January 27, 2021

The Gospel: Jesus Instead of Us

'The Crucifix' photo (c) 2010, Cliff - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/By Chaplain Mike

It was my plan to review Trevin Wax’s book, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope, here today.

However, we are traveling in Chicago this weekend and other events prevented me from being able to complete my full review. I will post it tomorrow afternoon instead.

For today, I will give you a foretaste and something worthy of much contemplation. The following is a strikingly beautiful passage from Wax’s book about the substitutionary death of Jesus.

This is the act that lies at the heart of the Gospel:

“Jesus died for our sins, in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1Cor 15:3, ESV)

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” (Gal. 3:13)

“God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God…” (1Pet 3:18a)

• • •

The essence of Adam’s sin was that he put himself in God’s place. The essence of Christ’s obedience is that He put himself in our place. Because of his life in our place, and His death in our place, we are freed from our sins.

When the Romans crucified criminals in the first century, it was customary for them to nail an accusation list to the cross. The list informed people why this person was being crucified. When Jesus died, God took the accusations that Satan brings against us — all our failures and mistakes, our willful rebellion, and our constant inability to keep God’s law — and God nailed those accusations to the cross of His Son. So Jesus Christ died there on Calvary, bearing your sin and mine; the accusations that should be hurled against us were hurled against Him instead.

Because Jesus was filled with horror and cried out, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” we are filled with wonder and cry, “My God, my God, why have you accepted me?”

Because Jesus said, “I thirst,” we can drink from the fountain of living water and never thirst again.

Because Jesus said, “Woman, behold your son,” and felt the pain of separation from His earthly family, we can experience the blessing of being united with a heavenly family.

Because Jesus cried, “It is finished!” our new life can begin.

Because Jesus committed His spirit into the Father’s hands, God commits His Spirit into our hearts.

Jesus is the Passover Lamb — the substitute that protects us from the wrath of God. He experienced the curse of God, the punishment for sin, the hellish torments of eternal damnation — all for the glory of God and the salvation of His people.

• Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels, p. 97f


  1. Cannot wait to read the whole review, Chaplain Mike. Safe travels from Chicago.

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