Monday, April 24, 2023

The Great Substitution – Sin and Salvation

 Monday, April 24, 2023  

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

The Great Substitution – Sin and Salvation

Paul wrote in Romans that we are all sinners, and not only are we all sinners, we are all equal as sinners before God. It doesn’t matter to what extent one person has sinned over another. We are born sinners and the only thing that will ever change that is Jesus Christ.

Sin enters our world for the first time in the Garden of Eden. God had designed a perfect world for Adam and Eve, and they were in harmony with Him. God gave them all they could need and want, but He also give them a restriction. He forbids them to eat from one tree – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He did this for their own good because this tree would give them a knowledge that only God Himself possessed. That knowledge is omniscience. God placed this restriction on them because if they knew everything God knew, they would not need Him. God made us to depend on Him for life and wisdom. Satan placed doubt in Eve’s mind about the goodness of God. He caused her to question whether God is too restrictive. God’s restriction on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was about more than just knowledge. It was to protect them from the consequence of dying. 

We have freedom in God, but with commands to obey because unrestricted freedom only leads to destruction. The commands God gives us are given in love, so that we honor Him, and keep from destroying ourselves. When we doubt God’s goodness and care for us, we take the authority over our lives out of His hands where it belongs and begin to play God in our own lives. We are rebelling against His authority, and wanting freedom without limits, but still with all God’s goodness attached. In the end, we don’t trust Him to always do the very best for us, or at least what we think is the best. In the face of our mistrust, He demonstrated with the shed blood of Jesus that He can be trusted above all. 

The only way out of our sin is through putting our trust in Jesus Christ. He is for us. He died the death we deserve – because the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. When we submit to His authority and trust His love for us and His goodness, and confess our sin, we are given a new heart. 

John Stott calls this substitution – 

The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone

What a compassionate and caring God we have that would exchange all our rebellion and sin for mercy and eternal life. Romans 3:23 does say we are all sinners, but the next verse goes on to say that by His shed blood, we are redeemed. 

…and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24


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