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Posts Tagged ‘Substitutionary Atonement’

The Wednesday Word: A Substitute Found

There is an ancient saying, “The Judge is condemned when the guilty is acquitted.” Alas, guilty people are sometimes set free in our judicial system, but this never happens in God’s Courtroom. If a person is justified (acquitted, found not guilty), it is because God is just (Deuteronomy 32:4). God has declared the person not guilty and has done so in strict harmony with His rule of Law and Justice.

But, how, is this possible?

How can a sinful person be accepted in the sight of a God who will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7)?

Man is a sinner and the penalty upon sin, as announced by God, is death (Romans 6:23). And that will be his lot unless a sinless substitute can be found to die in his place.

A certain man on the Malabar Coast of Southern India had enquired of various Hindu Holy men how he might make atonement for his sins. He was directed to drive iron spikes, sufficiently blunted, through his sandals and walk about 480 miles to a place of pilgrimage wearing the spiked shoes. He undertook the journey but found no peace … just painful feet. One day, resting beside a large banyan tree, he heard a Christian preach that the blood of the sinner’s substitute, Jesus Christ, cleanses from all sin. He got up, threw off the torturing sandals, and cried aloud, `That is what I want .. that’s what I need!’ There is substance in that’ From that day forward he became a dedicated follower of the Lord Christ.

Every sinner needs a substitute. But there is only one substitute and He is none other than God manifest in the flesh. He went to Calvary’s cross as a substitute for His people. The Indian gentleman in our story discovered that self-torture could not take away sins. It is sad to say that there are many today who, like those Hindu priests, are deceitfully offering false hope. For example,Spiritualism says; “Man becomes his own savior. He is made better in this life by intercourse with spirits.”

Theosophy says: “An ordinary being must pass through hundreds of incarnations before he can complete his purification from sin.”

Mormonism says; “To get rid of our sins, we must work out our own salvation through the teachings and forms of the Mormon church.”

Roman Catholicism says; “The instrumental cause of justification is the sacrament of baptism and the grace purchased by Christ’s death can flow only through the hands of the Catholic priests.”

Nonsense! Baloney! Balderdash! Twaddle!

In the Gospel, we have the One true Substitute, Jesus Christ. “He bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1 Peter 2:24). Since He is our substitute, we are secure. If Jesus has been condemned in our place, how then can we be condemned? To claim that the believer can be eventually lost is to say that Jesus was an unacceptable substitute. Away with such drivel.

O Christ, what burdens bowed Thy head!

Our load was laid on Thee;

Thou stoodest in the sinner’s stead,

Didst bear all ill for me.

A Victim led, Thy blood was shed;

Now there’s no load for me.

Death and the curse were in our cup:

O Christ, ’twas full for Thee;

But Thou hast drained the last dark drop,

’Tis empty now for me.

That bitter cup, love drank it up;

Now blessing’s draught for me.

Jehovah lifted up His rod;

O Christ, it fell on Thee!

Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God;

There’s not one stroke for me.

Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed;

Thy bruising healeth me.

The tempest’s awful voice was heard,

O Christ, it broke on Thee!

Thy open bosom was my ward,

It braved the storm for me.

Thy form was scarred, Thy visage marred;

Now cloudless peace for me.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Barabbas and the Gospel

December 5, 2018 6 comments

And so Pilate, … released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, … to be crucified (Mark 15:6-15).

Pilate freed Barabbas, the felon, and sent Jesus to the cross.

Pilate, as you remember, had no love for Barabbas, but wanted to save Jesus. So, he hit on the idea of offering the people a choice between the two men. It was customary to free a prisoner at the time of the Feast of Passover; so, Pilate asked the crowd, “Which of the two do you want me to release?” (Matthew 27:21-22).

He was astonished when the people enthusiastically called out, “Barabbas!”

Who was Barabbas?

To the Romans, Barabbas was a terrorist who had committed murder during a rebellion (Mark 15:7). John adds that Barabbas was also a robber (John 18:40).

The name Barabbas is interesting. It means “son of the father.” Some suggest that it means son of a Rabbi. If so, Barabbas was a preacher’s kid! … and so was John Wesley Hardin…one of the most notorious killers of the Wild West.

