SUBSITUTION: “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls,” (1 Peter 2:23-24). God dies for man. Death produces life. Out of sin comes righteousness. Wounds produce healing. Wandering sheep return. Return produces guidance and oversight. These are simple words but profound realities and mystery.
Jesus, God in the flesh, did something we could never do. He satisfied the righteous sacrifice demanded by God for man’s sin against Him. And Jesus did it on our behalf since He himself had no sin. Jesus died in our place for our sins and Jesus expects us to live for righteousness when we accept His sacrifice and become “His sheep.” He has the right to expect that and He has equipped us to carry out to the full this expectation. God has given us His Word, the bible, to guide us and His Holy Spirit to equip us so we are without excuse if we continue to live in a sinful manner after a salvation experience. We know the Christian life is a life of growth from spiritual childhood to spiritual maturity but that is no excuse to continue an ongoing life of willful sin after accepting Christ as one’s Savior. Our light is supposed to shine before men not be a flickering flame.
The wounds of Jesus on the cross have produced spiritual healing for us, “for by his wounds you have been healed.” Our spiritual separation from God has been healed by the work on the cross. We who were once far removed from God by our sin are now brought close to Him. We now have a friendship with Jesus that is closer than that of a brother. He will never leave us or forsake us. And that relationship will enable us to heal our relationships with others through the power of the Holy Spirit and also enable us to live a life of righteousness no matter how sinful our lifestyle was before and no matter how difficult it will be to resolve issues flowing out of our former sinful lifestyle. Is anything too hard for God to do?
As sheep, that’s us who are now Christians, who were separated from and wandering away from God, we have now entered Christ’s sheepfold. We have a Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. Because of the work Jesus did on the cross God expects us to now follow the Shepherd’s directions not our own self-centered former ways. God expects us to submit to the authority and leadership of the Overseer of our souls not our own former willful desires and selfish attitudes. God will take care of His sheep and God provides other sheep for us to share this new life with and enjoy this life of righteousness with. God loves us and cares for us. Praise the Great Shepherd of the sheep!