In Stanley Voke’s wonderful little book, Personal Revival: Living the Christian Life in Light of the Cross, he writes, “The hardest thing for anyone is to take the sinner’s place.”
Simply put, “the sinner’s place is where I take blame.” It is the place where I am real, honest, authentic, and vulnerable.
While I naturally resist that place with all my might, the Spirit guides me (sometimes pushes me) there, not to condemn, but to help me see my need of Jesus as my only righteousness, and therefore, my only glory, boast, and ultimate joy.
The gospel tells me that “the righteousness of God” (as well as the peace, hope, and joy of God) is only given to those who are willing to sit in the sinner’s place. This is because Jesus has already sat there, or better, was nailed there in my place.
Indeed, in the gospel, the cross is the ultimate sinner’s place.
When I am honest with myself, God, and others, about the reality of my sin and need for rescue, the sinner’s place becomes “the place of true peace, for here I cease my strivings and find God… Here I cast away my pretense, and admit who I really am. Here I come to Jesus to be cleansed by his precious blood. Here the Holy Spirit fills and holiness is found. Here are the springs of revival.”
Sitting without excuse in the sinner’s place is a painful and humiliating experience. I really don’t want to fess up to the deeply flawed and sinful McKay.
Yet, not to confess the monster within is to live a lie. Anthing else is a sham and a cover up.
And yet I am finding the sinner’s place to be unexpectedly liberating, drawing me to glory in and love Jesus as my Savior more than I could have imagined.
Indeed, the sinner’s place, for those who will go there, is a place of abundant grace where we actually do experience a cover up, being covered in the perfect righteousness of Jesus.
“Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.”