, a note of highest eminency; for si fuerit sicut, are words that have life in them, and are able to quicken our consideration, if it be not quite dead; for by them we are provoked, as it were, to "consider," and considering to see whether ever any sicut may be found to set by it, whether ever any like it. For if never any, our nature is to regard things exceeding rare and strange; and such as the like whereof is not else to be seen. Upon this point then, there is a ease made, as if He should say, ‘if ever the like, regard not this;’ but if never any, be like yourselves in other things, and vouchsafe this, if not your chiefest, yet some regard. To enter this comparison, and to shew it for such. That are we to do, three sundry ways; for three sundry ways, in three sundry words, are these sufferings of His here expressed, all three within the compass of the verse. The first is מכאוב, Mac-ob, which we read "sorrow," taken from a wound or stripe, as all do agree. The second is עולל, Gholcl; we read "Done to me," taken from a word that signifieth melting in a furnace, as St. Hierome noteth out of the Chaldee, who so translateth it. The third is הוגה, Hoga, where we read afflicted, from a word which importeth renting off, or bereaving. The old Latin turneth it Vindemiavit me, as a vine whose fruit is all plucked off. The Greek, with Theodoret, ἀπεφύλλισέ με, as a vine or tree whose leaves are all beaten off, and is left naked and bare. In these three are comprised His sufferings—wounded, melted, and bereft leaf and fruit, that is, all manner of comfort. Of all that is penal, or can be suffered, the common division is, sensus et damni, grief for that we feel, or for that we forego. For that we feel in the two former, wounded in body, melted in soul; for that we forego in the last, bereft all, left neither fruit nor so much as a leaf to hang on Him. According to these three, to consider His sufferings, and to begin first with the first. The pains of His body, His wounds and His stripes. Our very eye will soon tell us no place was left in His body, where He might be smitten and was not. His skin and flesh rent with the whips and scourges, His hands and feet wounded with the nails, His head with the thorns, His very heart with the spear-point; all His senses, all His parts laden with whatsoever wit or malice could invent. His blessed body given as an anvil to be beaten upon with the violent hands of those barbarous miscreants, till they brought Him into this case of si fuerit sicut.* For Pilate’s Ecce Homo! his shewing Him with an Ecce, as if He should say, Behold, look if ever you saw the like rueful spectacle; this very shewing of his sheweth plainly, He was then come into woeful plight—so woeful as Pilate verily believed His very sight so pitiful, as it would have moved the hardest heart of them all to have relented and said, This is enough, we desire no more. And this for the wounds of His body, for on this we stand not. In this one peradventure some sicut may be found, in the pains of the body; but in the second, the sorrow of the soul, I am sure, none. And indeed, the pain of the body is but the body of pain; the very soul of sorrow and pain is the soul’s sorrow and pain. Give me any grief, save the grief of the mind,* saith the Wise Man; for, saith Solomon, "The spirit of a man will sustain all his other infirmities, but a wounded spirit, who can bear?" And of this, this of His soul, I dare make a ease, Si fuerit sicut. "He began to be troubled in soul,"* saith St. John; "to be in an agony,"* saith St. Luke; "to be in anguish of mind and deep distress,"* saith St. Mark. To have His soul round about on every side environed with sorrow,* and that sorrow to the death. Here is trouble, anguish, agony, sorrow, and deadly sorrow; but it must be such, as never the like: so it was too. The estimate whereof we may take from the second word of melting,* that is, from His sweat in the garden; strange, and the like whereof was never heard or seen. No manner violence offered Him in body, no man touching Him or being near Him; in a cold night, for they were fain to have a fire within doors, lying abroad in the air and upon the cold earth, to be all of a sweat, and that sweat to be blood; and not as they call it diaphoreticus, ‘a thin faint sweat,’ but grumosus, ‘of great drops;’ and those so many, so plenteous, as they went through His apparel and all; and through all streamed to the ground, and that in great abundance;—read, enquire, and consider, si fuerit sudor sicut sudor iste; ‘if ever there were sweat like this sweat of His.’ Never the like sweat certainly, and therefore never the like sorrow. Our translation is, "Done unto Me;" but we said the word properly signifieth, and so S. Hierome and the Chaldee paraphrast read it, "melted Me." And truly it should seem by this fearful sweat of His He was near some furnace, the feeling whereof was able to cast Him into that sweat, and to turn His sweat into drops of blood. And sure it was so; for see, even in the very next words of all to this verse, He complaineth of it;* Ignem misit in ossibus meis, "that a fire was sent into His bones" which melted Him, and made that bloody sweat to distil from Him. That hour, what His feelings were, it is dangerous to define; we know them not, we may be too bold to determine of them. To very good purpose it was, that the ancient Fathers of the Greek Church in their Liturgy, after they have recounted all the particular pains, as they are set down in His Passion, and by all, and by every one of them, called for mercy, do after all shut up all with this, Διʼ ἀγνωστῶν κόπων καὶ βασάνων ἐλέησον καὶ σῶσον ἡμᾶς, ‘By Thine unknown sorrows and sufferings, felt by Thee, but not distinctly known by us, Have mercy upon us, and save us!’ Now, though this suffice not, nothing near, yet let it suffice, the time being short, for His pains of body and soul. For those of the body, it may be some may have endured the like; but the sorrows of His soul are unknown sorrows, and for them none ever have, ever have or ever shall suffer the like, the like, or near the like in any degree. And now to the third. It was said before, to be in distress, such distress as this was, and to find none to comfort, nay not so much as to regard Him, is all that can be said to make His sorrow a non sicut. Comfort is it by which, in the midst of all our sorrows, we are confortati, that is strengthened and made the better able to bear them all out. And who is there, even the poorest creature among us, but in some degree findeth some comfort, or some regard at some body’s hands? For if that be not left, the state of that party is here in the third word said to be like the tree, whose leaves and whose fruit are all beaten off quite, and itself left bare and naked both of the one and of the other. And such was our Saviour’s case in these His sorrows this day, and that so as what is left the meanest of the sons of men, was not left Him, not a leaf. Not a leaf! Leaves I may well call all human comforts and regards, whereof He was then left clean desolate.* 1. "His own," they among whom He had gone about all His life long, healing them, teaching them, feeding them, doing them all the good He could, it is they that cry, "Not Him, no, but Barabbas rather;" "away with Him," "His blood be upon us and our children." It is they that in the midst of His sorrows shake their head at Him,* and cry,* "Ah, thou wretch;" they that in His most disconsolate estate cry Eli,* Eli, in most barbarous manner, deride Him and say,* "Stay, and you shall see Elias come presently and take Him down." And this was their regard. But these were but withered leaves. They then that on earth were nearest Him of all, the greenest leaves and likest to hang on, and to give Him some shade; even of them some bought and sold Him, others denied and forswore Him, but all fell away, and forsook Him. Ἀπεφύλλισέ με, saith Theodoret, not a leaf left. But leaves are but leaves, and so are all earthly stays. The fruit then, the true fruit of the Vine indeed, the true comfort in all heaviness, is desuper, ‘from above,’ is divine consolation. But Vindemiavit Me, saith the Latin text;—even that was, in this His sorrow, this day bereft Him too. And that was His most sorrowful complaint of all others; not that His friends upon earth, but that His Father from Heaven had forsaken Him; that neither Heaven nor earth yielded Him any regard, but that between the passioned powers of His soul, and whatsoever might any ways refresh Him, there was a traverse drawn, and He left in the state of a weather-beaten tree, all desolate and forlorn. Evident, too evident, by that His most dreadful cry, which at once moved all the powers in Heaven and earth,* "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" Weigh well that cry, consider it well, and tell me, si fuerit clamor sicut clamor iste, ‘if ever there were cry like that of His:’ never the like cry, and therefore never the like sorrow. It is strange, very strange, that of none of the martyrs the like can be read, who yet endured most exquisite pains in their martyrdoms; yet we see with what courage, with what cheerfulness, how even singing, they are reported to have passed through their torments. Will ye know the reason? St. Augustine setteth it down: martyres non eripuit, sed nunquid deseruit? ‘He delivered not His martyrs, but did He forsake them?’ He delivered not their bodies, but He forsook not their souls, but distilled into them the dew of His heavenly comfort, an abundant supply for all they could endure. Not so here. Vindemiavit Me, saith the Prophet; Dereliquisti Me, saith He Himself;—no comfort, no supply at all. Leo it is that first said it, and all antiquity allow of it, Non solvit unionem, sed subtraxit visionem.* ‘The union was not dissolved: true, but the beams, the influence was restrained,’ and for any comfort from thence His soul was even as a scorched heath-ground, without so much as any drop of dew of divine comfort; as a naked tree—no fruit to refresh Him within, no leaf to give Him shadow without; the power of darkness let loose to afflict Him, the influence of comfort restrained to relieve Him. It is a non sicut this, it cannot be expressed as it should, and as other things may; in silence we may admire it, but all our words will not reach it. And though to draw it so far as some do, is little better than blasphemy, yet on the other side to shrink it so short as other some do, cannot be but with derogation to His love, Who, to kindle our love and loving regard, would come to a non sicut in His suffering; for so it was, and so we must allow it to be. This, in respect of His passion, Dolor. Now in respect of His Person, Dolor Meus. Whereof, if it please you to take a view even of the Person thus wounded, thus afflicted and forsaken, you shall then have a perfect non sicut. And indeed the Person is here a weighty circumstance, it is thrice repeated—Meus, Mihi, Me, and we may not leave it out. For as is the Person, so is the Passion; and any one, even the very least degree of wrong or disgrace, offered to a person of excellency, is more than a hundred times more to one of mean condition; so weighty is the circumstance of the person. Consider then how great the Person was; and I rest fully assured here we boldly challenge and say, si fuerit sicut. Ecce Homo! saith Pilate first: a Man He is as we are, and were He but a Man,* nay, were He not a Man, but some poor dumb creature, it were great ruth to see Him so handled as He was. "A Man," saith Pilate, and a "just Man," saith Pilate’s wife. "Have thou nothing to do with that just Man."* And that is one degree farther. For though we pity the punishment even of malefactors themselves, yet ever most compassion we have of them that suffer and be innocent.* And He was innocent; Pilate and Herod, and "the prince of this world,"* His very enemies, being His judges. Now among the innocent, the more noble the person, the more heavy the spectacle. And never do our bowels yearn so much as over such.* "Alas, alas for that noble Prince," saith this Prophet;—the style of mourning for the death of a great personage. And He that suffered here is such, even a principal Person among the sons of men, of the race royal, descended from Kings.* Pilate styled Him so in his title, and he would not alter it. Three degrees. But yet we are not at our true quantus. For He is yet more, more than the highest of the sons of men, for He is the Son of the Most High God. Pilate saw no farther but Ecce Homo!* the centurion did, vere Filius Dei erat Hic,* "now truly This was the Son of God." And here all words forsake us, and every tongue becometh speechless. We have no way to express it but a minore ad majus;—thus. Of this book, the book of Lamentations, one special occasion was the death of King Josias; but behold a greater than Josias is here. Of King Josias, as a special reason of mourning, the Prophet saith,* Spiritus oris nostri, christus Domini, "the very breath of our nostrils, the Lord’s anointed," for so are all good Kings in their subjects’ accounts, he is gone. But behold, here is not christus Domini, but Christus Dominus, "the Lord’s christ,"* but the "Lord Christ Himself;" and that not coming to an honourable death in battle as Josias did, but to a most vile reproachful death, the death of malefactors in the highest degree. And not slain outright as Josias was, but mangled and massacred in most pitiful strange manner; wounded in Body, wounded in Spirit, left utterly desolate. O consider this well, and confess the case is truly put, si fuerit Dolor sicut Dolor meus! Never, never the like person; and if as the person is, the passion be, never the like Passion to His. It is truly affirmed, that any one, even the least drop of blood, even the least pain, yea of the body only, of this so great a Person, any Dolor with this Meus, had been enough to make a non sicut of it. That is enough, but that is not all; for add now the three other degrees; add to this Person those wounds, that sweat and that cry, and put all together, and I make no manner question the like was not, shall not, cannot ever be. It is far above all that ever was or can be, abyssus est. Men may drowsily hear it and coldly affect it, but principalities and powers stand abashed at it. And for the quality both of the Passion and of the Person, that never the like, thus much. Now to proceed to the cause and to consider it, for without it we shall have but half a regard, and scarce that. Indeed, set the cause aside, and the passion, as rare as it is, is yet but a dull and heavy sight, we list not much look upon spectacles of that kind, though never so strange, they fill us full of pensive thoughts and make us melancholic. And so doth this, till upon examination of the cause we find it toucheth us near; and so near, so many ways, as we cannot choose but have some regard of it. What was done to Him we see. Let there now be a quest of enquiry to find who was doer of it. Who? who but the "power of darkness," wicked Pilate, bloody Caiaphas,* the envious Priests, the barbarous soldiers? None of these are returned here. We are too low by a great deal, if we think to find it among men. Quæ fecit Mihi Deus, ‘it was God That did it.’ An hour of that day was the hour of the "power of darkness;" but the whole day itself, is said here plainly, was the day of the wrath of God. God was a doer in it; "wherewith God hath afflicted Me." God afflicteth some in mercy, and others in wrath. This was in His wrath. In His wrath God is not alike to all; some He afflicteth in His more gentle and mild, others in His fierce wrath. This was in the very fierceness of His wrath. His sufferings, His sweat, and cry, shew as much; they could not come but from a wrath si fuerit sicut, for we are not past non sicut, no not here,—in this part it followeth us still, and will not leave us in any point, not to the end. The cause then in God was wrath. What caused this wrath? God is not wroth but with sin, nor grievously wroth but with grievous sin. And in Christ there was no grievous sin; nay, no sin at all. God did it, the text is plain. And in His fierce wrath He did it. For what cause? For, God forbid, God should do as did Annas the high-priest,* cause Him to be smitten without cause!* God forbid, saith Abraham, "the Judge of the world should do wrong" to any! To any, but specially to His own Son, that His Son, of Whom with thundering voice from Heaven He testifieth, all His joy and delight were in Him,* "in Him only He was well-pleased." And how then could His wrath wax hot to do all this unto Him? There is no way to preserve God’s justice, and Christ’s innocency both, but to say as the Angel said of Him to the Prophet Daniel,* "The Messias shall be slain," ואין לו ve-en-lo, "shall be slain but not for Himself." "Not for Himself?" For whom then? For some others. He took upon Him the person of others, and so doing, justice may have her course and proceed. Pity it is to see a man pay that he never took; but if he will become a surety, if he will take on him the person of the debtor, so he must. Pity to see a silly poor lamb lie bleeding to death; but if it must be a sacrifice, such is the nature of a sacrifice, so it must. And so Christ, though without sin in Himself, yet as a surety, as a sacrifice, may justly suffer for others, if He will take upon Him their persons; and so God may justly give way to His wrath against Him. And who be those others? The Prophet Esay telleth us, and telleth it us seven times over for failing,* "He took upon Him our infirmities, and bare our maladies. He was wounded for our iniquities, and broken for our transgressions: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes were we healed. All we as sheep were gone astray, and turned every man to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." "All," "all," even those that pass to and fro, and for all this regard neither Him nor His Passion. The short is, it was we that for our sins, our many great and grievous sins,—Si fuerit sicut, the like whereof never were,—should have sweated this sweat and have cried this cry; should have been smitten with these sorrows by the fierce wrath of God, had not He stepped between the blow and us, and latched it in His own body and