“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
Over the past twenty or so years it has been my privilege to lead a Bible Study at the Hope Centre in Brampton. Each Thursday morning a small group of men and women have met to study God’s Word in some detail in an interactive way. Over the years the group has changed. Some of our brothers and sisters who met with us are now rejoicing in the Lord’s presence. Others have moved away and are now unable to join us. New people have joined in and for that we rejoice. These Thursday mornings have become a joyous time of fellowship for me. It is my belief that every Christian must be seeking out Bible Study groups where real fellowship with other believers can be nurtured as we gather around the Word of God.
What has been brought forcefully home to me through this Bible Study as well as through the regular studies at First Baptist Church, Brampton (Which also follows an interactive approach) is that there is often a correspondence between the discussions we have with each group. I believe that this is evidence of the leading of the Holy Spirit in our gatherings. Most often we are led to discover this correspondence through the questions which people ask at our gatherings.
This is a rather wordy way of introducing our text for today. In today’s Bible Study at the Hope Centre our discussion turned to the fact that our salvation is found not in our works but in the grace revealed by God in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ as our substitute sin bearer. In our text Paul sums up a chapter in which he appeals to us to become reconciled to God through the Lord Jesus Christ by pointing out that He is the perfect substitute for us. Let’s look at the evidence Paul appeals to.
- This is the work of God for us. Paul writes, “God Made Him”. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones used to appeal to a great statement in the Word of God as evidence of the supernatural nature of our salvation, “But God”. So much was going wrong for us, but God, and everything was transformed.
- He is the sinless one. The Lord Jesus Christ can save us because He is the sinless one. He perfectly obeyed His Father in everything. J. Gresham Machen wrote shortly before his death that he was deeply thankful for “the active obedience of Christ.” In Christ we discover that Holy God became human flesh all for the purpose of redeeming us.
- Paul goes on to write, “To be sin for us”. The Lord Jesus Christ substituted Himself for us. He carried our sin to the cross and there He died with it. It is here that we find ourselves reconciled to God.
- Then Paul leads us to a very special truth, “So that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. Through faith in Christ we participate in a destiny altering exchange. Our sin is taken and place upon the sinless one and in exchange His perfect righteousness is taken and placed upon us. Now when God looks upon us He sees that we have been forgiven through the cross, and He also sees the perfect righteousness of Christ. Everything has now changed. However it is only as we are in Christ by faith. There is no other way forward. Have you participated in this great exchange?