Imagine a small town in which a man had killed another man and was caught. The murderer stood before judge and jury, was found guilty, sentenced to death, and died at the hands of the town’s hangman. The townspeople were happy, for justice had been served. The next day the townspeople noticed the hanged man walking around town. They found it very strange that this man was alive again; yet, more troubling still was his not remaining dead. This is what they thought he deserved. So they brought him before the judge and asked the judge to have the man hung a second time. But the judge would not hang the man, since he had already suffered death and justice was done.
When I was in high school I drove my mom’s car into the back of a pickup truck. I felt really awful about it! When I got home my mom saw how much pain I was suffering and instead of punishing me as I expected she did nothing. She knew that I had suffered enough and did not need any more trouble heaped on me.
In his book, The Cross of Christ, A.B. Simpson writes:
We are saved by justification with Christ in His death. We are justified because we have already died with Him and have thus been made free from sin. God does not whitewash people when He saves them. He has really visited their sins upon their great Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every believer was counted as in Him when He died, and so His death is our death. It puts us in the same position before the law of the supreme Judge as if we had already been executed and punished for our own guilt, as if the judgment for us was already past. Therefore, it is true of every believer, “whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; has has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:25).
When another is condemned, ashamed, full of guilt, despairing, troubled, let us offer good news. There is freedom, healing, and peace in Christ when we allow Him to take our burdens. Only Christ can deal with these eternal burdens. Only Christ gives eternal rest.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:25).