“The punishment of our iniquity is accomplished” by Charles Spurgeon

“The punishment of our iniquity is accomplished. Remember that sin must be punished. Any theology which offers the pardon of sin without a punishment, ignores the major part of the character of God.

God is love, but God is also just—as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed.

Justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy. Sin must be punished. This is the voice which thunders from the midst of the smoke and the fire of Sinai:

‘The soul that sinneth it shall die;’ ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.’

‘Sin must be punished’ is written on the base of the eternal throne in letters of fire. And, as the damned in hell behold it, their hopes are burned to ashes.

Sin must be punished, or God must cease to be. The testimony of the Gospel is not that the punishment has been mitigated or foregone, or that justice has had a sop given it to close its mouth.

The consolation is far more sure and effectual. Say ye unto the daughter of Zion that ‘the punishment of her iniquity is accomplished.’ Christ hath for His people borne all the punishment which they deserved.

And now every soul for whom Christ died may read with exultation—’The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished.’ God is satisfied, and asks no more.

Sin deserved God’s wrath; that wrath has spent itself on Christ. The black and gathering clouds had all been summoned to the tempest, and manhood stood beneath the dark canopy waiting till the clouds of vengeance should empty out their floods.

‘Stand thou aside!’ said Jesus—’Stand thou aside, My spouse, My Church, and I will suffer in thy stead.’

Down dashed the drops of fire; the burning sleet swept terribly over His head, and beat upon His poor defenceless person, until the clouds had emptied out their awful burden, and not a drop was left.

Beloved, it was not that the cloud swept by the wind into another region where it tarries until it be again called forth, but it was annihilated, it spent itself entirely upon Christ. There is no more punishment for the believer, since Christ hath died for him.

In His dying, our Lord has satisfied the divine vengeance even to the full. Then this, too, must satisfy our conscience.

The enlightened conscience of a man is almost as inexorable as the justice of God, for an awakened conscience, if you give it a false hope, will not rest upon it, but crieth out for something more.

Like the horse-leech it saith—’Give, give, give.’ Until you can offer to God a full satisfaction, you cannot give the conscience a quietus.

But now, O daughter of Zion, let thy conscience be at rest. Justice is satisfied; the law is not despised: it is honoured; it is established.

God can now be just, severely so, and yet, seeing that thy punishment is accomplished, thou mayest come with boldness unto Him, for no guilt doth lie on thee.

Thou art accepted in the Beloved; thy guilt was laid on Him of old, and thou art now safe.

‘In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee;
With His spotless vesture on,
Holy as the Holy One.’

Come thou boldly unto God, and rejoice thou in Him. Lest, however, while God is reconciled and conscience is quieted, our fears should even for an instant arise, let us repair to Gethsemane and Calvary, and see there this great sight, how the punishment of our iniquity is accomplished.

There is the God of heaven and of earth wrapped in human form. In the midst of those olives yonder I see Him in an agony of prayer. He sweats, not as one who labours for the bread of earth, but as one who toils for heaven.

He sweats ‘as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ It is not the sweat of His brow only, but ‘All His head, His hair, His garments, bloody be.’

God is smiting Him, and laying upon Him the punishment of our iniquities. He rises, with His heart exceeding sorrowful even unto death. They hurry Him to Pilate’s judgment-seat.

The God of heaven and earth stands in human form to be blasphemed, and falsely accused before the tribunal of His recreant creature. He is taken by the soldiery to Gabbatha.

They strip Him, they scourge Him; clots of gore are on the whip as it is lifted from His back. They buffet Him, and bruise Him with their blows; as if His robe of blood were not enough, they throw about His shoulders an old cloak, and make Him a mimic king.

Little knew they that He was the King of kings. He gives His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that pluck off the hair; He hides not His face from shame and spitting.

Oh! what shall be said of Thee, thou Son of man? In what words shall we describe Thy grief? All ye that pass by behold and see if there was ever any sorrow like unto His sorrow that was done unto Him!

Oh God, thou hast broken Him with a rod of iron; all Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over Him. He looks, and there is none to help; He turns His eye around, and there is none to comfort Him. But see, through the streets of Jerusalem He is hastened to His death.

They nail Him to the transverse wood; they dash it into the ground; they dislocate His bones; He is poured out like water; all His bones are out of joint; He is brought into the dust of death; agonies are piled on agonies.

So now that man may reach to heaven, misery is piled on misery, what if I say hell on hell! But Jesus bears the dreadful load.

At last He reaches the climax of anguish, grief could go no higher. ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!’ was the sum total of all human misery.

The gathering up of all the wrath of God, and all the sorrow of man into one sentence. And thus He dies! Say ye unto the daughter of Zion that her punishment is accomplished.

‘It is finished!’ Let the angels sing it; hymn it in the plains of glory; tell it here on earth, and once again say ye unto the daughter of Zion that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins!

This, then, is the joyous note we have to sound this morning.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “A Message From God for Thee” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 8 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1862), 638–640. This is from a sermon on Lamentations 4:22, preached on November 16, 1862, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

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“Even our mercies have thorns” by Charles Spurgeon

“The Lord trieth the righteous.”—Psalm 11:5

“All events are under the control of Providence; consequently all the trials of our outward life are traceable at once to the great First Cause. Out of the golden gate of God’s ordinance the armies of trial march forth in array, clad in their iron armour, and armed with weapons of war.

All providences are doors to trial. Even our mercies, like roses, have their thorns. Men may be drowned in seas of prosperity as well as in rivers of affliction. Our mountains are not too high, and our valleys are not too low for temptations: trials lurk on all roads.

Everywhere, above and beneath, we are beset and surrounded with dangers. Yet no shower falls unpermitted from the threatening cloud; every drop has its order ere it hastens to the earth.

The trials which come from God are sent to prove and strengthen our graces, and so at once to illustrate the power of divine grace, to test the genuineness of our virtues, and to add to their energy.

Our Lord in His infinite wisdom and superabundant love, sets so high a value upon His people’s faith that He will not screen them from those trials by which faith is strengthened. You would never have possessed the precious faith which now supports you if the trial of your faith had not been like unto fire.

You are a tree that never would have rooted so well if the wind had not rocked you to and fro, and made you take firm hold upon the precious truths of the covenant grace. Worldly ease is a great foe to faith; it loosens the joints of holy valour, and snaps the sinews of sacred courage.

The balloon never rises until the cords are cut; affliction doth this sharp service for believing souls. While the wheat sleeps comfortably in the husk it is useless to man, it must be threshed out of its resting place before its value can be known.

Thus it is well that Jehovah trieth the righteous, for it causeth them to grow rich towards God.”

–Charles Spurgeon, “September 3 — Evening” in Morning and Evening (Geanies House, Fearn, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus, 1994),  519.

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“Look to Jesus” by Jonathan Edwards

“In all your way let your eye be to Jesus who is gone to heaven as your Forerunner.

Look to Him; behold His glory there in heaven to stir you up the more earnestly to be there.

Look to Him, and observe His example. Consider how by patient continuance in well-doing, and in patient enduring of great sufferings, He went before to heaven.

Look to Him, and trust in His mediation, in His blood, with which He has entered into the holiest of all, as the price of heaven.

Trust to His intercession in heaven before God.

Trust to His strength by His Spirit sent from heaven to enable you to press on and surmount the difficulties which are in the way to heaven.

Trust in His promises of heaven to those who love and follow Him, whom He has confirmed by entering into heaven Himself as your Head and Representative and Forerunner.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 395.

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“Heaven is a world of love” by Jonathan Edwards

“The God of love dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace, or presence-chamber, of the Supreme Being who is both the cause and source of all holy love.

God, indeed, with respect to His essence is everywhere. He fills heaven and earth. But yet He is said on some accounts more especially to be in some places rather than others.

He was said of old to dwell in the land of Israel above all other lands, and in Jerusalem above all other cities in that land, and in the temple above all other houses in that city, and in the holy of holies above all other apartments in that temple, and on the mercy seat over the ark above all other places in the holy of holies.