soul, even the dint of the fierceness of the wrath of God. O the non sicut of our sins, that could not otherwise be answered! To return then a true verdict. It is we—we, wretched sinners that we are—that are to be found the principals in this act, and those on whom we seek to shift it, to drive it from ourselves, Pilate and Caiaphas and the rest, but instrumental causes only. And it is not the executioner that killeth the man properly, that is, they; no, nor the judge, which is God in this case; only sin, solum peccatum homicida est, ‘sin only is the murderer,’ to say the truth, and our sins the murderers of the Son of God; and the non sicut of them the true cause of the non sicut both of God’s wrath, and of His sorrowful sufferings. Which bringeth home this our text to us, even into our own bosoms, and applieth it most effectually to me that speak and to you that hear, to every one of us, and that with the Prophet Nathan’s application; Tu es homo, "Thou art the man," even thou,* for whom God in "His fierce wrath" thus afflicted Him. Sin then was the cause on our part why we, or some other for us. But yet what was the cause, why He on His part? what was that that moved Him thus to become our surety, and to take upon Him our debt and danger? that moved Him thus to lay upon His soul a sacrifice for our sin? Sure,* oblatus est quia voluit, saith Esay again, "Offered He was for no other cause, but because He would." For unless He would, He needed not. Needed not for any necessity of justice, for no lamb was ever more innocent; nor for any necessity of constraint, for twelve legions of Angels were ready at His command, but because He would. And why would He? No reason can be given but because He regarded us:—Mark that reason. And what were we? Verily, utterly unworthy even His least regard, not worth the taking up, not worth the looking after.* Cum inimici essemus, saith the Apostle; "we were His enemies," when He did it, without all desert before, and without all regard after He had done and suffered all this for us; and yet He would regard us that so little regard Him. For when He saw us a sort of forlorn sinners, non prius natos quam damnatos, ‘damned as fast as born,’ as being "by nature children of wrath,"* and yet still "heaping up wrath against the day of wrath," by the errors of our life, till the time of our passing hence; and then the "fierce wrath of God" ready to overwhelm us,* and to make us endure the terror and torments of a never dying death, another non sicut yet: when, I say, He was in this case, He was moved with compassion over us and undertook all this for us. Even then in His love He regarded us, and so regarded us that He regarded not Himself, to regard us. Bernard saith most truly, Dilexisti me Domine magis quam Te, quando mori voluisti pro me: ‘In suffering all this for us Thou shewedst, Lord, that we were more dear to Thee, that Thou regardest us more than Thine ownself;’ and shall this regard find no regard at our hands? It was sin then, and the heinousness of sin in us, that provoked wrath and the fierceness of His wrath in God; it was love, and the greatness of His love in Christ, that caused Him to suffer the sorrows, and the grievousness of these sorrows, and all for our sakes. And indeed, but only to testify the non sicut of this His love, all this needed not that was done to Him. One, any one, even the very least of all the pains He endured, had been enough; enough in respect of the Meus, enough in respect of the non sicut of His person. For that which setteth the high price on this sacrifice, is this; that He which offereth it unto God, is God. But if little had been suffered, little would the love have been thought that suffered so little, and as little regard would have been had of it. To awake our regard then, or to leave us excuseless, if we continue regardless, all this He bare for us; that he might as truly make a case of Si fuerit amor sicut amor Meus, as He did before of Si fuerit dolor sicut dolor Meus. We say we will regard love; if we will, here it is to regard. So have we the causes, all three: 1. Wrath in God; 2. Sin in ourselves; 3. Love in Him. Yet have we not all we should. For what of all this? What good? Cui bono? That, that, is it indeed that we will regard if any thing, as being matter of benefit, the only thing in a manner the world regardeth, which bringeth us about to the very first words again. For the very first words which we read, "Have ye no regard?" are in the original, לוא אליכם lo alechem, which the Seventy turn, word for word, οὐ πρὸς ὑμᾶς; and the Latin likewise, nonne ad vos pertinet? Pertains it not to you, that you regard it no better? For these two, pertaining and regarding, are folded one in another, and go together so commonly as one is taken often for the other. Then to be sure to bring us to regard, he urgeth this: "Pertains not all this to you?" Is it not for your good? Is not the benefit yours? Matters of benefit, they pertain to you, and without them love and all the rest may pertain to whom they will. Consider then the inestimable benefit that groweth unto you from this incomparable love. It is not impertinent this, even this, that to us hereby all is turned about clean contrary; that "by His stripes we are healed," by His sweat we refreshed, by His forsaking we received to grace. That this day, to Him the day of the fierceness of God’s wrath, is to us the day of the fulness of God’s favour, as the Apostle calleth it,* "a day of salvation." In respect of that He suffered, I deny not, an evil day, a day of heaviness; but in respect of that which He by it hath obtained for us, it is as we truly call it a good day, a day of joy and jubilee. For it doth not only rid us of that wrath which pertaineth to us for our sins; but farther, it maketh that pertain to us whereto we had no manner of right at all. For not only by His death as by the death of our sacrifice, by the blood of His cross as by the blood of the paschal lamb,* the destroyer passeth over us, and we shall not perish; but also by His death,* as by the death of our High Priest—for He is Priest and Sacrifice both—we are restored from our exile, even to our former forfeited estate in the land of Promise. Or rather, as the Apostle saith,* non sicut delictum sic donum; not to the same estate, but to one nothing like it, that is, one far better than the estate our sins bereft us. For they deprived us of Paradise, a place on earth; but by the purchase of His blood we are entitled to a far higher, even the Kingdom of Heaven; and His blood,* not only the blood of "remission," to acquit us of our sins, but "the blood of the Testament too," to bequeath us and give us estate in that Heavenly inheritance. Now whatsoever else, this I am sure is a non sicut, as that which the eye by all it can see, the ear by all it can hear, the heart by all it can conceive, cannot pattern it, or set the like by it. "Pertains not this unto us" neither? Is not this worth the regard? Sure if any thing be worthy the regard, this is most worthy of our very worthiest and best regard. Thus have we considered and seen, not so much as in this sight we might or should, but as much as the time will give us leave. And now lay all these before you, every one of them a non sicut of itself; the pains of His body esteemed by Pilate’s Ecce; the sorrows of His soul, by His sweat in the garden; the comfortless estate of His sorrows, by His cry on the cross; and with these, His Person, as being the Son of the Great and Eternal God. Then join to these the cause: in God, "His fierce wrath;" in us, our heinous sins deserving it; in Him, His exceeding great love, both suffering that for us which we had deserved, and procuring for us that we could never deserve; making that to appertain to Himself which of right pertained to us, and making that pertain to us which pertained to Him only, and not to us at all but by His means alone. And after their view in several, lay them all together, so many non sicuts into one, and tell me if His complaint be not just and His request most reasonable. Yes sure, His complaint is just, "Have ye no regard?" None? and yet never the like? None? and it pertains unto you? "No regard?" As if it were some common ordinary matter, and the like never was? "No regard?" As if it concerned you not a whit, and it toucheth you so near? As if He should say, Rare things you regard, yea, though they no ways pertain to you: this is exceeding rare, and will you not regard it? Again, things that nearly touch you you regard, though they be not rare at all: this toucheth you exceeding near, even as near as your soul toucheth you, and will you not yet regard it? Will neither of these by itself move you? Will not both these together move you? What will move you? Will pity? Here is distress never the like. Will duty? Here is a Person never the like. Will fear? Here is wrath never the like. Will remorse? Here are sins never the like. Will kindness? Here is love never the like. Will bounty? Here are benefits never the like. Will all these? Here they be all, all above any sicut, all in the highest degree. Truly the complaint is just, it