Died instead of me, what is the nature of Christ’s work that brings salvation to those who believed? If calvary teaches anything at all, it teaches substitution. Such is the plain and unmistakable interpretation of Abraham’s sacrifice of the ram, which, we are told, he offered up “in the stead of’ Isaac his son. That was what the Holy Spirit meant when he wrote through the prophet: “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). God took your sin and mine and laid it on His Son, Jesus Christ, who bore it, and died in our stead. It is the great of Atonement. The high priest leads a goat into the centre of the vast assembly. Laying his hands on the head of the goat, he confesses the sins of the people over it. Then it is led by a man away into the wilderness. Just as the scapegoat became our sin-bearer, and bore our guilt. Hence, it was written of Him:
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1 :29).
In that awful hour when darkness covered Golgotha, and at the moment when the Lord Jesus Christ sent out that piercing, never-to-be-forgotten cry: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!”-then it was that the foul thing called Sin, yours and mine, was laid upon Him. So terrible was the experience, that even God Himself had to turn away His face-Jesus was compelled to bear it alone. He saw my fallen state, And knew my awful fate; He bore the penalty, That I must bear, or He.
The Sufficient of His Work: “It is finished!” was the cry that echoed over Golgotha as He neared the end of His gigantic task (John 19:30). Oh what a glorious, triumphant cry it was! The work of man’s redemption finished, completely accompanied at last. Nothing more to be done. Salvation provided. Isn’t the Father fully satisfied? Ah, yes! Jesus has met every demand of the law. “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Does man honour God by attempting to add to a finished work? He can do nothing but accept and rest upon what has already been done. Nothing either great or small, Nothing sinner, no- Jesus did it, did it all, Long, long ago.
The Motive of His Work: But what was it that caused Him to make such a sacrifice? What could it be but Love? “God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Was love the cause of the atonement or was the atonement the cause of love? It was the love that caused the atonement. God’s great heart of infinite love and compassion felt so deeply for man in his lost estate that He, or His own free will, gave Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to die. Oh, what wondrous love! Who can fathom its depths! To think that God, the great, omnipotent God, “so loved that He gave”! God loves the sinner but hates his sin. It isn’t that He loves us when we’re good and hates us when we’re bad, as some parents teach their children. He loves us just the same as He always has all the time, but He loathes the sin that separates us from Him, just as a father loves his child when it has smallpox and at the same time hates the disease that isolates the child from him.
You did not ask God to love you! It was freely bestowed. He took the initiative. Oh, my brother, my sister, think of it! – God loves you! It matters not who you are nor what you have done- God loves you! You may be the most debauched sinner in the world, the most miserable wretch that ever breathed, I care not-God loves you! How can you spurn such love, such matchless love?
The Scope of His Work: The scope of His work is universal. “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,” He declared (John 6:37). “Whosoever” is the word He uses over and over again to denote the universality of His work, and that big word, “Whosoever” just mean you. Put your own name wherever you find it. Make it personal. You have the right to say, Twas for me He suffered so, Drank the bitter cup of woe, For I nailed Him to the tree, And He died, He died for me.Ah, yes, the vilest of the vile as well as the best; sinners of the deepest dye as well as the good and moral. None have gone too far, none have sunk too low. The Lord Jesus is able to save the worst that can be found. You are not too great a sinner. He can save even you.
In fact, the sinner is the only one who has any claim on Him at all. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1 :15). And Jesus Himself said: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). If you insist that you are good enough already, then you have no need of Him at all. But if you are a poor, guilty, lost and undone sinner, having no righteousness of your own, you are the very one for whom He came. Oh, my friend, let me beseech you in the name of my Saviour, to take your place now, this moment, as a lost and guilty sinner, and claim the sinner’s Saviour. Rely on His work for you, not on yours for Him. Admit that you have nothing to offer, that you have no merit of your own, and rest upon what He did for you on Calvary’s cross. Plant your feet firmly on the Rock, Christ Jesus, for it is His Righteousness, His work that must be the ground of your salvation.
I have now pointed out both the False and the True. “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death: therefore choose life.” Choose, God says. A decision must be made, and you must make it. Therefore, choose and choose Christ. “Put your trust in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Will you do it? Do it and do it NOW. Not done, read next issue.