Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Someone asked an intriguing question: "How does the blood of Christ cleanse one from sin?" Is it by a cold-as-ice, dry-as-dust legal substitution of merit, like a bank transferring credit from one account to another? Are the merits of Christ's perfection applied to the unworthy sinner so he goes scot-free? Is it like an insurance company's policy? Is that the biblical doctrine of Substitution? Many assume so, and don't wish to be disturbed into realizing that something far more profound is involved.
Let's face it: "the truth of the gospel" in Galatians is controversial, and has always stirred up the fires of persecution. At least three passages in Galatians probe deeply into this idea of substitution and what the "blood" accomplishes:
(1) "I am crucified with Christ" (2:20, KJV). I identify with Him, says Paul; my heart is won; my heart is moved; He "loved me, and gave Himself for me." Getting to heaven is no longer my main concern; responding to that love has become "the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." It's "not I, but Christ." He "lives in me." A legal substitution? Yes, of course; but infinitely more than that.
(2) Paul preached the cross so clearly, so vividly, that the people saw themselves crucified with Christ (3:1-5). That is, unfortunately, rare preaching today! It wasn't superficial emotionalism; it was heart-gripping truth as solid as granite.
(3) "The truth of the gospel" produces in cold, selfish, world-loving, addiction-cursed hearts, a new passion: "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (6:14).
Sometimes I "glory" in a Mozart Andante; it keeps going through my mind, night and day, I can't get it out. Well, without a trace of fanaticism (which cold, persecuting hearts like to attribute to "the truth of the gospel") the sacrifice of the Son of God has gripped the heart so that it has become the "new song" we sing night and day--a holy obsession forever. And here's some Good News: such a new song can be "learned" (Rev. 14:3).
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: May 21, 2000.
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