MORE ABOUT JESUS OUR SUBSTITUTE
A. Introduction: We are studying the Cross of Christ (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus), and the fact that God has met every human need through the Cross. I Cor 1:17,18
1. To understand how the Cross has met every human need, you must understand identification.
a. The word is not found in the Bible, but the principle is there. Identification works like this: I wasn’t there, but what happened there affects me as though I was there.
b. The Bible teaches that we were crucified with Christ (Gal 2:20), we were buried with Christ
(Rom 6:4), and we were raised up with Christ (Eph 2:5).
1. We weren’t there, but whatever happened at the Cross in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus affects us as though we were there.
2. That is why we need the preaching of the Cross — so we know what happened to us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
2. To identify means to make identical so you can consider and treat the same.
a. On the Cross Jesus identified with us or became what we were so that the Father could treat Him the way we should have been treated. II Cor 5:21; Gal 3:13
b. Through the Cross an exchange took place. All the evil due to us because of our sin and disobedience went to Jesus so that all the good due to Him for His obedience could come to us.
c. Jesus became one with us in our sin and death so we could be one with Him in life and righteousness.
d. Jesus became our substitute (took our place on the Cross) so that He could identify with us (become us and be treated as us).
3. Most Christians are very familiar with the physical aspects of Christ’s suffering and death, but there were spiritual aspects as well. By spiritual we mean unseen — what was going on in the unseen realm, what happened to Jesus’ soul and spirit. Jesus experienced more than physical suffering which could be seen at the Cross.
a. Our sins were laid on Him (Isa 53:6). Our sicknesses were laid on Him (Isa 53:4,5). His soul was made an offering for sin (Isa 53:10). He was made sin (II Cor 5:21). He was made a curse (Gal 3:13). The wrath of God was laid on Him (Isa 53:6–Iniquity = sin and its consequences; Ps 88).
b. None of this could be seen by eyewitnesses of the crucifixion. Why? Because it happened in the unseen, invisible realm. It was spiritual suffering or the suffering of Jesus’ soul and spirit.
4. It wasn’t what the Roman soldiers did to Jesus which purchased our salvation. It is what Divine Justice did to Jesus behind the scenes, in the invisible, spiritual realm.
a. At the Cross, Jesus was united to us in our sin and death. God the Father then treated Jesus the way we should have been treated. That’s identification.
b. God’s wrath against us and our sin was poured out on Jesus. When Jesus had suffered enough to pay for our sins, to give God the legal right to declare us not guilty, then Jesus rose from the dead.
c. It is in these unseen aspects of the Cross that we see the full impact of what God has provided for us through the sacrifice of Jesus.
5. We are looking at the step by step process of Jesus’ substitution for and identification with us from the crucifixion to the resurrection. In this lesson we want to continue to examine what happened in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
B. At the Cross Jesus took our death so we could have His life. Jesus tasted death for every man. Heb 2:9,14
1. I Cor 15:45–Jesus went to the Cross as the Last Adam, as the representative of the entire human race.
He took on Himself the death in the race of Adam.
2. What death did Jesus taste for us? In Gen 2:17 God told Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, in that day, he would die. “In dying thou shalt die.”
a. Gen 5:5 tells us Adam did not die physically until 930 years after he ate the forbidden fruit.
1. On the day Adam ate from the tree, he was separated from God, cut off from God, cut off from access to the tree of life. Gen 3:8-10;22-24
2. According to what happened to Adam, to be dead means to be cut off from the life of God. And, you can be in that condition while you are still alive physically.
b. In Gen 4:1-9 we also find that a fundamental change occurred in the human nature as a result of Adam’s sin. Adam’s first son killed his second son and lied about it. John 8:44; I John 3:12
c. This death, these aspects of death, were passed on to the entire human race. Rom 5:12; I Cor 15:22
3. In the NT we get more information about the death all humans partake of — the death which Jesus came to earth to take for us.
a. Eph 2:1 tells us that before we were Christians we were dead while we were alive physically.
