Christ in Our Place
6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Jesus died, for us, on when we were His enemies. Think about that for a minute. Jesus, the King of the World, died in a horrific and painful way, on the behalf of everyone who seeks to see Him destroyed and overthrown so that everyone who would turn away from their sinful lives and hand over the spiritual “keys” of their life to Him, would be saved from damnation in Hell and would be elevated to a spend eternity in His presence. Would you do that? Let’s say that there was a man who so hates you and everything you live for that while you were working late one night he broke into your home, raped and murdered your wife and young daughter, then burned your son alive on the front steps of your home and took pictures and video of it and told everyone in the world what he did against you. The man is caught, tried, and sentenced to execution in the electric chair. He sits in death row contemplating his actions and the time finally arrives for his execution. He gets his last meal, he makes his last final statement, still angrily spewing hatred toward you. Then, when it’s nearly time for him to make that last walk, he hears the keys to the prison door jingle and shake as the door is opened and the door swings open for the last time. “You’re free to go”, he hears. He asks why, knowing that he deserved what he was about to receive and he is simply told that someone else has taken his place. He is allowed to exit the cell and go as he pleases or, if he so desires, he can see who took his place. In his confusion and wonder, he opts to see who this is who has taken his punishment upon himself and he’s led into the viewing room. The shade is pulled back and he sees you sitting there. The switch is thrown, the lights flicker, and the doctor comes into the room. The doctor states that you are now dead and his lawyer comes forward to make a statement. You’ve written a letter to the man who murdered your family and it’s read to him as he sits in silent wonder as to why you would do such a thing. The message simply reads, “So that you may be freed from the punishment of your sins against me. I forgive you for your actions against me and my loved ones. Everything I have has been sold and placed into an account for you, my house, my cars, and my business. All are placed into your hands to do with as you desire. I forgive you, now go in peace”.
Would you be willing to do that? Would you be willing to pay the price for the freedom of someone who hated you that much? Would you be willing to give them their freedom, then grant to them all that you have and more? Jesus did that for us, knowing our hatred toward Him. He took all of God’s justified wrath against us for our constant and willful acts against Him, His creation, and His laws. He did this so that you may be justified and set free from the bondage to your sins. We are now, likened to Jesus in that our debt has been paid. Our sins are no longer a curse to us as all of our debt to God has been paid. Past, present, and future – all of our sins have been paid for. That is the freedom that Jesus offers. Baptism is a symbol of our regeneration – laying flat under the water as one who has died, rising from that state as a new creation, sinless and forgiven. Wholly washed and cleansed by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. We have been transformed and through this transformation, we have the peace with God through Jesus Christ. God no longer has a charge against us and we have been wholly reconciled and we now have a relationship with God the Creator, through Jesus.
Remember what Jesus said on the night He was betrayed, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you“, John 15:13-14. What does He command us to do?
Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.’
Repent means to turn from, to leave and and abandon. The gospel is this – that God would take upon Himself the punishment of all who would turn to Him and believe in Him. Turn from and abandon your sins, believe on that Jesus is who He says He is and that you may find rest from your sins in Him. Do that and be saved.