The Transferred Burden
‘If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live ?’—Ezrk. xxxiii. 10.
IF they are upon us, how can we live? For ‘mine iniquities are . . . as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me.’1 ‘The burden of them is intolerable.’ It is not the sense, but the burden itself which cannot be borne; no one could bear his own iniquities without being sunk lower and lower, and at last to hell by it. It is only not felt when the very elasticity of sin within us keeps us from feeling the weight of the sin upon us; as the very air in our bodies prevents our feeling the otherwise crushing weight of the atmosphere with its tons upon every inch. Or (thank God for the alternative !) when the whole burden, our absolutely intolerable burden, is known to be laid upon another.
If this burden is upon us, we cannot walk in newness of life,2 we cannot run in the way of His commandments,3 we cannot arise and shine.4 The
1 Ps. xxxviii. 4. 2 Rom. vi. 4.
‘ Ps. cxix. 32. 4 Isa. Ix. I.
burden is ‘ too heavy’ for these manifestations of life; we do but ‘ pine away’ in our sins, whether consciously or unconsciously; and the sentence is upon us, They shall ‘consume away for their iniquity.’1 For there is no curse so terrible and farreaching as, ‘He shall bear his iniquity.”
‘If!’ but is it? It is written, ‘The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’3 On Jesus it has been laid, on Him who alone could bear the intolerable burden ;* therefore it is not upon His justified ones who accept Him as their sinbearer.
This burden is never divided. He took it all, every item, every detail of it. The scapegoat bore ‘upon him all their iniquities.’5 Think of every separate sin, each that has weighed down our conscience, every separate transgression of our most careless moments, added to the unknown weight of all the unknown or forgotten sins of our whole life, and all this laid on Jesus instead of upon us! The sins of a day are often a burden indeed, but we are told in another type, ‘I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity.’6 Think of the years of our iniquity being upon Jesus! Multiply this by the unknown but equally intolerable sin-burdens of all His people, and remember that ‘ the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,n and tfcen think what the strength of His enduring love must be which thus bare ‘ the sins of many. ‘8
Think of His bearing them ‘in His own body on the tree,’9 in that flesh and blood of which He
1 Ezek. iv. 17. 2 Lev. v. 17. 3 Jsa. liii. 6.
4 Isa. liii. II. 6 Lev, xvi. 22. * Ezek. iv. 5.
7 Isa. liii. 6. 8 Heb. ix. 28. » i Pet. ii. 24.
took part, with all its sensitiveness and weakness, because He would be made like unto His brethren in all things ;1 and that this bearing was entirely suffering (for He ‘suffered for sins ‘2), and praise the love which has not left’ our sins . . . upon us.’
We cannot lay them upon Him; Jehovah has done that already, and ‘His work is perfect:” ‘nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it.’ * ‘The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all; ‘5 ‘He hath done this.’6 We have only to look up and see our Great High Priest bearing the iniquity of our holy things for us;7 to put it still more simply, we have only to believe that the Lord has really done what He says He has done.8
Can we doubt the Father’s love to us, when we think what it must have cost Him to lay that crushing weight on His dear Son, sparing Him not,* that He might spare us instead ?10 The Son accepted the awful burden, but it was the Father’s hand which ‘laid it upon’ Him.11 It was death to Him, that there might be life to us. For ‘if our transgressions and our sins’ were upon us, there could be no answer to the question, ‘How should we then live?’ for we could only ‘pine away in them’ and die. ‘Ye shall die in your sins.’12 But being ‘laid on Him,’13 how shall we now live? ‘He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.’1* Unto Him,15 by Him,1* in Him,1 for Him, now; and with Him,* where He is, for ever and ever!
1 Heb. ii. 14, 17. 2 i Pet. iii. 18. 3 Deut. xxxii. 4.
?* Eccles. iii. 14. 5 Tsa. liii. 6. 6 Pg xxii. 31.
“^ Ex. xxviii. 38. 8 Isa. j^liv. 23. ^ Rom. viii. 32.
10 Mai. iii. 17. u i Pet. ii. 24. 12 John viii. 24.
^3 2 Cor. V. 15. w Rom. xiv. 8. i* Gal. ii. 20. 16 Phil. i. 21
On Thee, the Lord
My mighty sins hath laid;
And against Thee Jehovah’s sword
Flashed forth its fiery blade.
The stroke of justice fell on Thee,
That it might never fall on me.