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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1028. The self-substitution of God (5/4/24)

This week, following on from Easter I want to reflect on the centrality of the cross. Today we think about how God substituted Himself for us. 

‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ (2 Corinthians 5:21)

You can listen to this devotional below:

This text speaks of the self-substitution of God. It teaches how God made a way for sinful human beings to be reconciled to Himself through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ - of God Himself - on the cross.

Today’s verse beautifully summarises the heart of the Gospel. It speaks of the amazing exchange that took place on the cross. Jesus, who was sinless, became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God. In other words, He took our sin upon Himself and gave us His righteousness in return.

The truth of substitution is seen throughout the Old Testament, and in the sacrificial system in particular. For example, on The Day of Atonement, we read of how Israel’s sin was, symbolically, taken away through substitution:

He [the priest] is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.’ (Leviticus 16:21-22)

This idea of our sins being taken away is often referred to as expiation. Like the ’scapegoat’, our sins were laid on Jesus who was ‘sent away’ - was rejected for us. 

This truth is both humbling and liberating. It's humbling because it reminds us of the depths of our sin and the cost that was paid for our salvation. We could never earn our own righteousness or make ourselves right with God. It's liberating because it shows us that we don't have to. Jesus has already done it all for us. We simply have to receive this gift by faith.

As we meditate on this truth, let us be filled with gratitude and awe for the love of God that was demonstrated on the cross. Let us also be encouraged to live in the light of this truth, knowing that we are accepted and loved by God not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done for us.


Take some time to reflect on the exchange that took place on the cross - Jesus took your sin and gave you His righteousness. Allow this truth to deepen your gratitude and awe for God's love. Also, ask God to help you live in the light of this truth and to rest in His acceptance through Christ.



There are no notes for this week. However, if you are meeting, feel free to use this Easter Sunday devotional as a basis for your study and discussion together.

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