Thus Christ’s complete victory over the evil power or principle. His redemption (1), is the obverse of His regenerating and sanctifying effect on us (3). To deliver us from evil is not simply to take us out of hell, it is to take us into heaven. Christ does not simply pluck us out of the hands of Satan, He does so by giving us to God. He does not simply release us from slavery, He commits us in the act to a positive liberty. He does not simply cancel the charge against us in court and bid us walk out of jail, He meets us at the prison-door and puts us in a new way of life. His forgiveness is not simply retrospective, it is, in the same act, the gift of eternal life. Our evil is overcome by good. We are won from sin by an act which at the same time makes us not simply innocent but holy.

So also we must see that the third – our regenerate sanctification – is the condition of the second – the complete satisfaction of God. The only complete satisfaction that can be made to a holy God from the sinful side is the sinner’s restored obedience, his return to holiness. Now, the cheap and superficial way of putting that is to say that penitent amendment is the only satisfaction we can give to a grieved God. But future amendment does no more than the duty of the future hour. And rivers of water from our eyes will not wash out the guilt of the past; nor will they undo the evil we have set afloat in souls far gone beyond our reach or control. Yet it remains true that nothing can atone to holiness but holiness. And it must be the holiness of the sinner. It must also be an obedience of the kind required by the whole situation, moral and spiritual. It must be the obedience not of improvement but of reconciliation, not of laborious amendment but of regenerated faith. But faith in what? Faith in One who alone contains in Himself a holy obedience so perfect as to meet the holiness of God on the scale of our sin; but One also who, by the same obedience, has the power to reproduce in man the kind of holiness which alone can please God after all that has come and gone. No suffering can atone. No pain can satisfy a holy God; no death, as death. Yet satisfied He must be; else the freedom of grace becomes but an arbitrary and non-holy thing, a thing instinctive to the divine nature instead of a victory of the divine will. Also consider this: much of your difficulty in connection with satisfaction will yield if you keep in view that what we are concerned with is not the satisfaction of a demand but of a Person, not of a claim by God but of the heart and soul of God. I know it is easier to discuss and adjust statutory claims than to grasp the manifold action of a living and eternal Person. So I am afraid I must be very theological for a moment and tax you accordingly. The chief reason why so many hate theology is because it taxes; and there is nothing we shrink from like spiritual toil. But let the choice and earnest spirit consider this.

The essence of holiness is God’s perfect satisfaction, His perfect repose in eternal fullness. And the Christian plea is that this is Self-satisfaction, in the sublimest sense of the phrase. For us, mostly, the word has an ignoble sense. But that is only because what we meet most is an exclusive self-satisfaction, an individual self-sufficiency. But when we have an entirely inclusive self-satisfaction, an eternal and compete adequate to Himself in the most critical situation, we have the whole native fullness of God blessed for ever, with men beneath the shadow of His wing. The perpetual act of holy God is a perpetual satisfaction or accord between His nature and His will at every juncture, and a satisfaction from His own infinite holy resource – a Self-satisfaction. God is always the author of His own satisfaction; that is to say, His holiness is always equal to its own atonement. God in the Son is the perfect satisfaction and joy of God in the Father; and God holy in the sinful Cross is the perfect satisfaction of God the holy in the sinless heavens. Satisfaction there must be in God’s own nature, whether under the conditions of perfect obedience in a harmonious world, or under those of obedience jarred and a world distraught. God has power to secure that the perfect holy obedience of heaven shall not be eternally destroyed by the disobedience of earth. He has power to satisfy Himself, and maintain His holiness infrangible, even in face of a world in arms. But satisfied He must be. For an unsatisfied God, a dissatisfied God, would be no God. He would reflect the distraction of the world, and so succumb to it.