Archive for the ‘The Distinction Between Equivalency and Identity’ Category


It is not necessary
that Christ should
undergo precisely
the same punishment
which the damned
shall suffer.

XV. I know not whether that stubbornness of style wherein they delight in explaining the sufferings of Christ, arises from this, that they think he was so substituted for sinners that he behooved to undergo precisely the same punishment, which was otherwise due to our sins, and which the damned shall suffer in their own persons. Which opinion Owen defends at large in his Prolegomena to the Hebrews, vol. 2. page 80, &c. I profess truly that I agree with those Divines, who believe that the Father demanded from the Son a sufficient ransom indeed, and worthy of his injured majesty; yet so, that all clemency was not excluded, nor was every thing found in Christ’s sufferings, which shall be found in the most righteous punishment of the reprobates. For from his untainted holiness, from the covenant between him and the Father, finally, from the dignity of his Divine person, some things are to be observed in his sufferings, which have no place in the eternal misery of the damned.

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I might here add, that the Law being relaxed, to put in the name of a surety, whose payment was refusable; hereupon the solution being not in this respect the same in obligation, (for sum alius solvit, aliud solvitur and so being not solutio ejusdem, but tantidem, the discharge doth not immediately follow; especially seeing it was neither the will of God, nor of Christ, that an immediate discharge should be given, which appears by Scripture strongly by a negative argument thus, There is no Scripture can be produced from whence, without manifest injury to the Holy Ghost, this can be drawn by any tolerable consequence, that by virtue of Christ’s death all the Elect are ipso facto invested with Christ’s righteousness, and are actually justified without the intervention of faith; nay, the Scriptures expressly threatening unbelievers with damnation, and limiting salvation to Believers, do evidently declare the contrary. Neither let any reject this argument drawn from the Scripture negatively; for although this argument be infirm in matters of less consequence, yet in fundamentals it is of great force; such as this is, by what means this righteousness of Christ shall be applied to justification; therefore in such truths as concern our salvation, this is of main importance, it is not written, therefore it is not to be believed. Indeed if Christ had merited this absolutely, that we should be justified whether we believe, or not believe, the matter had been otherwise.

Thomas Warren, Unbelievers No Subjects of Justification, Nor of Mystical Union to Christ (London: Printed by E. T. for John Browne at the sign of the Acron in Pauls Church-yard, 1654), 17.

[Credit to Tony for the find]


Here it may be queried, whether the Lord Jesus Christ underwent the idem, the very self-same punishment that we should have undergone? or only the tantundem, that which did amount, and was equivalent thereunto? That in different respects, both may be affirmed. The punishment which Christ endured, if it be considered in its substance, kind, or nature, so ‘twas the same with that the sinner himself should have undergone, but if it be considered with respect to certain circumstances, adjuncts, or accidents, which attend that punishment, (as inflicted upon the sinner) so ‘twas but equivalent and not the same. The punishment due to the sinner was death, the curse of the law (upon the breach of the first covenant), now this Christ underwent, “For he was made a curse for us,” Gal. iii. 13. The adjuncts attending this death were the eternity of it, desperation going along with it, &c., these Christ was freed from (the dignity of his person supplying the former, the sanctity of his person, securing him against the latter), therefore in reference unto these (and to some other things already mentioned) it was but the tantundem, not the idem. But suppose there had been nothing of sameness, nothing beyond equivalency in what Christ suffered, yet that was enough, for it was not required that Christ should suffer every kind of curse, which is the effect of sin, but in the general accursed death. Look as in his fulfilling of the law for us, it was not necessary that he should perform every holy duty that the laws requires, for he could not perform that obedience which magistrates, or married persons are bound to: it’s enough that there was a fulfilling of it in the general for us. So here it is not necessary that Jesus Christ should undergo in every respect the same punishment which the offender himself was liable unto, but if he shall undergo so much as may satisfy the law’s threatenings, and vindicate the law-giver in his truth, justice, and righteous government, that was enough. Now that was unquestionably done by Christ.  

