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Eternal Perspectives: The Greatest Substitute is Jesus Christ

Some days it seems all we do is make substitutes. For example, we trade watching TV for doing dishes. Or vice versa. We could probably list a hundred.

Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair


We sometimes try to substitute one thing for another, especially when it comes to habitual behavior. Our replacements may result in positive actions or in negatives. For instance, I know smokers who traded their cigarettes for snacks and gained too much weight. On the positive side, many dieters exchange ice cream or other high-calorie snacks for fresh fruit, resulting in better health. Our efforts to make substitutes can boomerang, however, in my case. I sold my TV, knowing it stole too much of my writing time. Meanwhile, I began reading more books, a passion of mine since first grade. The joy of reading good books soon overcame my common sense and resulted in not fulfilling my writing goals. So much for that substitute.

Replacements are necessary when someone is in need, too, such as substitute teachers, nannies, babysitters, house- and pet-sitters, and a host of others.

During Old Testament times, the law given to the Jewish nation required sin substitution. Certain rituals required that when the people disobeyed the law, they must offer a sacrifice, which the Lord accepted for their atonement. In other words, the sacrificed animals they offered became their payment for their sins.

Then Jesus entered the picture. At His death on the cross, He became our sin substitute. No longer would we have to sacrifice animals to be free of sin. “For our sake [God] made [Jesus] to be sin, who knew no sin, that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

John Calvin, the famous theologian and pastor during the 14th century Reformation, wrote: “The guilt that held us liable for punishment has been transferred to the head of the Son of God…we must remember this substitution, lest we tremble and remain anxious throughout life—as if God’s righteous vengeance, which the Son of God has taken upon Himself, still hung over us…that we, who were previously unclean and impure, may show ourselves righteous and holy in His sight.”

The Bible clearly states that we all are sinners, worthy of eternal death. No substitution on our part is acceptable to our righteous God. Only through His Son’s death, as our substitute, can we be saved from sin and death.

Isaiah 53:6 says: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord [God] has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all.

Lord God, thank You for the greatest substitution for our sins, Your only Son, Jesus. Cause us to always remember with thanksgiving the study of and obedience to Your Word that You are the only way to forgiveness. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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