“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.” -Isaiah 53:6
Jesus himself said that the greatest commandment is that we should “love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind” (Matthew 22:37). This creates a huge problem for us be-cause we have all loved things other than God. Quite simply, we are law-breakers. Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” We have failed to live up to the standard that our Creator has set for us. Sin is not trivial because it is against Holy God. God is worthy of all love, devotion, and respect. Loving things more than him deserves punishment. Romans 6:23 tells us that “wages of sin is death.” Breaking God’s law and failing to meet God’s standard, demands separation from him and because God is an eternal God, the punishment must be eternal as well. Because God is holy and just, he cannot let sin go unpunished.
But God, being loving, gracious, and full of mercy, does not rest, leaving us in our dire state. No, he finds a way to rescue sinful people from the sin that results in separation and punishment. He sends Jesus, God in human form, to come and take the punishment we deserve. Jesus goes to the cross, taking the full punishment of a Holy God in our place. He is the perfect substitute. The Biblical terminology for this great act is propitiation. It means to satisfy God’s wrath toward sin by the providing of a substitute. Jesus absorbed all the wrath of a Holy God in our place, that we may be forgiven and stand justified before him. Romans 3:36 says that this shows that “God is both just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
Don’t miss this central truth. God loved you and I enough to provide his only son as a substitute in order to take the punishment for our sins. This enables you and I to be forgiven and places us in right standing with our Creator. This enables you and I to go from being God’s enemy, because of sin, to being adopted as his child. This great gift is free to all who believe and place their trust in Jesus as savior.
As we approach Good Friday and Easter, may we think all the more on all that God has done for us through Jesus. May these Gospel truths shape the way we think and live.
For His glory and your joy,