Jesus is our substitute, the one who became sin so we might be saved. So does his righteousness also cover our joylessness?
Jesus is my substitute. He became sin for me, that I might stand before God righteous and forgiven (2 Corinthians 5:21). That is beautiful. But is Jesus also my joy substitute — my hope for when I fail to delight in God as I ought? It’s a sharp question from a listener named Jake.
“Hello, Pastor John! I love the fact that Jesus is my substitute. In any way I display Christlikeness, that is something made possible by the cross of Christ and the Spirit’s work inside me. Christ was sexually faithful for me because I was not. In him I find forgiveness for my past and power to fight my lust today. Similarly, Christ was never arrogant for me so that I can be forgiven of my angry past and given the power to fight my own arrogant heart today.
“I wonder if this paradigm also applies to my joy? Is it true that Christ was fully satisfied in God for me so that I am not condemned for my sourness, but my lack of joy in God is forgiven, and I can be freed to pursue my joy in God daily? When I fail, I rest in Christ, the perfect Christian Hedonist, who paid for all my heart’s idols; there I find renewed hope to press on in seeking after God. In other words, is Jesus my joy substitute?”