The great doctrine, the greatest of all, is this, that God, seeing men to be lost by reason of their sin, hath taken that sin of theirs and laid it upon his only begotten Son, making him to be sin for us, even him who knew no sin; and that in consequence of this transference of sin he that believeth in Christ Jesus is made just and righteous, ya, is made to be the righteousness of God in Christ. Christ was made sin that sinners might be made righteousness. That is the doctrine of the substitution of our Lord Jesus Christ on the behalf of guilty men.
—Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, “The Heart of the Gospel,” Sermon 1910, 2 Cor 5:20–21.
The heart of the Gospel is redemption, and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ. They who preach this truth preach the Gospel in whatever else they may be mistaken; but they who preach not the atonement, whatever else they declare, have missed the soul and substance of the divine message. In these days, I feel bound to go over and over again the elementary truths of the Gospel. In peaceful times, we may feel free to make excursions into interesting districts of truth that lie far afield; but now we must stay at home and guard the hearths and homes of the church by defending the first principles of the faith. In this age, there have risen up in the church itself men who speak perverse things. There be many that trouble us with their philosophies and novel interpretations, whereby they deny the doctrines they profess to teach and undermine the faith they are pledged to maintain. … There are plenty who can fiddle to you the new music. It is for me to have no music at any time but that which is heard in heaven: “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood … to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever!” (Rev 1:5-6).
Charles H. Spurgeon
The Metropolitan Tabernacle, “The Heart of the Gospel,” Sermon text: 2 Corinthians 5:20–21 (1886).
The man who comes to a right belief about God is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems, for he sees at once that these have to do with matters which at the most cannot concern him for very long; but even if the multiple burdens of time may be lifted from him, the one mighty single burden of eternity begins to press down upon him with a weight more crushing than all the woes of the world piled one upon another. That mighty burden is his obligation to God. It includes an instant and lifelong duty to love God with every power of mind and soul, to obey Him perfectly, and to worship Him acceptably. And when the man’s laboring conscience tells him that he has done none of these things, but has from childhood been guilty of foul revolt against the Majesty in the heavens, the inner pressure of self-accusation may become too heavy to bear.
The gospel can lift this destroying burden from the mind, give beauty for ashes, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. But unless the weight of the burden is felt the gospel can mean nothing to the man; and until he sees a vision of God high and lifted up, there will be no woe and no burden. Low views of God destroy the gospel for all who hold them.
—A. W. Tozer
The Knowledge of the Holy (HarperOne, 1978), 2–3.
That though there is no universal atonement, yet in the word there is a warrant given to offer Christ to all mankind, whether elect or reprobate, and a warrant to all freely to receive him, however great sinners they are, or have been.
The Whole Works of Thomas Boston, 455.
God hath a tender regard unto the souls of men, and is infinitely willing to promote their welfare.
He hath condescended to our weakness and declared with an oath, that he hath no pleasure in our destruction. There is no such thing as despite or envy lodged in the bosom of that ever blessed Being, whose name and nature is love. He created us at first in a happy condition; and now, when we are fallen from it, He hath laid help upon One that is mighty to save, hath committed the care of our souls to no lesser person than the eternal Son of his love. It is He that is the Captain of our salvation; and what enemies can be too strong for us, when we are fighting under His banners?
Did not the Son of God come down from the bosom of his Father and pitch His tabernacle amongst the sons of men, that He might recover and propagate the divine life, and restore the image of God in their souls? All the mighty works which He performed; all the sad afflictions which He sustained, had this for their scope and design; for this did He labour and toil; for this did He bleed and die.
The Works of the Rev. H. Scougal (London: Ogle, Duncan, and Co., 1822), 38–39.