Monday: Sufficient Substitution
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Read Hebrews 2:9.

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

What does it mean that Jesus “taste[d] death for everyone?” See also Heb. 2:17, Heb. 9:26-28, Heb. 10:12. Jesus died for sinners. He was without sin (Heb. 4:15) so that when He gave His life as a sacrifice He would not die for His own sin. On the contrary, He was “to bear the sins of many” (Heb. 9:28, NKJV), to “make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Heb. 2:17, NKJV), and to put away sin forever (Heb. 9:26). According to Hebrews 2:9, the purpose of making Jesus “lower than the angels” is so that He could suffer death. The point is to explain why Jesus’ death is an indispensable requirement for His exaltation. In simple terms, in order for humanity to be saved, Jesus had to die. There was no other way. In this passage, the goal of the Incarnation is the death of the Son. Only through the suffering of death could Jesus become the author of salvation (Heb. 2:10). Why was it fitting for God to let Jesus suffer? The context in Hebrews 2:14-18 suggests that Jesus’ death was necessary in order to rescue God’s children from the slavery of death, from the devil, from the fear of death, and to qualify Jesus to become a “merciful and faithful High Priest” (NKJV). In short, the cross had to precede the crown. “Upon Christ as our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing upon His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 753.

Christ, the Creator of the universe, died as a human being for your sins. Dwell on what this means. Think of the incredible good news that it is. Think of the hope it offers you, personally. How can you make this amazing truth the chief motivation of all that you do?

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Monday: Sufficient Substitution — 15 Comments

  1. It's fascinating that Christ Creator of all things, removed us from the place where we failed then He Himself stood in our place accepting the frail constitution of humanity. Wrapped in humanity He endured intense hatred, suffering and punishment that belonged to me. He did this out of a deep self-sacrificing love that has no boundaries when such a vital need is presented. After He clears my wrongdoing with His blood, He gives me His Spirit daily, to comfort, support, instruct and transform me so that I am a reflection of Him.

    Under His guidance I get used to the atmosphere of heaven.

    Sometimes because the world I live in blasts over and over again, "do it yourself," or "work hard and you'll get it," I want to "make it up" to Christ in some way, but the condition of receiving the gift is by faith. I can't make it up. There's nothing I can add to His perfect sacrifice to make myself spiritually better. I must believe, accept and surrender to it.

    My prayer is Lord, help me to surrender daily, and remember, "It's not by might, nor by power, but by Your Spirit". Zechariah 4:6 "Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise."
    Jeremiah 17:14

    Help me trust You in this. Then give me Your love, grace and mercy to extend what You've given me to others appropriately.

    Like(57)
  2. God's true mercy and love is shown to us daily, his sacrifice of life is one to exemplify after in our daily walk. We have become so fearful of death that we forget that the price for death led to eternal life. We should be afraid to live for nothing and be proud to die for something. Jesus the sacrificial lamb came to teach us by actions how to walk in the light, do not create your own footprints, walk in his. AMEN...

    Like(17)
  3. And that this is likeness to man as he is in his fallen, sinful nature and not as he was in his original, sinless nature is made certain by the word: "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death." Therefore, as man is since he became subject to death, this is what we see Jesus to be, in His place as man.

    Therefore, just as certainly as we see Jesus lower than the angels, unto the suffering of death, so certainly it is by this demonstrated that, as man, Jesus took the nature of man as he is since death entered and not the nature of man as he was before he became subject to death.

    But death entered only because of sin; had not sin entered, death never could have entered. And we see Jesus made lower than the angels for the suffering of death. Therefore we see Jesus made in the nature of man, as man is since man sinned and not as man was before sin entered. For this He did that He might "taste death for every man." In becoming man that he might reach man, He must come to man where man is. Man is subject to death. Therefore Jesus must become man, as man is since he is subject to death.

    "For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Heb. 2:10. Thus, in becoming man, it became Him to become such as man is. Man is subject to sufferings. Therefore it became Him to come to the man where he is–in his sufferings.

