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Monday, November 24, 2014

A "Shared Substitution" With Christ

What does the Bible say about the "great controversy between Christ ands Satan"? This conflict leads up to the final Battle of Armageddon. It's more portentous than the world conflict with Al Qaeda.
On its outcome hangs the destiny of this planet. The victory of Christ over Satan in Gethsemane and on His cross exposed Satan's true character to the unfallen universe so that "the great dragon was cast out … to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him," says John. "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, ... and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ" (Rev. 12:9, 10). In other words, so far as heaven is concerned, Christ has won the great war.
But as to the inhabitants of this planet, "the great controversy" goes on until "our brethren" can be described, "they overcame him [the dragon] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" (vs. 11). This is not an "insurance policy" kind of relationship with the Lamb--you pay your premium ("I accept Christ!"), and now He "covers" for you in a "vicarious substitution" way, as the insurance company "covers" your loss if your house burns down. You don't trouble your head--they "cover" for you.
Revelation pictures "our brethren" (vs. 10) far more intimately with the Lamb than the popular egocentric concern, "I'm okay, I'm covered, I'm saved! I'll sit back, relax, and 'occupy until [He] comes.'"
The sanctuary service which illustrates this "great controversy" tells us that now is the cosmic Day of Atonement--time for total experiential one-ness with Christ "through faith." His people become "partakers of the divine nature," they experience "I am crucified with Christ," they "comprehend" the grand dimensions of His love (agape), they "overcome even as [Christ] overcame," they "grow up into Him" "unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." It's as a bride intimately "at one-ment" with her husband. They sense the heart-burden that Jesus carries. This is more than "vicarious substitution." It's realizing a "shared substitution," an intimate one-ness with the Lamb through faith. Do you see this as "Good News"?
--Robert J. Wieland

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