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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#793. THE SELF-SUBSTITUTION OF GOD(14/4/23)


As we leave this Easter season, I would like to draw your attention to John Stott's book, "The Cross of Christ." This essential work delves into the significance of the cross in Christianity, examining its various aspects, including its importance in both the Old and New Testaments, the challenge of forgiveness, God's satisfaction, and God's self-sacrifice. I encourage you to read this book, and I hope that these devotionals, which are based on its content, will motivate you to reflect more deeply on the centrality of the cross in our faith. Today's devotional, the last in this short Easter Series, focuses on chapter six, ‘The Self-Substitution of God.’


1. CHAPTER SUMMARY

In chapter 6, Stott explores the concept of the self-substitution of God.


1. Sacrifice in the Old Testament

He starts by examining the idea of sacrifice in the Old Testament, and how it was used to symbolise the seriousness of sin and the need for atonement.


2. The Passover and ‘sin-bearing’

He then goes on to discuss the Passover and the idea of "sin-bearing", where an innocent substitute was used to take on the sins of the guilty.


3. Who is the substitute?

Stott then asks the question of who the substitute for humanity could be, and argues that it must be someone who is both human and divine - Jesus Christ.


4. God in Christ

He delves into the idea of God becoming human in the person of Christ, and how Christ's death on the cross was the ultimate act of self-substitution. Stott emphasises that Christ's substitution was not just a matter of taking on humanity's punishment, but also of fulfilling the requirements of the law and satisfying God's justice and honour. He also notes that God's substitutionary act was a result of his holy love for humanity, and was not something that he was obligated to do.


Overall, chapter 6 presents a powerful exploration of the concept of self-substitution and how it relates to the sacrifice of Christ. Stott draws on a wide range of biblical and theological sources to present a compelling argument for the centrality of Christ's substitutionary atonement in Christian theology.


2. DEVOTIONAL

‘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)

Chapter 6 of "The Cross of Christ" by John Stott talks about the self-substitution of God. It speaks of how God made a way for sinful human beings to be reconciled to Himself through the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross.


The main text for this chapter is Isaiah 53:4-6, which speaks of the suffering servant who was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. But in this devotional, we will focus on 2 Corinthians 5:21 which says, "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."


This 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.


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.


RESPONSE

Take some time to reflect on the exchange that took place on the cross - Jesus took our sin and gave us 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 of you through Christ.


 

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