Self-Substitution of God – Gospel in Life

Self-Substitution of God

Tim Keller |  January 18, 1998

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  • Justification
  • Sin
  • Atonement
Galatians 3:10-14
RS 288-14

Understanding Galatians 3:10–14

Galatians 3:10-14 talks about how trying to follow every rule and law will never make us perfect in God’s eyes. Instead, it’s our faith in Jesus that makes us right with God. This passage also explains how Jesus saved us from the curse of not being able to follow the law perfectly. Because of Jesus, even non-Jews can receive the same blessings as Abraham, all through faith. The cross, which used to represent defeat, now shows us how much can change, as explained in John Stott’s book, “The Cross of Christ”.

1. Why

The key question in life, according to the Bible, is how to live in a way that doesn’t make us ashamed before God. The Bible stresses the importance of living courageously and warns us about the dangers of relying only on following laws to make us right with God. It compares this to a couple dating where both need to stick to their values to have a strong relationship. The Bible emphasizes that we need a relationship with God, that disobeying God has consequences, and that’s why Jesus’ death on the cross is so important.

2. What

The most significant part of Jesus’ death on the cross is that He chose to become a curse for us, a punishment in the Old Testament for those who broke God’s covenant. This act shows that Jesus not only took our punishment but also experienced the worst curse – being cut off from God. This sacrifice is beyond measure, because it means that we, who have done wrong, don’t have to be separated from God forever in hell.

3. How

On the cross, Jesus was treated as if he were a sinner, which shows a deep change that goes beyond just forgiving our sins. When we accept that Jesus took our place to fulfill all righteousness and take our punishment, we can be free from our own failures. Real faith means understanding that sin happens when we try to replace God, that salvation is God giving up Himself for us, and that true happiness and identity come from knowing Christ. Knowing that our names are written in heaven gives us confidence.



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Galatians is a powerful book that shows how people can think they know the gospel but are actually losing touch with it. In this study of the book of Galatians, Dr. Keller helps you understand how this short book in the New Testament can transform your life.