#3 – THE CROSS TEACHES US THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTION
The third great truth that the Cross of Christ teaches us is ‘The Doctrine of Substitution’ – one dying for another.
This song says it all:
“I should have been crucified
I should have suffered and bled and died.
I should have hung on the cross for disgrace,
But, Jesus, God’s Son took my place.
The Bible says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time, CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”
“But God commended His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US. More man then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
“For if, when we were sinners, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Romans 5:6-10)
St. Paul lays out the “DOCTRINE OF SUBSTITUTION” so clearly in this scripture: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all man, for that all have sinned.” (verse 12)
“But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abandoned unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”
JESUS TASTED DEATH FOR US ALL
“For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 5:15-21)
The Bible says: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel…how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures. (I Cor. 15:1-4)
Martin Luther was consumed by the gospel of Christ. He stated, “I live as though Jesus Christ died yesterday, arose today and is coming again tomorrow.” This is the message of the gospel – Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again for my justification – Praise the Lord.
The Bible says, “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
“How much more shall the blood of Christ, Who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the Living God?” (Hebrews 9:12-14)
By offering Himself in our place, Jesus Christ bore our condemnation, and paid the penalty for our sins releasing us from all the guilt and God’s judgment against us.
The Bible says, “…when He (Jesus) had by Himself purged our sins sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High.” (Hebrews 1:3)
St. Paul declared, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5:14-15)
Again he challenges the Church: “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” “Who dies for us, that, whither we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.” (I Thess. 5:9-10)
A SAD & MOVING STORY
A very touching human interest story has come down to us from the tragic “American Civil War’. A number of southern soldiers had infiltrated the Union Army as spies and were found out. They were sentenced to death by firing squad.
Just as the commanding officer ordered his men to take aim at the little white patch over each condemned man’s heart, a shout rang out, “Hold your fire, don’t shoot”.
A young man emerged from the woods shouting and waving his arms frantically. Approaching the commanding officer, the young man confessed that he also was a rebel soldier and had been hiding in the woods.
Then pointing to an older man he pleaded for his release saying, “We are from the same town in the south. He has a family of four children and I am not married. Please allow me to die in his place. Let me exchange places with him.
Because of the courage and compassion displayed by the young “reb soldier” his wish was granted. The older soldier was released and told to return to his loved ones. The young man was blind folded, his hands tied and together with the other condemned men was executed.
After burying the infiltrators, the Union soldiers moved on, but early the next morning the freed soldier returned with a horse and space. He dug up his comrade’s body and took it back to the Southern USA, where they had a proper Church funeral.
A little cross was erected as a memorial over his grave, complete with the fallen soldier’s name, rank and these words: “HE TOOK MY PLACE, HE DIED FOR ME”, with the freed man’s name and signature below, for everyone to read.
This story reminds me of what Jesus did for us on Golgathz’s Hill. “He took my place, He died for me.”