Do You Have a Substitute?
“He made Him who knew no sin [to be] sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
This little verse is the heart and soul of the gospel – the good news that God saves sinners. It could be summarized this way: A sinless savior sent as a substitute for sinners.
Who sent Him? Why did He send Him? Where did He come from? God the Father is the main actor. The heavenly Father, who is perfectly righteous, acts to make us righteous, like Himself, so we may share His life; for this is why God created man – to glorify God as God and to enjoy Him forever.
Yet, if God will fellowship with us He must change our natures from sinful to righteous because we are not righteous by nature, but are sinners through and through.Every human heart knows this to be true. But each and every sin is an offense against God’s holiness and must be punished eternally. God cannot simply forget sin and act as if it does not exist. A perfect God must deal perfectly with sin. At Calvary, God dealt perfectly with sin, as the innocent and undefiled Son of God, now clothed in humanity, suffered eternal torment in His own body. As Jesus hung upon the cross, God punished, in this sinless substitute sent from heaven, every sin of every believer. Jesus is the sinner’s substitute.
Why must the substitute come from heaven? The substitute must have no sin in order to become an acceptable and suitable sacrifice for sinners. On earth, among men, there was found no man who had not sinned. Jesus, God’s Son, sent from heaven, is righteous by nature, being at one time both the eternal Son of God and the Son of man. So Jesus of Nazareth is the perfect, willing sacrifice, able to bear away the sins of all who ask. Jesus, who knew no sin, was made sin on our behalf. That is, he was counted as a sinner in our stead.
Why should God endure all this suffering and pain in the person of His Son? God wanted sons to worship Him and enjoy Him forever. Since sin separated God from His beloved sons, Jesus suffered so that we might become righteous sons. When we believe God’s testimony about His Son and ask Him to take away our sins, at the same time we receive His righteousness, and we become righteous.
Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father. For, not being sinful in Himself, and having paid the penalty for our sins in His own body, He rose bodily from the grave, was crowned with glory and honor, and took His seat in heaven at the Father’s right hand. There Jesus sits as the first of many brethren. All who believe this testimony from the Father will live in peace with God because Jesus lives in peace with God.
No man can come to God without the righteousness of Jesus covering him as a robe. For even the sinner’s righteous works are tainted by a sinful nature; and he bears with him a sinful past that all the righteous deeds in the world cannot erase. Yes, all men, apart from faith in Jesus, have a bad record and a bad heart. But in Jesus Christ they have a perfect righteousness and a new heart, as a free gift.
Is Jesus Christ your substitute? If God has been working on your heart and you see your need for Jesus Christ to be your substitute, then pray to God and ask Him to graciously give you a new heart and the perfect righteousness found only in Jesus Christ.
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