the whole

People like George Smeaton and Hugh Martin and James Buchanan wrote the learned, technical expositions of the atonement. Charles Spurgeon, on the other hand, never spoke over the head of an ordinary hearer — but if he didn’t specifically read the works of these master theologians, had obviously thoroughly mastered and assimilated their sources, because his doctrine is identical.

From a sermon on the passover, from Exodus 12 –

We are told in the chapter that they were not to eat of the lamb raw. Alas! There are some who try to do this with Christ, for they preach a half-atoning sacrifice. They would make him in his Person and in his character to be meat for their souls, but they have small liking for his Passion, and they cast his Atonement into the background, or represent it as an ineffectual expiation which does not secure any soul from vengeance. What is this but to devour a raw Christ? I will not touch their half-roasted lamb; I will have nothing to do with their half substitution, their half-complete redemption. No, no: give me a Saviour who has borne all my sins in his own body …

What a multitude of teachers there are who must needs have the lamb sodden with water, though the Scripture saith, ‘Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water.’ … Preachers present the lamb sodden in the water of their own thoughts and speculations and notions. Now, the mischief of this boiling process is that the water takes away a good deal from the meat. Philosophical discoursings upon the Lord Jesus take away much of the essence and virtue of his person, offices, work, and glory. The real juice and vital nutrient of his glorious Word is carried off by interpretations which do not explain, but explain away. … When certain divines preach atonement, it is not substitution pure and simple – one hardly knows what it is. Their atonement is not the vicarious sacrifice, but a process of something they are long in defining. They have a theory which is like the relics of meat after months of boiling, all strings and fibres. All manner of schemes are tried to extract the marrow and fatness from the grand soul-satisfying doctrine of substitution, which to my mind is the choicest truth that can ever be brought forth for the food of souls. I cannot make out why so many divines are afraid of the shedding of blood for the remission of sin, and must needs stew down the most important of all the truths of revelation. No, no: as the type could only be correct when the lamb was roast with fire, so the gospel is not truly set forth unless we describe our Lord Jesus in his sufferings for his people, and those sufferings in the room, place, and stead of sinners, presenting absolutely and literally a substitution for them. I willl have no dilution: it is substitution – ‘He bore our sins.’ ‘He was made sin for us.’ ‘The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.’ We must have no mystifying of this plain truth, it must not be sodden at all with water, but we must have Christ in his sufferings fresh from the fire.

Now, this lamb they were to eat, and the whole of it. Not a morsel must be left. Oh that you and I would never cut and divide Christ so as to choose one part of him and leave another. Let not a bone of him be broken, but let us take in a whole Christ up to the full measure of our capacity. Prophet, Priest, and King, Christ divine and Christ human, Christ loving and living, Christ dying, Christ risen, Chrsit ascended, Christ coming again, Christ triumphant over all his foes – the whole Lord Jesus is ours. We must not reject a single particle of what is revealed concerning him, but must feed upon it all as we are able.

That night Israel had to feed upon the lamb there and then. They might not put by a portion for tomorrow: they must consume the whole in some way or other. Oh, my brother, we need a whole Christ at this very moment. Let us receive him in his entirety. Oh for a splendid appetite and fine powers of digestion, so as to receive into my inmost soul the Lord’s Christ just as I find him. May you and I never think lightly of our Lord under any light or in any one of his offices. All that you now know and all that you can find out concerning Christ you should now believe, appreciate, feed upon, and rejoice in. Make the most of all that is in the Word concerning your Lord. (p237-238)

The chief relish about our Lord Jesus to a penitent sinner is his sin-bearing, and his agonies in that capacity. We need the suffering Saviour, the Christ of Gethsemane, the Christ of Golgotha and Calvary, Christ sheddding his blood in the sinner’s stead, and bearing for us the fire of God’s wrath. Nothing short of this will suffice to be meat for a hungry heart. Keep this back and you starve the child of God. (p236-237)

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  1. Pingback: substitutions | ninetysix and ten

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