A Dialogue to Die For
In his sermon "Constraining Love" (2 Cor. 5:14-15), J. Gresham Machen set out a dialogue between the Law of God and the sinner who has died with Christ in the Savior's death on the cross. It has enormous spiritual value for the believer. Machen wrote:
We may imagine a dialogue between the law of God and a sinful man.
"Man," says the law of God, "have you obeyed my commands?"
"No," says the sinner, "I have transgressed them in thought, word, and deed."
"Well, then, sinner," says the law, "have you paid the penalty which I have pronounced upon those who have disobeyed? Have you died in the sense that I meant when I said, 'The soul that sins it shall die'?"
"Yes," says the sinner, "I have died. That penalty that you pronounced upon my sin has been paid."
"What do you mean," says the law, "by saying that you have died? You do not look as though you had died. You look as though you were very much alive."
"Yes," says the sinner, "I have died. I died there on the cross outside the walls of Jerusalem; for Jesus died there as my representative and my substitute. I died there, so far as the penalty of the law was concerned."
"You say Christ is your representative and substitute," says the law. "Then I have indeed no further claim of penalty against you. The curse which I pronounced against your sin has indeed been fulfilled. My threatenings are very terrible, but I have nothing to say against those for whom Christ died."
That, my friends, is what Paul means by the tremendous "therefore," when he says: "One died for all, therefore all died." On that "therefore" hangs all our hope for time and for eternity.You can read the entire sermon here. (Incidentally, this is also one of the finest exegetical defenses of the doctrine of "particular redemption" found in all of church history!)
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