The Substitute Delivered for the Guilty
James Smith, 1860
"He was delivered over to death for our sins" Romans 4:25
Christ crucified is the essence and glory of the gospel. It is . . .
the center in which all the lines of truth meet,
the source from which peace and salvation flow,
the firm and well-tried foundation of a sinner's hope.
To the cross, the eye of faith instinctively turns, and in it sees the only way of access to God.
On this subject let us meditate a little, and from it may we draw joy, holiness, and strength. Let us consider Paul's words, who speaking of Jesus, as the great object of our faith says, "He was delivered over to death for our sins!"
WHO was delivered? All the mystery hangs here. If it had been a criminal, we would not have wondered. If it had been some common person, we had not been so much surprised. But it was the most wonderful person in the universe. It was the glorious Son of God, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
His nature was divine,
his dignity equal to that of his Father,
and his glory filled the heavens.
Greater or more glorious, he could not be.
He was also the only guiltless man.
His human nature was pure and holy.
His life was sinless.
His obedience to the law was complete.
As he did not descend from Adam in the ordinary way of natural generation, he was not tainted with original sin, nor was he implicated in the guilt of the first transgression. He embraced both divinity and humanity in himself; he was at once the Creator, and the creature. He could not have died for our sins — but with his own consent. It was therefore in accordance with the arrangements of the everlasting covenant, that "He was delivered over to death for our sins."
TO WHOM was he delivered? Into the hands of wicked men.
Into the hands of the Jews; and appearing before Annas and Caiaphas, he was despised and rejected by them.
Into the hands of the Gentiles; and appearing before Pilate and Herod, they condemned him to be crucified.
The whole world, as represented by the Jews and the Gentiles, treated him with contempt, and put him to death.
His being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, was taken and with wicked hands was crucified and slain.
He was delivered also to the powers a darkness, the God and ruler of this world who put forth all their power and displayed all their craft and cruelty, in torturing and putting him to death.
He was delivered over to the vilest of God's creatures, who seemed to be left to do their worst, and to torment him to the uttermost!
TO WHAT was he delivered? To suffer the shame, pain, and contempt that our sins deserved. To die, and by dying, to atone for our sins, and to put them away forever. He voluntarily became our substitute. He freely took our place. He agreed to suffer our doom, and all our sins were charged on him, all our sins were punished in him; and so, all our sins were expiated by him. In our nature, he took our place, and suffered in our stead. "He was delivered over to death for our sins!"
FOR WHOM was he delivered? For us, that is, for the ungodly, for sinners, for his enemies — whom the Father chose from eternity past. We were as much opposed to God as possible. We were as much opposed to God as we could be. We had broken his law, thrown off his yoke, and wandered as far from him as we could. In our nature, there was only pollution; in our lives, there was only sin.
But in another point of view, he was delivered . . .
for his sheep, to pay the penalty of their wandering,
for his church, to pay the price of her redemption,
for his bride, to give his life as her ransom.
O how wonderful, that Jesus should condescend to be "delivered over to death for our sins!"
FOR WHAT was he delivered? "For our sins," for all our sins of nature, of thought, of word, and of deed.
We committed the crimes — and they were placed to his account, they were all charged on him!
We trespassed — and he had to pay the penalty.
We sinned — and he had to procure on pardon.
We committed the crimes — and he had to make the atonement, in order to save us from all the penal consequences.
"God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God!" "He was delivered over to death for our sins!"
WHO delivered him? His own beloved Father! That Father who delighted in him. The Father who by a voice from Heaven said twice, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Our injured insulted law-giver delivered him.
How amazing was this, that rather than deliver us his enemies over into the hand of justice, to be dealt with as our sins deserved — he would deliver his only begotten and well beloved Son, to suffer the desert of our sins in our stead.
Yet by his own Father, whom we had done the utmost in our power to insult and grieve, "He was delivered over to death for our sins!"
How terrible is the nature of sin! It demands an atonement for us, such as only God in our nature could render; or it will bring down eternal punishment upon us!
How wondrous the grace of Jesus! He condescended to undertake the mighty work of putting away sin by the sacrifice of himself. He died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God.
How marvelous is the love of God! To give his only begotten Son, to give him to suffer such contempt, such shame, such tremendous agonies — and all for his enemies, whose minds were enmity against him.
How simple the way of escape for sinners! Jesus . . .
takes our place,
suffers in our room,
and dies in our stead! In consequence of this, everyone that believes on him, commits the soul to him, or trusts in him for salvation — is pardoned, justified, accepted of God, and shall be forever glorified!
Reader, if you consent for Jesus to take your place, be your substitute, and die in your stead — if you place your entire confidence in him, you shall be saved . . .
saved with an everlasting salvation,
saved honorably and certainly,
saved so that God's glory shall be great in your salvation!