But heaven is His dwelling place above all other places in the universe.

Those places in which He was said to dwell of old were all but types of this. Heaven is a part of the creation which God has built for this end, to be the place of His glorious presence.

And it is His abode forever. Here He will dwell and gloriously manifest Himself to eternity.

And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light.

And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven fills heaven with love, as the sun placed in the midst of the hemisphere in a clear day fills the world with light.

The Apostle tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:8. And therefore seeing He is an infinite Being, it follows that He is an infinite fountain of love.

Seeing He is an all-sufficient Being, it follows that He is a full and overflowing and an inexhaustible fountain of love.

Seeing He is an unchangeable and eternal Being, He is an unchangeable and eternal source of love.

There even in heaven dwells that God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is or ever was proceeds.

There dwells God the Father, and so the Son, who are united in infinitely dear and incomprehensible mutual love.

There dwells God the Father, who is the Father of mercies, and so the Father of love, who so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16].

There dwells Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of peace and love, who so loved the world that He shed His blood, and poured out His soul unto death for it.

There dwells the Mediator, by whom all God’s love is expressed to the saints, by whom the fruits of it have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all the church.

There Christ dwells in both His natures, His human and divine, sitting with the Father in the same throne.

There is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of divine love, in whom the very essence of God, as it were, all flows out or is breathed forth in love, and by whose immediate influence all holy love is shed abroad in the hearts of all the church [cf. Romans 5:5].

There in heaven this fountain of love, this eternal three in one, is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it.

There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love.

There the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 369-370.

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“Preach Christ, always and evermore” by Charles Spurgeon

“Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme.

The world needs to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach Him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master-truth there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines of grace, the better for our church and our age.

If with the zeal of Methodists we can preach the doctrine of Puritans, a great future is before us. The fire of Wesley, and the fuel of Whitefield will cause a burning which shall set the forests of error on fire, and warm the very soul of this cold earth.

We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.

We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission, or that wilful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit.

More and more am I jealous lest any views upon prophecy, church government, politics, or even systematic theology, should withdraw one of us from glorying in the cross of Christ. Salvation is a theme for which I would fain enlist every holy tongue.

I am greedy after witnesses for the glorious gospel of the blessed God. Oh, that Christ crucified were the universal burden of men of God!”

–Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1875/2008), 87-88.

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“God’s glorious grace is the most dear to Him” by Thomas Manton

“Grace is wronged by intercepting the glory of grace. It is the greatest sacrilege that can be to rob God of His glory, especially the glory of His grace. Above all things in the world, God’s glory is the most dear to Him; He cannot endure to have a partner.

Especially is the glory of His grace dear to him; it is the whole aim of all His dispensations to glorify grace: Eph. 1:6, ‘To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.’

You rob God of His chiefest honour when you take the crown of glory that is due to grace, and put it upon your own head.”

–Thomas Manton, “Several Sermons Upon Titus 2:11-14″ in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 16 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1874), 45–46.

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“Childlike faith” by J. Gresham Machen

“What mars the simplicity of the childlike faith which Jesus commends is not an admixture of knowledge, but an admixture of self-trust. To receive the kingdom as a little child is to receive it as a free gift without seeking in the slightest measure to earn it for one’s self.

There is a rebuke here for any attempt to earn salvation by one’s own character, by one’s own obedience to God’s commands, by one’s own establishment in one’s life of the principles of Jesus; but there is no rebuke whatever for an intelligent faith that is founded upon the facts.

The childlike simplicity of faith is marred sometimes by ignorance, but never by knowledge; it will never be marred—and never has been marred in the lives of the great theologians—by the blessed knowledge of God and of the Saviour Jesus Christ which is contained in the Word of God.

Without that knowledge we might be tempted to trust partly in ourselves; but with it we trust wholly to God. The more we know of God, the more unreservedly we trust Him; the greater be our progress in theology, the simpler and more childlike will be our faith.”

–J. Gresham Machen, What is Faith? (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1925/1991), 95.

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