IS SALVATION BY A SUBSTITUTE RIGHT?
Many, who are ignorant of the gospel, object to the gospel doctrine of substitution, deriding it as a “commercial” or “penal theory” of the atonement. We are told, “It is not right to condemn a righteous person for another person’s crimes.” Without question, that is true. It is just as wrong for anyone to justify the wicked.
Yet, the Scriptures tell us plainly that our Lord Jesus Christ died “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). The gospel of God also declares that sinners are made righteous, “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ” (Rom. 3:24).
Christ was made to be sin, and we are made the righteousness of God in him by an act of divine imputation. When our sins were imputed to him, when he was made to be sin for us, it was altogether right and just for him to be punished for our sins. Since his righteousness has been imputed to us, since we have been made righteous in him, in exactly the same way, it is right and just for us to be rewarded for righteousness.
We know that this is right, because God did it. It is the work of him who is “a just God and a Savior” (Isa. 45:20). He who is the judge of all the earth must do right (Gen. 18:25). He is faithful and just in forgiving sin (1 John 1:9). Justice demands the forgiveness of those sinners for whom atonement has been made.
Union With Christ
Our intimate, inseparable union with Christ makes it both natural and just for him to assume all our debts and liabilities. Under his own law, a near kinsman was responsible to redeem the lost inheritance of his brother. A loving husband gladly assumes and pays the debts of his wife. The surety is responsible for the ones he represents. Indeed, the law and justice of God ceased to look for satisfaction from God’s elect as soon as Christ became our Surety and Substitute in the covenant of grace.
A Voluntary Substitute
The Lord Jesus freely assumed all responsibility for his people. His was not a forced suretyship, but a voluntary one. The good Shepherd willingly laid down his life for his sheep (John 10:11, 15-18). It cannot be wrong for him to pay the debt he voluntarily assumed as our Mediator.
The Last Adam
It was from eternity the purpose of God, for the glory of his own great name, that the redemption of his people be accomplished by the obedience of the last Adam, just as our race was ruined by the disobedience of the first Adam (Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:22). As we became sinners and died by the disobedience of one representative man (Adam), we are made righteous and live by the obedience of the second and last representative man, the God-man, our Savior.
Grace Baptist Church of Danville - Grace For Today Radio Message #737
2734 Old Stanford Road - Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor -Telephone 606-236-8235 - Email firstname.lastname@example.org