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To bear sin, or iniquity was used to denote punishment under the law. Exod. xxviii. 43. "Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin." Lev. xxiv.
"That holy thing."
Ir also merits our attention to enquire what is to be understood by sin as imputed to Christ, and which he is said to bear. Some maintain, that sin itself was imputed; others, guilt only; and some have strenuously held the imputation of the pollution of it. SIN, in Scripture signifies---the depravity of the heart--the act of sin---guilt, or legal exposure to punishment -punishment---a sacrifice, or sin-offering. Having fixed the meaning of imputation, I shall now enquire to which of these views of sin it will apply. --Innate depravity is the want of the divine image, and the evil propensity of the heart in opposition to God. As all men have this, it is imputed to them; God accounts them, what they are, depraved. could not be imputed to Christ for, "In him was no sin." 1 John iii. 5. Luke i. 35. When this propensity of the heart acts formally in opposition to the law, an act of sin is committed, and guilt contracted, which has a relative quality that can be imputed. This depravity of heart is the pollution, stain, or filth of sin, and cannot be imputed to Christ unless it were inherent in him. The depravity of the soul, negatively and abstractly taken, is not an act, therefore not a transgression of the law, so has no demerit in it and does not expose to punishment. Scripture universally represents that which exposes to punishment as a formal act of transgression. When the soul, from its depravity acts, it disobeys, contracts guilt, and merits punishment.—An act of sin can be committed only by creatures; it is therefore imputable. God accounts them trasgressors; he cannot hold them innocent Christ knew no sin, committed no act of sin, it could not then be imputed. Nor can the sinner's act of sin be imputed to him. It could not become his. In no sense can the the act of one person be accounted the act of another person. God cannot account or hold Christ to have committed the act of sin that Adam committed, nor the act of any sinner. In every act of sin there are two things inseparable from it, or rather essential to it. The one is the malignity of it, or its opposition to the nature and will of God. This is what properly constitutes sin, and respects God only. The other is its demerit, or its desert of punishment. This arises from its intrinsic opposition to God. From his nature and character, it is morally fit and proper he should punish sin. It is an attack on his authority, his felicity, his existence; and so deserves to be punished. This cannot be separated from any act of sin, even the sin of believers; for though they are not punished, their sin deserves it. As demerit is inseparable from the act of sin, so it cannot exist where the act of sin is not committed; hence, it could not be imputed to Christ, because the act of sin could not be imputed. As God could not account Christ to have sinned, in any sense, so, he could not account him to have merited punishment. It may
15. It was foretold by the prophet that "Jesus was to bear the sins of many." Isaiah liii. 12. God himself declares this to be the ground of sinners' justification. ver. 11. Peter affirms the same truth; "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live to righteousness.' 1 Pet. ii. 24. Our deliverance from sins here, evidently proceeds from his bearing them. But if his bearing our sins was only in appearance, not real, so must our deliverance from sin; or, which is the same thing, our being dead to it.
SOCINIANS hold "that the sufferings of Christ on earth, were only the necessary means of preparing him for the great office of expiating or making atonement for the sins of men, which he could not completely execute until he ascended into heaven, and sat on the
be proper here to observe, that where imputation relates to sin, there is always presupposed the taking away, what is imputed, from one person, and transfer. ring it to another, so as to have it destroyed. Now if depravity were imputed it would at once be taken away from the sinner and completely destroyed by pardon; but it is not. The acts, malignity, and demerit, of sin, were not transferred from sinners to Christ, nor can satisfaction for sin destroy either of them. No act of sin is prevented by satisfaction, and every act has its malignity and demerit, which are never affected by satisfaction. There is a third thing belonging to a sinful act, viz. legal obligation to punishment. This is grounded on the demerit of sin, as demerit is grounded on its malignity. This obligation to punishment is the judicial deed of God expressed in the sanction of the law. This binds the sinner over to punishment, as the sentence of a judge binds a criminal to be executed. This can be imputed and destroy. ed. This, and nothing else was imputed to Christ. It is separable from sin; for though the saints sin daily, they are under no obligation to punishment. Christ came under this bond, "was made under the law--under the curse." Gal. iv. 4. and iii. 13. It was only the punishment of sin Christ had to do with, and to bear; and nothing more was necessary than to be brought under the legal obligation which bound sinners. This is evident from pardon, which is the cancelling of the obligation, or condemning sentence, and freeing the sinner from punishment, because Christ was punished for them, or in their stead. To be made sin, and to bear sin, is to be punished for it.
