Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Righteousness of God

 2 Corinthians 5:21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

21 τὸν μὴ γνόντα ἁμαρτίαν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν, ἵνα ἡμεῖς γενώμεθα δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ.

This is one of those verses that just about everyone has heard at some point. It makes for a great song too. But what does it mean? Paul uses the aorist subjunctive γενώμεθα for this. The subjunctive can be thought of as the mood of possibility. In other words, what Paul is saying is that Christ's death made it possible for us to become the righteousness of God.

Why is this necessary? We are sinners and God is holy. Because He is perfectly holy He cannot stand sin. Sin has no place in His presence; therefore, there must be righteousness instead. The witness of Exodus and Leviticus is that there must be blood as a payment for sin because God's justice must be satisfied. The problem is that even unblemished lambs do not permanently remove the stain of sin.

There had to be a perfect sacrifice for sin that worked once for all time. The most wooden translation of this verse is that "The one who did not know sin on behalf of us was made sin." Obviously the ESV is a lot prettier. The point is that Christ actually became sin for us on the cross.

Let that sink in a bit. There has only ever been one man who lived without sin and that one man had to take on the sin of the world. Imagine if you were to find out that some large debt you have was canceled. If you're a homeowner your mortgage is a great example. Then imagine that you find out that some close friend had actually sold all of his possessions so that he could pay off your debt. That would be unbelievable, right? It would be a gift so incredible that most of us would have a hard time accepting it. Imagine the gratitude we would feel toward that person afterwards.

That only begins to scratch the surface of what Christ endured on the cross. He suffered unbelievable physical and spiritual anguish. If you are in Christ, take a little time to consider this today. I know that I have been blessed by this.

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