The holy demand of God is always couched in a false form when it is made to call for the expiation of an equivalent suffering instead of a confession of God’s holiness, adequately holy, from the side of the sinner under judgment. Heaven and its happiness are wrongly conceived as immunity from judgment instead of joy in the consummation of judgment in righteousness and holiness for ever. It was not clear to the old view that the very nature of justification was sanctification, that the Justifier was so only as One who always perfectly sanctified Himself, and was organic, in the act, with the race in its new life. It appeared to our fathers as if sanctification were only a facultative sequel of justification.

Whatever we mean, therefore, by substitution, it is something more than merely vicarious. It is certainly not something done over our heads. It is representative. Yet not by the will of man choosing Christ, but by the will of Christ choosing man, and freely identifying Himself with man. It is a matter not so much of substitutionary expiation (which, as these words are commonly understood, leaves us too little committed), but of solidary confession and praise from amid the judgment fires, where the Son of God walks with the creative sympathy of the holy among the sinful sons of men. It is not as if Christ were our changeling, as if His lot and ours were transposed on the Cross. But He was our self-appointed plenipotentiary, and what He engaged for we must implement by an organic spiritual entail. So far His work was as objective as our creation, as independent of our leave; and it committed us without reference to our consent but to our need. When He died for all, all implicitly died. The great transaction was done for the race. But objective as it was, gift as it was to us from pure grace, it was so in its initiative rather than in its method. Essentially it was a new creation of us, but practically the new creator was in us, and the word was flesh. In such a way that He and His are one by faith in a solidarity corresponding from beneath, mutatis mutandis, to the solidarity between Father and Son from above.

He and His form an organic spiritual unity – one will in two parties or persons. Mere substitution is mere exchange of parts, in which one is excluded and immune. But the work of Christ is inclusive and committal, by our continuity of life with Him through the spirit in a Church. * The suffering of Christ is but the under and seamy side of that solidarity whose upper side is the beauty of our corporate holiness in Him. The same law, the same act, which laid our sin on Him lays His holiness on us, and absorbs us into His satisfaction to God. In the same act God made Him to be sin for us and made us righteousness in Him. In the empirical sense we are no more made righteous than He was made sinful. But we are as closely incorporated in the holy world as He was in the sinful. And our holiness is not ours, in the same sense as our sin was not His – in the sense of initiative and individual responsibility for it.