right hand of God:" And, that his offering himself lay in appearing before God there. Nothing can be
more opposite, than this, to the whole tenor of Scripture, and the nature of Christ's sufferings. Paul says, "He appeared to put away sin;" but he appeared in our world. He adds, "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;" and Peter tells us when he did so, "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree." His offering himself and bearing our sins were then at the same time. His atonement made way for his exaltation. "When he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand," &c. Heb. i. 3. Purging sin can neither mean pardon nor sanctification, as Christ is never said to pardon or sanctify us by himself. Besides this purging of sins was completed at once and prior to his ascension. When pardon or sanctification are intended, we are said to be purged, or cleansed from our sins. Here it is sin
that is purged, which can admit of no other meaning but expiation. The words would have been better rendered, "Having made atonement for our sins." It ought to be observed, that when any mediatory act of Christ relates immediately to sins, not to sinners, that act always respects God, not the sinner, and intends such a removal of sin as procures pardon. This he did on earth, in shedding his blood, as the price of redemption for his people. By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Heb. ix. 12.
5. THE sufferings of Christ must have been substitutionary, because they were in their nature, a proper purchase and redemption of sinners.
To buy or purchase, and to redeem, are sometimes used in a loose and improper sense. The embracing
of the free offer of salvation in the gospel is denominated, "buying:" but to show that it is not in the proper sense, it is added, "without money and without price.' are called to redeem the time," or to make the best improvement of every season and opportunity which we enjoy. It sometimes signifies to deliver from a state of captivity by power, as Israel from Egypt; or from any danger or calamity, as David often experienced, as recorded in the book of Psalms. "Arise, O Lord, for our help and redeem us." Psalm xliv. 26. To purchase, in a proper sense, is to procure a right to any thing by paying an equivalent for it. The price paid is considered by the proprietor as equal in value to the article sold, and accepted by him in its place. To redeem is applicable only to persons, and signifies to relieve from a forfeiture, prison, or captivity, by paying a price. The price is sustained as the procuring cause of the person's delivery, and is substituted and accepted, as an equivalent, in his stead.
IN allusion to the proper use of these expressions. among men, the sufferings, death, and blood of Christ, are represented as the price paid by him for the redemption of sinners. "The Son of man came-to give his life a ransom for many." Mat. xx. 28. To the same purpose are the words of the Apostle, Tim. ii. 5. "Who gave himself a ransom for all." Titus ii. 14. "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity." The words rendered "ransom" are never used to express any thing but a price paid for redeeming captives, loosing them from their bonds, and setting them at liberty. In 1 Tim. ii. 6. the word is a compound, properly denoting a correspondent ransom, where the exchange is in things of the same kind. It properly denotes a price paid to redeem cap
tives from the enemy, and that kind of change in which the life of one is redeemed by the life of another. Even some heathens practised human sacrifices on this very principle," that the anger of the immortal gods could be no otherwise appeased than by paying the life of one man for the life of another." The life of sinners was forfeited. To take off this, Christ put his life under forfeiture, and died. "To give his life," and, " to give himself" are terms of the same signification. Had redemption, in general, been asserted in these texts, without specifying any price, there might have been some shadow of reason to take the words in a loose and improper sense; but as the price is particularly specified, the proper sense alone must be adhered to. "Ye are bought with a price." 1 Cor. vi. 20. This price is the blood of Christ, i. e. his sufferings and death. "Ye were redeemed, not with such corruptible things as silver and gold-but with the precious blood of Christ." 1 Pet. i. 18, Silver and gold are a proper price, and sustained as equal in value to the thing sold, so the blood of Christ, by the comparison, is as properly the price, by which sinners are purchased.
ALTHOUGH, in these texts, no party is mentioned, to whom the price of redemption is paid, it is certain it must be to God. Our redemption from Satan, the law, its curse, and from our vain conversation, does not infer that a price was paid to them, as the adversaries of this doctrine ludicrously object and cavil. If the punishment of our sin is viewed as a debt, it is paid into the hand of God, to whom it is due; in order to obtain our discharge from it, and our liberation from confinement, on account of it. When viewed as punishment, God sustains the character of a judge, and the death of Christ is legal satisfaction made to him for the offence comit