(Kersten, Heidelberg Catechism, Vol.1. part 16)

Christ's Mediatorial Suffering

Lord's Day 15

Psalter No. 184 st. 1, 2, 3
Read Hosea 2
Psalter No. 243 st. 10, 11, 12
Psalter No. 278 st. 4
Psalter No. 47 st. 3, 4

    In the 89th Psalm Ethan the Ezrahite sings both of the glory and
of the deep humiliation of the anointed favorite of the Lord. David
was chosen by God in the place of Saul to be king of Israel and his
seed shall be established forever and his throne to all generations.
"Therefore the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord, Thy
faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." No enemy shall
stand before the servant of the Lord. They shall all bow down to
Him, for the Lord rules the raging of the sea, "When the waves
thereof rise Thou stillest them. Thou hast broken Ahab in pieces, as
one that is slain; Thou hast scattered thine enemies with Thy strong
arm." Saul went in his own strength, and sought his own honour; he
was a king but did not know himself as the servant of the Lord. How
very different was David, who followed the Lord, obeyed His voice,
and gave Him the glory of His victories. With a perfect heart, He
walked before the Lord. Notwithstanding His gross sins, he was set
as an example to all kings and praised above all others. The Lord
was his strength and he glories in Him, saying, "Thou hast a mighty
arm; strong is Thy hand, and high is Thy right hand. Justice and
judgment are the habitation of Thy throne. Mercy and truth shall go
before Thy face."
    Yet the Lord was angry with David. He was cast off and abhorred.
God has been wrath with His anointed. Although God's covenant shall
remain firm with him, Ethan complains, "Thou hast made void the
covenant of Thy servant, Thou hast profaned his crown by casting it
to the ground." What? voided God's covenant? Has the Lord changed?
That would contradict His emphatic statement, "I am the Lord, I
change not." The salvation of God's elect would waver if the Lord
did not remain faithful and immutable. For that very reason, because
the Lord does not change, "therefore ye sons of Jacob are not
consumed." No, God does not change and His covenant remains firm for
ever and ever. But the deep humiliation into which David came
because of his sin, the heavy strokes that fell on him and his
people, because they had forsaken His law, caused God's servant to
complain as he did. It seemed to him as though the Lord had made His
covenant void, and had profaned the crown by casting it to the
ground. One day the earthly crown of David shall be cast away, one
day carnal Israel shall fall away, and yet the Lord remains faithful
and His covenant sure.
    David was but a type, a type of the One anointed by the Father
before the foundation of the world. He shall reign forever and His
throne shall be as the sun before God. But He shall acquire the rule
in a most fearful contest with all the powers of hell, of the world
and of sin. He shall be humbled, not for His own sin, for He never
had or committed any sin, but for the sins of His people. He shall
win and reign for the redemption of all those that are given Him by
the Father; the people that bow under His scepter are a blessed
people; the people that know the joyful sound. "They shall walk, O
Lord, in the light of Thy countenance. In Thy Name shall they
rejoice all the day; and in Thy righteousness shall they be
exalted." In Him the covenant is confirmed; the testament is of
force after the death of the testator. He is the Anointed of the
Father, chosen in eternity, qualified in time to sit upon His throne
as conqueror. To that end He had to be cast down into the deepest
humiliation, into the depths of death; for God's justice must be
satisfied and the head of Satan must be bruised, for "justice and
judgment are the habitation of His throne." He took our flesh and
blood upon Himself to suffer and die, yea, to submit Himself to the
most terrible power of death on the cross, after judicial
condemnation. By His suffering and death He has taken away the curse
of His people, and the church of God shall sing to Him the doxology
at the close of this Psalm: "Blessed be the Lord for ever more. Amen
and Amen."
    That is what the fifteenth Lord's Day of the Heidelberg
Catechism explains to us according to the Word of God. Let us then
give close attention to that Lord's Day.
    Lord's Day 15
Q. 37: What dost thou understand by the words, "He suffered"?

