From Spurgeon's sermon, "SUBSTITUTION"
Oh! how did heaven wonder! how did the stars stand still with
astonishment! and how did the angels stop their songs a moment,
when for the first time, God showed how he might be just, and
yet be gracious!
Oh! I think I see heaven astonished, and silence in
the courts of God, when the Almighty said-
"Sinner, I must and will punish you on account of your sin!
But I love you; the affections of my love yearn over you.
My justice says 'smite,' but my love stops my hand, and says,
'spare, spare the sinner!' Oh! sinner, my heart has devised it--
my Son, the pure and perfect one, shall stand in your stead,
and be accounted guilty. And you, the guilty one, shall stand
in my Son's stead, and be accounted righteous!"
It would make us leap upon our feet in astonishment if we did
but understand this thoroughly - the wonderful mystery of the
transposition of Christ and the sinner.
Let me put it so plainly that every one can understand-
Christ was spotless; sinners were vile.
Christ says- "My father, treat me AS IF I were a sinner;
treat the sinner AS IF he were me. Smite me as sternly as you
please, for I will bear it, and thus the affections of your love
may overflow with grace, and yet your justice be unsullied,
for the sinner is no sinner now."
God is inflexibly severe, and never pardons sin
without punishment; yet he is a God of illimitable love.