Have you found yourself in that place?

Matthew 27: 15: Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would. 16: And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17: Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?… 21: The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. 22: Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. 23: And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.

     Put your place in that cell with Barabbas. He knew he was guilty.  Death awaited him.  There was no escaping.  As he sat in his cell, Barabbas did not know what Pilate had said to the crowd.  The only thing Barabbas could hear was the angry crowd chanting, “Barabbas! Barabbas! Barabbas!” Then he heard the crowd yelling, “Crucify him! Crucify him! Crucify him!”  He must have been terrified, convinced that he was about to die.

     Sinner, have you found yourself in that place? Has the Spirit of God made you confess that you are guilty before God’s holy, unbending law?  Has God sent the sentence burning into your conscience so that you own the truth that you deserve to die? It surely is the case with every sinner as we are born in Adam. (Rom 3: 10-13; 19-20, 23)  But you will never need another to save you until you are convinced in the court of your conscience that you are guilty.

    Then try to imagine this.  Barabbas heard the jailor nearing his cell.  The jailor opened the door.  But to his surprise, the jailor unlocked Barabbas’ shackles announcing that he was free to go. How? Why? It was because another, Christ Jesus, had taken his place.

     Sinner, this is the good news of substitution!  Christ took the place of his people on the cross. (Jn 10: 15)  He took the sin of his people on the cross. (2 Cor 5: 21)  Christ took the judgment and wrath of hell for his people on the cross. (Gal 3: 13) And on the cross, God saw the travail of his soul and was satisfied. (Is 53: 11) By Christ pouring out his precious blood in place of all those that the Father gave to him, Christ purged our sins, satisfied justice and obtained eternal redemption for all for whom he died. (Heb 1: 3; Rom 3: 24; Gal 2: 16; Ti 3: 7; Heb 9: 12)   

     Therefore, at the appointed hour, through the Spirit of regeneration, through the key of the gospel, each child for whom Christ died shall have the Holy Spirit sent to them where they sit bound in the sin and death of their dead, carnal nature.   Each one shall be brought to believe on Christ and be set free from the law of sin and death. (Rom 8: 1-4) It is not possible for the law to punish Christ the Substitute then punish even one for whom he died. (Rom 5: 9-10) They are justified before God! This truth of the successful, particular redemption of chosen sinners by the death of Christ is the gospel which manifests the righteousness of God, Christ Jesus!  (Rom 3: 21-22) 

     Sinner, has God opened your jail cell with the key of the gospel of the substitionary death of Christ Jesus the Son of God? Has the Holy Spirit un-shackled your chains of unbelief with the gift of life and faith in Christ?  When death-row sinners behold the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus then the Lord Jesus sets his child free, saying “to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.” (Is 49: 9)

    Can you picture the joy Barabbas had that day?  That temporal freedom is nothing compared to the joy of the child of grace when we are enabled to sing, “Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, his child and forever I am!”  May God in his free, sovereign, invincible grace make you sing that joyful song today!

Clay Curtis

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