Learning from the Death of Christ

“Here [in the suffering and death of Christ] we see the horrid and hateful evil of sin, which no other sacrifice could expiate but the blood of the Son of God. As the power of a disease is known by the strength of the treatment need to cure it, and the value of a good by the money needed to buy it, so it is here. The sufferings and death of Christ express the evil of sin far above the most severe judgments that any creature ever endured. The dying groans of our blessed Redeemer display the horrid nature of sin, and declare how hateful it is in the sight of an infinitely pure and holy God.

How much evil there must be in sin for Christ to have to groan and bleed to death to take it away. It is strange to imagine how rational humans would dare to commit such evil, so freely and openly, and for trifles and illusory things, of no lasting value. If God did not spare his own Son [who was pure and holy as our Substitute], how will sinners escape, who are deeply and universally defiled? Can they bear for ever, what was intolerable for Christ to bear for a few hours, who had all the strength of the Deity to support him? O what incredible madness it is for men to drink iniquity like water, as if it is a harmless thing, when it is poison so dangerous and deadly, and the least drop brings ruin.

What a folly it is to have only slight twinges of remorse in light of the first and second death, all the terrors of hell, where the worm never dies, and the fire is not quenched; where misery will continue… while eternity runs its course. Nothing but irrational rebellion and blind thoughtlessness can lead men to provoke the living God, who sees and knows all, and who both can and will most terribly punish them forever.

Here we see the strictness and unstoppable severity of divine justice, that required satisfaction in proportion to what sin deserves. All the other demonstrations of divine justice that God has given to the world are nothing compared to this. God did not spare his own Son. The fountain of divine mercy stopped, not one drop was given to Christ in his extreme sorrow and sufferings. The Father of mercy saw his dear Son sweating great drops of blood in a cold night, and crying out, “O Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me” and yet he would not grant the request. How inflexibly severe divine justice is! What will you do, sinners, when it falls on you in hell? If the blessed Son of God cried out like this, what will become of you? O what a dreadful thing it must be to fall into the hands of the living God.

Here [in the sufferings and death of Christ] we see the wonderful love of Christ to poor and miserable sinners, and his great desire for their salvation. His love here goes beyond our comprehension. It infinitely transcends the most expansive understanding. What Christ suffered from his birth to his death on the accursed tree, most powerfully displays his great love to wretched sinners. No example of love like this can be found in humanity. This matchless love of Christ should overwhelm our hearts, and cause us to sing: To him who has loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God his father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

[The sufferings and death of Christ] give us the strongest assurance that can be, that God is willing to pardon our sins, and to be reconciled to us… Here in the gospel we find the answer, the way, for the satisfaction of divine justice and the justification of men… The gospel clearly reveals to us, that Christ has performed everything that is necessary for our salvation, and that by faith in him we can receive it.”

Edited and abridged from Thomas Boston, The Beauties of Thomas Boston (Christian Focus, 1979), 206-208.