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    • In reference to the divine-human nature of Christ, I believe we should be very hesitant to argue beyond what the Bible explicitly says. It does not say that Christ had a "sinful nature."

      Christ passed the test of loyalty that Adam failed - a test far more severe than the test that Adam faced. He overcame this test in His divine-human nature. Thus He became the new head of the human race. (1 Cor 15:22)

      Christ was conceived of the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20) and Mary. His spiritual nature was not sinful, because He did not partake of sin in any manner. That is why He was called "that holy thing." (Luke 1:35)

      His physical nature was just like other men - the result of the great laws of heredity and thousands of years of sin. Thus He could be tempted by His physical desires.

      Christ did not die because of His own "sinful nature" or His own sins. He died because He voluntarily bore our sins and that is how He "became sin" for us. (2 Cor 5:21) He died the death that we deserve so that we might live the life that He deserves.

      Like(5)
      • Inge,
        "He bore our sins" has always been a very confusing to me. He bore our "sin" seems to make sense, but "individual sins" I have a hard time with. What would be the point of bearing our individual sins? (I ask this respectfully)

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        • Larry, I believe the Bible teaches specifically that He bore our "sins." That's what is evident in the Hebrew sanctuary services. Individual sins were confessed over the animals that were offered by the sinners. Sins can be forgiven. A sinful nature is not forgiven; it is replaced with a sinless nature at the Second Coming.

          While there is much we do not understand about the plan of salvation, it is clear that there is a legal aspect to Christ's substitutionary death. Through His death in our place, we are deemed "just" and do not enter into judgment.

          Some explanations regarding "Christ bore our sin" declare that Christ took on a "sinful human nature." I do not believe that the Bible teaches that, because the mind and spirit of the "sinful human nature" are profoundly corrupt. (Jer 17:9) Yet Jesus remained totally holy and uncorrupted by sin (and sins) of any kind.

          He was born of the Holy Spirit, thus His heart and mind were pure. But He was also born of a human mother, and thus His body bore the marks of thousands of years of sin, according to the law of heredity. That means that He could be tempted by the desired of the flesh, originating not in His mind, but in His body. That is, He could be tempted.

          Paul teaches us that Christ became the second Adam. That is, He overcome just where Adam fell. He does not state that Christ took on the sinful nature of Adam, because then He would have been a partaker of sin. Notice how Adam and Eve's behavior changed immediately after disobedience: They began to blame-shift and justify their own behavior!

          Martin Luther is credited with a statement that helps to distinguish between temptation and sin: "You can't prevent the birds from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair."

          The flying birds represent temptation. Allowing them to build nests in our hair represent our entertaining the temptation in our mind and dwelling on it. Jesus didn't do that. By the power of the Holy Spirit in Him, He resisted all temptation.

          Through the Holy Spirit Christ has made it possible for us to partake in His victory, just as long as we submit ourselves to His Lordship. "Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col 1:27)

          Like(4)
      • Inge,
        Permit me to support your excellent statements (and hopefully not spoil them). One of the reasons there was so much emphasis on sacrifices without blemish or defect was to illustrate the blameless nature of Christ (1 Peter 1:19). Even priests (representing Christ) were to be without physical blemish (Leviticus 21:16-23). It was a major offense to God to violate these requirements (Deuteronomy 17:1)

        Had Christ a sinful nature he would have to die for himself 'the second death' and not be resurrected, or have someone blameless die in his stead. Such are the claims of the law, which we are in danger of treating lightly, and not recognizing how central it is to God's kingdom. Its placement in the Ark of the Testament, with angels in a position of reverence over it in the Most Holy Place is of extremely great significance.

