Trading Places

I heard this sermon by Alistair Begg some time ago that really challenged me to consider the love of Christ. In the sermon Alistair told the story of Ian Hay, a missionary to Nigeria who , while biking somewhere one day, came across a leper laying on the road. The leper was in bad shape, with sores and wounds covering his body, giving off an unbearable stench. This leper reminded the missionary that this was our spiritual state without Christ with our sins just as repulsivie to God. Through that encounter, the missionary was struck by the love of Christ, who came to this earth, not just to heal sickness and disease, but to take upon himself the sins of this world.

In my training, I have come across patients with devastating complications of preventative conditions because of a lack of access to care. I have to admit there were days I patted myself on the back because I chose to work with the underserved and help those without adequate medical care, thinking myself so loving and sacrificial. But if God were to ask me to trade places with my patients, taking on their infirmities so that they could leave the office, completely healed, there would be no way, even if that was somehow possible. That’s the extend of my love, so limited and conditional.

But because of Christ’s love for us, He came and took our place. He didn’t just make our sins disappear and then go happily on His way. No, Christ took our sins upon Himself and endured the wrath of the Father on our behalf so that we could be made right before God. As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” What an amazing love. God help me to love like you do.

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