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2 Corinthians 5:21 & Isaiah 53:5-6 by Robert Dean
Are you ready to explore the astonishing substitutionary atonement of Christ on the Cross? Listen to this lesson to learn that Christ’s death on the Cross was the payment for our sins and the concept was first introduced in the Bible when God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. See how we can do nothing to gain fellowship with God because we are unrighteous, but the Lord Jesus Christ cleansed us through His sacrifice. While Christ paid the price for the three problems facing the human race, it is only when we trust in Him as our Savior that these solutions are applied to us personally.
Series:Matthew (2013)
Duration:46 mins 6 secs

The Accomplishments of Christ’s Death: Substitution
2 Corinthians 5:21; Isaiah 53:5–6
Matthew Lesson #190
March 4, 2018

Opening Prayer

“Father, we’re so grateful for the fact that You have revealed Yourself to us in Your Word and that Your Word is the absolute authority for us, and it was revealed by means of God the Holy Spirit. That’s guaranteeing that it is without error and infallible.

“Father, we pray that as we study today that it’s not just some academic study, but that we may realize the breadth, the depth, and the dimensions of Your love for us and Your plan of salvation. How this is been laid out from the beginning of Scripture from the fall of man in Genesis 3 and works itself out to the culmination of human history and on into eternity at the end of the Book of Revelation.

“Father, we pray that we might come to understand how simple the plan of salvation is, yet how complex and intricate it is, and come to greater understanding of the implications of our faith in Christ in terms of our day-to-day life.

“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”

Slide 2

We have been studying in Matthew the stages in the crucifixion, starting with the time that Pilate completes his second trial of Jesus, which is the sixth of six trials. Jesus is released, and the Scripture says, “They led Him away to be crucified.” We started there, and then we began to work our way through these stages of the Cross.

We’re at a pause right now. After He died physically on the Cross, we’ll talk about the significance of that death on the Cross, His spiritual death when He paid the penalty for sins and the physical death.

Slide 3

Just to review, we looked at the first five stages that took place in the procession to Golgotha as He first carries the patibulum of the cross, and it’s too heavy. He has been weakened severely by the flogging and the beating. So, it was given to Simon of Cyrene to carry all the way to Golgotha …

Slide 4

… and then His crucifixion.

We see the first three hours from 9 AM until noon, when He is the object of the mockery and the slander and the blasphemy of men.

Slide 5

Then in the second three hours, when God brought darkness upon Golgotha in that area of Jerusalem and Israel, when He is shrouded in darkness as He pays the penalty for sin, separated from God judicially as God pours out the sins of all mankind, every single sin in human history. Every sin you and I commit is paid for at that instant or that three hours on the Cross.

So. we have paused there with His physical death to think back and think through what took place.

In the last few weeks, we looked at typology, those pictures that were given in the Old Testament of the future sacrifice for sin. That God had a plan. He worked through that plan. Galatians 4:4 tells us that in the fullness of time, God brought forth the Savior. He had a plan. It took 4,000 years to prepare the human race for the coming of Jesus. And part of that coming involved prophecies and these pictures, also called types or shadows, of what would take place.

A type is an example that may involve an object such as the Ark of the Covenant, it may involve an animal such as a lamb, or it may involve a person such as Melchizedek, the high priest of Salem, who is a picture of the priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, we have these types and shadows, these prophecies which we’ve covered the last couple of weeks. And specifically, last week we looked at four different objects or types that tell us something and teach us something about what would be required in salvation.

We looked at the tabernacle and how the furniture in the tabernacle, specifically that in the outer courtyard, the brazen altar and the laver, depicted the necessity of death for cleansing and that it’s substitutionary, so that’s a focal point there.

Then we looked at the blood sacrifices that are described in Leviticus 1–6:7. The burnt offerings, the trespass offerings, the sin offerings, and also the red heifer sacrifice and how that also depicted the necessity of death in the shedding of blood for the remission—that is the forgiveness—of sin.