may move us; it wanteth no reason, it may move; and it wanteth no affection in the delivery of it to us, on His part to move us. Sure it moved Him exceeding much; for among all the deadly sorrows of His most bitter Passion, this, even this, seemeth to be His greatest of all, and that which did most affect Him, even the grief of the slender reckoning most men have it in; as little respecting Him, as if He had done or suffered nothing at all for them. For lo, of all the sharp pains He endureth He complaineth not, but of this He complaineth, of no regard; that which grieveth Him most, that which most He moaneth is this. It is strange He should be in pains, such pains as never any was, and not complain Himself of them, but of want of regard only. Strange, He should not make request, O deliver Me, or relieve Me! But only, O consider and regard Me! In effect as if He said, None, no deliverance, no relief do I seek; regard I seek. And all that I suffer, I am content with it, I regard it not, I suffer most willingly, if this I may find at your hands, regard. Truly, this so passionate a complaint may move us, it moved all but us; for most strange of all it is, that all the creatures in Heaven and earth seemed to hear this His mournful complaint, and in their kind to shew their regard of it. The sun in Heaven shrinking in his light, the earth trembling under it, the very stones cleaving in sunder, as if they had sense and sympathy of it, and sinful men only not moved with it. And yet it was not for the creatures this was done to Him, to them it pertaineth not; but for us it was, and to us it doth. And shall we not yet regard it? shall the creature, and not we? shall we not? If we do not, it may appertain to us, but we pertain not to it; it pertains to all but all pertain not to it. None pertain to it but they that take benefit by it; and none take benefit by it no more than by the brazen serpent, but they that fix their eye on it. Behold, consider, and regard it; the profit, the benefit is lost without regard. If we do not, as this was a day of God’s "fierce wrath" against Him, only for regarding us; so there is another day coming, and it will quickly be here,* a day of like "fierce wrath" against us, for not regarding Him. "And who regardeth the power of His wrath?" He that doth, will surely regard this. In that day, there is not the most careless of us all but shall cry as they did in the Gospel, Domine, non ad Te pertinet, si perimus?* "Pertains it not to Thee, carest Thou not that we perish?" Then would we be glad to pertain to Him and His Passion. Pertains it to us then, and pertains it not now? Sure now it must, if then it shall. Then to give end to this complaint, let us grant Him His request, and regard His Passion. Let the rareness of it, the nearness to us, let pity or duty, fear or remorse, love or bounty; any of them or all of them; let the justness of His complaint, let His affectionate manner of complaining of this and only this, let the shame of the creatures’ regard, let our profit or our peril, let something prevail with us to have it in some regard. Some regard! Verily, as His sufferings, His love, our good by them are, so should our regard be a non sicut too; that is, a regard of these, and of nothing in comparison of these. It should be so, for with the benefit ever the regard should arise. But God help us poor sinners, and be merciful unto us! Our regard is a non sicut indeed, but it is backward, and in a contrary sense; that is, no where so shallow, so short, or so soon done. It should be otherwise, it should have our deepest consideration this, and our highest regard. But if that cannot be had, our nature is so heavy, and flesh and blood so dull of apprehension in spiritual things, yet at leastwise some regard. Some I say; the more the better, but in any wise some, and not as here no regard, none at all. Some ways to shew we make account of it, to withdraw ourselves, to void our minds of other matters, to set this before us, to think upon it, to thank Him for it, to regard Him, and stay and see whether He will regard us or no. Sure He will,* and we shall feel our "hearts pricked" with sorrow, by consideration of the cause in us—our sin; and again,* "warm within us," by consideration of the cause in Him—His love; till by some motion of grace He answer us, and shew that our regard is accepted of Him. And this, as at all other times, for no day is amiss but at all times some time to be taken for this duty, so specially on this day; this day, which we hold holy to the memory of His Passion, this day to do it; to make this day, the day of God’s wrath and Christ’s suffering, a day to us of serious consideration and regard of them both. It is kindly to consider opus diei in die suo, ‘the work of the day in the day it was wrought;’ and this day it was wrought. This day therefore, whatsoever business be, to lay them aside a little; whatsoever our haste, yet to stay a little, and to spend a few thoughts in calling to mind and taking to regard what this day the Son of God did and suffered for us; and all for this end, that what He was then we might not be, and what He is now we might be for ever. Which Almighty God grant we may do, more or less, even every one of us, according to the several measures of His grace in us! Andrewes, L. (1841). Ninety-Six Sermons (Vol. 2). Oxford: John Henry Parker. (Public Domain) Romans 3:28 - The Liberty of the Yoke Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude, etc. - Seeing these things cannot be denied, viz., that all have sinned: that all are guilty, that all are helpless: that none can deliver his own soul, and that God, in his endless mercy, has opened a new and living way to the holiest by the blood of Jesus, Hebrews 10:19-20, etc: therefore we, apostles and Christian teachers, conclude, λογιζομεθα, prove by fair, rational consequence, that a man - any man, is justified - has his sins blotted out, and is received into the Divine favor, by faith in Christ’s blood, without the deeds of the law, which never could afford, either to Jew or Gentile, a ground for justification, because both have sinned against the law which God has given them, and, consequently, forfeited all right and title to the blessings which the obedient might claim. Dr. Adam Clarke Romans 3:28 Justification: Justification and righteousness are inseparably united in Scripture by the fact that the same word (Greek, "dikaios", means "righteous"; Greek, "dikaioo", means "to justify") is used for both. The believing sinner is justified because Christ, having borne his sins on the cross, has been "made unto him righteousness" (1Corinthians 1:30). Justification originates in grace; (Romans 3:24); (Titus 3:4); (Titus 3:5) is through the redemptive and propitiatory work of Christ, who has vindicated the law; (Romans 3:24); (Romans 3:25); (Romans 5:9) is by faith, not works; (Romans 3:28-30); (Romans 4:5); (Romans 5:1); (Galatians 2:16); (Galatians 3:8); (Galatians 3:24) and may be defined as the judicial act of God whereby He justly declares righteous one who believes on Jesus Christ. It is the Judge Himself (Romans 8:31-34) who thus declares. The justified believer has been in court, only to learn that nothing is laid to his charge. (Romans 8:1); (Romans 8:33); (Romans 8:34). C. I. Scofield "For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law." (NASB) "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (KJV) "So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law." (NLT) "For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law." (NET) Nothing is more maligned today than the meaning of these few words! All manner of confusion, deception, error and even heresy have been born from wrongly dividing these words of truth. Let us consider that the reason this is so is because there is a dynamic tension present in the very concept of Grace. Jesus invites us to find rest by taking on His yoke. Lewis Sperry Chafer, in Grace, over emphasized the concept of liberty to the point of entertaining unintentionally antinomian thought. Liberty by definition is deliverance from oppression and not necessarily the freedom to do what we please. Yet if you preach Grace hard enough that is the very thought that comes to mind (thus the warning from the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:1 — should we sin more so that Grace might abound?). Grace, recorded in Titus, says that we should deny the realities of our fleshly nature and rather live according to our new nature: For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. (Titus 2:11-13 NLT) The idea that salvation is a wonderful gift and yet cost us everything that we are remains a paradox but like God and country are not mutually exclusive concepts. Today we suffer because iniquity abounds and the love of many grows cold (Matthew 24:12). But we my also abound in hope because the comforter has been given and lives within those who call Christ Savior and Lord. We are not free to follow the carnal desires of the flesh but rather are empowered to live abounding in the Spirit (2 Corinthians 8:7). I read in the newspaper this morning of a new church where you can believe whatever you want. People come there because the did not like the message elsewhere. We do not want to hear the real truth but instead search for a truth we like! One that will allow us to cling to the vile creatures we are and thus begin the slow downward spiral of self-deception that leads to eternal separation. We are saved because we were surrounded by the fullness of Christ's love for the lost. His love is providential and brings us to that place where we can say yes to His wondrous forgiveness and say no to the sin that so easily entangles us. The liberty of the yoke! The Wrath of the Lamb The Wrath of the Lamb And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb Revelation 6:16 Great S. Mary’s Church, 20th Sunday after Trinity, 1873. This title—the Lamb, the Lamb of God—as applied to our Lord, is found only in the Gospel and the Apocalypse of S. John. Like the designation of the ‘Word of God,’ or the image of the Shechinah, the tabernacle, the glory abiding among men, it is a distinguishing feature which connects these two books, and points to the identification of the disciple of love with the eagle-eyed seer of Patmos. Elsewhere indeed the image is indirectly suggested. But, as a proper name, an absolute and indefeasible title, it occurs in these two books alone. And, as it links the Gospel with the Apocalypse, so does it also connect the earliest days of Christ’s dispensation with the latest. It is heard first on the lips of the forerunner alone, when the ministry on earth is now to begin; it is echoed last by ten thousand times ten thousand voices of the redeemed, when the ministry in heaven has drawn to a close. Its earlier utterance is the prelude to a life of toil and sorrow and shame and cruel agony: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh on Him the sins of the world.’ Its later utterance is the final pæan of victory over death and hell, the triumphant hallelujah of glorified myriads swelled by the universal chorus of heaven and earth and sea, and prolonged into the echoes of eternity; ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.’ ‘Blessing and honour and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ In the Gospel, however, the name, twice repeated on one single occasion, is never heard again. In the Apocalypse it is reiterated not far short of thirty times. Every other title of dignity seems to be swallowed up in this. No attribution of strength, and no panegyric of victory, and no outpouring of thanksgiving, and no ascription of praise seems to be complete, unless the homage is offered to the Lamb, the Lamb that was slain. Some here will recall a famous work of early Flemish art, in which the brothers Van Eyck have attempted to represent the luxuriant imagery of this Apocalyptic vision. All the lines in the picture converge towards a common centre. All the groups are arranged with reference to this one point. Martyrs, virgins, priests, prophets, hermits, pilgrims, holy warriors, righteous judges, kneeling or standing, on foot or on horseback, at rest or in motion—all are gathered or gathering about one prominent figure. On it each eye is gazing, and towards it each footstep moves. These various groups of redeemed and glorified saints stud the outer parts of the picture. More central than these is an inner circle of winged angels, some bearing the instruments of the Passion, some swinging censers, but all with faces upturned towards this one point, all kneeling in adoration of this one figure. Highest of all and directly above it is One of stately mien and majestic visage, seated on a throne, His head crowned with a tiara, His hand raised in the attitude of benediction. It is the Eternal Father Himself, Whom with the unconscious irreverence of his age, which striving to communicate the incommunicable ended only in limiting the illimitable, the artist has represented in a human form. At His feet is a richly jewelled crown ready, it would seem, to descend and encircle the brow of the figure beneath. Immediately below, still hovering over this central figure, is a dove with outstretched wings, the symbol of the Spirit, darting forth rays of light and encircled in clouds of glory. Lowest of all, beneath the feet of the saintly groups and right under the central figure itself, was once a representation of the souls in agony. This part of the picture is now effaced; but we may well imagine that the motive was suggested by the words of the text; that the centre of attraction to the redeemed was a centre of repulsion to the lost; that with cowering limbs and averted eyes they shunned the glory of the Adorable One; that in their mien, in their every gesture and look, they seemed to say to the mountains, ‘Cover us,’ and to the hills, ‘Fall on us.’ And this one figure, which thus gathers into itself the glory of the whole picture; this centre, towards which all things gravitate by an irresistible force; this common object of adoration, to which heaven and earth alike yield homage—what is it? Surely here the painter will lavish all the treasures of his art, and tax all the resources of his brain, to produce some conception, which in elevation of ideal and splendour of colouring, in dignity and pathos and beauty and strength, shall be worthy of its position. But what do we find? We look to this central figure, and our feeling is one of blank disappointment. The object of adoration here is not the calm and stately form, so awful and yet so loving, with arms outstretched to bless and shewing the wounded palms, like the glorified Saviour of Angelico; nor the Crucified One, nailed still to the Cross, but transferred from earth to heaven, and held up in the arms of the Everlasting Father for awe-stricken myriads to adore, as this same subject is treated by Dürer, another great master. There is no power, no beauty, no elevation in the conception here. The artist has fallen into a naked, painful literalism. He seems determined that the adoration of the Lamb shall be the adoration of a lamb; and a lamb he has given us. There is an incongruity, a perversity, a paradox, a bathos, in this treatment which we can hardly explain and cannot forgive. Yet this literalism, this bathos of treatment, however faulty in itself, does emphasize a leading characteristic of the Apocalyptic vision. The artistic paradox of the painter answers to the moral paradox of the seer. S. John plainly dwells upon this title with affectionate fondness, just because it is incongruous. Nay, he seems bent on enhancing the incongruity by all the accessories which he can gather about it, welcoming every paradox of language and every inversion of metaphor which will give point to his lesson. Though a lamb, it is the shepherd of the flock, leading the sheep to springs of living water and followed by them, wheresoever it goes (7:17, 14:4). Though a slain lamb, it has power over the Book of Life (13:8). Though its blood is crimson, it has a cleansing, bleaching efficacy, washing white the robes of the redeemed (7:14). And altogether, this feeblest, most timid, most gentle, most helpless creature, is an emblem of strength, of power, of victory. Once indeed the Apocalyptic seer stumbles on an image more akin (we might have thought) to the ideas which he wishes to convey—‘Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.’ Here was a magnificent image, recommended alike by its prophetic prestige, by its historic relations, and by its intrinsic propriety. The monarch of the forest, springing on his prey, would suggest just those conceptions of sovereignty and vengeance and might, with which he would desire to invest the Person of the glorified Lord. Yet it is dropped at once and for ever; and the image of the Lamb replaces it, never again to be relinquished. The mode of transition too is remarkable. ‘One of the elders said unto me … Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah … And I beheld, and, lo … a Lamb as it had been slain.’ This novel contradiction lies at the root of the Gospel. The life of Christ was from first to last a paradox. His weakness was power; His shame was honour; His death was victory. The life of the Church is a paradox also. Among the most distinguished warriors have been the feeble and the foolish and the despised of the world. Again and again her strength has been made perfect in weakness; again and again the things, that are not, have been chosen to confound the things, that are. Thus the lamb, not the lion, is the true symbol of our faith. This is plainly the leading idea in the Apocalypse. Whatever of greatness and whatever of power the seer would ascribe to his risen Lord finds its reason, its justification, its fulfilment in this one title. Is it victorious might? ‘These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them.’ Is it divine illumination? ‘The glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.’ Is it adoration and worship? ‘Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’ Lastly; is it vengeance? ‘Hide us … from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of His wrath is come.’ Here is the climax of the paradox. It is not the wrath of the Lion, but the wrath of the Lamb, which is so terrible in the seer’s vision. In its innocence, in its meekness, in its tenderness, this gentlest of all creatures is endowed with a capacity of retribution, which is denied to the monarch of the forest with all his fierceness and all his might. The old riddle is inverted; and out of sweetness comes forth strength. How then must we read it? The punishment of the wicked was a theme of terrible fascination with the painters of an earlier age. They taxed all the fertility of a morbid fancy to paint the physical tortures of lost souls. What did they hope to gain by this hideous play of the imagination? Did they think to frighten the vulgar into well-doing? Nay; might not the very familiarity with such horrible conceptions stimulate those passions which they sought to check; just as the public execution of a criminal is said to be a fruitful source of fresh crime? Or did they imagine that they had Scriptural authority for these pictures, even as symbolic imagery? Nay; the strange thing is, that though their representations of heaven are largely taken from the Apocalypse, their representations of hell are the creations of their own brain. It is a remarkable, and it is surely a significant fact, that while the bliss of the redeemed is painted by the Apocalyptic seer with all the varied imagery which an inspired imagination can command, though the picture is repeated again and again with ever-increasing energy of delineation, yet there is no corresponding description of the lost. Once or twice the familiar symbol of the fiery lake is introduced; but it is briefly dismissed again. The Apostle would appeal to spiritual aspirations, rather than to physical terrors. Fear may deter; but fear cannot educate. Love only is the educator of the soul. Hence for the most part a thick veil is drawn over the fate of the lost, which later ages attempted rudely, but vainly, to pluck away. Here and there indeed a glimpse is accorded, only to suggest a wholly different order of ideas. ‘Every eye shall see Him, even they which pierced Him.’ ‘Hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb.’ It is not physical agony, if we read the interpretation aright; it is the beauty of holiness, it is the splendour of purity, it is the majesty of truth, it is the tenderness of love, which shall be the chief instrument of retribution. It is the blessing spurned, and the opportunity lost, which shall start up from the oblivion of the past, and confront us as God’s angel of vengeance. It is the glory and the goodness, in which we yearn to slake our burning thirst, and lo! the cup is dashed away from our lips. What was it that wrung from those foolish ones in the parable, the mournful hopeless cry, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us?’ Not certainly the howling of wild beasts, nor dread of robbers, nor deadly night-chill, nor menacing storm. As for all these, they had slept securely hitherto, and might sleep on again. It was the awakening and finding that the door was closed, and they were in the darkness without. There was the light streaming through the casement, and the shadow of the bridegroom thrown on the chamber wall—the light which they might not share, and the bridegroom whom they might not greet. Aye, there is in us all a divine appetency, which seeks the light, which yearns for the light. We may slumber on, till it is too late; but then we must awake, and the fierce craving awakes also, and will not be denied, and there is no longer wherewith to satisfy it. So our highest capacities become our fiercest tormentors. It was an impossible prayer, which the hero breathed of old, ‘Kill me, if it be only in the light.’ Light, perfect light, never can be death. Life and light are synonyms in the nomenclature of the Spirit. It is the light felt and yet withheld; it is the darkness rendered visible; the helpless consciousness of spectral forms, which we may realise and yet cannot put away, haunting the gloom, that perplexes and scares and paralyses the soul. And have we not, even in the experiences of the present, analogies, however faint, which may teach us how the most painful sight hereafter shall be the sight of Him Whom we pierced; and the wrath to come shall indeed be the wrath of the Lamb? Is it the memory of some base ingratitude, which lies heavy on the soul? A disdainful word has been spoken, a cruel insult has been offered in a moment of irritation to the ‘heart’s best brother,’ the friend of boyhood and youth; and they two have parted asunder, never to meet again on earth. Or was it an act of cold and defiant self-assertion, a display of heartless indifference, which was only half-meant, but which has wrung a mother’s heart? And he was too proud to ask pardon, though a single word would have healed the wound, and the sore is ever festering in him. And then death comes, and in a moment an impassable barrier is reared. What would he not give then, just to unsay that cruel word, or to undo that selfish act? What sacrifice would he not then undergo, if only for a moment the impenetrable veil could be raised, and they could meet face to face as of old, so that he might pour forth a few hurried sentences of sorrow and shame, and hear from those lips the one precious word of forgiveness? But the opportunity is gone for ever. He cannot retrieve the irretrievable. And so the bright vision of the past rises up in vengeance against him, with all its sweet memories, and all its joyful hopes. The wise counsels and the affectionate greetings and the tender solicitudes, the self-denying devotion which was lavished so freely upon him—all these haunt his path, and leave him no rest. Love itself is become his tormentor. Love itself is turned into wrath. Or again; it is not perhaps wronged affection, it is discarded innocence, which grasps the sword of the avenger, and wields it with both hands. We have read how some fallen one will revisit under cover of darkness the home of her happy childhood, and haunt the doors which are barred to her for ever, and peer stealthily through the windows that she may see the innocent faces gathered, as of old, round the fireside; or we have been taught how in the midst of splendour, after months or years of unrealised shame, some long forgotten strain of music, striking accidentally on the car—so sweet of old, so jarring and discordant now—startles all the ghosts of the past from their graves, and no power can lay them. The conscience rebels and refuses to be drugged any more. These, it may be, are fictions of the poet and the painter; but do they not commend themselves by their absolute truthfulness? This divine paradox of retribution is manifested again and again. Again and again we are bidden to look, for the avenging Lion is there: we lift up our eyes, and ‘lo, a Lamb as it had been slain.’ Yes; purity avenges itself. A man may get to think it a poor, tame, spiritless thing—one of those childish adornments, which he may cast lightly off, when he casts off the child. So he trifles with it; and in a moment of recklessness flings it away. Then comes the terrible revulsion, the sense of its priceless value, and of his own infinite loss. Then is the self-loathing and the remorse, the expulsion and the shame. He is driven forth from the garden, and the gate is barred behind him, and the flaming sword waving to and fro will not permit his return. He has tasted the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and it has cost him the tree of life. The great ideal of innocence, which he has defied, confronts him with its glory, and his eyes cannot bear the sight. All this, or nearly all this, is involved in the noble saying of the Stoic poet, who counts it the most righteous penalty which offended heaven can inflict on the hardened sinner, that he shall behold virtue, and, beholding it, pine away over the sight of his loss. All this, and far more than this, is gathered up in the prophetic vision of the Apocalypse, which is the Christian fulfilment of the Stoic’s dream; ‘Every eye shall see Him, even they which pierced Him.’ Far more than this; for it is possible now to put the vision aside. Experience does not teach us that in this world the intensity of the remorse is always proportionate to the gravity of the sin. A little more trifling, a little fresh indulgence; and the vision will pass away. The innocence had gone before; and now the ideal has vanished out of sight. The man has peace now, if a false security can be called peace. But what, if hereafter the veil should be suddenly plucked away? What, if the scales should fall again from his eyes? What, if the avenger should start on his feet once more, and exact the debt, swollen with the arrears of a long oblivion? Far more than this; for the heathen poet could only contemplate virtue as a bare abstraction, beautiful indeed in itself, but hardly touching the surface of the heart. Our ideal is a Person—a Person, Who sums up in Himself all things in heaven and earth, all the magnificent teachings of science and all the inspiring lessons of history; but a Person also, Who has entered into human relations with us, Whom we have been permitted to know with our human knowledge, and to love with our human love. This it is, which must invest the sight of Him hereafter with such unspeakable awe to those who have pierced Him. For here—in this one Being—is embodied all the innocence which we have profaned, and all the truth which we have foresworn, and all the glory which we have despised. Here—in this one Man—are concentrated every blessing spurned and every opportunity lost. But above all these, crowning all and glorifying all and solemnising all, is the ideal of absolute love; the love which made its home on earth and lived a human life; the love which died for us on the Cross; the love which we might have made our own, but which we despised and flung away as a broken vessel. This—can we doubt it—is the wrath of the Lamb. Not that He is changed, but that we are changed. He is the Lamb still. His truth, His righteousness, His purity, His love are eternal. But our perversity has transformed them into avenging angels. And so is fulfilled the saying which was written, ‘With the holy thou shalt be holy … and with the froward thou shalt learn frowardness.’ One sad reproachful look wrung from an Apostle bitter tears of remorseful shame. And how shall we bear that same look intensified a thousandfold and resting upon us—we who have denied Him, we who have pierced Him, we who have crucified Him afresh? And forgive me, if I delay you a little longer, that I may make some more direct application of the lesson. I would wish more especially to speak of those privileges, which are offered to the majority of you now, and which, if neglected now, must revive and reappear in the avenging vision of the great hereafter. And here I might dwell on the magnificent opportunities of youth, on the glory of consecrating the freshness and the enthusiasm and the impressibility of early manhood to the highest of all sciences. But I abstain, simply because I know that, speaking on such a theme, I should speak to deaf ears. Any language, which I should think of using, would seem exaggerated to you young men now. A time will come, when no words will appear too extravagant for the theme; but this time is yet distant. No young man realises the glorious potentiality of youth, till youth has passed away. Therefore I will turn to other topics, which have a better chance of a hearing. And I would ask your attention chiefly to two privileges, which you enjoy here, and which you are not likely to enjoy so fully hereafter. 1. The first is the opportunity of daily prayer—more especially of daily morning prayer—in your College Chapels. Only think what a powerful instrument of self-discipline (to say nothing else) you neglect, in neglecting this! Only think what a sovereign preservative is here against sloth and all the countless vices which throng in its train! Only reflect on the glorious gain in thus dedicating publicly and solemnly the first-fruits of each day to God—what a tone of moral strength and what a well-spring of spiritual life is here! How then do you shew your appreciation of it? Will the history be this? In your first term you begin your attendance; and for a time you attend with fair regularity. But the effort is slightly irksome to you. You do not reflect that this very fact is highest testimony to its disciplinary value. So you allow yourself a little indulgence, and again a little more; till what was the rule is now the exception, and its efficacy as a moral discipline has almost gone. And meanwhile its spiritual power too is weakened. You find that you can do very well without it; you do not seem to yourself to care very much for it. At first there was a certain sense of dissatisfaction at each fresh relaxation of the rule. But this soon wears off; and it gives you no trouble now. Have you weaned yourself from a superfluous want? Or is it not that you have stunted a divine faculty by disuse? 2. The second privilege, to which I would refer, is the opportunity of uninterrupted solitude. You have never had this opportunity in the same degree before; it is not very likely that you will continue to have it, when your residence here ceases. Your time is now almost absolutely at your own disposal. You have ample leisure to retire into yourself, to interrogate yourself, to learn of yourself. And be assured your most valuable lessons must be learnt here. I feel no temptation to depreciate the blessings of friendship. The friendships formed and cemented here are a chief glory of this place. I should do ill to undervalue the instruction derived from books. Certainly experience does not suggest the need of the warning, which Columba is said to have addressed to a pupil of old, ‘My son, many out of undue love of knowledge have made shipwreck of their souls.’ It may be the temptation of a few; it is not the peril of the many. But, believe it, you can learn from yourselves lessons, more profound, more comprehensive, more abiding than any books or any friendships can teach you. Believe it—for it is truly said—each one of you is greater than he knows. This is even more true of the least gifted undergraduate in these galleries, than of the most gifted. He is far, very far, greater than he knows. Only go down deep enough into yourself, and you will find a Teacher, Whose lessons no printed page and no wise companionship can replace—for you have found there God Himself, God speaking through your individuality, God evoking your special gift, God ordering your special task. These blessings, and such as these, I ask you to remember to-day. I did not select the text that I might enlarge on the terrors of the unseen world. I have no faith in such a mode of teaching. But I have wished to anticipate the vision of the future, that so we may more fully realise the lesson of the present; that the glory of our divine human Ideal—His holiness, His purity, His righteousness, His mercy, His love—may attract and rivet our gaze; that so beholding and worshipping and growing into the same image, we may be ready to follow Him, whithersoever He goeth, grudging no sacrifice and sparing no toil. ‘And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! ‘And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.’ Lightfoot, J. B. (1890). Cambridge Sermons. London; New York: MacMillan and Co. (Public Domain) Romans 3:26 - The Wonder of the Gospel Romans 3:21-26 Must guilty man remain under wrath? Is the wound for ever incurable? No; blessed be God, there is another way laid open for us. This is the righteousness of God; righteousness of his ordaining, and providing, and accepting. It is by that faith which has Jesus Christ for its object; an anointed Savior, so Jesus Christ signifies. Justifying faith respects Christ as a Savior, in all his three anointed offices, as Prophet, Priest, and King; trusting in him, accepting him, and cleaving to him: in all these, Jews and Gentiles are alike welcome to God through Christ. There is no difference, his righteousness is upon all that believe; not only offered to them, but put upon them as a crown, as a robe. It is free grace, mere mercy; there is nothing in us to deserve such favors. It comes freely unto us, but Christ bought it, and paid the price. And faith has special regard to the blood of Christ, as that which made the atonement. God, in all this, declares his righteousness. It is plain that he hates sin, when nothing less than the blood of Christ would satisfy for it. And it would not agree with his justice to demand the debt, when the Surety has paid it, and he has accepted that payment in full satisfaction. Matthew Henry Concise Commentary Romans 3:26 For a demonstration of his righteousness - Both of his justice and mercy. That he might be just - Showing his justice on his own Son. And yet the merciful justifier of every one that believeth in Jesus. That he might be just - Might evidence himself to be strictly and inviolably righteous in the administration of his government, even while he is the merciful justifier of the sinner that believeth in Jesus. The attribute of justice must be preserved inviolate; and inviolate it is preserved, if there was a real infliction of punishment on our Savior. On this plan all the attributes harmonize; every attribute is glorified, and not one superseded no, nor so much as clouded. John Wesley "for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (NASB) "To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (KJV) "for He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just, and He declares sinners to be right in His sight when they believe in Jesus." (NLT) "This was also to demonstrate his righteousness in the present time, so that he would be just and the justifier of the one who lives because of Jesus' faithfulness." (NET) It is a hard thing for me to understand even after all these years how Christ could look from eternity past to beyond the cross and make a way for lost sinners like me. This is a good place to reflect upon our own lives and to take ownership for our inner emotions! Is this the way we look at our neighbors and even the people we love? Or do you find, like I do, that sometimes and even oftentimes that I fall way short of this attitude that was in Christ Jesus (Philippians Chapter 2). This is not something that the human heart can conjure up via intestinal fortitude or sheer power of the will. All we can do is confess our sin (the absence of His Grace) in this area of our life. Why has Christ bestowed such favor upon fallen man? For "no reason" (the same way Christ was persecuted). Because of Christ we are justified! It is the same each day of our life! In now way can we repay by our actions, "not as a result of works." We cannot take credit for His Grace in any way! (Ephesians 2:8-9) This should give way to thankfulness that grows each day as we begin to see the length and breadth of this amazing pardon. Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time - To manifest now, by the dispensation of the Gospel, his righteousness, his infinite mercy; and to manifest it in such a way, that he might still appear to be the just God, and yet the justifier, the pardoner, of him who believeth in Jesus. Here we learn that God designed to give the most evident displays both of his justice and mercy. Of his justice, in requiring a sacrifice, and absolutely refusing to give salvation to a lost world in any other way; and of his mercy, in providing The sacrifice which his justice required. Thus, because Jesus was an atonement, a ransom price, for the sin of the world, therefore God can, consistently with his justice, pardon every soul that believeth in Jesus. This is the full discovery of God’s righteousness, of his wonderful method of magnifying his law and making it honorable; of showing the infinite purity of his justice, and of saving a lost world. (Dr. Adam Clarke) Romans 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time, his righteousness,.... This end is further explained, it being to declare the righteousness of God "at this time", under the Gospel dispensation; in which there was such a display of the grace, mercy, and goodness of God: that he might be just; that is, appear to be so: God is naturally and essentially just in himself; and he is evidentially so in all his works, particularly in redemption by Christ; and when and while he is the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus: Jesus, the Savour, is the object of faith, as he is the Lord our righteousness; the believer in Jesus is a real, and not a nominal one; God is the justifier of such in a declarative way, and God only, though not to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit; and which sentence of justification is pronounced by him on the foot of a perfect righteousness, which neither law nor justice can find fault with, but entirely approve of; and so he appears just and righteous, even though he justifies the sinner and the ungodly. (Dr. John Gill) Romans 3:26 To declare ... at this time — now for the first time, under the Gospel. his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus — Glorious paradox! “Just in punishing,” and “merciful in pardoning,” men can understand; but “just in justifying the guilty,” startles them. But the propitiation through faith in Christ’s blood resolves the paradox and harmonizes the discordant elements. For in that “God hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” justice has full satisfaction; and in that “we are made the righteousness of God in Him,” mercy has her heart’s delight! Note, (1). One way of a sinner’s justification is taught in the Old Testament and in the New alike: only more dimly during the twilight of Revelation; in unclouded light under “its perfect day” (Romans 3:21). (2). As there is no difference in the need, so is there none in the liberty to appropriate the provided salvation. The best need to be saved by faith in Jesus Christ; and the worst only need that. On this common ground all saved sinners meet here, and will stand for ever (Romans 3:22-24). (3). It is on the atoning blood of Christ, as the one propitiatory sacrifice which God hath set forth to the eye of the guilty, that the faith of the convinced and trembling sinner fastens for deliverance from wrath. Though he knows that he is “justified freely, by God’s grace,” it is only because it is “through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” that he is able to find peace and rest even in this (Romans 3:25). (4). The strictly accurate view of believers under the Old Testament is not that of a company of pardoned men, but of men whose sins, put up with and passed by in the meantime, awaited a future expiation in the fullness of time (Romans 3:25, Romans 3:26; see on Luke 9:31; see on Hebrews 9:15; see on Hebrews 11:39, Hebrews 11:40). (A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown) Romans 5:09 - Liberty Grounded in Hope Rom 5:9 Much more then being now justified by his blood,.... The apostle here argues from justification by Christ to salvation by him, there being a certain and inseparable connection between these two; whoever is justified shall be saved; and speaks of justification "as being now by his blood". Justification in God's mind from eternity proceeded upon the suretyship engagements of Christ to be performed in time; the Old Testament saints were justified of God with a view to the blood of the Lamb which was to be shed; this blood was "now" shed, and an application of justification by it was "now" made to the persons spoken of; which is the reason of this way of speaking. The blood of Christ intends his death, as appears from the context, and shows it to be a violent death; death by the effusion of blood. There is an emphasis upon it, "his blood"; not the blood of bulls and goats, nor of a mere innocent creature, but of Christ the Son of God; which is therefore efficacious to all the purposes for which it was shed, and particularly justification. This being ascribed to it, shows the concern Christ had in it, his blood is here put for the whole matter of justification; the shedding of that being the finishing part of it; and that our justification before God proceeds upon the foot of a satisfaction made to the law and justice of God: hence such as are interested in it, (Dr. John Gill) shall be saved from wrath through him: not from wrath, as a corruption in their own hearts, which oftentimes breaks forth; nor as appearing among the people of God one towards another, which is sometimes very bitter; or as in their avowed enemies, the effects of which they often feel; nor from the wrath of devils, which is as the roaring of a lion; but from the wrath of God, from a sense and apprehension of it in their own consciences, which the law works; from which justification by the blood of Christ frees them; though under first awakenings they feel it, and sometimes, under afflictive dispensations of Providence, are ready to fear it: and also from the infliction of vindictive wrath or punishment for sin; for though they are as deserving of it as others, yet as they are not appointed to it, so they are entirely delivered from it, through Christ's sustaining it in their room and stead: wherefore they are secure from it both in this life, and in the world to come. (Dr. John Gill) Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. (NASB) Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (KJV) And since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ, He will certainly save us from God's condemnation. (NLT) Much more then, because we have now been declared righteous by his blood, we will be saved through him from God's wrath. (NET) The most amazing of words! How often these days do I hear them explained away by well meaning but deceived religious zealots. WE HAVE BEEN MADE RIGHT! It was not by accident, but by the deliberate action of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords upon the Calvary Cross where His blood was shed to make it so. And this precious flood does now deliver me from the wrath that my sin deserves. To whom is this wonderful gift available? "...everyone who believes…" Romans 1:16 This is liberty. Liberty is a great word that comes from the French word Liberte which in essence means to be delivered from oppression. Why is it that we are so quick to add a whole host of things on to this deliverance based upon our cultural biases that serves only to cumber down a new believer with a load they cannot carry. They have received the "power of God at work." Yet the zealot requires something extra. Salvation can only come in their mind if there is the requisite check in the block of the recipe they have concocted. Perhaps it requires baptism in a certain method in a church building with a specific name over the door. This is deliverance into bondage. The whole crux of the reformation begun by Luther was by faith alone, in Christ alone. Liberty assured! It is much more reasonable to expect it. There are fewer obstacles in the way. If, when we were enemies, he overcame all that was in the way of our salvation; much more have we reason to expect that he will afford us protection now that we are his friends. This is one ground of the hope expressed in Romans 5:5. (Dr. Albert Barnes) Comments are closed.