        EGW made the 'blameless point' absolutely clear:

        "In taking upon Himself man’s nature in its fallen condition, Christ did not in the least participate in its sin. He was subject to the infirmities and weaknesses by which man is encompassed, “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.” He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and was in all points tempted like as we are. And yet He “knew no sin.” He was the Lamb “without blemish and without spot.” Could Satan in the least particular have tempted Christ to sin, he would have bruised the Saviour’s head. As it was, he could only touch His heel. Had the head of Christ been touched, the hope of the human race would have perished. Divine wrath would have come upon Christ as it came upon Adam.... We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ.

        Be careful, exceedingly careful as to how you dwell upon the human nature of Christ. Do not set Him before the people as a man with the propensities of sin. He is the second Adam. The first Adam was created a pure, sinless being, without a taint of sin upon him; he was in the image of God. He could fall, and he did fall through transgressing. Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity. He was assailed with temptations in the wilderness, as Adam was assailed with temptations in Eden." — (The S.D.A. Bible Commentary 7A P. 447.)

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  4. Of a truth Christ became man to die for man and more. To simply die Jesus might have assumed/become the form of any mortal creature, including an angel. However, the substitute must necessarily be like the one substituted for more than one reason. It had to be demonstrated that mankind, with divine support, could keep the immutable Law, the transgression of which necessitated the Sacrifice. Jesus had to be like His brethren (the second Adam) to lift them up and restore the seamless connection with the Divine. There could be no gap if mankind were to be brought back into perfect union with the Divine.

    See EGW quote below from The Signs Of The Times June 18, 1894.

    “It was necessary that Christ should take upon him our nature, in order to prove the falsity of Satan’s statements. The apostate cast contempt upon the law of God, and declared that it was impossible for men to keep God’s commandment, which had been preordained in the counsels of heaven. Therefore Christ became man’s representative and surety, thus demonstrating to heavenly intelligences, to unfallen worlds, and to the human race, that, through cooperation with divine agencies, humanity could be pure and holy. By partaking of the divine nature they could meet the demand of a perfect and holy law.”

    See also Signs Of The Times July 28, 1890.

    “Jesus might have remained in heaven, to receive the adoration of the heavenly host, but he did not do this. For man’s sake he stepped down from the throne, laid aside his royal robe, clothed his divinity with humanity, and for our sake became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich. In assuming humanity, he exalted the fallen race before God, and made it possible for sinful man to become an heir of heaven... When Christ became man’s substitute and surety, it was that he might unite finite man with the infinite God, and connect earth with heaven. The Son of God took upon him the nature of man, bore insult, ignominy, shame, and death, in order to save a wicked world.”

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  5. In the previous lessons we keep emphasizing that God commanded Moses to build a sanctuary so that "He may dwell among us". But in this week's lesson we can see that God does not only want to dwell among us BUT He does not want that men be vanished from his creation. He is doing everything possible to preserve us.

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  6. I am glad that our lesson studies this quarter have been on the Sanctuary, but I am saddened that our lessons continue to promote the concepts of the forensic images of the atonement and penal substitution.

    Christ’s mission to earth and to the entire universe was to fully demonstrate the truth about God’s character of totally selfless love, the very essence of His law, to fully expose the lies of Satan about His character and to end sin and death. God’s attitude toward us has never needed changing, but our attitude toward Him, due to sin, does. God NEVER uses His power to coerce, punish or kill (not the sleep of the first death but the end of existence of the second death). He disciplines and corrects, but does to use force to punish us.

    The idea that sin requires God’s punishment (rather than death as a natural consequence of sin) was not from God – it originated with Satan. Ellen White wrote this in DA 761.4, “Every sin must meet its punishment, urged Satan.” It is highly instructive to read the entire passage. It is a pagan concept, originating with the “father of lies,” that God must punish sin (and sinners or His Only Begotten Son in their place), requiring a blood sacrifice (death) in order to appease His wrath toward sin and uphold justice. Our salvation required the death of Christ in order to provide the healing remedy necessary to restore His character (as the Second Adam) in our fallen race, not to pay a price (to God or to Satan?) or to appease His Father’s wrath.

