De Moor on God's Essential Vindicatory Righteousness: The Satisfaction of Christ, Part 5



But the Argument sought hence, which of itself appears to be quite trifling, will be strengthened (as I see it), when a consideration will have been added (so that I might now indeed dismiss other things that speak against the consummate Love of God the Father in giving the Son, and of Christ in offering Himself, John 3:16; 15:13; Romans 5:7, 8; 8:32; 1 John 3:16; etc.; and that appear to be more than a little enervated by the hypothesis of the hypothetical Necessity of Satisfaction) of those passages in which the Necessity of the Sufferings and Death of Christ is declared, and this is fetched from the Divine Comeliness and Righteousness. Those are, Luke 24:26, οὐχὶ ταῦτα ἔδει παθεῖν τὸν Χριστόν, καὶ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ;, ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?, where it is said that it was requisite, it was necessary, that Christ suffer. But why was this necessary? Because the Prophets had foretold it. I acknowledge that hence the παθήματα/sufferings of the Savior were also necessary on account of the Veracity of God, by which He was not able not to fulfill what He had predicted or promised. But a higher reason for this Necessity, which had urged God to those things to be foretold, was to be sought above all in His Righteousness: hence the most illustrious MARCKIUS in his Historia Exaltationis Jesu Christi, book I, chapter X, § 15, Jesus also impresses that this (suffering) was necessary or fitting. In this there is no regard to any coaction, which finds no place in Messiah as the altogether compliant and righteous Servant of God, but to the event, certain, advantageous, and necessary for the good of His elect people; flowing, indeed, entirely from the eternal and altogether immutable Decree of God, comparing Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; 1 Peter 1:20; etc., but also (note well) from His Holiness and the Vindicatory Righteousness connected to this, which was not admitting the salvation of sinners without the exercise and demonstration of it against their Surety, comparing Hebrews 9:22; Romans 3:25, 26; etc. But here it is principally drawn from Prophecies agreeing with this Righteousness and Decree, etc. And so, what the Spirit delivers here more implicitly, becomes clearer from a comparison of the passage in Hebrews 2:10, in which the cause of the Suffering of Christ is fetched from the Propriety of God; thus Paul writes, ἔπρεπε γὰρ αὐτῷ, δι᾽ ὃν τὰ πάντα, καὶ δι᾽ οὗ τὰ πάντα, πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι, for it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. The Apostle in the preceding verse had taught that the Lord Jesus by the grace of God was given as a Mediator for us and hence met death in our place. But the Hebrews, to whom the cross of Christ was a stumbling-block,[1] were able to object: was not God able to save us in some other way, more suitable than the death of His own Son? He now anticipates this objection in verse 10 by saying: It was becoming to God, by sufferings to make the Author and Originator of Salvation perfect, the same Christ, who τελειωθεὶς ἐγένετο τοῖς ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ πᾶσιν αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰωνίου, being made perfect, became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him, Hebrews 5:9, so that He might obtain the right and the power of bringing many sons unto glory; as in consideration of the undertaken suretyship He had already brough many there, comparing Job 33:23, 24; etc. (in which manner CHRYSOSTOM, Homily IV in Epistola ad Hebræos, appears most commodiously to refer the leading of many sons to Salvation, not to God the Father, by whom and because of whom are all things; but to the Son, τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας, the captain of the salvation, of the Elect). This is expressed with an elegant verb, πρέπει, it is seemly, it is fitting, it agrees, it is suitable; thus ὃ ἐλευθέροις πρέπει, what is fitting, is suitable, for free men; τὰ Θεοῖς πρέποντα, what things befit the Gods, in PLATO: thus the SYRIAC, from the Hebrew root יאה (or perhaps rather יהה), whence the divine name יָהּ/Jah is commonly derived. And, that this was indeed fitting for God, for the illustration of His Glory, the Apostle insinuates, describing Him by that, δι᾽ ὃν τὰ πάντα, etc., by whom are all things, etc.; namely, the glory both of His Mercy, and especially of His Righteousness and Holiness. But, what thus befits God, that is at the same time necessary, I appear to myself to be able boldly to affirm; since God is not able not to do that which tends as much as possible to the illustration of His Glory: and, if it be altogether fitting for God to require Satisfaction to His Justice, it will be less fitting for God not to do that; and, what is less fitting for God will be on that account unbecoming to God, because it is not agreeable to that consummately perfect Being to do such things as are less fitting. Compare what things the most illustrious COCCEIUS said on this passage, where among other things you will find these: It became God, that is, it was consonant with God’s virtues, which He was neither will not able (note well) to conceal and to deny by concealing. Therefore, this bringing to perfection was necessary, because without it salvation was not able to be accomplished. For God is not able to act in any other way than fittingly.

[1] 1 Corinthians 1:23.

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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