Summary: Commenting on Barabbas, Donald Grey Barnhouse wrote, “He was the only man in the world who could say that Jesus Christ took his physical place. But I can say that Jesus Christ took my spiritual place. For it was I who deserved to die. It was I who deserve
1.God’s Special Ministry – Reconciling us to Himself
Intro: In Genesis chapter 3 and Romans 5:12-14. From the very beginning God wants us to be reconciled to Himself through His Son – Jesus Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ was not a hesitant savior but a pro-active one.
Genesis 3:9 But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, "Where are you?" 1 Tim. 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.
A. Jesus Has Reconciled all Sinners.
2 Cor. 5:14-15 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;  and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Cor. 5:18a All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself
Here Paul the Apostle never lost his sense of wonder at Christ Love, it controlled Him. All throughout His epistles Paul was never lost for words about the Love of Christ.
Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Illustration: A missionary in Africa was once asked if he really liked what he was doing. His response was shocking. “Do I like this work?” he said. “No. My wife and I do not like dirt. We have reasonable refined sensibilities. We do not like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse. But is a man to do nothing for Christ he does not like? God pity him, if not. Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We have orders to ‘Go,’ and we go. Love constrains us.”
Galatians 2:20 It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Christ love controlled Paul because he had concluded that one died for all, therefore all died. The preposition “for” could be translated (for the benefit of). This speaks of Christ atoning sacrifice. Christ died in our place to fully satisfy God’s Justice.
Read: Day 1 – To Absorb the Wrath of God (The Passion of Jesus Christ)
This was accomplished by the death of Christ on the cross. Through his death we no longer enemies of God, reserved for His wrath.
Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. Col. 1:20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
B. Jesus has Given us a New Nature
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Christians are new people. The Holy Spirit gives them new life, and they are not the same anymore. Christians are not reformed, rehabilitated, or reeducated—they are recreated. At conversion, believers are not merely turning over a new leaf; they are beginning a new life under a new Master.
Illustration: A few years before John Newton died, a friend was having breakfast with him. Their custom was to read from the Bible after the meal. Because Newton’s eyes were growing dim, his friend would read, then Newton would comment briefly on the passage.
The day the selection was from 1 Corinthians 15. When the words “by the grace of God I am what I am” were read, Newton was silent for several minutes. Then he said, “I am not what I ought to be. How imperfect and deficient I am! I am not what I wish to be, although I abhor that which is evil and would cleave to what is good. I am not what I hope to be, but soon I shall put off mortality, and with it all sin. Though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor yet what I hope to be, I can truly say I am not what I once was: a slave to sin and Satan. I can heartily join with the apostle and acknowledge that by the grace of God I am what I am!”