Saturday after the Twentieth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 (NKJV)
5:1 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. 7 For we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 9 Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences. 12 For we do not commend ourselves again to you, but give you opportunity to boast on our behalf, that you may have an answer for those who boast in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Our reading for today ends with a well-known verse that’s often called “the Great Exchange”: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Important to note is that Jesus certainly had awareness of sin, and was daily bombarded by temptation (Heb. 4:15). But He had no intimate knowledge of sin. He was unique over all humanity in that He never succumbed to temptation (1 Pet. 2:22). And yet, Jesus willingly took all the sin of humanity—sins past, present, and future. It was always God’s Divine plan that humanity be redeemed in such a way. The prophet Isaiah writes: “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief” (Is. 53:10).
All this was done that “we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” What does this mean? It is a trade. Christ took all the sin we had in exchange for His righteousness—His perfect life and sacrificial death, often called His active and passive obedience. By faith we appropriate this righteousness, and stand justified before the Father. Unfortunately, many reject this Divine Exchange and are lost in their unbelief. Paul warns of this in chapter 6. May we always embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life given to us in Jesus Christ.
We pray: “As by one man all mankind fell and, born in sin, was doomed to hell, so by one Man, who took our place, we all received the gift of grace.” (TLH 369:5)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.