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"Jesus Christ, the Substitute" (posted May 5, 2020)

   But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
   - Isaiah 53:5

The essence of substitution is that one is put in the room and stead of another. Each of the four clauses of this great verse, Isaiah 53:5, contains that idea. The great and glorious "He" stands in the room and stead of the poor and sinful "us." The transgressions and the iniquities were ours; the wounding and the bruising were His. Ours is the peace and the healing; His was the chastisement and the stripes that purchased it.

Now if we turn to the closing verse of Romans 4 and the opening of Romans 5, the same truth confronts us, yet stated with a clearness of detail impossible in Old Testament times. Jesus our Lord "was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification. Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 4:25-5:1).

Here note again the "our" and the "we." He truly was delivered up to death and judgment, but it was for "our" offenses and not for everybody's (although, as the propitiation [the reason for God's satisfaction] He has settled the whole question of sin, so that the gospel can be offered to all). He was raised again for "our" justification, that is, the justification of all who believe-- for we are justified by faith, as the next verse shows.

When we consider Christ's death in its substitutionary aspect, then, we are looking at it not from God's side but from ours. The point is not how His sacrifice has satisfied the Creditor but rather how fully He has intervened on behalf of the debtors. Full clearance is theirs as a result.

Frank B. Hole

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