Why does the Bible talk about Jesus as a substitute? What does that really mean? Let’s find out as we explore this important truth of the Christian faith.
At the heart of Jesus’ work to save sinners, what theologians call the atonement, is that Jesus died in our place, for our sins. He is described as a substitute, The Bible talks about Him as the “lamb of God,” referring to the sacrificial system of the Old Testament, where a spotless and pure lamb was killed in the place of God’s people.
This is among the most difficult truths in the Christian faith for us to understand. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself human nature with its demands and necessities and identifying Himself completely with humankind yet without sin. He was unfailing in his obedience to God’s law and in His substitutionary death on the cross, He made provision for the redemption of humanity from sin.
Without Christ being a substitute for us, there would be no gospel. No hope of reconciliation. No hope of forgiveness. Our sins would be on us forever. Redemption eternally out of our grasp. But because Christ died for us, we have good news to tell, good news of great joy for all people. Redemption is possible, forgiveness of sin is real. Reconciliation with God is ours for eternity by faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.