2 Corinthians 5:21
Posted December 02, 2013
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
This verse is the bedrock of the Christian gospel: that though we were sinners, the sinless Jesus took our sin upon Himself on the cross and also placed upon us His righteousness. Our problem was two-fold: not only did we owe God a debt we could never pay (sin against a holy & perfect God), but we also lacked the righteousness to stand in God’s presence. Through dying the death that we deserved on the cross, Jesus not only paid the price of our sin but also mercifully gave us His righteousness! He not only cleared our debt, but then made a deposit into our account that we could never have made. Theologians call this “substitutionary atonement” (Christ is our substitute), while Martin Luther called this the Great Exchange! Our guilt & sin was imputed (credited) to Christ while Christ’s righteousness was imputed to those who put their trust in Him.
What should our response to this powerful sentence be? It must be to worship this merciful & gracious God. While He deserved infinite praise, we in our hard-heartedness turned to praise anything other than Him. While we deserved infinite wrath, Jesus in His kindness gave His life for us. Think what mercy is yours! If you have put your trust in Jesus, praise Him for both wiping away your sins and also giving you His own righteousness. What does God see when He looks at you? The righteousness of Jesus. Amazing! If you’re trying to work your way into righteous standing before God and “pay off” your sins, stop now. Christ is the only One who could accomplish such a feat. God needs to teach us how to see ourselves as He does: blood-bought righteous children of God. “Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the grave!” Jesus did indeed pay it all…