We looked at what took place on the Day of Atonement, on Yom Kippur, when the high priest would bring two goats. He would cast a lot to determine which one would be the Lord’s—that is which one would be sacrificed. One would be sacrificed and the blood would be sprinkled on the ark of the covenant on the Mercy Seat, which is a picture of what was necessary to satisfy the righteousness and the justice of God.

The other goat, which actually was given a name or title Azazel, was the scapegoat. As the high priest put his hands on that goat, he would recite the sins of the nation, and then that goat would be taken far out into the wilderness to be released as a picture of the complete break with our sins because they’re paid for, they’re forgiven. When they’re paid for, they are forgotten, and they are no longer an issue.

Then we closed with the picture of the Kinsman-Redeemer.

Slide 6

As we look at all of those, they indicate certain key doctrines, certain key accomplishments that must take place by the Messiah, by the Savior, and those five we will look at here.

They are substitution, that the sacrifice is a substitutionary sacrifice, that the sacrifice replaces us in the payment of that penalty.

Second, redemption, that that sacrifice purchases freedom, it purchases forgiveness. It pays a price. That’s the key word. When you think of redemption, you think of the payment of a price.

Because the price is paid, the debt is paid, the debt is canceled. That’s called expiation in older theological terminology. That is the foundation then for forgiveness, which is the fourth aspect that we’re looking at that’s pictured in the Day of Atonement. It’s sacrifices, and ultimately, it depicts then that God’s righteousness and justice are satisfied—what the Bible teaches about propitiation. That’s the older theological term. It means that God’s righteousness and justice are satisfied.

So those five things are accomplished objectively at the Cross. They don’t happen when we believe in Jesus. They happened when Jesus died. There’s a difference between what is objectively done on the Cross and what is subjectively worked out in our lives when we trust in Christ. But what Christ did on the Cross accomplished these five things.

Slide 7

So, this morning we’re going to look at the idea of substitution. Usually this term is associated with the word atonement, substitutionary atonement. The word “atonement” is really a coined English word that summarizes everything that was done on the Cross. It is an English word that means or is similar to reconciliation—meaning bringing the two sides together.

That doesn’t really accurately reflect a specific word in the Hebrew. Atonement is not a word that you find in the New Testament. It is a description though of what happens in the Old Testament, and usually, it is translated in Hebrew with the word which means to cleanse or to purify. That’s the main idea there. It’s substitutionary in nature. So, we need to look at what that means when we talk about substitution.

As we go through this looking back to our five things that were accomplished on the Cross, there’s redemption, there’s cancellation or expiation, there is forgiveness, and there is satisfaction. Redemption, cancellation, forgiveness, and satisfaction all rest on substitution. That’s the foundation. That is why it is so important to understand this.

If sometimes you may be in a situation where you are witnessing to somebody, you’re trying to explain the gospel to them, and they say that doesn’t work. You can’t substitute yourself for someone else. You can’t pay for somebody else’s crime.

Well, that may be true in American jurisprudence or in jurisprudence in some other human culture, but that is not true in the divine jurisprudence, because ultimately we have to start with how God informs us about penalties and about payment for those penalties and what He has pictured. From the very beginning of time, the way we understand justice and righteousness is not by looking at the horizontal experience of man, but by looking at what God has revealed about these terms. We can’t even talk about justice and righteousness unless we presuppose that there are absolutes in the universe.

That’s another thing. If you are talking to somebody who is an unbeliever, and they’re being critical and saying, “Well, this can’t even work. That’s not fair. That’s not righteous.” As soon as they use terms like that, they’re critiquing our understanding of what Christ did on the Cross, that transaction of substitution, they’re saying, “Well, you can’t do that. That’s not fair.”

“Well, where you get the idea of fairness? You believe in moral relativism. So how can you even use terms that reflect moral absolutes? You only get that because you’ve stolen that from the Judeo-Christian heritage of our culture. Where do you get the idea that you can talk about what is right and what is wrong, unless you presuppose that there is a God who is absolute righteousness and absolute justice?

“You can only legitimately presuppose that in your thinking and in your language if you are believing the Judeo-Christian view of God. Without that you have no right to even think that something is right or something is wrong or to make those sort of moral judgments.” So that’s a logical fallacy in their thinking.

So Scripture presents this. When we think of substitution, we go back to Genesis 3. One of the first things that happens after God outlines the consequences of sin in Genesis 3:14 down to the end of the chapter, the last thing that He did was to clothe them with animal skins.

Now that’s just presented as sort of a description of what happened. There’s not a whole lot said. We’re not told how He did that. We’re not told what the animal skins were. But for God to clothe them with animal skins means that an animal had to die. It also means that He had to teach them or had to show them how to treat those animal skins, what to do with them, so that they would not just dry and harden, but they would be soft and supple and could be worked with and could fashion clothing with. This is something that took a lot of time.

He would have also taught them about the nature of sacrifice as He did that, because when we get to Genesis 4 it is clear that Cain and Abel clearly understand that they need to bring a sacrifice to the Lord. They understand that there is a right way to do it, and they will come to understand—Cain will—that there is a wrong way to do it.

That wasn’t just discovered then, but they had already been informed of that. Abel had believed it and had brought a righteous sacrifice. Cain had rejected it and thought he knew better. He brought his own kind of sacrifice, which was rejected by God, which led to his anger and depression, and he murdered his brother as a result of that.

From the very beginning God begin to teach Adam and Eve and their progeny what righteousness was, what justice was, and that His righteousness and justice had to be placated. It had to be satisfied or propitiated by a certain kind of sacrifice, and that that sacrifice was inherently substitutionary.

When we look at this and we come to talk about Jesus’ death as substitutionary, that’s not an idea that just popped up on the scene when Jesus was on the earth, but it had been present since Genesis 3. It is developed out book by book, chapter by chapter, as you go through the Old Testament. By the time Jesus came on the scene, all of these ideas should have been fully understood on the basis of 4,000 years of revelation.

Slide 8

The key verse for understanding substitution that I chose in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Romans 5:8 would be another excellent verse, as a key verse for understanding substitution. I could pick any number of others, but this makes it pretty clear in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He—that is God the Father—made Him—that is the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross—who knew no sin—that refers to His perfection. He was without sin, therefore qualified to go to the Cross to pay the penalty for us—who knew no sin, to be sin for us—we will talk about that preposition a little later, that that indicates substitution. He replaced us, paid the penalty for us—that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

So first of all I have, I think, 12 points to go through on this:

Slide 9

Substitutionary in theology refers to Christ dying in our place. He takes our place. He actually does something, so we don’t have to do it. When you take that and you apply it to redemption, redemption is the payment of a price, and will see that that idea comes from the last thing Jesus said on the Cross. We’ve studied this in recent weeks. The last thing Jesus said, in English it’s translated “It is finished,” but the Greek word TETELESTAI means “paid in full.” It was a transactional term when a debt was paid. You went to a restaurant, you paid the bill, and they would write TETELESTAI on the bottom of the bill. It is paid in full. Can you pay the bill anymore once it is paid in full? No, you can’t. When it’s paid in full everything’s been done. Everything has been accomplished.

If someone takes you out to eat, and you get up and you go the restroom, and you come back, and in the meantime, the server brought the bill and they paid the bill, you can’t pay it again. It is paid in full. He did it for you. That’s the idea inherent in substitution. Christ died in our place. He replaced us as the One who bore in His own body on the tree our sins, 1 Peter tells us.

Slide 10

Second thing we must understand is that this relates to the character of God. God is absolutely righteous and He’s absolutely just. And this demands a payment of the penalty for sin that meets His righteous standard, and either each person pays that penalty or someone else pays the penalty. Those are the only two options. It’s a binary equation. It’s either Jesus or somebody else or something else. That’s it. Jesus becomes that substitute as depicted in the Old Testament sacrifices.

Slide 11

Same point. This is from Habakkuk 1:13, which tells us that because God is righteous, because He is perfect, He cannot behold evil. Therefore, God cannot have a relationship with a fallen, corrupt, sinful creature.

When Adam sinned by eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, there is a breach that occurred. It is a breach that has enormous ramifications, not only personally in terms of Adam and Eve and their relationship with God, but it also reverberates throughout creation as a sort of preview of coming attractions.

When Jesus pays the penalty for sin, there are also reverberations that occur in creation, which shows that what happens morally in God’s universe it is not divided in some sort of Neoplatonic way between the spiritual and the physical, as if they’re not related. They’re all related together in God’s creation.

So when sin happens, it changes the nature of creation. When Christ pays the penalty for sin, there’s an earthquake that occurs, showing again the correlation between spiritual events and physical events.

Habakkuk 1:13 says, “You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.”

The correlation of that was when God came to walk in the garden with Adam and Eve, they ran and hid. And then when God questioned them as to why they ran and hid, they said, “Because we heard the sound of You in the garden and we were afraid.” They recognized that something happened in their relationship with God, and there was that breach.

Slide 12

This is now the third point, that all human beings, therefore, have sinned and are thus under the judgment of God.

Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned. Everyone. We’re born in a state of sin. Ephesians 2:1 says we are born dead in our trespasses and sins. That can’t be physical death, so it must be spiritual death. We are born separated from God, dead in our trespasses and sins.

Romans 3:23 says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Slide 13

Now that’s a term that may be confusing for some, but this was an idiom that was used often to refer to the entirety of God’s character and His essence. So that if God were referred to in terms of His essence, and the term that was used was His glory, the totality of His being, but it is focusing in these passages on specifically His righteousness and His justice.

The righteousness of God is the standard of God’s character. It is the standard by which all things are evaluated. Either they conform to God’s standard of righteousness and truth and justice, or they don’t. If they don’t, then there must be a penalty.

That’s where justice comes in. Justice is the application of God’s righteous standard to His creatures. So righteousness expresses the standard of God’s character. Justice represents the application of that standard to His creatures. Those who conform to His righteousness are blessed; those who violate His righteousness come under judgment.

Slide 14

Fourth point, the only way we can stand before God is if we possess His perfect righteousness. Because we’re born spiritually dead, because we have all sinned, we are unrighteous. Even the best that we can do, and there some mighty wonderful people who do many good wonderful things in their lives, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are still spiritually dead. Good deeds cannot overcome the deficit of a loss of righteousness and being unrighteous. The only way that can be corrected is if someone’s perfect righteousness is given to us.

You can think about a situation that may occur, a very simple situation, it occurs every day on the streets of Houston. Someone is given a speeding ticket. Maybe you’re someone who’s driven for 30, 40, 50, 60 years and you’ve never had a speeding ticket. There may be some people like that. I don’t understand that, but that’s just me. I do not relate. But in the illustration, somebody’s gone 40 or 50 years and they’ve never had a speeding ticket. And one day they don’t catch it, and they speed through a school zone, which is going to break the bank account, even if you do 30 or 35 miles an hour in a school zone, that’s at least probably now a $500 or $600 penalty.

But they could plead, “Well, I’ve never broken the law before. I’ve never sped before. I’ve never sped in a school zone before. Cut me some slack!” And the officer will say, “Well, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done because that was just obeying the law. What you did now is you broke the law and that’s where the penalty comes in.”

You can’t balance out your disobedience by any act of obedience. That doesn’t work in any court of law. It may ameliorate the sentence a little bit, but it doesn’t take away the guilt. This is what we must understand that nobody can negate their unrighteousness by any acts of righteousness at all. It doesn’t work that way in any court system in the world.

Slide 15

The fifth point is the fact that we are corrupt and we are fallen demands a cleansing, a purification for sin. It must be eradicated. That’s the word that is used in the Old Testament that was translated atonement in the King James Version and other translations, the word kaphar, which when the rabbis translated it in the second and third century BC into the Greek in the Septuagint, they translated it KATHARIZO, which means to be cleansed. It’s that purification of sin that’s what must take place.

The pictures that we’ve seen in the Old Testament showed that a perfect substitute depicted by that lamb that was without spot or blemish, that perfect substitute was what was needed in order for purification. That is a picture of Jesus as the Lamb of God who is without sin and a perfect substitute.

Only by trusting in Him and receiving His righteousness can we be righteous before God. We’re never righteous before God because we’ve done something righteous. We’re righteous before God because Jesus’ righteousness is reckoned to us or imputed to us. It is given to us so that our deficit is covered by His perfect righteousness.

That’s why 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He who knew no sin was made sin for us that the righteousness of God might be found in us.” Not our righteousness, but His righteousness is given to us. But that’s what comes with the trust in Christ.

Slide 16

Now the sixth point is a reference to those Old Testament illustrations of what happens in the sacrifices depicting substitution.

In Leviticus 1:3 we’re told about the offering for the burnt offering and that he is to bring a lamb or a bull, whatever, from the herd. He offers a male without blemish. And then in verse 4 it says, “Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering and it will be accepted on his behalf—it’s substitution—to make atonement for sin.”

This is the picture, is that as the person bringing the sacrifice places their hand, it depicts identification.

We see that same imagery when we get into the New Testament with things such as ordination or commissioning missionaries to go out—that the men in the church, the leaders in the church would lay hands on somebody. That’s what that pictures. We’re identifying with one another. What they do is an extension of what we do, and so there’s that transfer there that takes place that is depicted in the laying on of hands.

Slide 17

So the worshiper will lay his hand on the animal and recite his sins, and those sins are transferred then from him onto that innocent animal that has done nothing wrong. And then that animal is sacrificed for your sins on behalf of you. Instead of you paying the penalty, they are now on that animal.

Slide 18

When they translated the Septuagint, the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, as I said in the second to third century BC, they would translate these phrases with the Greek term, the words PERI HAMARTION. HAMARTIA is a word for sin.

The plural there is in reference to sins, and that preposition PERI means in the place, on behalf of, and there are a number of things said in the dictionaries about it, but the major Greek-English dictionary for the study of Scripture says “when used with HARMATIA the word ‘for’ has the sense to take away, to atone for.” It’s that idea of substitution that is emphasized by that Greek preposition.

Slide 19

And so that is seen in passages like Leviticus 5:6, “… he shall bring his trespass offering to the Lord for his sin—the idea of substitution—for his sin which he had committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him on behalf or concerning His sin.”

That’s the word PERI there, emphasizing substitution.

Slide 20

We see it again in the eighth point, which takes us to that great prophetic passage in the Old Testament about the Messiah in Isaiah 53:5–6, “He was wounded for our transgressions.”

There it just uses a different preposition, but it has the same idea of substitution. He’s wounded for our transgressions. We transgressed and He is wounded or bruised, pierced even, in that same passage, on behalf of us. It’s the picture of substitution. “He’s wounded for our transgression. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement—or the punishment—for our peace—that we might have peace—was upon Him, and by His stripes—that is the flogging, the wounds that He incurred through the whipping—we are healed”—that is saved.

Then Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray. We turned everyone to his own way, but the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

There’s that picture again, that it is on Him, not on us. That is the picture of substitution.

Slide 21

Now under point 9, we go back and see the Passover lamb imagery, which we studied two weeks ago, that that shows that Lamb dying in the place of that family at the 10th plague in Egypt. The Passover lamb is sacrificed. His blood is applied to the door posts and the lintel of the door, so that God would pass over and the firstborn’s life would not be taken.

This is picked up in 1 Corinthians 5:7 where the apostle Paul says, “For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.” That’s the idea of substitution there.

Slide 22

This Passover lamb imagery shows that the lamb died in our place, and Jesus is that Passover lamb.

As John the Baptist announced in John 1:29 when he saw Jesus coming down to be baptized, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

Again, the Jewish audience listening to him would have their mind immediately go to that Passover sacrifice. The Day of Atonement was a goat. Other sacrifices were other animals. So it’s the lamb that draws specifically from that Passover imagery and that Passover analogy. So, there is again that picture of substitution.

Slide 23

On the 10th point in Mark 10:45. “… the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Christ presented Himself to serve God and mankind by giving His life as a payment price. We will often hear in a lot of sermons about Christ serving, but the application of that falls short because the picture that Jesus is always using ultimately of His service is to pay the penalty for sin. It’s not just about service. It’s a certain kind of service, and that uses a different preposition, ANTI—down here—which again emphasizes substitution. It emphasizes in place of.

There you have the term “ransom,” which is the Doctrine of Redemption—what the Bible teaches about the payment for sin, which is the next thing that we will cover in what Christ accomplished on the Cross. So it is redemption for many, redemption in the place of many, so it emphasizes substitution.

Slide 24

And then we have the 11th point with another preposition HUPER, which means in place of or, again, it’s a preposition for substitution, just like ANTI, and this is used in Luke 22:19, when Jesus is instituting the Lord’s Table, and He says, “This is My body which is given for you.” It is HUPER there, indicating substitution.

Slide 25

Same thing in Romans 5:8, that Christ died for us.

Slide 26

2 Corinthians 5:21, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us—to be our substitute—that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Slide 27

Then we see the preposition PERI again under point 12 in 1 John 2:2, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins.” Now propitiation means satisfaction, so He is the One who satisfies God’s righteousness. It’s based on substitution.

So, what we’ve seen just in terms of these passages that emphasize substitution is they connect that to redemption, they connect that to propitiation, they connect that to the cleansing of sin, which is related to expiation. We see how substitution is inherent in each of these other words that are used to relate to what Christ did on the Cross.

Now let’s tie this together for a minute in terms of understanding the difference between what Christ accomplished on the Cross and what must take place as a transaction in our lives, in our spiritual lives, when we trust Christ as Savior.

Slide 28

There are three basic problems that face every member of the human race, except for Jesus was born without sin. We are all born with these three problems that have to be solved and can only be solved by God.

The first is that we are under a judicial penalty. We have been declared guilty because of the sin of Adam. That’s why it’s referred to as original sin. The doctrine of original sin that what Adam did, we did. There’s the old Puritan Primer or the New England Primer where there’s a little saying associated with each letter of the alphabet, and the first one is A for Adam: in Adam’s fall we sin all. That’s original sin.

Adam was our representative in the garden. Because he fell and that corrupted him spiritually, he’s now spiritually dead. Physically he is corrupted by sin. When they gave birth to their children, their children were all born spiritually dead and corrupted by sin. There is this connection, this genetic DNA connection that connects all of the human race because we all descended from Adam. And so because of that, we are under a judicial penalty of spiritual death. That means we are separated from God.

We’re born that way, Ephesians 2:1. We’re born dead in our trespasses and sins. How did we get that way? Well, the word “born” there is not in the passage, but it indicates that, because the only way we could have become dead in our trespasses and sins is through Adam’s original sin, which is taught elsewhere. In Adam all die. We’re born spiritually dead. That spiritual death is the judicial penalty.

When God put Adam and Eve in the garden, He told them that they could eat from the fruit of any tree in the garden except one, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The instant they ate from it, they would die. But they did not die physically, they died spiritually. That’s indicated by what happened.

As I mentioned earlier, when God came to walk in the garden, they ran, they hid in fear. They’d already tried to cover themselves up with fig leaves, and so they are indicating their spiritual death. They hear God and they run because they’re afraid of Him. They are spiritually dead. But they don’t die physically for over 900 years. Physical death was a consequence of sin that’s outlined in Genesis 3. So they are under this judicial penalty of spiritual death.

Slide 29

We’re all born under that judicial penalty. Somebody has to pay that penalty for us. That is the spiritual death of Christ on the Cross. On the Cross He paid the penalty for sin, actually and truly for all people. We will get into that more when we get into redemption and cleansing, cancellation in the next couple of weeks, but even though Christ paid the penalty for sin, experientially, we are still born spiritually dead.

His death paid the penalty, but it didn’t change anybody. It just paid a legal penalty that was directed towards God, satisfies His righteousness and justice and propitiation. But every human being is still born in Adam and dead. So, we have an experiential reality which is we’re born spiritually dead. We’re under a judicial penalty that’s been paid, but that doesn’t change our status at all. We’re born spiritually dead.

Then third, we’re born unrighteous. We lack righteousness.

Now Jesus’ death on the Cross just satisfied that first problem, and that is that it paid for our sin on the Cross. It canceled it. We will look at specific passages on this next time when we get into studying redemption and then the cancellation of sin.

He pays the price and He cancels the sin. That’s Colossians 2:12–14. It doesn’t potentially cancel it, it cancels it. It doesn’t theoretically cancel it, if we believe it, because what Colossians 2:14 says is that it was nailed to the cross. That certificate of debt is nailed to the cross. It’s nailed to the cross in AD 33. It’s not nailed to the cross in 1970 or 1980 and 2005 when you trust Christ as Savior. It’s nailed to the cross and eradicated at the cross, not now. That tells us that the only issue now between you and God is not your sins, because they are paid for. The issue is whether or not you’ve trusted Christ.

When you trust in Christ, then what happens is that you become spiritually alive. You are born again. That’s regeneration. That’s not what Christ accomplished on the Cross. That’s what happens when you trust in Christ. We’re born spiritually dead. That’s the legal penalty. Christ paid the penalty on the Cross, but it doesn’t change anybody. That change only comes when they trust in Christ. And when they trust in Christ, then they are regenerated. They become a new creature in Christ, and they also receive the imputation or the reckoning of Christ’s righteousness to us.

We are credited with His righteousness. That doesn’t happen at the Cross. That happens when you and I trust in Christ as Savior. That’s the foundation. Everything builds around substitution, which is what took place at the Cross.

So next time we will come back, and we’ll see how that relates to redemption and the cancellation of sin, specifically looking at Colossians 2:12–14.

Closing Prayer

“Father, we’re thankful for this opportunity that we have to come together to be informed by Your Word, which encourages us, it strengthens our faith, helps us to understand exactly what transpired in our salvation, how You have planned this salvation from eternity past. And that You informed us of what was needed and what was taking place bit by bit, book by book, as You go through the Old Testament, depicting what would take place through the sacrifices and the more expanded in detail sacrifices of the Levitical system. And then taking those sacrifices and relating them to what the Messiah would do in passages such as Isaiah 53, so that when we come to the New Testament, then what Jesus did, what happened to Him on the Cross makes sense. It fits within our understanding of what You have revealed to us over the centuries about how Your righteousness and justice must be satisfied.

“Father, we pray that as we made the gospel clear this morning, that people would come to understand that, that if anyone here or anyone listening has never trusted in Christ as Savior, that they would understand that God the Holy Spirit would make it clear—that it’s not our sins that today separate us from God, so that we have to go change our life, it is our view towards Christ.

“Scripture says he who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who believeth not is condemned already. Why? Because we were born in that state of condemnation. He who believeth not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the Only Begotten Son of God.

“Father, we pray that You would make this clear, that the only issue in the New Testament for salvation is faith. As Paul and Silas responded to the Philippian jailer, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.’ It’s nothing more. It’s simply trusting Him, looking to Him and Him alone to save us and to give us eternal life.

“Father, we pray for each of us that You would help us to understand that now that we have been saved, we are Yours, we’re adopted into Your royal family, and we must learn to live, we must grow spiritually, and we must serve You in every area of our life.

“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”