Title: CHRIST OUR SUBSTITUTE
Text: I Peter 3:18
Subject: The Suffering, Death, and Accomplishments of The Lord Jesus Christ, Our Substitute
Date: October 18, 1993 Cherokee, NC
Sunday Morning – October 24, 1993 Danville, Ky
The hymn writer expressed the experience of my soul and the message I want to declare to you beautifully in these words –
“In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
‘Till a new object struck my sight
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree
In agonies and blood.
Who fixed His languid eyes on me.
As near His cross I stood.
“He looked on me in grace and said,
‘I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayest live!’
My subject tonight is my favorite subject. It is the staple diet of all who feed at the banqueting table of grace, the theme of all true gospel preaching, the subject of the Bible, the song of every renewed heart, and the only hope quietly sinners have of acceptance with God. I want to talk to you about Christ Our Substitute. My text is I Peter 3:18 – “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
Divisions: I want you to hold your Bibles open on your laps and follow me through this verse of Scripture, word by word and line by line. I want to call your attention to five things in this message.
1. Our Substitute – “Christ.”
2. His Sufferings – “Hath once suffered the just for the unjust.”
3. His Success – “That he might bring us to God.”
4. His Satisfaction – “Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”
5. His Salvation.
I. First, I want to talk to you about Our Substitute himself – “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust.”
Our Substitute is the Lord Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God – (I Tim. 3:16).
NOTE: We cannot stress the Person of our Savior too much. We must know who Jesus Christ is. It is the Person of Christ that gives merit and efficacy to his work, his sufferings, and his death.
NOTE: It is not possible to exalt Christ too much.
· We are Trinitarians (I John 5:7).
· All three Persons in the Godhead are active in the saving of our soul (Eph. 1:3-14).
· But the triune God has made himself known by and revealed himself in, and given all pre-eminence, glory and honor to the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ the Mediator between God and men, our Substitute – (Isa. 52:13; Col. 1:18; 2:10).
A. Jesus Christ is A Real Man (Heb. 4:15).
B. But he, is more – He is The Just Man.
We know that “there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not” (Eccles. 7:20). But our Savior is no ordinary man. He is the just man, the only just man and perfect man who ever lived upon the earth, the only one who always did good and never sinned. He is the man who “knew no sin!” He did not sin! “Neither was guile found in his mouth!” You see, this man is the only man who ever lived who is not a son of the fallen man Adam.
1. He had no Imputed Sin.
2. He had no Original Sin.
3. He had no Deed of Sin.
4. He had no Thought of Sin.
This man, the Lord Jesus Christ was and is the just man – “Holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.”
It is essential that we grasp this aspect of our Lord’s Person. I do not care whether you know the difference between the “Posse Non Picar” and the Non-Picar Posse” views of Christ’ impeccability. But you must know this – Christ knew no sin, had no sin, and did no sin! Only a sinless sacrifice could make atonement for sin. Yet, there is more…
C. This just man is himself God! (Isa. 9:6; Heb. 1:8; 4:14; Col. 2:9).
The centurion said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!: And he was exactly right! (See John 1:1-3, 14).
We could never trust our souls upon a savior who was nothing but a man. His death could never have atoned for sin, were he not the infinite God.
1. Humanity made it possible for the Son of God to suffer.
2. Divinity made it possible for the Son of man to satisfy.
a. The righteous obedience of the God-man is a righteousness of infinite value.
b. The Substitutionary sufferings of the God-man are sufferings of infinite value.
D. The God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is a Representative Man, A Substitute For Chosen Men and Women (Rom. 5:19; II Cor. 5:21; I Pet. 2:24).
He died “The Just for the Unjust!”
Jesus Christ lived and died for his people. All that he did and all that he suffered in life and in death was as a Substitute for us…
· Who are God’s Elect!
· Who are Saved by, His Blood!
· Who Believe on Him!
Everything that the Lord Jesus Christ ever did he did to work out and make a coat of perfect righteousness to give to the first beggar he meets who has none!
“The great gift of the gospel is the free righteousness of the Son of God.” (John Calvin).
II. Secondly, our text speaks of His Sufferings as our Substitute.
“Christ also hath once suffered for sins.” He suffered for sin, because of sin, that he might put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. He did not suffer for any sin of his own. He knew no sin! He suffered for the sins of his people which were imputed to him. No tongue can describe what the Son of God suffered for us (Lam. 1:12).
“Much we talk of Jesus’ blood, But, how little’s understood!
Of His sufferings so intense Angels have no perfect sense.
Who can rightly comprehend Their beginning or their end?
Tis to God and God alone That their weight is fully known.
See the suffering Son of God, Painting, groaning, sweating blood!
Boundless depths of love Divine! Jesus what a love is thine!