A. That He, all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at
    the end of His life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of
    God against the sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as
    the only propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and
    soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favour
    of God, righteousness and eternal life.

Q. 38: Why did He suffer under Pontius Pilate, as judge?

A. That He, being innocent, and yet condemned by a temporal judge
    might thereby free us from the severe judgment of God to which
    we were exposed.

Q. 39: Is there anything more in His being crucified, than if He had
    died some other death?

A. Yes (there is); for thereby I am assured, that He took on Him the
    curse which lay upon me; for the death of the cross was
    accursed of God.

    This Lord's Day then speaks of mediatorial suffering, and
    1. What is to be understood by this suffering,
    2. Why this suffering occurred under Pontius Pilate,
    3. What the crucifixion assures.
    Our Catechism today does not only speak of the suffering of
Christ in itself, but Lord's Day 15 testifies also of the only
comfort God's people obtain out of this suffering by faith.
    For the instructor asks, "What dost thou understand by the words
"He suffered"? The word "understand" here means the knowledge of
faith as the original Latin text clearly shows. With firm hand the
instructor keeps to his purpose, that of teaching the purchased
church of God concerning the only comfort in life and death May the
Lord cause us to understand something of the rich fountain of
comfort which lies in the passion of the Lord as we follow the
instructor in the description of the grievous suffering, the
judicial condemnation, and the cursed death of the cross. How
necessary it is to build up the congregation on the rock of pure
doctrine which includes the passion and death of the Mediator. Mere
assent to that doctrine does not give us the comfort which God's
people receive through Christ. To obtain that comfort in truth it is
necessary that atonement be wrought for us by Christ, that it be

