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''Mr. Smith, Meet Your Substitute'', Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2023 7:05 am

''Mr. Smith, Meet Your Substitute'', Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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February 14, 2023 7:05 am

Growing Deep in the Christian Life: Returning to Our Roots


According to the Bible, every one of us is stricken with an insurmountable disease. It's part of the human condition, and without divine intervention, none of us can escape its devastating ways. That illness, of course, is our sinfulness, our intrinsic depravity. In this passage we discover the divine remedy to our sin problem. We'll begin right where we left off on the previous program.

Chuck titled his talk, Mr. Smith, Meet Your Substitute. And in order for you to fellowship with him, your triangle has to be congruent. It has to be just like his triangle. And the problem is, no one qualifies as perfect. Verse 23, all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation. That word means satisfaction in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate God's righteousness because in the forbearance of God, he passed over the sins previously committed.

Is that great news? Here is Christ on a cross, the only perfect one who ever lived, nails in his hands and in his feet, blood coming out. Why? Because I need a detergent. I need a way to be washed.

I need to be made sparkling clean. My triangle needs to be adjusted. And God can't give up on his plan. He hates sin. He won't relate to sinful things. He couldn't even if he tried because his nature is repelled by sin. Sin takes judgment and that is why the cross is so significant. Hear this well. In verse 24, justified appears.

Let's mess around with that word a few minutes. It does not mean just as if I'd never sinned. It doesn't mean that God makes me righteous so I never sin again.

You know what it means? It is God's act of mercy whereby he declares righteous, the believing sinner, while we're still in our sinning state. He sees us in our need washing around in the swamp of our sin. He sees us coming to Jesus Christ by faith with all of our needs and all of our darkness and all of our blue and he says to us, declared righteous, forgiven, pardoned. I like the way Billy Graham refers to it in a courtroom scene in his book How to Be Born Again.

Listen to this. I think you'll identify. Picture a courtroom. God the judge is seated in the judge's seat robed in splendor. You are arraigned before him. He looks at you in terms of his own righteous nature as it is expressed in the moral law.

He speaks to you, John, Mary. Have you loved me with all your heart? No, your honor.

Have you loved others as you have loved yourselves? No, your honor. Do you believe you are a sinner and that Jesus Christ died for your sins?

Yes, your honor. Then your penalty has been paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross and you are pardoned. Because Christ is righteous and you believe in Christ, I now declare you legally righteous. And then Graham adds, can you imagine what a newspaper man would do with this event?

Headlines. Sinner pardoned goes to live with judge. It was a tense scene when John and Mary stood before the judge and had the list of charges against them read. However, the judge transferred all of the guilt to Jesus Christ who died on a cross for John and Mary. And after John and Mary were pardoned, the judge invited them to come to live with him forever.

The reporter on a story like that would never be able to understand the irony of such a scene unless he had been introduced to the judge beforehand and knew his character. And Graham concludes, pardon and Christ's righteousness come to us only when we totally trust ourselves to Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That's what it means to be justified. I come to him in all of my blue and I present to him myself as I am. I have nothing that I can give that would earn my way in.

If I could, I would, but I can't. And so the only way I can present myself to him in my blue condition is by faith. And so I place on top of my sin and my life faith in his son who died for me.

And he sees me coming by faith and he declares me righteous. Think of the cross as a sponge. The cross is a spiritual sponge that has taken the sins of mankind past, present, and future and absorbed them all. At one moment, at that awful moment, Christ bore our sins and he satisfied the righteous demands of the Father. So once we have been declared righteous, we are redeemed. The word in verse 24, redemption occurs.

We are set free so as never to come back to the slave market again in bondage. I love the way it reads in verse 28. We maintain that a man is declared righteous by faith apart from works of the law.

No one ever said it better than Donald Barnhouse. Man is incurably addicted to doing something for his own salvation. But here it's called a by faith transaction.

In fact, it's even clearer down in chapter 4 verses 4 and 5. Look down there. Not to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but is what is due. Before we read on, just think of your paycheck. When your boss brings you or someone from your boss's office brings you a paycheck, I doubt that you refer to that moment in this way. Oh, thank you for this gift. You probably grabbed that thing and maybe don't even say thanks because you earned it.

You worked hard for it. Now, if your boss attaches a bonus of a thousand dollars and maybe even adds, though you're dropping in your efficiency, I want you to know I love you. Wouldn't that be great?

Great! That would be a miracle, huh? Because I notice just how sincere you are at heart, I'm giving you a bonus. He gives you a thousand dollars bonus. I have a feeling you'd go, wow, he gave me that?

Tell him thank you. But you know, not even that's a good illustration because you, down in your heart, have been sincere. God looks at us in all of our need and he sees nothing worth commending.

We aren't even a triangle. We're a black hole moving in the opposite direction, despising him, living in the dungeon, carrying out the lifestyle of our sinful natures. My dungeon flamed with light, writes Wesley. I rose. I was freed. I didn't even deserve the light.

