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Dying in the Place of Someone Else

Romans 5:6-8
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)

Heroic self-sacrifice is rarely seen in peacetime, but when it happens it becomes a media event. We love to read a story of bravery. Paul's argument about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is different. The death of Jesus was no accident or regrettable consequence of saving another's life: it was planned. Jesus clearly understood that His life's work was to die.

The sacrifice was not a reward for good people but for sinners who richly deserved to be punished - but Jesus volunteered to be punished instead of them. And He did not wait until they had repented and confessed their sin; He died when they were ungodly people who were powerless to live a holy life. In other words, it was love. He gave all He had to meet our need, even before we knew we were hell-bound without His sacrifice.

The grace of God is wonderful. His love is always ahead of us, waiting for us to walk into. Many like to blame God for the disasters in their lives. But the truth is quite the opposite. The disasters are the result of our fallen world and sinful humanity. What God has done is to love us so much that He has provided a remedy for our corruption, by allowing the sinless Christ to bear our sin in His own body and be punished for it (1 Peter 2:24). That is love with a capital 'L'! So never again blame God for Your faults ... firstly, it slanders His character and, secondly, Jesus has already been punished for your faults even though He never committed any sin. The right thing to do is to thank Him for His love and praise Him for His grace.

Dear Lord. I am amazed at how You have demonstrated Your love towards me, in planning the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for my sin. I repent of blaming You for what is not Your fault, and for failing to praise You for Your grace. Help me to live in gratitude to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams