Jesus, Our Substitute

 By R.C. Sproul

Our Final Redemption

While life after salvation still has challenges, the Holy Spirit gives believers direction, peace, and joy.

Romans 8:12-25 12 So then, Christian brothers, we are not to do what our sinful old selves want us to do. 13 If you do what your sinful old selves want you to do, you will die in sin. But if, through the power of the Holy Spirit, you destroy those actions to which the body can be led, you will have life. 14 All those who are led by the Holy Spirit are sons of God. 15 You should not act like people who are owned by someone. They are always afraid. Instead, the Holy Spirit makes us His sons, and we can call to Him, “My Father.” 16 For the Holy Spirit speaks to us and tells our spirit that we are children of God. 17 If we are children of God, we will receive everything He has promised us. We will share with Christ all the things God has given to Him. But we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

18 I am sure that our suffering now cannot be compared to the glory that He is going to give us. 19 Everything that has been made in the world is waiting for the day when God will make His sons known. 20 Everything that has been made in the world is weak. It is not that the world wanted it to be that way. God allowed it to be that way. Yet there is hope. 21 Everything that has been made in the world will be set free from the power that can destroy. These will become free just as the children of God become free. 22 We know that everything on the earth cries out with pain the same as a woman giving birth to a child. 23 We also cry inside ourselves, even we who have received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the first of God’s gifts to us. We are waiting to become His complete sons when our bodies are made free. 24 We were saved with this hope ahead of us. Now hope means we are waiting for something we do not have. How can a man hope for something he already has? 25 But if we hope for something we do not yet see, we must learn how to wait for it.


Have you discovered that your expectations do not match the realities of your existence? We sometimes have the mistaken idea that God is going to make life easier after salvation. In some ways, this certainly is true: As believers, we have the Holy Spirit, who transforms us into Christ’s likeness, enabling us to handle struggles with peace, contentment, and even joy. But being a Christian does not spare us from troubles and hardships. (I have told you these things so you may have peace in Me. In the world you will have much trouble. But take hope! I have power over the world!” John 16:33.)

As Paul explains, our present sufferings cannot be compared to the glories we will one day know. So for now, we “groan within ourselves” (We also cry inside ourselves, even we who have received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the first of God’s gifts to us. We are waiting to become His complete sons when our bodies are made free. Rom. 8:23) while awaiting Christ’s coming kingdom and the redemption of our bodies. When Jesus died on the cross, He paid the price, redeemed us, and brought us into His kingdom. However, we are still in a fallen state—that’s why we continue to struggle with sin. Our full redemption will become reality upon Christ’s return, when our bodies will be resurrected into their glorified state.

Do you groan within yourself for that day, knowing that the world is not your home—or have you allowed your affections and interests to be dominated by this earthly life?

A New Covenant

Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.

Hebrews 8:1-2

This section is one that is often a surprise to people not familiar with the relationship between Old and New Testaments.  As we go through this chapter, we will be challenged to see things the way God views them, and to be quite candid, things aren’t always what they at first appear to be.  These first two verses give us a bit of that; notice that there is a difference between the tabernacle that Jesus is serving in as high priest, and the earthly one.  For starters, Jesus isn’t in Jerusalem, nor is He serving in a place made by human hands, but by God Himself. Finally, notice that the tabernacle He is in is “true”. If Jesus is in the true sanctuary, what does that say about the one in the Old Testament?

Fasten your seat belts, we are about to find out!

Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law.

Hebrews 8:3-4

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The Necessity of the Cross

Colossians 2:9-15 For Christ is not only God-like, He is God in human flesh. 10 When you have Christ, you are complete. He is the head over all leaders and powers. 11 When you became a Christian, you were set free from the sinful things of the world. This was not done by human hands. You were set free from the sins of your old self by what was done in Christ’s body. 12 When you were baptized, you were buried as Christ was buried. When you were raised up in baptism, you were raised as Christ was raised. You were raised to a new life by putting your trust in God. It was God Who raised Jesus from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins, you were not set free from the sinful things of the world. But God forgave your sins and gave you new life through Christ. 14 We had broken the Law many ways. Those sins were held against us by the Law. That Law had writings which said we were sinners. But now He has destroyed that writing by nailing it to the cross. 15 God took away the power of the leaders of this world and the powers of darkness. He showed them to the world. The battle was won over them through Christ.

What does the cross mean to you? Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but think about what it represented in Christ’s day. Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship. The cross was a torturous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.

Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith. In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion. How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified and resurrected? According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (The Law says that almost everything is made clean by blood. Sins are not forgiven unless blood is given. Heb. 9:22). Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.

Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was—an instrument of execution. Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin. Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph.

What’s With All The Blood In The Bible?

An ear-piercing scream from the living room brought my wife and me running to our almost three-year-old daughter’s rescue. I braced myself for the worst … only to discover that she was just terrified of an elephant character in one of her favorite TV shows. I breathed a sigh of relief and held back a sympathetic chuckle, because we’d been down this road before. She’d seen the episode many times, how the merry band of furry friends are afraid of this mysterious elephant who lives in the (gasp!) haunted mansion at the end of the street. Then they finally meet her and discover she is a sweet, neighborly soul. She even gives them cookies!

Needless to say, my daughter had forgotten all about the cookies.

Even when you’ve read the Bible for a long time, there are parts of it that can make you really uncomfortable. Like my daughter, you’ve seen every episode, but you forget the “gospel cookies,” so to speak. Maybe you know the gospel, you’ve met Jesus, and the pages of this book have ministered to your heart for years. But then you come across a passage that reminds you this is a really bloody book. You recoil in horror, even though you’ve been over these pages many times before. What’s with all the blood in the Bible?

All the bloodshed in the Bible teaches us about the bad news for sinners and how it’s answered by the good news of Jesus.

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The Theology of Easter

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By the Blood

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the [heavenly] Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.Hebrews 9:12

Christianity has been called a ghastly religion because of its emphasis on the shedding of blood. Indeed, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Without shedding of blood there is no remission [of sins]” (Hebrews 9:22).

Here’s where our theology takes a serious turn. The image of blood is no more ghastly than what it corresponds to: the ghastliness of sin. We forget, at times, just how serious sin is in the face of a perfectly holy God. It was God’s plan to enjoy fellowship with His creation for eternity, and He ultimately will. But when man sinned—a ghastly offense in the sight of our holy God—it required a correspondingly serious solution. A perfectly sinless Man had to die—that’s what “shedding of blood” means—for a perfectly sinful mankind. So Jesus shed His blood instead of God shedding ours. And in doing so, He “obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12).

Contemplate today what God did to ensure eternal fellowship with us. He allowed His own Son to die that we might live.

Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood; sealed my pardon with His blood. Hallelujah! What a Savior! 
Philip P. Bliss, “Hallelujah, What a Savior!”

– A David Jeremiah devotional

Good Friday: You Shall Surely Die

By Bill Smith


The Garden had become a place of death. Two cherubim with flaming swords were stationed at the east gate, ready to strike and put to death anyone who sought access to the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden.

God never intended to keep man out of the Garden forever. God desired communion with man; for man to draw near to him with no veils in between. But man sinned and was cut off from this nearness to God.

From the time of the fall until the time of Christ Jesus, God made provisions to draw near to him through vicarious substitutes. Man enjoyed the benefits of temporary forgiveness and communion with God that was real but not enjoyed in its fullness.

Man was kept at a distance, separated by animals, veils, and various levels of holiness. None of these provisions was God’s full intention for man. They were types and shadows of things to come when God would grant full and free access to the Garden once again for man to eat with him at the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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Where God’s Wrath and Love Meet

Romans 3:21-26 21 But now God has made another way to make men right with Himself. It is not by the Law. The Law and the early preachers tell about it. 22 Men become right with God by putting their trust in Jesus Christ. God will accept men if they come this way. All men are the same to God. 23 For all men have sinned and have missed the glory of God. 24 Anyone can be made right with God by the free gift of His grace. It is Jesus Christ Who bought them with His blood and made them free from their sins. 25 God gave Jesus Christ to the world. Men’s sins can be forgiven through the blood of Christ when they put their trust in Him. God gave His Son Jesus Christ to show how right He is. Before this, God did not look on the sins that were done. 26 But now God proves that He is right in saving men from sin. He shows that He is the One Who has no sin. God makes anyone right with Himself who puts his trust in Jesus.

Until we learn to see sin as God does, it’s difficult to understand what happened at Christ’s crucifixion. God is holy and just, and Scripture tells us that His response to sin is wrath and punishment (We see the anger of God coming down from heaven against all the sins of men. These sinful men keep the truth from being known.Rom. 1:18; You get what is coming to you when you sin. It is death! But God’s free gift is life that lasts forever. It is given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom. 6:23). Yet He also loves sinners and wants to be reconciled with them. The cross was the perfect answer to this terrible dilemma. It was the place where God’s wrath and love met.

The only way to rescue fallen mankind from eternal punishment was to devise a plan whereby the Lord could forgive sins without compromising His holiness. His wrath had to be poured out on a suitable substitute, the perfect Son of God.

So Jesus suffered His Father’s wrath for us as He hung on the cross. Sin was punished, divine justice was satisfied, and God could forgive sinners—all in accordance with His character. His wrath was poured out on His Son so His love and forgiveness could be lavished upon us.

We’ll never be able to understand all that happened while Jesus hung on the cross. Although we can to a certain degree comprehend the physical suffering He endured, Christ bore so much more: the very wrath of God. This costly redemption plan proves the Father’s great love for us.

It Is Finished

A Broadcast with R.C. Sproul

Our sin renders us indebted to God, estranged from Him, and guilty before His judgment. Today, R.C. Sproul presents our only and all-sufficient hope: Jesus has provided the perfect sacrifice necessary for our redemption.