imputed to us by God and that we embrace it by faith. That is just
what the Catechism explains to us over and over, and that is why
this creed speaks so comfortably to the heart of the spiritual
Jerusalem. First then we are told what is meant by the mediatorial
suffering of the Lord. This suffering means no less than "that He
all the time that He lived on earth, but especially at the end of
His life, sustained in body and soul, the wrath of God against the
sins of all mankind; that so by His passion, as the only
propitiatory sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from
everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the favour of God,
righteousness and eternal life."
    We have shown you before that He Who suffered was and remained
also in and after His incarnation, very God; that He assumed the
human nature to His divine Person, and that the suffering which He
suffered alone in body and soul, has such an eternal value only
because it was suffered by Him, the eternal Son of God. I am merely
repeating the testimony of the apostle, Acts 20:28, that God has
purchased His church with His own blood, as also the emphatic words
of John concerning the blood of the Son, I John 1:7, "The blood of
Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." No creature could
merit this righteousness for fallen man. The Son of God, God
Himself, alone could do so. This was shown to Daniel in a very
imposing manner, "Understand the matter and consider the vision.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,
to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make
reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting
righteousness." (Dan. 9:24). That is of the greatest importance that
the Mediator was not only a true, good, sinless man but that the Son
of God, God blessed forever, suffered and died in our human nature;
that the sinner, as we have discussed in the previous Lord's Day,
was reconciled to God by God. This makes Christ precious to every
one that believes. Faith not only makes the soul understand what
Christ has suffered, but also, and this magnifies the wonder of
redemption, Who suffered, namely God's only and natural Son. The
soul desires a true knowledge of Him that it may know Him in the
power of His death, Him "Who is fairer than the children of men.
Grace is poured into His lips." The instructor is now treating His
mediatorial suffering. What He suffered He subjected Himself to, out
of eternal love to the glorification of God's attributes, according
to the Father's pleasure and the salvation of His people. He
suffered in the place of His own, namely, "the wrath of God against
the sins of all mankind."
    No, the Catechism does not teach that the blessed Substitute and
Mediator bore the wrath of God for all mankind. Christ has not died
for all mankind. That is taught by those who hold the doctrine of
universal redemption. There is no more abominable doctrine than
this. It denies the election of certain persons, known to God, and
also the Covenant of Redemption in which the elect alone are given
to Christ, for whom He engaged His heart to approach unto God.
Moreover, the doctrine of universal redemption counts the blood of
Christ an unholy thing. Would He have shed His blood for Cain, for
Esau, for Judas? Has Christ then suffered in vain? This abominable
doctrine also fails to recognize the work of the Holy Spirit, since
the Holy Spirit quickens the dead soul, plants in the soul the true
faith that unites with Christ, and thus makes the soul a partaker of
that salvation. To mention no more, the doctrine of universal
redemption denies man's state of death because it teaches that
Christ brought about for all men the possibility of salvation, and
that it depends on man's free will whether he will enter the open
door of heaven or whether he will refrain.
    Truly, there is no more abominable doctrine than the one which
teaches that Jesus bore the wrath of God for all men. Hence the
Catechism does not teach this at all when it states that the Son of
God bore the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind. That
wrath is indivisible; it cannot be split into a part that rests upon
the elect, and a part that falls on the head of the wicked. God's
wrath is His holy, indivisible abhorrence of and anger against sin,
and especially against the sin of all mankind. That indivisible full
wrath of God is poured upon Christ. He bore it all, in order that He
might remove it for His elect. That holy, dreadful, eternal wrath
was, in the exercise of God's perfect righteousness, poured upon the
object of His Father's love. The Mediator bore the full extent of
that wrath; the sword has awaked against the Man who is God's Fellow
and has smitten that shepherd. Therefore there is such a fulness of
righteousness in Christ that it cannot be emptied. Even if all
Adam's posterity with all their abominable sins came to that
fountain, it would not be diminished by one drop. Christ's
righteousness, as our fathers held in opposition to the
Remonstrants, is sufficient for the sins of the entire human race.
Oh, so often God's children are assaulted with fear that their sins
are too great or too manifold; so often the devil points to this or
that sin committed, as if there would be no more possibility to be
saved. But the instructor, for the comfort of those who are bowed
down with the burden of their iniquities, points to the fulness of
Christ's righteousness. He has borne the indivisible wrath of God
against the sins of the whole human race. Never are the sins too
many to be forgiven, even though they are as scarlet and as crimson,
the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son cleanses from all sins.
    However, Christ did not die for all people, He did not take away
the wrath of God for all people. The limitation does not lie in
sustaining the full wrath of God, but in the good pleasure of the
Father, Who has limited the atonement to the elect. "For this was
the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the
Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious
death of His Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon
them alone the gift of justifying faith." (Canons of Dart, Chap. 2
art. 8). Hence there is no atonement for all people, but still God's
justice is so completely satisfied that no sin is too great to be
forgiven. That gives us so much liberty to preach Christ and Him
crucified to each and everyone whoever he may be, and on the other
hand it opens the riches of grace for condemnable sinners. If only
faith may know Christ as the way of life, salvation for lost sinners
becomes so easy. Never can we be sharp enough in cutting off all
hope of salvation in Adam, but neither can anyone speak too freely
of salvation in Christ. If all the grains of sand were tongues,
their voices would be insufficient to sing the praises of Him Who
sustained the wrath of God against the sins of all mankind.
    The instructor continues by saying that Christ sustained that
wrath in body and soul. Rome prates that it is unworthy to speak of
the soul-suffering of the Mediator. But of Him it is not only said
that He bore the sins of His people in His own body on the tree, but
also that He Himself cried out, "My soul is exceeding sorrowful,
even unto death." With soul and body we have sinned and in both soul
and body Christ had to sustain the wrath of God to pacify that wrath
and to open the sovereign love and mercy of God. Only thus is there
salvation in Him for lost sinners. God's people know something of
the burning of the wrath of God, from which there is no escape. They
would flee, flee from God, but there is no way out. They are subject
to condemnation. But Christ placed Himself in their stead, and in
Him they find an escape, an escape for them who come trembling as a
bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria. God's
people learn to understand that sin arouses God's wrath; every sin
makes us subject to the sentence of death, both as to body and soul.
For all those sins there is forgiveness in Him Who bore the full
wrath of God in body and soul. True conviction by the Holy Spirit
drives us out to Christ, and the lack of that conviction causes us
to seek our life outside of Christ. "He that believeth not the Son
shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him". Hence how
necessary it is to learn to know ourselves as condemnable sinners
before God, both in soul and body, so that the suffering of Christ
in soul and body might work our redemption by faith.
    Finally, there is the question, "How long has the Mediator
sustained that wrath?" "All the time that He lived on earth," says
the instructor. Hence, from the manger to His cross; in His humble
birth; in His circumcision on the eighth day; in His flight to
Egypt; in His sojourn among the Jews, during which He vexed His soul
more than Lot in Sodom; in bearing the enmity and disdain of Israel;
in the betrayal of Judah; in the denial of Peter; in all His life,
but especially near the end of His life. We think of the suffering
of His soul in Gethsemane, when His sweat became as great drops of
blood; of the inexpressible suffering on the cross, of His death
when with a loud voice He cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commend
my spirit." In the days of His flesh, from His birth to His death He
bore the burden of the wrath of God. God's people are purchased at,
O, such a great price, not with corruptible things, silver or gold,
but with the precious blood of the Son of God. Moreover, in this
suffering, all the time He lived on earth is a fountain of comfort
for God's people, that He has been tempted in all things yet without
sin so that He could help them in all things. He is the fountain
opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
They are the ransomed of the Lord upon whom the Lord will not be
wrath nor will He rebuke them. For Zion is redeemed with judgment.
It was the delight of the Father to pour out God's wrath upon
    We have already stated in refuting the Socinians who teach that
Christ in sustaining the full wrath of God must have become the
object of that wrath, that He was and remained His beloved Son, of
whom the Father Himself twice proclaimed, "This is My beloved Son in
Whom I am well pleased." This testimony the Father gave of Him in
the state of His humiliation, and thus He unlocked the
incomprehensible mystery of salvation that in Christ's bearing the
full, undivided, and eternal wrath of God, the Father took holy

delight. Oh, who would not sink away here in adoration. The Father
elected His church in eternity in order that He through the depths
of the fall in Adam might be perfectly glorified in mercy to her
eternal salvation. Mercy could only be glorified in maintaining and
executing the demand of justice, which could be done in no other way
than that the only-begotten Son of God had to bear God's wrath
against sin. In this lay the delight of the Father, glorying in the
divine attributes so that the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in
the hand of Christ.
    The church of God lies in the heart of the Father from eternity.
and the love wherewith He loved her, and loves her unchangeably is
so great that He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him for her
unto death, yea, to the death of the cross and poured God's wrath
which rested upon her over Him. Thus He made known the riches of His
glory to the vessels of mercy, which He had store prepared unto
glory. He who by faith may learn something (for who can fathom it?)
of the delight of the Father in the pouring out of His wrath upon
His beloved Son, must lose himself in adoration and amazement. Faith
appropriates Christ, but also leads God's people into the good
pleasure of the Father. The sovereign love of God fills them and
causes them to embrace Jesus as their Mediator, and to have
communion with the Father. Oh, that Abba, Father, that dear Father,
Who caused Thy only begotten Son to pass under that eternal wrath to
glorify Thy justice, so that Thy mercy might be glorified in my soul
and I might be made a vessel to honour.
    My beloved, I feel myself too poor in words to express the
secret of the Lord that is with them that fear Him, but the people
that by the ministration of the Holy Spirit are deemed worthy to
learn to know the wonders of the salvation of lost children of Adam
because of God's sovereign good pleasure, and, negating self
entirely, find their foundation in a triune God, shall understand
better than it can be expressed in words, "It is the Father's good
pleasure to give you the kingdom." That good pleasure was glorified
in maintaining God's justice when Christ bore and silenced the full
wrath of God. I will praise Thee forever because Thou hast done it.
Therefore the Lord Jesus had to be condemned to death judicially.
    The instructor speaks of this judicial condemnation when, in the
second place, he explains
why this suffering took place under Pontius Pilate.
    Pontius Pilate was the temporal judge. He was a man of the world
who neither knew nor feared God, but he was the official judge. The
Romans administered justice since they had subjugated Israel.
Neither Annas, nor Caiaphas could condemn a man to death. If they
had that power they would not have turned to Pilate. The Roman
governor administered justice and to him the Jews dragged Jesus so
that this judge could sentence Him. Even before this the Jews had
sought to kill Jesus, when they wanted to cast Him down headlong
from the brow of the hill, and wanted to stone Him. Yea, Herod
sought to kill Him as a young child in Bethlehem. But He was not to
die as an unconscious babe, nor in an insurrection. He had to be
condemned to death by a judicial sentence, by the sentence of a
judge who administered the highest, that is the Roman law. However
much Pilate perverted justice, yet his sentence was a judicial
sentence in which God's judgment was passed over Christ, Who stood
before the Judge of heaven and earth in the place of His people. No,
Christ was not condemned as a martyr, nor, as the Socinians teach,
merely as an example for men to follow, but as one who was guilty of
death, to pay for the sins of His people and to redeem Zion with
    That people also by nature were sentenced by God's judgment, and
subject to condemnation, but convicted by the Holy Spirit they are
summoned before the judgment seat of God to give an account of their
deeds. If the Lord leads them through deeper ways, and places them
before His bar, they not only lose all hope they had gleaned from
their experience of the love of God and the redemption which is in
Christ, but, laden with all their original and actual sin, they
stand utterly condemned before God. Here they have no other
expectation than to be sentenced to eternal death. Notice that in
the justification before the bar of conscience, God cuts His people
off from everything. To that bar they do not come robed with all
that God has wrought in them and with all the promises received, but
only as condemnable sinners in Adam. He who has never lost his life,
has never experienced the justification of faith in the confirmation
of the Holy Spirit. Therefore the wonder of their acquittal is so
inexpressibly great, that it is given in Christ, in Him alone, Who
was judicially condemned to death. In Him His chosen church is
acquitted and that acquittal is imputed to them judicially with the
divine sentence. They do not go of themselves to the Father with the
accepted righteousness of Christ, but the Father Who has accepted
the righteousness of Christ, acquits them and grants them a right to
eternal life, of which the Holy Spirit assures them by testifying
that God shall no more be wrath with them, nor rebuke them.
    Although innocent, Christ was condemned by Pontius Pilate the
temporal judge, in order that He might deliver His people from the
just judgment of God to which they were subject. His innocence was
not only shown when while He was standing before the Sanhedrin, the
great Jewish Counsel (no two witnesses could be found who agreed in
their accusation), but especially when He stood before Pilate, who
repeatedly declared, "I find no fault in this man." Even Judas had
to cry out, "I have betrayed innocent blood." Also the converted
thief testified of His innocence, saying, "Dost not thou fear God,
seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for
we receive the due reward of our deeds, but this man has done
nothing amiss." And the centurion glorified God, saying, "Certainly
this was a righteous man." He the righteous, was nailed to the cross
and has borne the wrath of God to deliver His guilty people from the
judgment of eternal death and to restore them into God's favour and
communion. What a clear evidence of this was given to us when at
Jesus' death the veil was rent from top to bottom. That veil
separated the holy place from the holy of holies into which nobody
might ever glance. Even when the high priest once a year went into
the holy of holies, no priest might be in the holy place and the
high priest had to close the veil behind him.
    Now behold when Christ died, the veil was rent from the top to
the bottom. It did not tear because it was old. The rent came from
above. God tore the veil. The way to the holy of holies where God
has His throne of grace has been opened because Christ being
innocent, but condemned by the temporal judge, has satisfied the
justice of God and has delivered His people from the judgment of
eternal death. He was declared guilty in their place, He bore their
guilt and sin, He became Surety for them with the Father, and had
taken upon Himself in eternity to bear their punishment and satisfy
justice. In Him Zion shall be redeemed with judgment. God's people
have deserved death, but receive everlasting life. This is true for
all those who have been taken out of the state of death and placed
in the state of life, but it is a second grace to receive the
assurance thereof, and to obtain the firm foundation that Christ
took upon Him the curse which lay upon them. In the twenty-third
Lord's Day we hope to discuss this matter some more, but notice that
in Christ, God's people are judicially acquitted, and this acquittal
of sin takes place in their soul by a judicial sentence.

