II. The reasons why Christ submitted to it.
A. With respect to Adam, that the parallel between the first and second Adam might be more exact. …
Manton draws out a series of parallels here:
And as in other respects, so in this;
in the same way we were destroyed by the first Adam, in the same way we were restored by the second.
Christ recovereth and winneth that which Adam lost.
Our happiness was lost by the first Adam being overcome by the tempter;
so it must be recovered by the second Adam, the tempter being overcome by him.
He that did conquer must first be conquered, that sinners might be rescued from the captivity wherein he held them captive.
The first Adam, being assaulted quickly after his entrance into paradise, was overcome; and therefore must the second Adam overcome him as soon as he entered upon his office, and that in a conflict hand-to-hand, in that nature that was foiled.
The devil must lose his prisoners in the same way that he caught them. Christ must do what Adam could not do.
The victory is gotten by a public person in our nature, before it can be gotten by each individual in his own person, for so it was lost.
Adam lost the day before he had any offspring, so Christ winneth it in his own person before he doth solemnly begin to preach the gospel and call disciples; and therefore here was the great overthrow of the adversary.
2. In regard of Satan, who by his conquest got a twofold power over man by tempting, he got an interest in his heart to lead him ‘captive at his will’ and pleasure, 2 Tim. 2:26; and he was made God’s executioner, he got a power to punish him: Heb. 2:14, ‘That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.’
The note on Hebrews 2:14 is interesting, because it is a passage which receives strikingly little comment by preachers or commentators.
Therefore the Son of God, who interposed on our behalf, and undertook the rescue of sinners, did assume the nature of man, that he might conquer Satan in the nature that was conquered, and also offer himself as a sacrifice in the same nature for the demonstration of the justice of God.
This argument has affinity with Anslem:
The argument is briefly this: man must render satisfaction, and he cannot do it; but only man ought to, and only God can; hence, God became man in Jesus Christ. “This cannot be done except by a complete satisfaction for sin, which no sinner can make” (ii. 4, 3). “There is no one therefore who can make this satisfaction except God Himself.… But no one ought to make it except man; otherwise man does not make satisfaction.… If, therefore, as is evident, it is needful that that heavenly state be perfected from among men, and this cannot be unless the above-mentioned satisfaction be made, which no one can make except God, and no one ought to make except man; it is necessary that a God-man make it” (ii. 6, 4 and 5). Christ is God-man, not by conversion of the Divine nature into the human, nor by the blending of the two natures into a tertium quid, but by the co-existence of the two natures in one person (ii. 7). He must be of the race of Adam, in order to make satisfaction for it (ii. 8). Being sinless, He did not need to die (ii. 10). “But there is nothing more severe and arduous that a man can suffer for the honour of God of his own accord, and not as a matter of debt, than death. And a man can in no way more entirely give himself up to God, than when he delivers himself up to death for His honour” (ii. 11, 21). Christ’s death was therefore voluntary, and herein consisted its supreme value: His merits are infinite, hence superabundant and available for man’s rescue. It is then shown “how His death outweighs the number and greatness of all sins” (ii. 14, 1). The merit of His death is derived from the uniqueness of His personality; “because a sin which is committed against His person surpasses beyond comparison all those which can be conceived of apart from His person” (ii. 14, 7). “The life of this Man was so exalted and so precious, that it may suffice to pay what is due for the sins of the whole world, and infinitely more” (ii. 17, 40).
George Cadwalader Foley, Anselm’s Theory of the Atonement: The Bohlen Lectures, 1908 (London; Bombay; Calcutta; New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), 129–130.
Manton then draws an interesting observation concerning Christ as an example. There is a school which reads all of Christ’s work as solely exemplary. But Manton here states example then merit:
First, Christ must overcome by obedience, tried to the uttermost by temptations; and then he must also overcome by suffering. By overcoming temptations, he doth overcome Satan as a tempter; and by death he overcame him as a tormentor, or as the prince of death, who had the power of executing God’s sentence.
So that you see before he overcame him by merit, he overcame him by example, and was an instance of a tempted man before he was an instance of a persecuted man, or one that came to make satisfaction to God’s justice.
And how that example can act as a comfort to us: We can trust Jesus:
C. With respect to the saints, who are in their passage to heaven to be exposed to great difficulties and trials. Now that they might have comfort and hope in their Redeemer, and come to him boldly as one touched with a feeling of their infirmities, he himself submitted to be tempted. [Heb. 2:18, 4:15] …..
Christ hath experienced how strong the assailant is, how feeble our nature is, how hard a matter it is to withstand when we are so sorely assaulted. His own experience of sufferings and temptations in himself doth entender his heart, and make him fit for sympathy with us, and begets a tender compassion towards the miseries and frailties of his members.
This also has a hint of Anselm in it: The value of Christ’s obedience was increased because it was given in the face of temptation:
4. With respect to Christ himself, that he might be an exact pattern of obedience to God. The obedience is little worth, which is carried on in an even tenor, when we have no temptation to the contrary, … Now Christ was to be more eminent than all the holy ones of God, and therefore, that he might give an evidence of his piety, constancy, and trust in God, it was thought fit some trial should be made of him, that he might by example teach us what reason we have to hold to God against the strongest temptations.