April 06, 2010

Trading Places

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us …
2 Corinthians 5:21


During Advent, a fellow elder and I visited Chuck’s house, where he lives with Aaron and Dennis, persons with special abilities and plenty of life challenges. We talked over what each of us liked about the Christmas season—lights, songs, people acting nicer than usual. We asked about how God’s love shines in Christmas. After a while, Dennis declared, “Aaron, John—it’s this way. The baby Jesus comes down at Christmas for us, or we’re all sunk. Let’s pray.”

Here is why we are not, to use Dennis’s word, sunk. Jesus took our place; he paid our debt on the cross. What Jesus did is often called “the great exchange.” On the cross he was treated as an outcast so that we may be counted as God’s children. Jesus drank the bitter cup of punishment that we deserve so that we may join the great gospel feast of joy. He was humiliated, having both his clothing and his honor stripped away, so that we could be clothed with dignity, enjoying a standing with God that we do not deserve. He was forsaken by God so that the Father could welcome us home.

The sinless one was made to be sin on the cross “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” Those two little words “in him” are the most important of all. We become God’s righteousness only if we are personally connected to Christ. (See John 15:1-17.)

“Jesus, keep me near the cross; there a precious fountain, free to all, a healing stream, flows from Calvary’s mountain.” Lord, my hope is in you, through your cross. Amen.

About the author — John Rozeboom

Rev. John Rozeboom is a retired pastor of the Christian Reformed Church and a former director of Christian Reformed Home Missions. Currently he is coaching and supporting elders, ministers, and a congregation in mission. John and Linda Rozeboom live in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and they have two married children and five grandchildren.

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