When we say Jesus Christ is our substitute, we ought to keep in mind exactly what that means. Somewhat shockingly, the apostle Paul applied the law about the criminal hung on a tree to Jesus – and so he also applied it to us.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’” (Galatians 3:13). Jews and Gentiles alike have fallen short of God’s law and live under a curse. This is caused by our sin. If God were to demand his creation remain holy, our bodies would be hung on a tree as an example for all to see, and then we’d be buried before sundown.
But God’s final judgment still is coming, and Jesus has offered justification for those who would trust in Him. “The righteous shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11). And so those who trust in Jesus no longer are under a curse. He paid the price for us on the cross – hanging on a “tree” for all the world to see as a man cursed by God.
The son who was rebellious against his parents, in reality, is no different from us. Any sin leads us away from God and breaks our relationship with Him and puts us under the curse.
Do you live your life in a state of constant gratitude to God? Difficult circumstances can cause us to grumble and complain. But we must not lose sight of just how immensely we have been blessed by the God who served as our substitute, who took the brunt of the penalty for sin.
He’s left us with nothing to do but trust him more and more.