Barabbas had been condemned to die. He was a rebel against the law, a robber and a murderer. And now the outraged law had apprehended him and he’s on Death Row.

BTW,…everyone reading this who has not come to Christ as a hell-deserving sinner looking for mercy is sitting on death row. You are not on probation but under damnation.

Suddenly, people were calling his name, “Barabbas! Barabbas!” The next thing he heard was a crowd yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Perhaps, he thinks it’s a lynch mob. He’s terrified. Then, he hears the prison door slowly opening and a bewildered guard said, “Barabbas! There’s a man named Jesus who is going to die in your place. He is going to be nailed to your cross. You are free to go.

As Barabbas emerged from the jail, the crowd was surging toward Calvary. And legend has it that Barabbas followed them. Think of it, he hears the hammer and knows that the blows that are fastening Jesus to the cross were meant for him. He knows that, quite literally, he, Barabbas, is the one who should be executed.

Barabbas, as he looked at Jesus on the cross, must have received a clear understanding of the Gospel. He must have thought,

“That man took my place.

I am the one who should have died.

I am the condemned murderer.

That man did nothing wrong.

He is dying instead of me.”

Barabbas sees Christ upon his cross. After that, he had no need to go to seminary to understand the Doctrine of Substitution.

Barabbas knew that he was a guilty, worthless wretch, under the condemnation of the law.

Barabbas saw the meaning of the cross. Jesus was actually dying in his place. Barabbas would have known that he had done nothing whatever to deserve Christ dying in his place. He knew that Christ’s death for Him was an act of pure, undeserved grace.

Because of the cross, Barabbas was free from the penalty of the Law. Suppose a soldier had recognized Barabbas and tried to arrest him. He legally could not have done it! Barabbas was a free man. The substitute had died in his place.

All Barabbas would have needed to say was ‘Jesus has died for me.’ Likewise, when the Law points its condemning finger and says we’re guilty…we point toward Jesus and say…He died for me….and I am free!

Remember this, if sin speaks louder in our conscience than Christ, it is because we have taken our eyes off the Gospel.

To be frank, I’ve never liked Barabbas. I wanted the crowd to yell,

“Release Jesus!”

“Crucify Barabbas!”

But instead, they roared for the opposite.

Barabbas, a villain, was set free and Jesus took his place. I hate that.

But, when I look inside myself I realize I am Barabbas. I’m in the same shoes. And you are Barabbas, too. We’re the guilty ones. We’re the scoundrels, but we go free because Jesus died in our place.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Is Jesus enough when you sin?

God has never forced us to sin. To our shame, we do it willingly, gladly and readily. If the truth be known, we love sin. We may hate its consequences, but, left to our own devices, our inclination is always and ever away from God. All mankind has been smitten with the sin virus (Romans 6:6); it is, so to speak, lurking in our blood, continually spawning sins, its fowl children (Romans 5:12).

The awful problem with sins, however, is that they bring separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). God is holy: Because He is holy, He hates sins and hates all workers of iniquity (Psalm 5:5). It may seem a foreign concept to our ears to associate ‘hatred’ with the God of love but before objecting to this picture, let me warn against the subtle sin of idolatry. Idolatry? Yes, idolatry! For when we reject God’s self-declaration and substitute Him for the God we’d like Him to be, we have become idolaters. Much as we would like God to be the God of love who is never at angry at sin or sinners, we must never project this false picture onto Him.

God refuses to fit our concept of who we want Him to be, in fact, He won’t even try. He’s got better things to do! As for us, the best thing we can do is bow before Him and worship Him as He is and for who He is.

God is Holy, and we are not. This knowledge is where religion finds a natural breeding ground as it germinates in the fears and guilt of sinful man. We really are laughable; we cannot create ourselves, but think that by practicing some religion or other, we can save ourselves. Yet, no matter how involved we become in our religion, no matter how zealous we are, we are impotent to stop sinning … and sins separate us from God. Religion cannot remove the virus of sin. Although, for the follower of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will limit and restrain the production of sins we remain sinners till the day we die. Remember this, if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).

The good news for sinners (us), however, is that God is not only holy, He is also just. But how is this Good News? I can take some comfort knowing that He is loving, but surely there is no comfort in knowing that, in his unswerving justice, he will punish us and our sins? A just God will surely meet out punishment. This is far from good news. So then, how can God be just, and yet save me a ruined sinner?