Eph 2:3 says that we were by nature objects of God’s wrath. Rom 5:19 says Adam’s sin made us sinners. Eph 4:18 says we were cut off from the life of God.
b. All of this refers to the condition of our spirit before we knew Jesus. Our spirits were dead or cut off from the life of God.
4. If Jesus was going to taste death for every man, He had to taste (fig.=experience) spiritual death (His spirit cut off from the life of God) as well as physical death. That is what happened at the Cross.
a. As the last Adam Jesus took on Himself the nature that was produced in man when Adam separated the race from God — the sin nature which is another name for spiritual death. Jesus became what we were by nature — objects of God’s wrath. He was made sin. II Cor 5:21
b. When He was made sin with our sin, He was cut off from God. His spirit was cut off from God, from the life in God. Then, He died physically. John 5:26; 6:57; Matt 27:46
c. Jesus’ substitution for and identification with us at the Cross was so complete that Jesus suffered and died spiritually as well as physically.
C. Jesus' substitution for and identification with us was so complete that when Jesus died physically, He went to the place where all who are dead spiritually go when they die. He went to hell and suffered.
1. Jesus going to hell was the next step in His complete substitution for and identification with us.
a. At the time Jesus died physically He (His human spirit) was cut off from God. He was spiritually dead. Spiritually dead people who die physically go to hell.
b. Physical death is not the full payment for sin. If it were, every man could pay for his sin by dying.
c. Remember, Jesus took the sinner’s place in judgment at the Cross.
2. Jesus Himself told us where He (the inner man, His spirit and soul) would be for the three days and nights His body was in the tomb.
a. Matt 12:38-40–He said He would be in the heart of the earth. And, He compared the experience to that of Jonah in the belly of the fish.
b. Jonah 1:17; 2:1-10–When we look at Jonah’s experience in the belly of the fish, we see that it was a horrific experience.
c. During those three days and nights Jesus was experiencing the wrath of God in hell. Ps 88
3. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, told us that Jesus came out of hell at the resurrection. Acts 2:22-32
a. The word hell is HADES. It is the place of departed spirits. The word is used nine other times in the NT, and it always means a place of torment or judgment, an enemy of Christ.
b. Acts 2:24–Peter said the resurrection released Jesus from intense suffering. Pain in the Greek means birth pangs, travail, intense suffering.
4. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, tells us where Jesus was prior to the resurrection. Rom 10:7
a. The word deep is ABUSSOS (bottom or bottomless). It is used to describe an immeasurable depth, the underworld, the lower regions, the abyss of SHEOL (Hebrew word for Hades or hell).
b. W. E. Vine’s dictionary defines it as the abode of the lost dead. It is used in Luke 8:31when Jesus cast the legion of devils out of the Gadarene demoniac and the devils begged Him not to send them into the deep. Vine’s = “the abode of demons out of which they can be let loose”.
D. This brings us to the next aspect of Jesus' substitution for and identification with us, the resurrection.
1. Jesus was justified and made alive in spirit before He was made alive in body. I Tim 3:16
a. To be justified means to render, to show or regard, as just or innocent, to be made righteous. It is the same word in the Greek as righteous.
b. I Tim 3:16–Who was declared righteous in spirit. (Rotherham); Became righteous in spirit. (Beck)
c. Jesus was so literally made sin on the Cross that He had to be made righteous before He could rise from the dead.
2. This may be shocking, the idea that Jesus had to be justified or made righteous. But, remember:
a. Jesus was never unrighteous in or of Himself. He took our unrighteousness on Himself. Unrighteous us died on the Cross and went to hell in the person of our substitute. Unrighteous us had to be made righteous in hell.
b. Jesus was never more pleasing or obedient to His Father than when He was willingly made sin with our sin nature and suffered the consequences.
c. Jesus’ identification with us was so real and so complete that He had to be made righteous.
