Sunday, March 9, 2008

Why I Am a Lutheran, Chapter 2 A Matter of Mountains (Substitute)--Daniel Preus

“We were supposed to be punished for our sins, for breaking God’s rules and commandments, but God sent a substitute for that too. Jesus was punished in our place, bearing our sin and guilt so we could go free. John the Baptist says succinctly, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ (John 1:29). Isaiah says it beautifully: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

But Jesus did more than take on our punishment and death. He was our substitute in every way on every day of His life. Everything we should have been, our substitute was. Everything we should have done, our substitute did. Everything we should have suffered, our substitute suffered. Because Jesus kept every commandment perfectly, our God looks at us as if we had kept every commandment perfectly. Jesus took care of Mount Sinai for us, and He took care of us on Mount Calvary when He died on the cross for our sins. Therefore, God looks at us as if we already had died on the cross and paid for our sins. After all, our substitute did it for us. Jesus was our substitute with every breath He took, with every step He walked, with every word He spoke, with everything He did. From the moment of His conception in Mary’s womb to the moment of His death, Jesus took our place.” (pp. 40-41)

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