    Let us in the third place consider
the benefit the crucifixion assures us.
    The crucifixion was a Roman punishment. Israel did not crucify
people alive. It did happen that the dead body of one who had
committed an abominable crime and was executed, was hanged on a
tree. By that crucifixion the curse was pronounced upon the
condemned person, as Moses spoke in Deut. 21:23, "For he that is
hanged is accursed of God." Therefore the dead might not remain all
night upon the tree. Before night the dead body had to be removed
from the cross so that the curse of the crucified one should not
remain upon the whole people. Now Christ was crucified, having
become a curse for His people (Gal. 3:13). Already we have heard
that He had to be sent to His death by a judicial sentence; moreover
He had to die the death of the cross, the accursed death, to remove
the curse of the law to which by nature we are subject, from His
people. For cursed is every one that continueth not in all things
that are written in the book of the law to do them. That curse rests
also upon God's elect, and only by His crucifixion has God taken
away that curse. Oh, that gives God's people such distress, when
they see themselves under the curse of the law. Flattering words do
not help. The soul must be delivered by disarming the law of its
curse, and by reconciling the sinner to God. To that end Christ died
on the cross, and in His eternal love He humbled Himself to the
death of the cross. He has reconciled enemies to God, removed the
curse from accursed ones. He is the Savior because He has satisfied
the justice of God perfectly. "For what the law could not do in that
it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;
that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk
not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
    Moreover, crucifixion was a painful death. Death raged against
Christ with all its power. I need not give you a minute description
of the crucifixion to convince you of the terrible pains of such a
death. The living body, already scourged, was nailed to the cross.