3. Let’s make a few brief comments about the other statements in I Tim 3:16
a. It is a brief chronology of Christ’s work. Some commentators think it was a popular Christian hymn. Godliness means piety. Here, it has the idea of the gospel scheme.
b. God was manifested in the flesh refers to Jesus’ incarnation from His birth to His physical death.
c. Justified in spirit, seen of angels, and preached to the Gentiles all occurred before Jesus’ physical resurrection.
1. Justified or made righteous in spirit had to precede physical resurrection. Death has dominion over all who are unrighteous (Rom 6:23). From the moment Jesus took our unrighteousness on Himself on the Cross, death had dominion over Him (Rom 6:9)
2. Seen of angels refers to fallen angels in hell and the angels in Abraham’s bosom. Luke 16:22 3. Preached to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were not preached to during Jesus’ earth ministry. Before Jesus rose physically, He preached to people in the heart of the earth. I Pet 3:18-20
d. Believed on in the world refers to Jesus’ post resurrection appearances. I Cor 15:5-7
e. Received up into glory refers to His ascension. Luke 24:51; Acts 1:9
4. Jesus was justified or made righteous when the claims of justice against us were satisfied. Remember, Jesus suffered enough to give God the legal right to justify us or declare us not guilty anymore.
a. Isa 53:11 tells us God was satisfied with the travail of Jesus’ soul. Travail means wearing effort of body or mind and can be translated iniquity, labor, misery, pain, sorrow, toil, travail. Remember, Acts 2:24 tells us the resurrection released Jesus from the pains (pain, sorrow, travail) of death (spiritual death).
b. Rom 4:25 tells us Jesus was raised because we were justified.
1. Rom 4:25–Who was surrendered to death because of the offenses we had committed, and was raised to life because of the acquittal secured for us. (Weymouth)
2. According to this, we were not justified while Jesus was on the Cross but at the end of three days and nights, at the resurrection. I Cor 15:14,17
5. Once Jesus was justified, He could be made alive in spirit. I Pet 3:18
a. The word “the” is not in the original text. It reads, “put to death in flesh, made alive in spirit”.
b. I Pet 3:18–Having in fact been put to death with respect to the flesh [His human body], but made alive with respect to the spirit [His human spirit]. (Wuest)
6. On the Cross Jesus took on Himself our old man with his spiritual death on Himself. Rom 6:6
a. Jesus’ human spirit was cut off from God when Jesus was made sin. He died spiritually. When He died physically, He went where all who are spiritually dead go when they die, He went to hell and suffered for us as us.
b. When our last sin was paid for, He was once again righteous before the Father because He had no sin of His own.
c. The life of God rushed back into His human spirit, and, in hell, Jesus was made alive in spirit. When He was made alive in spirit, physical death could no longer hold Him. He reentered His body and physically rose from the dead.
7. Just as when Jesus died, we died, when Jesus was made alive, we were made alive. That’s the next part of our complete substitution and identification. Eph 2:5
a. It was our sin and spiritual condition that Jesus entered into at the Cross, and it was our sin and spiritual condition that Jesus came out of at the resurrection.
b. Remember, the point of substitution and identification — so an exchange could be made. He took our sin and death so we can have His life and righteousness.
1. Some people say that this kind of teaching takes away from the Cross. But, that is not so.
a. We are not trying to minimize or exaggerate the importance of any part of the Cross.
b. It was all necessary — His death, burial, and resurrection.
2. Look at the lengths to which God went to have you as His son or daughter.
a. Jesus willingly submitted to being treated as you and I deserved to be treated so that we can be treated as He deserves to be treated — as a holy, righteous son of God.
b. Just as He went down into death, hell, and the grace for us as us, we came out of death, hell, and the grave with Him as Him — with His life and righteousness.
c. If God went to these lengths for you when you were a rebel and an enemy, what will He do for you now?
3. Nothing in life can come against you that is greater than God and what He has done for you through substitution and identification at the Cross — in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.