Safety, fullness and sweet refreshment in Christ
But yet if the distressed trembling soul who is afraid of justice, would fly to Christ, He would be a safe hiding-place. Justice and the threatening of the law will have their course as fully, while the trembling soul is safe and untouched – just as if he or she had borne eternal justice. Christ bears the stroke of justice, and the curse of the law falls fully upon Him; Christ bears all that vengeance that belongs to the sin that has been committed by that person, and there is no need of its being borne twice over.
Christ’s temporal sufferings, by reason of the infinite dignity of His person, are fully equivalent to the eternal sufferings of a mere creature. And then His sufferings answer for the one who flees to Him as well as if they were that sinner’s own, for indeed they are his or her own by virtue of the union between Christ and them. Christ has made himself one with them; He is the head, and they are the members. Therefore, if Christ suffers for the believer, there is no need of his suffering; and what needs she to be afraid? Their safety is not only consistent with absolute justice, but it is consistent with the tenor of the law. The law leaves fair room for such a thing as the answering of a surety.
If the end of punishment in maintaining the authority of the law and the majesty of the government is fully secured by the sufferings of Christ as surety, then the law of God, according to the true and fair interpretation of it, has its course as much in the sufferings of Christ, as it would have in the sinner’s own sufferings. The threatening, “thou shalt surely die,” is properly fulfilled in the death of Christ, as it is fairly to be understood.
Therefore if those who are afraid will go to Jesus Christ, they need to fear nothing from the threatening of the law. The threatening of the law has nothing to do with them!
Jonathan Edwards, “Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ,” a sermon from Isaiah 32:2.