Bible Verse: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV
We’ve often heard phrases like “It’s not fair!” or “Life’s not fair”. They are often uttered by our children, and usually it has to do with how they are judging or evaluating what someone else has or does, according to their own views or desires. That’s not much different from how we too often behave. Just think of how we judge others for their actions or words, such as when they cut us off in traffic. Yet we tend to give ourselves a break when we do something we know is wrong, like speeding a little because we’re running late. The reason is because, of course, deep down, we know we could never live up to our own standards.
The implication of this for our lives is profound, because it demonstrates the essence of sin according to the Bible. If sin means breaking the law of God, that’s the expression of sin. But the essence of sin is when we put ourselves in place of God, when we do things in our own our power, when we rely on our own wisdom, and when we judge others by our own standards. We put ourselves in His rightful place.
As Christians, we know that God created and sustains all things, including you and me. And yet, every day we act as if we were our own master and in control our own lives. If we lived in a land that had a king who was the only master over everything, and then we declared ourselves to be our own master, that would called treason. Treason is the essence of our sin. We cannot breathe, or even exist without God’s express will and provision, and yet we puff up our chest and call ourselves masters of our own destiny.
It the introduction of his letter to the Romans 1:1-4, the Apostle Paul makes a profound statement. He declares that he was set apart for the good news of God, concerning his Son, “who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness.” And that is good news indeed for us, because in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God who created you and me and the whole of creation showed up to take our place. When God became a man, He put Himself in our rightful place to bring about an eternal reconciliation between our sinful nature and His holiness.
That was not a fair deal. He may be descended from the line of David, but He was God forever before that. He was not born God. He has always been God. So, when we look at the cross, we don’t simply see someone who paid the penalty for our sins, our treason towards the heavenly King. We see a man who felt the agony and pain and suffering caused by the unfairness, the injustice, and all the expressions of our sin, and we can empathize with Him. God, the legitimate King, responds to our treason by taking our place. Why would He do that? Because of His unfathomable love for us, He poured out His life-blood onto our lives.
If the essence of sin is us taking God’s place, the essence of salvation is God taking our place. That is the good news of the Gospel. Praise be to our Heavenly King!
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.