Which brings us back to the Gospel, the best news, the old news and the ever-new news—Jesus!

Only in Jesus can God be both loving and just. Between the all-holy God and sin-filled believer, there stands the remarkable sinless person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is enough for the sinner, and He is enough for the Father. God punished our sins on Him. In grace, He became accountable for us and poured out His blood for us.

Jesus, the Lord of glory, became a security and substitute for His people. He took our place in his doing, dying and rising. He ascended to the right hand of the Father (the place of cosmic authority) for us. And now, because of Jesus and His accomplishments on our behalf, not only love but also justice endorses our acquittal.

Jesus is Enough

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com

The Wednesday Word: Gospel Acceptance

November 11, 2015 Leave a comment

There is no other basis for acceptance with God other than that which God has decreed. We are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)….Full Stop! Period! That means our Heavenly Father is fully satisfied with the person and work of the Lord Jesus for us. He has accepted His well-beloved Son and, therefore, accepts all who are in Christ. The Believer has nothing more and nothing less to present to the Father but the Lord Jesus, the Christ of God.

Have you ever felt rejected? You say, “That’s the story of my life.” Well, the pain of that can come to end right now. If you are suffering from the ache of rejection, look to Jesus. The Father sees every believer as being in Christ. We are in the same Christ who was nailed to the cross. Faith looks and says, ‘I was crucified with Him.’ Faith also sees that Christ is risen. Faith grasps that we are no longer in our sins. Faith believes that there is now therefore no damnation to those of us in Christ Jesus. Faith sees that there is no rejection from heaven in Christ.

Indeed, as we grow in grace, we learn that weare not rejects. We gain confidence and identity with the Father’s verdict concerning the Son. By faith, we see that the Father’s ruling concerning Christ’s acceptable work is reckoned also to us. If, however, we are continually looking for some quality or righteousness within us to recommend us to God, we will continue to fail and remain in the miserable turbulence of rejection.

When all is going well, and God seems to be blessing, those not rooted in the gospel feel that God must really love and accept them. But when they are stumbling, and everything seems dry and hard, then they feel that He has withdrawn His love and acceptance. But, how can this be? There was nothing about us to commend us to God in the first place. Our acceptance with the Father will always be in Christ plus nothing. We are fully accepted in the God-Man.

Christ has purged our sin with His power. He has bought us with His blood. Not only is God for us, but we also have peace with Him (Romans 5:1). Believers are not trying to obtain peace with God. We can’t obtain that which we already have. The Father has been pleased to pour His wrath on His son instead of us. Talk about being saved by grace! Not only is there no condemnation for us but we are now, in the Father’s mind, in the exalted and glorified Christ.

Everything was completed at Calvary! We don’t have to feel that, we simply believe that! Because of the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus, it is not presumptuous to claim for ourselves the titles, Heirs of God and Joint Heirs with Jesus Christ. Because of the doing, dying and rising of Christ, rejection is dead and we are accepted.

It is in the Gospel we learn that we are accepted by God, not because of our obedience but because of the obedience another (Romans 5:19). We are accepted in spite of our performance. The great mystery is how the all holy God can possibly accept us. We are, after all, corrupted and vile sinners (Psalm 148:2; Mark 7:21-23). The gospel, however, gives us the answer—-Our acceptance is in Christ alone.

“Since I can hardly therefore bear
What in myself I see;
How vile and black must I appear,
Most holy God to Thee.

But since my Savior stands between,
In garments dyed in blood’
‘Tis He, instead of me, is seen,
When I approach to God.

Thus though a sinner I am safe;
He pleads before the throne,
His life and death in my behalf,
And calls my sins His own

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Gospel for Roman Catholics

Recently there has been a surge in prominent Evangelicals calling for unity with Roman Catholicism. In one sense there seems to be strong foundational similarities that would justify these calls to unity. Catholics are baptized in the name of the Trinity. God’s revealed word in the Bible — setting aside their addition of the Apocryphal books, for argument’s sake — is foundational to their worldview. Catholics love Christ and believe that he died on the cross and rose again to provide grace for sinners.