Thomas Brooks, A Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures (Printed for Robert Smith, at the Sign of the Gilt-Bible, near the head of the Salt-mercat, 1763), 148-149.


1. The price is redemptive from the guilt of sin and wrath of God; and this in a more immediate way by itself. Now, albeit the entire price concur herein, yet because as to this there is a special reluctancy in some parts thereof, I shall only insist on give things, viz.,

1. Our sins were laid upon Christ.

2. He suffered the same punishment, for the main, that was due to these sins. . . .

There are two essentials of punishment of hell, poena sensus, et poena damni, and he suffered both: when the fire of God’s wrath melted into a bloody sweat, where was poena sensus; and when the great eclipse of God’s favor made him cry out of forsaking, there was poena damni. Christ suffered the same punishment for the main, which we should have suffered; the chief change was in the person, the just suffering for the unjust, the surety for the sinner. But you would say, Christ did not suffer the same punishment, for he neither suffered eternal death, not yet the worm of conscience.

As to that of eternal death, I answer by two distinctions.

1. In eternal Death we must distinguish between the immensity of the sufferings and the Duration; the Immensity is essential to it, but the duration is but mora in esse and accidental. Christ suffered eternal Death as to the immensity of his sufferings, though not as to the duration of them; he paid down the idem, as to essentials of punishment, and the tantundem as to the accidentals; what was wanting in the duration of his sufferings, was more than compensated by the dignity of his person: for it was far more for God to suffer for a moment, than for all creatures to suffer to eternity.

2. We must distinguish between punishment as it stands in the law absolutely, and punishment as it stands there in relation to a finite creature, which cannot at once admit a punishment commensurate to its offense; and so must ever suffer, because it cannot satisfy to eternity. Punishment as it stands in the law absolutely, is death punishment as it stands there in relation to a finite creature, is eternal death: the first was really suffered by Christ, and the second could not be justly exacted of him; for he paid down the whole sum of sufferings al at once, and so swallowed up death in victory.

Edward Polhill, The Divine Will Considered in its Eternal Decrees in, The Works of Edward Polhill (Morgan PA.: Soli Deo Gloria Publications, 1988), 153 and 154. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; and underlining mine.]

[Credit to Tony for the find.]

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Once more, A debt may be charged upon the principal debtor, after a Surety’s satisfying the obligation, in case the Surety’s name was not at first in the same obligation, but is admitted afterward by voluntary contract, covenant, and consent. For, there the covenant is the only determining rule of all matters concerning the discharge. Why are they not sacrificed and glorified immediately after their coming into the world (these being effects of the death of Christ) but because the covenant provides otherwise.

In the name of Jesus Christ (as as surety) had been originally or at first in Adam’s obligation, then more might have been said for an immediate discharge upon his payment of our debt, and suffering death, but this was not the case, for if it had, then his suffering death had been necessary and unavoidable, though no New Testament had ever been made, yea, the making of it had been unnecessary, vain and useless.

Whereas it was extremely necessary, there could have been no transferring of our guilt to him, without it, and his submitting to death was by voluntary contract, Joh. 10: 17,18. And his name not being at first in our bond, hence, his payment was a refusable transaction.

It was by an act of free grace that he was admitted to undertake for us, and his payment accepted in our stead, and so though he paid the idem, the same that we did owe, yet there was nothing contrary to justice or equity, if the Father added terms than before, and so no need that we should be ipso facto discharged. And the law passes sentence not only upon sinful actions, but upon the persons for them, Gen. 2: 17, Gal. 3:22. And, therefore, no justification, till delivered out of this state, which is at union with Jesus Christ and faith.

Samuel Petto, The Difference Between the Old and New Covenant Stated and Explained (London: Printed for Eliz. Calvert, at the Sign of the Black Spred-Eagle at the West end of St. Pauls, 1674), 282- 284. [Some minor reformatting; italics original; some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

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