    Our church was called into existence at a particular time by God to impart a last day message of hope and healing, as revealed by Christ about God’s true character, to a dying world (see COL 415). Our special mission as a church is in danger of becoming irrelevant because, like most Christians, our church continues to cling to false concepts (rooted in Satan’s lies) about God’s character. We are not saved by faith or trust in any sacrifice. We are saved by God’s grace, because God is like that, safe with absolute power, worthy of our trust and deserving of our love and allegiance – all fully revealed in Christ’s mission to this earth. It is time for our church to re-evaluate its teachings on these important topics and reject the penal substitution model of the atonement that is grounded in Satan’s charges against God’s character and to present the healing message for the Gospel. Otherwise, we will not fulfill the Gospel Commission (Matt 24:14 and 28:16-20) to take the Gospel message to the world, by presenting the truth about God’s character.

    Thank God for His grace in allowing us the time and providing the Holy Spirit to impart the knowledge needed to restore our message and fulfill the work He has given to us. It is time to wrap things up and go home to our Father.

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    • What are the lies that Satan has told about God and what besmir chment of Christ's character is found. I've always read these statements but confirmation of these I have not seen.

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      • Kenny,
        For starters, we can see Satan's lies in Genesis:
        He implied to Eve that God was keeping something good away from her by forbidding access to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He implied that God was not to be trusted, that He is not just. In this He also implied that God was arbitrary in His law.

        I believe this represents the kind of lies he spread among the angelic host as well.

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        • What is the meaning of Heb. 9:8. "The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing". Now please note that the "first tabernacle" is the Holy Place according to v.2 and v.6 of Heb.9.

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    • I would like to offer a slight modification.

      Christ's sacrifice among other things demonstrates God's trustworthiness. If we believe this (not mental assent) we can partake of the salvation that is freely offered.

      Putting the two together (and I suspect you will agree), we are saved by grace and through faith.

      Like(1)
    • Terrill,
      You rightly indicate there is very good reason to properly represent the character of God, which is one of the main issues in the Great Controversy. However a zeal to present God in the most pleasing light could result in seriously understating or eliminating certain attributes of God, like justice.

      There are challenging questions and issues of inconsistency which arise if we take the position that "God never uses power to coerce, punish or kill." Who sent the Flood of Noah's day, which had Satan quaking? Perhaps many of the Antediluvians denied that God was capable of such punitive action (being too nice or detached), in spite of the generous warning. How do we deal with Sodom's fire of destruction? What is our explanation for Uzzah's demise and that of Korah and his colleagues? What do we make of a God whose hands are 'clean'(as in never using death as a punitive measure), but issuing and presiding over death penalty laws for His people and instructing his people to wipe out another set of people for their wrongs (all punitive)?

      The writings of EGW contain its own numerous references to God's wrath, and here we are not hindered by etymology, translation, etc.

      To accept the notion advanced above would require explaining away event after event and counsel after counsel in the Bible and EGW testimonies, to the point where credulity would be strained. Justice cannot be preserved in a sinful world without immediate or deferred penal consequences. The Supreme Sovereign reserves and exercises the authority to act to check evil now and ultimately eradicate it by penal action. It is on us to try to understand how this is indeed a manifestation of love.

      Through parenting we are able to appreciate a little of the mercy-justice (forgiveness-punishment) dynamic as part of a package of love (Psalm 85:10).

      Further, if law breaking is absent a penalty, and I cannot be bothered, can I not just claim God's grace and continue in sin, or will I be "coerced" into healing? The Arch Deceiver does not mind if we overplay our hands even in a supposedly good cause. He will be content in getting us in a ditch, one way or another.

      We are not at liberty to give people the God they will like. We must present God as He presents Himself, notwithstanding any personal discomfort with some activities we do not yet fully understand. There is sufficient attractiveness in the God who is love.

      EGW actually agrees that every sin must "meet its punishment." See The Sign of the Times January 20, 1881 Par. 16; December 9, 1880, Par. 8;

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