“Inquiry: What good is it to me that Christ is free from guilt?
Answer: Christ is offered to you as your Saviour.
There is perfect obedience in Christ, because He hath gone to the Father, and we see Him no more.
When He came to this world, He came not only to suffer, but to do— not only to be a dying Saviour, but also a doing Saviour— not only to suffer the curse which the first Adam had brought upon the world, but to render the obedience which the first Adam had left undone.
From the cradle to the cross He obeyed the will of God from the heart.
When He came into the world, His word was: “Lo! I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O God; yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)
When He was in the midst of His obedience, still He did not change His mind. He says: “I have meat to eat that ye know not of: my meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:32)
And when He was going out of the world, still His word was: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” (John 17:4)
So that it is true what an apostle says; that He was “obedient even unto death.” The whole law is summed up in these two commands—that we love God and our neighbor. Christ did both.
(1.) He loved God perfectly, as God says in Psalm 91:14:“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high.”
(2.) He loved His neighbor as Himself. It was out of love to men that he came into the world at all; and everything he did and everything he suffered in the world, was out of love to his neighbor.
It was out of love to men that he performed the greatest part of his obedience, namely, the laying down his life. This was the principal errand upon which he came into the world.
This was the most dreadful and difficult command which God laid upon him, and yet he obeyed. But a short while before he was betrayed, God gave him an awful view of his coming wrath, in the garden of Gethsemane.
He set down the cup before him, and showed that it was a cup without any mixture of mercy in it; and yet Christ obeyed: his human nature shrank back from it, and he prayed: “If it be possible let this cup pass from me;” but he did not waver one moment from complete obedience for he adds: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
Now this is the obedience of Christ, and we know that it is perfect.
(1.) Because he was the Son of God, and all that he did must be perfect.
(2.) Because he is gone to the Father. He is ascended into the presence of God. And how did the Father receive him?
We are told in the 110th Psalm. A door is opened in heaven, and we are suffered to hear the very words with which God receives his Son: “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies my footstool.” (Psalm 110)
So, then, God did not send him back, as one who had not obeyed perfectly enough. God did not forbid him his presence, as one unworthy to be accepted; but God highly exalted him—looked upon him as worthy of much honor—worthy of a seat on the throne at his right hand.
Oh! how plain that Christ is accepted with the Father! how plain that his righteousness is most lovely and all divine in the sight of God the Father.
Hearken, then, trembling sinner! this righteousness is offered to you.
It was wrought just for sinners like you, and for none else; it is for no other use but just to cover naked sinners. This is the clothing of wrought gold and the raiment of needlework. This is the wedding-garment—the fine linen, white and clean.
Oh! put ye on the Lord Jesus. Why should you refuse your own mercies?
Become one with Christ, by believing, and you are not only pardoned, as I showed before, but you are righteous in the sight of God; not only shall you never be cast into hell, but you shall surely be carried into heaven—as surely as Christ is now there.
Become one with Christ, and even this moment you are lovely in the sight of God—comely, through his comeliness put upon you. You are as much accepted in the sight of God as is the Son of Man, the Beloved, that sits on his right hand.
The Spirit shall be given you, as surely as he is given to Christ. He is given to Christ as the oil of gladness, wherewith he is anointed above his fellows. You are as sure to wear a crown of glory, as that Christ is now wearing his.
You are as sure to sit upon Christ’s throne, as that Christ is now sitting on his Father’s throne. O weep for joy, happy believer!
O sing for gladness of heart: “For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans 8:38:39)”
–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, “Sermon LXXI,” The Works of the Late Rev. Robert Murray McCheyne, vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter, 1847), 2: 418–419.