Did not Christ complain in the Psalms, "They pierced My hands and My
feet." Resting upon a piece of wood fastened to the cross which
increased the pain, and hanging in the hot eastern sun, the
crucified person died very slowly with terrible fevers. To hasten
their death before night fell, their bones were broken, and since
they had forfeited an honorable burial, their remains were hidden
under the ground of Golgotha. It was that cursed, painful death the
Lord Jesus died, except that His bones were not broken. He gave His
life freely and He was with the rich in His death, as we shall hear
in the next Lord's Day. He bore the sorrows of His people, and in
His pains of soul and body He bore the full wrath of God. He has,
says Isaiah, "borne our griefs." O precious Redeemer! He has borne
all our griefs, all griefs in life and death, however great they may
be; He has borne them all. Yea, He has suffered even more than His
people shall ever suffer so that He can comfort and redeem them. If
by faith they may look upon His suffering and death, they may sing
in their greatest distress,
         "He will sustain and hold me fast,
         And give me strength to bear."
    The crucifixion was also an ignominious death. The one crucified
hung naked upon the cross, an object of mockery, a castaway on
earth, unworthy of heaven. Into that ignominy the Lord Jesus was
willing to descend for those given Him by the Father, who as a group
of poor, despised sinners lay cast out in the open field, polluted
in their blood. In His crucifixion Christ took away their shame to
crown them with honour and glory. Through Him they have become a
holy nation, a peculiar people, to show forth the praises of Him who
purchased them with His blood. In the world they are a despised
group. It is Zion whom no man seeketh after. Scorn and contempt,
disdain and rejection is the portion of God's chosen ones here on
earth. This caused Paul to cry out, "I am crucified unto the world,"
that is, in the eyes of the world I am as a crucified one, utterly
condemned. With the apostle, God's people and servants experience
the same contempt. On the other hand they despise the world, the
world is crucified unto them, that is, as a crucified one. The more
they are filled with the love of God in Christ, the more they
despise the world with all that which charms the natural man. The
cursed, painful and ignominious death of the Lord has removed the
curse, the pain and the ignominy from His people, restored them into
God's favour and communion, and granted an opening for the Father's
unchanging love, of which we now sing, Psalter No. 278, st. 4.
         "Unchanging is the love of God
         From age to age the same,
         Displayed to all who do His will
         And reverence His Name."
    Let us now apply to ourselves the instruction we have
considered. We have already remarked that the suffering of Christ
was substitutionary. He subjected Himself to the judicial sentence

