Jul 8, 2010

Penalty on those for whom Christ died? - John Brine

He [a Baxterian] makes the Calvinist object to his opinion, that supposing the death of Christ to be of universal extent, implies he died in vain. To which he answers thus: as often as I meet with this objection, I cannot find any just reason or foundation to support it. There certainly is a twofold design and intention in the redemption wrought out for sinners. One is, that the patience and forbearance, the rich goodness, mercy and grace of God, might be manifested and glorified in his dealing with sinners. And the ether is, that his righteous government, his power, his holiness and justice might be also glorified. Now if through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, the patience and forbearance of God, and the riches of his mercy and grace are displayed and glorified, in his present dealings with sinners, which is the case on our side of the question. And if his holiness, justice and power are glorified to the full, in the condemnation and destruction of the impenitent and ungodly hereafter; this is not in vain, but exactly of a piece with God’s great and complicated designs in providence and redemption. Where grace is rejected and despised, punishing justice will be glorified. To which I reply, Sir, thus.

1. This seems to suppose, it was a thing indifferent to God, whether his mercy is glorified in the salvation of sinners, or whether his justice is glorified in their destruction, upon the foundation of the redemption of Christ; that his end is as fully answered in the gift of his Son for sinners in their damnation, as it is in their salvation; whereas it was his intention that his grace and mercy might be glorified in their salvation, and therefore, if they are not saved he is disappointed of his end in this extraordinary transaction, and his Son suffered death in vain, or the end intended, in his death is unaccomplished. That this was the end designed is evident; for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life. The reader may see this more largely insisted on, in the answer to the author of Ruin and Recovery.

2. The justice and holiness of God are fully vindicated, and gloriously displayed, in the remission of sin, and in the eternal salvation of sinners, upon the foundation of Christ’s death, (Rom. 3:25,26); and therefore, the infliction of penalty on those for whom Christ died, cannot be to the glory of his justice.

3. It would be contrary to justice; for Christ having made satisfaction for the sins of those, for whom he suffered, it cannot consist with justice to punish them for their offences.

4. How are the riches of divine grace now glorified in God’s dealings with the heathen, whom he suffers to live in gross darkness and in the shadow of death? How can his justice be hereafter glorified in punishing of them for impenitence, who never had an opportunity of hearing of Christ, and by consequence, could not believe in him nor reject him.

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