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Wrath and Love

The awareness of God’s wrath makes us thankful for his loving act in Christ.

Suppose someone is told: “If God hated you while you were still a sinner, and cast you off, as you deserved, a terrible destruction would have awaited you. But because he kept you in grace voluntarily, and of his own free favor, and did not allow you to be estranged from him, he thus delivered you from that peril.”

This man then will surely experience and feel something of what he owes to God’s mercy.

On the other hand, suppose he learns, as Scripture teaches, that he was estranged from God through sin, is an heir of wrath, subject to the curse of eternal death, excluded from all hope of salvation, beyond every blessing of God, the slave of Satan, captive under the yoke of sin, destined finally for a dreadful destruction and already involved in it; and that at this point Christ interceded as his advocate, took upon himself and suffered the punishment that, from God’s righteous judgment, threatened all sinners; that he purged with his blood those evils which had rendered sinners hateful to God; that by this expiation he made satisfaction and sacrifice duly to God the Father; that as intercessor he has appeased God’s wrath; that on this foundation rests the peace of God with men; that by this bond his benevolence is maintained toward them.

Will the man not then be even more moved by all these things which so vividly portray the greatness of the calamity from which he has been rescued?

John Calvin
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The Guiltless Christ Punished

Christ, though guiltless, took our punishment, that He might cancel our guilt, and do away with our punishment. … But as Christ endured death as man, and for man; so also, Son of God as He was, ever living in His own righteousness, but dying for our offences, He submitted as man, and for man, to bear the curse which accompanies death. And as He died in the flesh which He took in bearing our punishment, so also, while ever blessed in His own righteousness, He was cursed for our offences, in the death which He suffered in bearing our punishment

Augustine

“Reply to Faustus the Manichæan,” in NPNF 4:208, 209.

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Satisfaction by Substitution

Christ so took and bare our sins, and had them so laid upon him, as that he underwent the punishment due unto them, and that in our stead: therefore, he made satisfaction to the justice of God for them.

John Owen
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God’s Wisdom in Christ’s Substitution

The first thing necessary to be done, is, that this Son of God should become our representative and surety; and so be substituted in the sinner’s room. But who of created intelligences would have thought of any such thing as the eternal and infinitely beloved Son of God being substituted in the room of sinners? his standing in stead of a sinner, a rebel, an object of the wrath of God? Who would have thought of a person of infinite glory representing sinful worms, that had made themselves by sin infinitely provoking and abominable? For, if the Son of God be substituted in the sinner’s room, then his sin must be charged upon him: he will thereby take the guilt of the sinner upon himself; he must be subject to the same law that man was, both as to the commands, and threatening: but who would have thought of any such thing concerning the Son of God?

—Jonathan Edwards
Works, 2:143.

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The Transfer of Sin and Guilt

It is a part of sovereignty to transfer the penalty due to the crime of one upon another, and substitute a sufferer, with the sufferer’s own consent, in the place of a criminal, whom he had a mind to deliver from a deserved punishment. God transferred the sins of men upon Christ, and inflicted on him a punishment for them. He summed up the debts of man, charged them upon the score of Christ, imputing to him the guilt, and inflicting upon him the penalty: “The Lord hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6); he made them all to meet upon his back: “He hath made him to be sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

—Stephen Charnock
The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock (London: James Nisbet and Co., 1864–1866), 2:458–459.