Series: 2 Corinthians
2 Corinthians 5:17-21 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
True Christianity proclaims the message of good news. In fact, it tells the best news, for only it tells the solution to humanity’s greatest problem. It is clear that our world has many problems: oppressive governments, terrorism, cancer and other deadly diseases, famine, tornadoes and other natural disasters, poverty, pollution—and we could go on and on. The list is very depressing. But only in God’s word the Bible do we find the answer to our greatest need. How can we be right with God our Maker and Judge? Permit me to illustrate. Suppose you asked me, “How would you spend a million dollars?” My answer would be, “I have a bigger problem. I don’t have a million dollars to spend. Supply me with the million and I’ll think about how to spend it!”
Every person’s basic problem is that he or she is responsible to God, the Creator and Ruler of all and that all of us have rebelled or sinned against him. The great question is “How can I be right with God and accepted by the Lord of all?” The good news is that God the Father has provided the way that we can be right with him—through the saving work of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I. Some truths about God the Father
A. God is just and righteous.
1. God is the greatest good; he is greater than the universe he made; he is holy and righteous. Therefore, all that is against his goodness and holiness is sin and that sin must be punished (Rm 6:23). This means that everyone who sins; that is, who rejects God, who refuses to love God, and who rebels against God and his ways must suffer the just punishment for their sins.
2. God knew the deadly situation that sin created for sinners. So in his surpassing wisdom and goodness, God provided a substitute to endure the consequences of human sin. Christ’s suffering and death on the cross satisfied the justice of God. A willing, sinless substitute died in the place of sinners and satisfied God’s justice. Whatever needed to be done, Jesus Christ freely endured the penalty to the full, and God showed his acceptance by raising Jesus from the dead.
Comment: This is also the only way our consciences can be satisfied—when we know that God is satisfied, that he can be just when he declares sinners right with him.
B. God is gracious: “God made…”
1. God could have rightly and justly condemned the whole human race. All of us are rebels against him. We do what deserves condemnation (Eph 5:6), and we reject the way of life in Christ (Jn 3:36).
2. But God decided to make known the riches of his grace (Eph 2:4-7). Therefore, he gave his Son to die in the place of sinners (Jn 3:16; Rm 8:32). Think of this! God gave his Son, who is the image of God and in whom we see God’s glory (2 Cor 4:4, 6) to take our sin in our place.
Apply: The first idea we should grasp is that God the Maker and Ruler has taken the initiative to reach out to people to restore us to friendship with himself. Do you have this view of God?
II. Some truths about God the Son, Jesus Christ
A. His holy purity
1. A perfect sacrifice was needed. Someone guilty could not be an acceptable substitute for others who were guilty. He would have needed to answer for his own sins.
2. Jesus was sinless; he knew no sin (Jn 8:46; Heb 4:15; 7:26f; 1 Pt 2:22; 1 Jn 3:15; etc.); therefore, he could pay the penalty for the sins of others.
B. His sufferings (cf. Is 53:9-12)
1. He made him to be sin; that is, he bore the true guilt and consequences of the sin of his people. “Look, whatever the justice of God, the law of God, whatever the threatenings of God require to be inflicted as a punishment for sin, Christ underwent it all.” [Owen, Works, Vol. 9, p. 522]
2. Those who know the Lord should be very grateful!
Illustration: Pat the Irishman [The Early Years, p. 265-266] C. His merit
1. Our blessing rests entirely on what Jesus has accomplished on the cross.
Illustration: It is medicine that heals, and not taking medicine (though that is necessary). [Compare Around the Wicket Gate, p. 71]
2. We must come to Jesus just as we are, trusting only on him and his merit and his sufficiency.
Illustration: The Artist and the sweeper [All of Grace, p. 18]
III. Some truths about ourselves
A. Our sin and our guilt
1. We must face the reality of our greatest problem. We are sinners and we deserve to be punished. Everyone likes to avoid responsibility, but there is no getting around our accountability to God.
Illustration: Use “sinner’s file folders” to show what we deserve—condemnation.
2. We must face the depth of our greatest problem. There was too much for anyone to pay, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Rm 3:23). The only way that we can be saved is through Christ’s substitutionary death. God had to give his dearly loved Son to save us!
B. Our deliverance
1. We must no put any confidence in our own ability (Ph 3:3-8).
2. Instead, we must totally trust “in him”.
C. Our happy position when we trust in Jesus Christ
1. We are right with God. Our sins are put on Christ and taken away, and his righteousness is put on our account. This is the “Great Exchange”.
Illustration: Switching books in hands
2. The result of having Christ’s righteousness is eternal glory (Rm 8:30).
Illustration: Use the “believer’s file folder to show Christ’s righteousness on our account.
Apply: Today, you may have eternal joy and peace with God and be right with God. Turn from your sin and trust in Jesus, who died to save sinners and you will be saved.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/frampton-dave.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Pastor Dave Frampton: When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”http://www.newtownsquarebaptist.org/” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church[/button]