Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Jesus took your sins and gave you His righteousness.”
The greatest news the world has ever heard is that Jesus Christ came to earth, died upon a cross to pay the penalty for our sins, arose from the grave, and ascended back into heaven, and whoever will place their faith in Him for the forgiveness of their sins will have eternal life in heaven. That’s the Good News. But why was it even necessary for Him to do that? Why did He have to die for our sins? Why did He have to conquer death and arise from the grave? The answer is because we had a sin problem that we couldn’t solve for ourselves.
You see, God is holy and pure and perfect; and heaven is holy and pure and perfect; and no unholy, impure, or imperfect thing can be allowed into heaven or it would spoil it. Heaven would then contain something that was not holy, pure, and perfect. And since we have all sinned (Romans 3:23) our sin makes us unholy, impure, and imperfect and therefore not suitable for heaven.
But Jesus fixed that problem for us. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 the Apostle Paul explained how he did it. There he describes for us what theologians call “The doctrine of substitution”. Jesus had no sin of His own. He was holy and pure and perfect. But on the cross, He took upon Himself all the sins that would ever be committed by anyone who would ever place their faith in Him. That’s what Paul meant when he wrote, “He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us …” As Pastor and author John MacArthur once explained, “On the cross God treated Jesus as if He had committed every sin that would ever be committed by any person, when in fact He committed none of them. That’s the doctrine of substitution. The innocent dies for the guilty.” Jesus didn’t commit any sins, but God treated Him as if He had committed them all. So, the sin problem of the world had been dealt with. The sins had to be dealt with, and they were. But it was Jesus who was punished for them instead of you and me.
Then, Jesus gave us all of His righteousness. Not only did He take our sins upon Himself, but as verse 21 reveals, He then gave His righteousness to us, “… so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” That’s the other side of substitution. On the one side Jesus gets all of our sins. On the other side we get all of His righteousness. That’s why Jesus had to live here on earth for thirty-three years. He lived the perfect and sinless life that you and I aren’t capable of living. Then on the cross He swapped your life for His. He took your sinful life upon Himself, and He gave you His perfect and sinless life in return. That’s the doctrine of substitution. Both sides of it.
That’s how your sins were dealt with. Jesus took your sins, and He gave you His righteousness. We’ll think more about this tomorrow.