Click to View


as well as mercy shown? None but the sinless can be a substitute for the guilty, for a debtor cannot pay another's debt, a criminal cannot pay the penalty for another criminal. Hence the Bible represents the sinless Christ as making atonement for us (Isa. liii. 5; 1 Pet. ii. 21-24).

172. M. Would the substitution of the innocent for the guilty be accepted in a secular court of justice? Man sinned, and you say the sinless Christ suffered for him. This is contrary to Ezek. xviii. 20.

C. The latter verse does condemn us and all men except Christ. Unless therefore there be some way of escape, the result is and must be what is said in the Qur'an about hell-fire (Surah XIX., Maryam, 72), "There is none of you but descends into it." Hence you see that a religion without an Atonement can give men no well-grounded hope of salvation. But the Gospel brings good news of the way of escape which God's love and mercy has devised, without violating Justice. If the Gospel is not true, then you see that you and I and all men are condemned and have no hope. It is therefore to your great advantage that the doctrine of the Atonement of Christ should be proved true.

Now there are certain conditions of affairs which,

[Footnote continued from previous page]
for that is a Divine trust (amanat i ilahi) entrusted to him. But Christ could, for He alone could truly say of His life, "I have power to lay it down" (John x. 17, 18). (Dr. H. M. Clark.)

it must be admitted, would have rendered the death of Christ useless and our belief in His Atonement unreasonable, if those conditions had existed. (1) If Christ had been a sinner: or (2) if He had been put to death against His will: or (3) if He were a mere man, though the best of men: or (4) if His death did not really take place but only in appearance: or (5) if He were an angel, or (6) one of three Gods, as certain heretics held: then our belief in His Atonement would be in vain. But we Christians do not hold any of these ideas. The true doctrine is that Christ, being perfect God and perfect Man in one person, the two natures united as in man are body and soul, freely gave His life for us and for all men (περι, Matt. xxvi. 28; υπερ Luke xxii. 20; αντι, Matt. xx. 28; Mark x. 45). Being free from sin, He did not deserve death, but freely took it on Him for us. He "bore our sins in His own body up to (or on) the tree" (1 Pet. ii. 24), and there died as our representative. Those who realize His love and who truly believe in Him are so united with Him that His death is a propitiation for their sins (1 John ii. 2). But this cannot be understood unless we recollect that He who died on the Cross for us was one with God, and that thus our Creator and our Judge voluntarily satisfied the demands of justice, by dying for the guilty in the human nature which He had assumed.

One or two considerations make the matter clearer:

Click to View