DayBreaks for 08/13/19: The Great Substitutions
From the DayBreaks archive, July 2019:
When I was in junior high, high school, and college, I loved to play sports. I wasn’t always first string, but whether I was or not, everyone has to take a bit of break now and then and sit to rest. So, the coach would either send me in as a substitute, or he’d pull the substitute he’d sent in for me so I could go back into the game. I always hated it when I was pulled out to rest. I wanted to keep playing! But the concept of substituting one player for another is based on very solid realities. In the major leagues, some players are better at defense than others, and toward the end of a close game if their team is leading and the score is close, they might be sent in as a substitute for a player who is not quite as good with a glove. In basketball, some players can’t shoot free throws and when it comes to crunch time, the coach may pull them out and put in players who can shoot free throws, or three-pointers if the team is behind and has to catch up.
Of course, the Christian faith is all about substitution: Christ paying the price for the sinner, His death rather than our own. The righteous dying for the unrighteous. Pretty fundamental to the entire enterprise of God’s plan.
There is, however, more substitution going on that we are wont to admit. Consider this perspective from John Stott in his excellent book, The Cross of Christ: “The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”
Sin surely is us humans putting ourselves in God’s place, rising up in rebellion, overthrowing the reign and rule of God (or trying to) in order to decree what is right and acceptable based on our desires and wishes. We don’t often think about that form of substitution, but it is putting our wills in the forefront rather than His will. It is what Adam did in the garden and we’ve been constantly at it ever since.
We want to accept the substitution that God made for us. We just don’t want to have to admit the substitution we have made to displace Him from the throne.
PRAYER: We are deeply grateful, Lord Jesus, that you put yourself in our place. We are less eager to admit the reason it was necessary was because of our attempt to substitute ourselves and our will for Your will and rule. Have mercy on us sinners! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2019 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>