“In The Stead Of”
“And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.”
Abraham received a divine command to offer his son as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2). When all things were ready – the location reached, the altar built, the wood laid in order, Isaac bound and laid on the altar – Abraham raised the sacrificial knife to carry out the command. But the LORD stopped him from killing Isaac, and a ram was offered, “for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.” What kind of justice would have required Abraham, after he offered the ram, to also kill Isaac? Of course that would have been no justice at all for the ram died in the stead of Isaac.
Christ came into this world to “give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)
As the ram died in the stead of Isaac, so the Saviour died in the stead of His chosen people. The law of God demanded death for our sins, and a fit and worthy Substitute rendered to justice that which it required. It was the death of the Lord Jesus that enabled God to be “a just God and a Saviour.” (Isaiah 45:21)
If Christ has paid my debt of sin, then no debt of sin remains; if He has put away my guilt, then no guilt lingers; if He brought in everlasting righteousness for me, then divine justice finds me to be perfect in Christ, “THE LORD MY RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Bless His Name, God has given to me “a good hope through grace.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:16)
It is true that I am a sinner, but I am a sinner in whose stead the Son of God has died, and I am assured of this for He has brought me to cast my poor soul and all of its concerns upon the dear Saviour. He is all my hope, my salvation, my righteousness and my life. I have no confidence in myself, my feelings, my experience, my knowledge, or my faith. My hope rests in the person, the blood and the righteousness of Jesus Christ my Substitute. I find, therefore, that the justice of God, which once brought fear to my soul, is a very heart-comforting truth for I know there is no possibility that any sinner can perish in whose stead Christ has died. Justice would never allow it.