Though the wonders Thou hast done, Are as yet so little known
Here we fix and comfort take, Jesus died for sinners’ sake!”-
Joseph Hart 1759
All the sufferings of our Lord were vicarious sufferings for us, as our Substitute. This is what he suffered…
A. The Incarnation (II Cor. 8:9).
B. His Life of Sorrow, Poverty, and rejection.
C. In Gethsemane He Anticipated his Suffering and Death!
D. The Betrayal of Judas!
E. The Denial of Peter!
F. The Shame of Beating of the Soldiers.
G. The Agony and Ignominy of the Crucifixion!
H. The Imputation of Sin to Him!
The Son of God was made to be sin for us! (II Cor. 5:21). Our sins were transferred to him and made to be his sins (Ps. 40:12; 69:15).
J. The Cursed Death of a Cursed Man (Gal. 3:13).
The Lord of glory was “put to death in the flesh “for us!”
“Amazing love! How can it be –
That thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”
K. The Burial of His Body as a Cursed, Polluted, Unclean Thing.
The Son of God suffered all that we deserved to suffer of the unmitigated wrath of God Almighty freely, voluntarily. He was not forced to do so by anything, or anyone. But he suffered and died for us willingly because he loved us! (Heb. 12:2).
Illustration: “If ye seek me, let these go their way!” (John 18:8).
Illustration: The Indian Chief and the Chicken Thief
The Cherokee Chief and the Worm
III. Now, thirdly, I want to talk to you about His Success.
Our Savior had a purpose in suffering and dying for us. He endured all the hell of God’s wrath in our stead – “That he might bring us to God!” And what he has purposed to do shall be done! “He shall not fail!” He brings all the elect to God by virtue of his sufferings and death. He brings his people to God in five ways.
A. By Blood Atonement – “At-one-ment” (Rom. 5:11).
B. By Regeneration and Effectual Calling (Ps. 65:4; John 5:20).
C. By Reconciliation and Faith (II Cor. 5:20; Col. 1:21-22).
D. By Death (II Cor. 5:1, 8).
E. By Resurrection (I Thess. 4:16-18).
IV. Fourthly, our text gives us the evidence of His Satisfaction. That was his payment for sin. But three days later he was “quickened by the Spirit.” That was the proof of his satisfaction.
McCheyne was exactly right when he said, The body of our Savior lay in an unjustified state in the tomb for three days. Then, by his resurrection from the dead, he was “justified in the Spirit!”
The resurrection of Christ is God’s public declaration that justice has been satisfied on behalf of his people. Can you get hold of this?
“Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
And then again at mine!”
The Lord Jesus Christ took the cup of wrath; and with one tremendous drought of love, he drank damnation dry! The sword of justice has been buried in his holy soul!
“Glory in this, ye living people of the living Christ! He hath offered for you a complete sacrifice, acceptable unto his Father. Glory in this, ye chosen people of the living God, that Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God!” C.H. Spurgeon.
A. Christ satisfied all the designs of His Father when he died for us.
B. He satisfied all The Declarations of The Old Testament Scriptures by fulfilling the law and the prophets in the accomplishment of redemption.
C. Our Substitute has satisfied for us all The Demands of God’s Holy Law and Justice by his death upon the cross.
D. He shall satisfy all The Desires of His Own Holy Soul when he has brought every ransomed sinner home to God (Isa. 53:11).
“He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied!” The cross of Christ shall never be discovered a miscarrilege!
E. And the Lord Jesus Christ satisfies all The Needs of This Sinner!
Jesus is enough. He is all I have!
· All My Righteousness!
· All My Atonement!
· All My Assurance!
· All My Hope!
V. Now, let me depart from my text to persuade all who hear my voice to seek His Salvation – (Isa. 45:22; John 12:32; 3:14-16).
A. The only way a sinner can be made righteous is by Divine Imputation, the same way Christ was made sin.
Three Acts of Imputation by God
1. Adam’s Sin to All Men (Rom. 5:19).
2. The Sins of God’s Elect to Christ (II Cor. 5:21).
3. Christ’s Righteousness to Every Believer (Rom. 5:19).
B. Christ has made atonement.
1. We receive the atonement by faith (Rom. 5:11).
2. We add nothing to the atonement.
C. If you come to Christ, if you trust him, he did all this for you! Trust Christ and you are saved!
1. Forgiven of All Sin!
2. Made Just with God!
3. Perfectly Righteous!
4. An Heir of Eternal Life!
1. Only The Blood of Christ can purge the conscience of sin and guilt (Heb. 9:12-14).
2. Christ stands as our Substitute Forever!
· Before the World Began!
· At Calvary!
· Today (I John 2:1-2).
· In the Judgment!
3. I hang all the hopes of my immortal soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, my Substitute, “Who once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”