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him sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;' because by sin, in this place, may perhaps he understood a sinoffering. Or it may correspond to Romans viii. 3. " What the law could not do, in that it was weak, through the flesh, God sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin” (on account of sin, or on the business of sin, i. e, to destroy and take it away) “ condemned sin in the flesh.” In this case, the sense of the passage will be, that Christ was made, not sin, but in the likeness of sinful flesh, that is, he was made a man for our sakes.
Many persons are carried away by the sound of the word redemption, as if it necessarily implied that, man. kind being in a state of bondage, a price must be paid for their freedom, and that the death of Christ was that price. But the word which we render redemption siynifies only deliverance in general, in whatever manner it be effected, and it is frequently so rendered by our translators. Belonging to this class of texts are the following, Matt. XX. 28. Mark X. 45. “The son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." i Tim. i. 8. " Who gave himself a ransom for all.”
In order to judge of the meaning of this expression, let the preceding passages be compared with the folJowing, in which the same Greek word is used : Luke xxiv. 21. “We trusted that it had been he who should have delivered (or, as it might have been translated, redeemed) Israel.” In this case, the disciples certainly
meant ineant a deliverance, or redemption, from a state of subjection to the Romans, which they could not suppose was to be effected by purchase, but by the exertion of wisdom and power. Luke i. 68. “ He has visited and redeemed his people;" which is explained in ver. 71. by “ a deliverance from our enemies, and from the hands of all that hate us." In Acts vii. 35. Stephen styles Moses a ruler and deliverer, or redeemer, but what price did he pay for their redemption? In the Old Testament also God is frequently said to have redeemed Israel from the hand of the Egyptians; but he certainly did not redeem them by paying any price for their redemption, and much less by becoming a bondman in their place : but, as it is often expressed, he redeemed, or delivered them, with an high hand and an out-stretched arm. So also may Christ be said to redeem, or deliver from sin, viz. by his precepts, by his example, and by the precious promises of his gospel; by the consideration of which we are induced to forsake sin.
Stress has been laid upon the word for in the abovementioned passages, as if Christ dying a ransom for all necessarily implied that he died in the stead, or in the place, of all; but the same word has other significations, as because of, and so it is rendered Luke i. 20. “Because thou hast not believed my word.” Heb. xii. 2. “Who for (or because of) the joy that was set before him.” It also signifies on the behalf, or on the account of, as Matt. xvii. 27. “That take, and give them for thee and me," that is, on the account of, not
d, and behalf
instead of, me and thee. So Christ died, and gave his Jife a ransom, not instead of many, but on the behalf of many, or for their benefit.
Much stress has also been laid on Christ being said to bear the sins of mankind; as if they had been ascribed or imputed to him, and he had taken them upon himself, and suffered the wrath of God for them. Is. liii. 11. “He shall bear their iniquities.” i Pet. ii. 24. “ Who his own self bare our sins in his own body, on the tree.” Heb. ix. 28. “ So Christ once suffered, to bear the sins of many."
These, I think, are all the places in which this parricular view of the death of Christ occurs. But, beside the manifest injustice, and indeed absurdity, of an innocent person being punished for one that is guilty, the word does not signify to bear or take upon another, but to bear away, or to remove, by whatever means; so that the texts above mentioned correspond to 1 John iji. 5, 6. “ And ye kuow that he was manifest to take away sin, and in him was no sin.”
The phrase bearing. sin is never applied in the Old Testament but to the scape-goat, which was not sacrificed, but turned loose into the wilderness, to signify the removal of the sins of the people, which God had freely forgiven, to a place where they should never more be heard of. The goat itself, which was emblematically said to bear their sins, suffered nothing in consequence of it; but, as its name imports, was suffered to escape, or was let loose. Perhaps the sending away of the scape-goat was intended for a monitory
sign sign to the people, that they should cease to commit those sins which had been so solemnly confessed over him, and which he was said to “ bear away into a land of separation." See Levit. xvi. 22. in the margin.
The evangelist Matthew had, most evidently, this idea of the meaning of the passage in Isaiah, when he applied it upon the occasion of Christ's healing the bodily diseases of men, viii. 17. For he says that he performed these cures, so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet Isaiah, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” Now how did Christ bear the bodily diseases which he cured? Not, surely, by taking them upon himself, and becoming diseased, as the poor wretches themselves had been; but by removing them by bis miraculous power. In like manner, Christ bears or takes away sin in general; not by suffering himself to be treated as a sinner, but removing it by the doctrines and motives of his gospel. . Agreeably to this, when Peter had said, “ Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” he explains his meaning in the words next following ; “ that we, being dead to sin, mighi live unto righteousness.”
Christ is said to die a curse for us, in Gal. iii. 10. 6 Christ bas redeemed us froin the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; as it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Now it is proper enough to say, that Christ died a curse; because the manner of his death was similar to that by which those who were deemed cursed under the law were put to deaih. But if by accursed we mean lying under the
displeasure displeasure of God, this was so far from being the case with respect to Christ and his death, that in this very circums!ance he was the object of the divine approbation and complacency in the highest degree ; as he himself says, “ For this reason does my Father love me, because I lay down my life :' and it is a general observation in the scriptures, that “ precious in the sight of God is the death of his saints.”
Christ is called a passover, in 1 Cor. V. 7. “ Christ our passover is sacrificed for us :" and this view is also alluded to when it is said, “ a bone of him shall not be broken.” The reason of this view of the death of Christ was sufficiently intimated before.
As a proof that Christ took our sius upon him, and that we, on the other hand, are justified by the imputation of his righteousness to us, some allege, Jer. xxiii. 56. “ And this is the name whereby he shall be called, The LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” But, according to the method of interpreting scripture names, explained above, all that we can infer from this text is, that God will be our Righteousness, or receive us into his grace and favour by means of Christ, or by the gospel of Christ. That we must understand this text in some such sense as this, is evident from the same name being afterwards applied to Jerusalem, Jer. xxxiii. 16. “ This is the name wherewith she shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS:” for certainly it cannot be thought that the merits of Jerusalem are imputed to mankind.
Many divines, finding themselves obliged to give up the notion of Christ's suffering in our stead, and