And he gave me an eternal bonus. Look at verse 5. To the one who does not work, but believes in him who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. I love that verse because there's no way you and I get any credit. We're bound to a dungeon, lost in ourselves.

We don't even know where to look for the light. Reminds me of the story I read this past week about a drunk down on all fours, late one night under a streetlight, groping around on the ground, feeling the cement, peering intently at the little cracks and a friend drives up and says, Sam, what are you doing there? He says, I lost my wallet. So the friend gets out of his car and he walks over and he gets down on his hands and knees and they look and he finally says to his buddy, are you sure you lost the wallet here? Of course not.

I dropped it a half a block over there. Then why are we looking here? He says in baffling logic, because there's there's no streetlight over there. You know, we find the strangest ways of discovering what we need and we adapt and alter our whole logic to fit our earthly system, which means you work for everything that's valuable. As the old axiom goes, there ain't no free lunch, nothing free. But this says to the one who does not work but believes in him, there is justification.

Now I'm going to level with you. Some of you hear those words and you simply cannot fathom them. So you won't take them. You will reject them. To use your words, it's too good to be true, Chuck.

Sounds great. Makes for good preaching. Who wouldn't want to tell people that? Well, let me give you just a little logic to wrestle with. If you have to work your way in, how much work is enough work to get in?

OK, and while you're out on that limb, I'm going to saw you off with a set of facts on the other end by saying. If you didn't work for it to start with, how much works do you have to how many works do you have to stop doing to lose it? You see how it gets all fouled up when you have to work for it? If it's a gift and you don't earn it, haven't worked for it, can't possibly repay it and you take it, it's a gift unable to be lost. You can't get bad enough to lose it because you didn't have to be good enough to receive it.

It is a gift. Some of you look at me like I can't believe it. 2 Corinthians chapter 5. I promise this will be the last section. Just take a quick look.

And I want to give you three questions that are crucial. 2 Corinthians 5, 20, 2 Corinthians 5, 21. Couple of chapters, I mean couple of books further on beyond Romans. 5, 20 of 2 Corinthians. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ as though God were entreating through us. We beg you on behalf of Christ be reconciled to God. That's my message today. I beg you be reconciled to God.

Watch that barrier between the two of you crumble as you step across by faith. Look at the next verse and look at the pronouns if I may be that pedantic. Look at he, him, we, him.

Let's identify them. He, God the Father, made him, God the Son, who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf. That's the cross. That we, the sinner, might become the righteousness of God in him. That's Christ. God, righteous. Christ, the sacrifice. We, the sinner. Christ, the life. But how can the sinner in the black hole of his need ever know God in all of his righteousness?

Verse 21, by coming to know him who knew no sin, who became sin on our behalf. You need a substitute. You need a defense attorney.

You need an advocate and you've got one. Three questions. Number one, is there any hope for lost sinners? Each question has a two word answer. Each word is followed by a big period.

Is there any hope for lost sinners? Yes, period. Christ, big period. Not Christ in the church, not Christ in good works, not Christ in sincerity, not Christ in giving up your sins, not Christ in trying real hard, not Christ in baptism, Christ in christening, Christ in morality, Christ in good roots. Christ, period.

Otherwise, it's works. He died for our sins, was placed in the grave as proof of his death. He rose from the dead bodily, miraculously, proof of his life beyond.

If you believe that he died and rose for you, you have eternal life. It's a gift. Second question. Isn't there any work for a seeker to do?

Don't I have to somehow add to it? Answer, no, period, believe, exclamation point. One of my favorite illustrations of the importance of believing and not working is a nice meal. Sounds great right now, doesn't it? My jaws hurt when I mention a nice meal.

And I got big jaws to hurt, I can assure you. I come to your home. We plan this for some time and you've worked hard in the kitchen and you fixed your and my favorite meal.

Happens to be that we we agree on it. And so you're thrilled because you've got a great recipe. And I'm happy because it's going to be a delightful evening with you. And I knock on your door and I walk in and I can smell the meal all the way in the living room. We sit down together at the table and you serve this delicious meal. And we talk and laugh and think and pray and maybe even weep together with the greatest time. As we finish this meal together, we get all through and I get up to leave. And I say as I reach into my pocket, what do I owe you? You know why you're shocked?

Because that's an insult. You knew what I needed. And out of love for me, you fixed it all. You served it. Why, part of being a good host is that you pick up the tab. And even to suggest that I'll pay for it, slaps you in the face.

It repels your love. You know there are men and women all around the world who are reaching in their pockets this very day saying, Okay God, how much do I owe you? I preached this message earlier and I had a lady come see me and she was in tears. She said, Here's my Bible.

Would you write in the back just your autograph? And then she said, Would you put underneath it in quotes, Salvation is a gift? She said, My background is religious and all my life I've worked so hard and all of my friends are from that same religion and they are all working so hard. She said, For the first time in my life I realize it's really a gift. And she says, The thing I notice about all of us all these years is that we've never been secure. We've never known that it was ours forever because we worked so hard for it.

We were going to have to keep working to keep it in us. Why? She's been reaching in her purse all these years paying God for something that Christ took care of at the cross. Third question, Is there any way to lose the gift? No. Period.

