The Cross of Christ in the Divine Plan of Distributive Justice

If our own hearts condemn it, we shall be ready to admit, without complaint, that God also condemns it.  And what can we say against God in the matter?  What wrong has he done?  His distributive justice does no wrong in treating the unholy according to their character.  If he has done any wrong, it must relate to the department of public justice, which, as formerly explained, seeks the greatest good, and is the same as universal benevolence.  Now, who will say that God’s plan will not produce the greatest good?  Who is wiser and better than God, to teach him a preferable way?  When Satan gained his conquest over our first parents, God could have confined him at once in the pit, and inflicted on him the full torment yet in store for him; and he might have annihilated the whole race of man in the original pair.  This would have terminated the difficulty by an act of power; but who will affirm that it would have been wisest or best?  God would have appeared disappointed and defeated.  Distributive justice would have appeared relieved rather than developed.  Satan triumphed by artifice, and God has chosen to defeat him by the counsel of his wisdom.  Satan exalted himself to dominion over the world; God chose to overcome him, not by power, but by humiliation.  Satan gained his success by means of the first Adam; God, in the second Adam, bruised the serpent’s head.  Satan, by his success, gained the power of death; God, by death, the death of Jesus Christ, has destroyed him and his power.  Who will dare affirm that God’s way is not best?  It becomes us to feel assured, whatever darkness may yet remain on this subject, that God would not have given up his Son to free us from condemnation, if that condemnation had not been just; and that he would not have made so great a gift, so costly a sacrifice, if the scheme had not been worthy of his infinite wisdom; or if some other, by which the sacrifice might have been spared, would have been preferable.

Manual of Theology, pp. 161-62, by John L. Dagg

The passage is framed within the context of the properness of distributive justice, that is, that each man’s depravity, originating in Adam, is nevertheless our own, and thus, “We should feel that our depravity is our own, however we came by it.”  Now God’s just condemnation against poor, depraved sinners finds resolution in the divine wisdom of the cross of Jesus Christ.  Sinner, look to Christ, for He is full of salvation.  Dear Christian, endeavor and enterprise to make our Savior known, for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Rom 8:1.  God be praised that all men, sinners that we are, may find life in Christ alone, as God has purposed and worked it.

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