Durham: Christians’ particular sins do not surprise God, the bargain was made before creation, and Christ came and paid the price.

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Christians’ particular sins do not surprise God, the bargain was made before creation, and Christ came and paid the price.

Doctrine Four. Considering our sinful way as the occasion of this transaction and of the laying of our iniquities upon Christ as the result of it, we have this sweet observation: That the elect are considered in the covenant of redemption as foully and vilely sinful and with all the aggravations of their sins and sinful ways; so that they cannot be fouler and more vile in time than they were considered to be, when they were given to Christ to be satisfied for by Him. How were they then considered? The text tells us, even as straying sheep. But that is not all; they are considered as such who have had their own peculiar way of straying from God and have turned aside to and run on in their own sinful way. Thus the Lord considered the elect in the covenant of redemption, thus Jesus Christ considered them in the undertaking for them, even with all the several aggravations of their sinfulness. So that they are not, nor cannot be worse in time than they were considered to be before time. This is so ordered by the Lord, for these ends:​

(1) That justice might be distinctly, exactly and fully satisfied, and that it might be known that it is so. He would needs be restored to His honor, to His declarative or manifested honor and glory, which suffered by man’s fall and by the many great and variously aggravated sins of the elect, and would have His justice as I said, fully satisfied. And therefore as there is a volume of a book wherein all the elect are written for whom Christ should satisfy, so there is a volume of what and for what He should satisfy, that there may be a proportional satisfaction and price told down to justice.​

(2) That believers may have a more full view of the way of grace and of Christ’s undertaking for them; when Jesus Christ undertook our debt, He had a full view of a sum He was to pay. He knew what He had to pay to the least farthing and what His people’s sins would cost Him. And yet He skarred [scared] not to engage to satisfy, but did satisfy according to His engagement to the full.​

(3) It is also ordered so for this end, even to confirm the believer’s faith when he comes to take hold of Christ and of the covenant. And when this objection mutters within him, ‘dare such a sinful wretch as I take hold of Christ, who have been thus and thus polluted with sin?’ ‘Yes,’ says the text, for these sins, so and so aggravated, were not unknown to the Father, nor to the Mediator, when you were bargained about. Nay, these sins, with their aggravations, were expressly considered in the covenant of redemption, and there is no sin already committed or to be committed by you in time that was not considered before time. What was your posture, believers, when God “passed by, and cast the lap or skirt of his love over you?” Were you not “cast out in the open field, wallowing in your own blood, with your navels uncut, having no eye to pity you?” etc. (Ezek. 16:4–6). And wherefore, I pray, is this set down? But as to let you know that you are no worse in time than you were considered to be before you had a being; so to aggregge [heighten] the love and grace of God in Christ and to draw you in to Him, that since God and Christ the Mediator in the transaction about your redemption, stood not on your sinfulness, you may not stand on it, when seriously taken with, but may submit to His righteousness and say, ‘be it so, Lord, I am content to take what thou freely offerest.’ And the more sinful and lost you be in yourselves, when suitably affected therewith, the more wonderful is the grace of God in the plot of your redemption, the more strong is your consolation and the greater ground of believing have you. Your sins do not surprise God, nor the Mediator; the bargain was made before your sins were committed and therefore the price must reach them, even when they are all summed up together. He was content to accept of them so as to satisfy for them; and blessed be He forevermore that accepted of the bargain and paid the price according to His undertaking.​

End of Sermon 26, James Durham, Christ Crucified or the Marrow of the Gospel in 72 Sermons on Isaiah 53. Available from Reformation Heritage Books. http://www.heritagebooks.org/products/collected-sermons-of-james-durham-2-volume-set.html
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