The new you… a new identity; part 2
“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Today, we return to this verse, to address an obvious issue.
The astute observer may look at 2 Corinthians 5:21 and object to the conclusion that, in the great exchange, we ARE the righteousness of God. Clearly, the verse says that “we MIGHT become” the righteousness of God. “Might” is a long way from “are.” Therefore, it must be, that we are not yet what God wants us to be – but after a long and arduous “overhaul” of our lives, we can be the righteousness of God… someday… maybe… hopefully…
This is probably as good a time as any to address the weakness of language – and the difficulties of truly expressing God’s thoughts in clear and accurate words.
Excuse the grammar lesson, kids, but sometimes it is really important to grasp what the words are actually trying to tell us.
We tend to read the words “might become” and jump to the conclusion that the apostle is teaching us about a future occurrence. Coupled with another common perception (that God is constantly at work, fixing our brokenness, and changing us into what He wants us to be) we immediately assume that this verse verifies the fact that we are not yet the “righteousness of God,” but that we “might become the righteousness of God” in time (most likely, at a whole lot of time [because there is so much work to do!]).
But in the original language, that is NOT what this phrase is telling us. The phrase conveys an action, completed in the past and available in the now – but it also tells us that there is action required by the recipient, to unlock its promise. In Greek, this is the “mood of possibility.” Everything comes down to this: something is available, in full supply, but someone must take action to access what is provided.
To illustrate… you and I are friends. I am tremendously wealthy… and you are not. In fact, you barely scrape by, day after day. Because I really like you, I decide to set up an account, at my bank, that makes you a millionaire. All you have to do is go to the bank, sign some papers, and you ARE a millionaire! Here’s the thing: once I establish that account, from that moment, that million dollars is yours… you ARE wealthy. But until you go and sign those papers, you are still poor. I have set in motion the possibility that you “might become” rich – based upon a provision that I established beforehand, just for you. But once you go and accept what I have provided, you are the recipient of ALL I have provided… immediately!
This verse actually emphasizes two things… first, from God’s standpoint He has fully provided that we ARE the righteousness of God. Second, until we actually believe and receive what He has supplied, we are NOT yet.
His provision for righteousness is complete. It is available, at this very moment. But we are required to respond to His provision – and when we do, we are what He says we are!
Prayer focus: God, help me to understand the fullness of Your provision to me, through Jesus — and to live in the abundance of Your work on my behalf!