He Took Our Place!

1 John 2:1-2

2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 

In “The Christian Leader,” Don Ratzlaff retells a story Vernon Grounds came across in Ernest Gordon’s Miracle On The River Kwai. The Scottish soldiers, forced by their Japanese captors to labor on a jungle railroad, had degenerated to barbarous behavior, but one afternoon something happened.” A shovel was missing. The officer in charge became enraged. He demanded that the missing shovel be produced, or else. When nobody in the squadron budged, the officer got his gun and threatened to kill them all on the spot . . . It was obvious the officer meant what he had said. Then, finally, one man stepped forward. The officer put away his gun, picked up a shovel, and beat the man to death. When it was over, the survivors picked up the bloody corpse and carried it with them to the second tool check. This time, no shovel was missing. Indeed, there had been a miscount at the first check point.” The word spread like wildfire through the whole camp. An innocent man had been willing to die to save the others! . . . The incident had a profound effect. . . The men began to treat each other like brothers.

“When the victorious Allies swept in, the survivors, human skeletons, lined up in front of their captors . . (and instead of attacking their captors) insisted: No more hatred. No more killing. Now what we need is forgiveness.”
What every Christian should strive for is sinlessness, though it is a goal we will never reach this side of glory. So what do we do? John tells us that when we sin Christ steps in as our advocate. We know it is not a matter of if we are going to sin, it is a matter of when, and when we do Jesus Christ stands before God as our representative to plead our case. By His blood we are already declared innocent and therefore are not under any judgement. If that was all that Christ did, then it would be enough, but it doesn’t stop there.
In verse 2 we are introduced to one of those 10 dollar words that we tend to skip over because, honestly, most of us don’t even know what it means. The word propitiation. Probably the simplest way to define this word is that it means to appease wrath and provide reconciliation. So what this verse is telling us is that Christ bore the full wrath of God against sin. On the Cross Jesus satisfied God’s wrath so that we would not have to! Because of this we are reconciled to God through Christ!
Lets bring that down a notch to help us understand these verses. When we sin, Jesus stands before God as a testimony that He has already suffered God’s wrath against that sin on our behalf. That is what propitiation means. Remember our illustration at the beginning. Jesus took our place. To satisfy God’s wrath against sin, He stepped forward, paid our price and now we stand uncondemned! 
Today as we ReFocus our hearts and minds on Christ let us consider the price that was paid for our redemption. To be reconciled to God, Christ bore His wrath for us. And the demonstration of His love and grace on the cross should motivate us to share that same love and grace with others!