of crucifixion only in the stead of the elect, whose Surety He had
become. Let us despise with all our heart the doctrine of universal
redemption of which we have spoken. The church sinks away with that
abominable doctrine. In these days this doctrine not only openly,
but also secretly is working its way in. Beloved, hold fast that
Christ did not die for all men, and that for our salvation it is
absolutely necessary to be grafted into Him by the Holy Spirit, and
thus by faith be made a partaker of the fruit of His suffering and
of His judicial sentence to the death of the cross. For all men are
conceived in sin and born as children of wrath. Without the
regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit they are neither able nor
willing to return to God, to reform the depravity of their nature,
nor to dispose themselves to reformation (Canons of Dort. Chap. III
& IV, art. 3). We must be born again. God bind upon our hearts the
necessity to be reconciled with Him in Christ. No man can be saved
by the broken covenant of works. Oh, do set your heart upon the
unadulterated truth; consider God's people a happy people, love
    Especially in young people this is often lacking, and many are
cold in respect to their eternal welfare. A superficial confession
seems to be enough for many, and especially the doctrine that the
promises are for all people, causes many to rest in a fancied faith,
by which they appropriate these promises. I pray you, do not deceive
yourselves. The Lord bind you to His ordinances, and bless His Word
to lead you to a discovery of your totally lost state, so that you
will be driven to seek refuge in Him Who subjected Himself to the
cursed death on the cross in order to save condemnable sinners and
to deliver them from the curse.
    God's people learn to know this by experience. God's work does
not go on without us. Let the little ones in grace testify how the
Lord prevailed over them and all hope of being saved fell away.
Would they be able to rest in their orthodox conception of the true
doctrine? Certainly not. Should we build them up in their experience
of misery, and of the comforts they received? Is it not necessary to
show them that they cannot build upon these things? Oh, do hear what
Jesus suffered. In body and soul He bore the full wrath of God. In
Him alone can we attain peace with God by faith. Let me then,
sorrowing souls, direct you to Him. May you seek to know Him as your
Sin-bearer. Many never have stood before God's bar as an accursed
one, but acquitted for the sake of Christ, Who became a curse for
them. Whence is that lack, notwithstanding the fact that they have
seen all their salvation in Christ? They lack the cutting off of
their life. People of God, the Lord will not forsake His work. He
fulfills the desire of your heart to know God reconciled in the
judicial condemnation of your Surety. Oh, when their soul was
acquitted, how they sank away in the wonder that Christ had placed
Himself in their place before the judgment seat of His Father and
they for His sake were freed from guilt and punishment, and received
a right to everlasting life. Have you then not cried out, "I will
praise Thee forever, for Thou hast done it." They have more gladness
in their heart than when the wicked's corn and wine are increased.
The Lord make you a partaker of that joy. Not only is God's wrath
appeased, but the Father's good pleasure is shown to them, the
delight of God in the saving of His people in Christ.
    Oh, people of God, do seek with real desire to know the great
mystery that lies in God's beloved Son's bearing His wrath, so that
you may be brought back to the heart of God from which you have
withdrawn yourselves in Adam. I would urge you to do so in order
that God may be glorified and your soul find rest and peace. If
grief and suffering is your portion here, may Christ comfort you
with His grievous and cursed death, and cause you to look upon Him,
and to expect your help from Him. He shall bring forth your
righteousness as the light, and one day in the sight of all your
enemies He shall justify you on the clouds of heaven. Let your
enemies and your pretended friends tread you underfoot for a while;
the Lord revive the love among His people and especially to Him Whom
we expect unto salvation. Amen.

(continued in part 17...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: krhc1-16.txt