Christ was to make satisfaction by suffering all that we were to suffer. We are cursed, therefore Christ was made a curse (Gal. 3:13). We were to endure the wrath of God, therefore he bore our griefs (Isa. 53:4). We are to blame, and deserve shame, therefore he would undergo that, and suffer in his credit and honour. Our reproach is taken away, because Christ would take it upon himself: he was ‘the reproach of men’ (Ps. 22:6). We were sinners, and therefore Christ is called a murderer, a thief, a blasphemer, one that had a devil. This was a circumstance that commended the greatness of the satisfaction. What greater satisfaction could we expect or desire than that Christ, who is holiness itself, should not only suffer, but suffer under ignominies—that innocency itself should suffer as a malefactor? This made the sufferings of Christ exceeding great and valuable. Christ would lay aside all his glory, pleasure, and honour, and sacrifice everything for the good of the creature. You have the life of God, and the honour of God, and all. There is nothing that God prizeth so much as his honour, and Christ would suffer that God’s honour might not be obscured by these imputations, but repaired.
The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, 3:478.
The justice of God is exceedingly glorified in this work [of the cross]. God is so strictly and immutably just, that he would not spare his beloved Son when he took upon him the guilt of men’s sins, and was substituted in the room of sinners. He would not abate him the least mite of that debt which justice demanded. Justice should take place, though it cost his infinitely dear Son his precious blood; and his enduring such extraordinary reproach, and pain, and death in its most dreadful form.
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 2 (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974), 144–145.
The apostle gloried and rejoiced in the cross of Christ. His heart was set on it. It crucified the world to him, making it a dead and undesirable thing (Gal 6:14). The baits and pleasures of sin are all things in the world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” By these sin entices and entangles our souls. If the heart is filled with the cross of Christ, it casts death and undesirability on them all, leaving no seeming beauty, pleasure, or comeliness in them. Again, Paul says, “It crucifies me to the world and makes my heart, my affections, and my desires dead to all these things. It roots up corrupt lusts and affections, and leaves no desire to go and make provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts.”
Indwelling Sin in Believers: Abridged and Made Easy to Read, 99–100 ; original: vol. 6, 250–251.
If thou wouldest be rid of a hard heart, that great enemy to the growth of the grace of fear, be much with Christ upon the cross in thy meditations; for that is an excellent remedy against hardness of heart: a right sight of him, as he hanged there for thy sins, will dissolve thy heart into tears, and make it soft and tender. “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced,—and mourn” (Zech 12:10). Now a soft, a tender, and a broken heart, is a fit place for the grace of fear to thrive in.
The Fear of God, 1:486.
This word carries not only the everyday meaning of bearing pain, but also the older and wider sense of being the object affected by someone else’s action. The Latin is passus, whence the noun “passion.” Both God and men were agents of Jesus’ passion: “this Jesus, delivered up according to the plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23, from Peter’s first sermon). God’s purpose at the cross was as real as was the guilt of the crucifiers.
What was God’s purpose? Judgment on sin, for the sake of mercy to sinners. The miscarrying of human justice was the doing of divine justice. Jesus knew on the cross all the pain, physical and mental, that man could inflict and also the divine wrath and rejection that my sins deserve; for he was there in my place, making atonement for me. “AII we like sheep have gone astray … and the lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
—J. I. Packer
Growing in Christ, 52.