“God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2Corinthians 5:21)
If there is one issue that I hear mentioned frequently from Christians, it is the issue of our struggles with sin. We have an earnest desire to do what is pleasing to God… we just don’t please Him as much as we would like. We fail just about as much (maybe even more) as we succeed. So we are caught in this seemingly endless cycle of trying to do what is right and good but always having to seek forgiveness for when we are wrong and bad. It is tiring. It is frustrating. It is discouraging.
What we most often do, is accept (what I call) the Romans 7 approach (specifically vs. 14-25). It goes something like this… “Hey, even the apostle Paul struggled with sin. We can certainly relate to his frustrations – and it’s really nice to know that someone of the spiritual status as the apostle struggled with sin just like we do. But thank God for His grace to cover our sins – at least God always forgives us.”
But the common frustration with sinning was not the apostle’s point. The context of Romans 7:14-25 is Romans 6 and 8 which both talk about our freedom and deliverance from the bondage to sin and sinning. Even Romans 7, up until vs. 14-25, talks about our deliverance from bondage to the Law.
The apostle’s point (in 14-25) is the futility of trying to do what is right and good in God’s sight by our own efforts to do what is right. Anyone who tries to be righteous by human efforts at doing righteousness will always fail. It is not in our capacity to do what we think is righteous – even as believers in Jesus!
Though God’s Law is holy, righteous, and good (and we KNOW it) we are incapable of doing It – even with our most sincere and dedicated efforts.
But God has come up with an ingenious solution to our problem… He made a way to release us from bondage to the Law by making us righteous, through the work of Jesus.
That’s right. We don’t have to expend our energies in trying to do righteousness… because we ARE righteous – through what Jesus has done. We are not trying to achieve something by all our hard work at pleasing God – instead, because of Jesus (and by trusting in Him), ALL the work is already done. This is God’s gift to us, that…
Why are we still trying to fulfill something that has already been fulfilled? Yet, this is what most believers see as our duty to God… DO good things… please God by our efforts, or our religious fervor, or by keeping our traditions, or by our sacrifices, or by a hundred other things we think that God wants from us.
And when we fail (which we will inevitably do) we beat ourselves up and carry our guilt and live in our remorse – all because we haven’t done what we felt like we needed to do for God.
And we miss the fullness of the wonder of what God is seeking in us. Just love – for Him and for other people. Simple. Straightforward. Righteous.
Most of our problems stem from the fact that we do not really understand what God has done for us through Jesus… and the completeness of that work.
All this week (Lord willing), let’s talk about what our Redeemer has done for us – that fully makes us the righteousness of God…