August 9 I Friday
“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
The opening verse of this devotion, from Paul’s letter to the Church at Corinth, gives one of the most important truths that we can ever come to learn: we can only become what Christ is in our standing and position before God because Christ became what we are in His standing and position before God.
The phrase that theologians have used for this is “imputed righteousness.” Imputed implies that it is not an inherent one within ourselves. Christ’s sin was not inherently in Himself. Rather, our sin was imputed to Him and His righteousness was imputed to us. Therefore, when Jesus Christ went to the cross, His standing before His Father changed. He who knew no sin was made to be sin. This was not His own sin, but sin was imputed to Him.
Jesus Christ hung on that cross before His Father as a murderer, rapist, liar and a cheat. Everything Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, and even us, were, Jesus was on the cross. He was declared a sinner before His Father. We may never come to understand what it was like for Jesus emotionally and spiritually to be made sin before His Father. We may say that it is not fair and, of course, it is not. But neither is the other side of the equation fair.
The imputed sin on Christ and the imputed righteousness on us have nothing to do with our track records. This is not about His behaviour or our behaviour. For us, it is simply saying, “Thank You. You took my sin in Your body on the cross.”
This gives us tremendous confidence on Judgment Day. If we put any confidence in our track record, we are deluding ourselves. Our grounds for confidence are based entirely upon the fact that Jesus Christ is our substitute. Jesus substituted Himself for our sin on the cross and now He substitutes our sin for Himself in our standing before God. John tells us, “This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: in this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17).
Our imputed righteousness is about our standing before God and our imparted righteousness is about our growth in righteousness and holiness. It is humbling for us to acknowledge that apart from Christ we are nothing and have nothing. God credits to us what we do not deserve and cannot earn because Jesus imputed to us His standing. May we rejoice in our peace and standing with God because of Jesus and live lives that reflect Christ’s imputed righteousness to us.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You that Jesus’s righteousness has been imputed in me so that my standing before You is perfect and pure. Praise You, God!