Substitution: The Heart of the Gospel

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Imagine being freed from prison and given your life back, despite being guilty of terrible crimes. This miraculous pardon points to the heart of the Christian gospel – the truth that Jesus Christ died as a substitute to pay the penalty for our sins so we could be forgiven.

His death on the cross stands as an act of substitution, dying in our place so we could go free. Within this substitution lies both an invitation and a choice.

  1. Substitution is at the heart of the gospel. Jesus died in our place to take our sins and give us the life we don’t deserve.
  2. The story of Jesus’ death on the cross for Barabbas serves as a picture of substitution. Jesus died in our place as sinners deserving death.
  3. Substitution is seen throughout the Bible, with Jesus acting as the substitute who covers our shame, proves the Father’s heart, sets us free, takes away our sins, and brings us to God.
  4. The invitation is extended for people to receive this pardon and forgiveness through Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice, symbolized by baptism. Repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus brings new life.
  5. The choice is given to accept or reject this pardon. Though this act of grace, some may choose to reject the forgiveness and pardon offered through Jesus.

The choice before us is simple – will we receive the pardon offered through Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice? Repentance and faith in Christ brings forgiveness, new life, and an eternal destiny with God.

But some choose to reject this act of grace.

The pardon has been granted, the tomb opened. The question is whether we will walk through the door. Will we accept the substitute who died in our place so we could live? I urge you today – receive this gift. Trust in Jesus, who substituted himself for you. Your old life will die with him, to be raised a new creation. Let Christ’s death mean eternal life for you.


John 18:38-40

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