The Essential Conditions Of True And Proper Suretyship Or Substitution -- By: John M. Armour

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 11:2 (Summer 1968)
Article: The Essential Conditions Of True And Proper Suretyship Or Substitution
Author: John M. Armour

The Essential Conditions Of True And Proper Suretyship Or Substitution

John M. Armour

Careful study of the conditions or requirements common to all suretyship or substitution cannot fail to bring clearly into view the close analogy between the suretyship of Christ and that which has been familiar among men in the entire history of our race, as also to show that this is a normal provision of law which has been wondrously, variously, continuously exemplified, leaving no room to doubt that God designed in this way to foreshadow the one transcendent instance and exemplification of suretyship which was determined from eternity and of which all instances of suretyship were designedly typical.

1. The Surety Or Substitute Must Be Of The Same Nature.

There has been no instance of substitution or suretyship in the whole range of human history in which this was not the case. The idea of any being lower than man being admitted as his substitute is one that must be instantly and categorically dismissed without waiting to give any reason for such dismissal.

It may not be so evident at first that no being of higher order than man can possibly be his substitute. We can patiently and even hopefully look in this direction as we cannot in the other. Yet for the same reason that none beneath us can be a real surety or substitute, viz., because not of our nature, it is quite evident none above us can be.

The obvious and all-sufficient reason which underlies the one already referred to is that the surety, or substitute, must become identified with those in whose behalf he acts. Oneness of nature is therefore necessary for this union. Thus beings of superior nature are as effectually debarred from joining themselves to us, and identifying themselves with us, and assuming our obligations to law, as those of inferior nature. This seems quite obvious from the very nature of suretyship and apart from the profoundly impressive lesson taught us by the fact that our great substitute who was made the “surety of the better testament” behooved to assume our nature.

Since suretyship is provided for in the nature of law, and yet suretyship is necessarily limited and confined to persons in the

same nature with us, the great question on which hinged the hope of all the millions of our bankrupt race was simply the question: Shall there be “raised up a Strong One from among the people,” one in our nature to take our place and become answerable for all our obligations to the law of God?

God’s revealed way of salvation is the glorious, complete, all-satisfying answer to this momentous question. “The Word was made flesh” (

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()