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For most of my life I have enjoyed playing golf. Golf courses often “aerate” their tee boxes, fairways, and greens. This is a process in which a machine punches holes in the ground and removes a small amount of dirt from those holes. The better quality golf courses aerate more often, while smaller less maintained golf courses do this less often. 1

The simple act of removing a small amount of dirt from the ground provides five benefits to the well traveled soil and grass that golfers use. One benefit is that it allows much needed nutrients (air, water, and fertilizer) to get to the root zone under the surface of the ground. Another benefit is that it reduces thatch buildup. Thatch is a layer of dead grass that can prevent important nutrients from getting to the soil. An additional benefit of aeration is that it relieves soil compaction. Severely compacted soil prevents air, water, and fertilizer from reaching the grass’s root system. Another benefit of aeration is that it helps with over seeding. When you are trying to over seed (laying seed on existing grass) aeration allows for that seed to penetrate the soil and germinate. A final benefit of aeration is that it prepares grass for going dormant in the winter and/or a green spring. If your grass goes dormant in the winter you want it to be as strong as possible, and aerating helps strengthen it. Additionally, aerating gives grass a fertile environment to grow when spring comes. 2

You have probably heard pastors say that “Jesus died for your sins on the Cross.” My point in sharing about aeration above is that, yes, Jesus did die for your sins on the cross. But, he accomplished much more than that on the cross. Similar to how that one act of aeration provides five benefits to grass, Christ’s death on the cross accomplished five things for us. Let’s take a look at those. 

Soteriology - What Christ Did on the Cross

Photo Credit: “Christ Dies on the Cross” by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804)

Christ on the Cross


Christ died in our place and took the sinners’ just punishment.

A. Old Testament Backgrounds on Substitution

The idea of substitution is woven throughout the Old Testament. Here are some examples of substitution in the Old Testament.  Continue Reading…


  1. When I worked as a caddie at a very nice private golf course in Texas while in seminary it seemed like we were aerating something every month.
  2. 7 Benefits of Lawn Aeration” by TruGreen, Accessed October 1, 2019.

Intense, organized prayer alone with God in the morning prepares us to breathe those quick, silent prayers that are needed so often throughout the day.

Jerry Bridges, “True Community” (p. 38)

If you asked your kids each night what they would like to have for dinner, chances are your family would exist on a steady diet of pizza, ice cream, and cake. If you always ask your group members what type of study they would like to do next, you may end up with a diet that is just as imbalanced as the meals your kids choose.

Steve Gladen, Leading Small Groups with Purpose (pp. 114-115)

This journey of following Christ as his disciple is a lifelong one. Anything less is a Christless Christianity. Without the reality of following Jesus, Christianity is just a religious philosophy.

Bill Hull, “The Complete Book of Discipleship” (p. 107)

We submit to accountability when we have a passion to please God. Accountability means submitting ourselves to at least one other person. That individual has permission to ask any question and keep us honest about life.

Bill Hull, in “The Complete Book of Discipleship” (p. 31)