THE EFFECTS OF THE PASSION
1. The satisfaction offered by our Lord Jesus Christ was perfect.
His offering was a free will one. He came down from Heaven to redeem men. “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John x. 17, 18.) Although His human will recoiled from the prospect of humiliation and death, yet He submitted it to the Divine Will, “Not Mine, but Thine be done.”
It was complete, and fulfilled all the requirements of justice. None but God Himself could offer a complete and perfect atonement for the mass of transgressions committed against God.
2. By His Sacrifice for sin, our Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed us from sin, taken away from us the stain of sin. “Jesus Christ … Who loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” (Rev. i. 5.) Consequently our sins are no more imputed to us. They have been cancelled. We are no more under wrath, but are children of God. He has delivered us from the power of sin. He that committeth sin is the servant of sin. (John viii. 34.) He has delivered us from the power of sin. Sin hath no more dominion over us. We are no longer under sin, but under grace. By nature we were in bondage to Satan, who held men in hard servitude, with no power of escape from it, but by Christ’s redemption we have been brought out of the Egypt of bondage, and set in the glorious liberty of the children of God. We are, as S. Paul says, “made free from sin.” We are, by the merits of Christ’s atonement, placed in the same position in which Adam was before he fell. And if we fall after we have been placed in a state of grace, we fall by our own fault.
He has delivered us from the chastisement due for our sins. All sin entails punishment. But Christ has not only taken from us the guilt of sin, but also to a large extent the suffering due as a penalty for sin. Not indeed wholly, as it is necessary for our education that we should still feel pain if we transgress a law, but He has removed all save what is necessary for our discipline. Sin indeed deserved eternal separation from God, as it was an alienation from God, it must have led further and further away from Him into outer darkness and eternal death. But Christ has delivered us from this. He is always ready to restore us to our former position in the way of salvation.
3. By the Sacrifice of Christ’s death, the expiation is universal. That is to say, Christ made atonement for the sins of the whole world. He did all that was necessary to redeem the souls of those already dead, of those then alive, but also of all those who should live in ages to come. He did not die for the Jews only, or for the Gentiles only, or for only a few elect, but for all mankind, that all mankind might be saved.
How is it then that some are lost? It is because all will not accept His redemption; they refuse the benefits He offers, reject His precious blood, and will have nothing to do with His salvation. Brought, may be, out of darkness into light, they go back into thraldom to the Evil One, trample on God’s mercy, and wilfully resist Him. Grace and pardon are offered to all, but all will not receive.
No man, not even the heathen, is lost eternally, except by wilful opposition to what he knows to be the truth. Some may have little light, others have more, but whosoever will follow his light as far as it shines, he will not have his shortcomings imputed to him, but through the abounding mercy and merits of Jesus Christ will be saved.