Never. Otherwise it's not a gift. It's what you earned. It's simple but it wasn't easy.

It's free but it wasn't cheap. It's yours but it isn't automatic. Now you have a choice. You notice verse 20 he's begging. So allow me.

I'm begging. You can either believe and accept this gift or you can reject it. You know what I've noticed about God? I've noticed that he doesn't do immediately bad things to people that reject it. It doesn't make you look foolish.

It doesn't suddenly cut your legs off at the knees. He doesn't scar your face. He doesn't keep your car from starting once you reject the message.

He doesn't take away your job as a judgment because you didn't believe. And you know what? That fakes us out. That fakes us out. We think if he really meant it then he'd have zapped me. No.

No. See you don't understand God. He holds out his grace and he just makes it available even if you choose to reject it. But I want to tell you something. The final reminder is you don't have forever.

You don't. I wish I had kept track of the funeral services I have had in the last 10 years and made special note of those who died before age 50. I don't mean to sound dramatic but I think it would shock you to know how many died before age 40.

It is amazing. And I'm sure every one of them thought, I've got forever. Listen, my friend, sin is terminal. It's a terminal disease.

It's going to get you. And for some it won't even be a year and you'll be gone and you thought you had forever. I'm sure Peter Marshall thought he had a long, long time. May I return to our friend? Appointed to the Senate as a chaplain, 1947 it was.

Yes, early January. You know it was just a shade beyond two years that this 47-year-old man was seized with a heart attack and died. And he was the specimen of health. He had been as eloquent as he could be in his last message.

I'm sure he thought he had forever. One of his sermons that one can never forget is what he called the tap on the shoulder. I not only want you to hear part of it, I want you to do something that you have never done in a church in your life.

Ever. So listen, if you were walking down the street and someone came up behind you and tapped you on the shoulder, what would you do? Naturally, you would turn around.

Well that is exactly what happens in the spiritual world. A man walks on through life with the external call ringing in his ears, but with no response stirring in his heart. And then suddenly without any warning, the spirit taps him on the shoulder. What happens? He turns around. The word repentance means turning around, says Marshall.

He repents and believes and is saved. The tap on the shoulder, get this, is the almighty power of God acting without help or hindrance so as to produce a new creature and to lead him into the particular work which God has for him. You ready?

Don't turn around, but just reach out and lightly tap that person in front of you on his shoulder three or four times. Go ahead. Now bow your head, close your eyes. If that were God, would that convince you that you're to take this message personally?

What more do you need? The external call you've listened to for many, many minutes now, suddenly it's personal. Someone's tapped you on the shoulder. Isn't it time you turn around?

God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. You and I were distant, running as fast as we could run. And he stopped us and he touched us. And he said, now is the time. You don't have forever. Doesn't it make good sense to believe today and to take his love gift?

Doesn't that make good sense? That amazing love. Can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

We built a prayer room where you can meet with friends who know how to talk about these needs we've addressed today. Nobody will embarrass you. You have my word. You will never be forced into something you don't want to do. But some of you, I think dozens of you are making a decision regarding Jesus Christ that needs to be explained. Your whole life is about to be turned upside down.

You need help in knowing what to decide on and how to make it happen so you can put it all together. You listening, Mr. Smith? You met your substitute? Yes, our Father, our world is full of Joneses and Smiths.

All God's chilling got trouble these days. We're grateful that we can know you. Just like people on earth knew your son. We're thankful today that it's all arranged on the gift basis. And we take it and we believe it today. We believe it. And we come in his name for his sake.

Amen. Chapter 3 of the Book of Romans sets the baseline for God's holiness and man's sinfulness. While Chuck has written a helpful commentary on the Book of Romans as well, and if you're prepared to dig deeper into this passage in the context of Paul's entire letter to the Romans, we invite you to purchase a copy today. It's called Chuck Swindoll's Living Insights on Romans.

You can find the book at slash store. Several years ago, Chuck said something in one of his messages that has become widely quoted. He was preaching about the virtue of developing a godly perspective. In his message about attitudes, Chuck said, I'm convinced that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. Chuck went on to say that all of us are on a journey, but when it comes right down to it, we're the only ones who can choose how we'll react to what life throws at us. Chuck's book will help you determine your choice, and you can be among the first to own a copy by getting in touch with us today.

Chuck's new book is called Life is 10% What Happens to You and 90% How You React. To purchase a copy right now, go to slash store. You can also call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Bear in mind that Insight for Living is a nonprofit ministry solely supported by voluntary contributions from listeners. And your gift, no matter the size, truly makes a difference in providing these daily visits with Chuck. To give a donation today, call us. If you're listening in the United States, the number is 800-772-8888. You can also give a contribution online at slash donate. I'm Bill Meyer. Join us again next time when Chuck Swindoll continues his hallmark series called Growing Deep in the Christian Life. Right here on Insight for Living. Commercial use is strictly prohibited.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-20 22:31:15 / 2023-02-20 22:40:16 / 9

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