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Communion 2009

Substitutes

Originally scheduled for July 19

One of the most difficult aspects of the English language is that a given word may take one several shades of meaning, depending entirely on the context. Take, for instance, the word “substitute:”

One meaning is that of an alternative – two equal and interchangeable items. For example, swapping a blue car for an otherwise identical red car at a rental agency.

Another possibility is an artificial substitute – as in a sugar substitute for your coffee. Not really interchangeable, but used for the same purpose, sweetening your coffee.

Sometimes we use the word to mean a counterfeit or imitation, as a thief might substitute a copy of a painting for the real thing.

None of these meanings touches on the Christian use of the word – which is a vicarious substitute, Christ at the cross, dying in our place.

 

Satan certainly likes to baffle us with other meanings of “substitute.” For example, we have:

“All religions are equally true” – so anything would be a substitute for the true faith. Satan tells us they are interchangeable.

We also have synthetic religions – substitutes for the real thing just like sugar substitutes. Not really interchangeable, not really as good, but avoiding what we see as drawbacks.

There are also counterfeit religions – those with their own “special revelation.” Add this and subtract that – it looks the same, but it isn’t.

The real use of substitution is what Christ did for us on the Christ. Please note these two things:

First, he did what we could not do – atone for our sins. Only the sinless man could do that. He is our necessary substitute.

Second, he didn’t do it for himself, but for us. He did it on our behalf, because of his great love for us.

 

At Communion we remember this. Christ commands those who love him to remember his sacrifice at the Cross. Accept no substitutes.

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