Obviously there are theological differences associated with the specific teachings of each one of these perceived similarities, and I do not want to minimize the importance of these differences. But for argument‘s sake, at least on the surface, there is some common ground.

There is also a strong agreement in ethical standards. Both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals ground morality on God’s holy nature as revealed in the law of God. This means that on the hot button moral issues of the day; the murder of the unborn, human sexuality, the sanctity of marriage there is solidarity between Roman Catholic and Evangelical ethics because they are coming from the same source. Again, this seems to justify a call to some sense of unity.

Are these good enough reasons to publically stump for visible unity with Roman Catholics? That question is beyond the scope of this post. But there is a more fundamental question that must be answered first. That question serves as the dividing line between followers of Christ and the world, which separates biblical Christianity from every other worldview; does Rome possess and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Wednesday Word: Counted Dead

“For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Here’s the good news: our salvation rests entirely upon the penal, substitutionary sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. He, as our substitute, by Himself and on our behalf, exclusively satisfied the righteous demands of divine holiness and justice.

In the Old Testament, when the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the worshipper (Exodus 24:8; Hebrews 9:19), that person was counted or reckoned as being dead! Being dead, it was further reckoned that he had, therefore, paid the penalty of the broken law. The worshipper was counted as having died in the person of his substitute. As long as the worshipper had not paid the death penalty, he was counted as unfit for God. However, as soon as he had paid the death penalty, through the death of his substitute, he was reckoned as now being unsoiled and fit for the Lord’s service.

For peace of conscience, we really need to grasp the great gospel truth of Christ our Substitute!

During the American Civil War, Union Army recruiters arrived at a certain home demanding that the man of the house join the army immediately. The man replied that he could not do so because he had already been killed in action two years ago. As it turned out, a neighbour had signed a ‘Substitute Volunteer’ paper and had gone to war in this man’s place. It was all done legally and since the substitute had died, the man the army had wanted to recruit was now reckoned as having already been killed in action. He, therefore, did not have to go to war as he had already been there and had died in the person of his substitute.

Because of the work of the Lord Jesus, our substitute, we are now reckoned as having already been punished for our sins (Isaiah 53:5). Yes, I know we weren’t physically punished at the cross, but legally we were (Romans 4:25). When Christ hung upon the cross, we legally hung there with him. His death was our death; His punishment was our punishment. We are now cleansed by His blood—- which is another way of saying that we have been made partakers of the death of Christ. The blood of Christ cleanses us by totally identifying us with the death of our Substitute.

We were once covered with guilt and under sentence of death, but our substitute, the Lord Jesus shed His blood (Matthew 26:28). In God’s eyes, that blood represents both his death and ours. He died as our substitute. The blood is shed for us, and in that way death, which is the law’s penalty, is reckoned legally to us. Legally we have died. We have been crucified with Christ and have undergone the death sentence; as a result, our guilt has passed away. We are cleansed! The fires of Hell have been doused for us with the blood of Jesus. This is good news we can live in!

Furthermore, our sin is taken away and Christ’s own righteousness is reckoned to us in its place (Philippians 3:9). This is how the believer makes use of the blood of Christ. Faith simply embraces and enjoys what the blood has already accomplished.

At the cross, Jesus was treated as having our sin. He was reckoned as the greatest sinner and rebel who had ever existed. All our sins were put on Him.

We know this, but have we ever paused to think about what it means? It means that our blasphemies and adulteries were reckoned as His. He took responsibility for all our lying, thieving, fornications and murders. This was awful for Him but wonderful for us. Martin Luther grasped this truth and wrote to a friend saying, “Learn to know Christ and him crucified. Learn to sing to him, and say, ‘Lord Jesus, you are my righteousness, I am your sin.”

Spurgeon said it like this; “The man, Christ Jesus, is exalted at the right hand of the majesty on high; and we, His elect, are in Him, crucified with Him, risen with Him .”(Ephesians 2:6)…….

We were:

One, when He died;
One, when He rose;
One, when He triumphed over His foes;
One, when in heaven He took His seat
And angels sang of hell’s defeat.

And that is the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

What is the Gospel? by Conrad Mbewe

April 20, 2015 2 comments

 

Source [Confessingbaptist.com]