Have you ever noticed our tendency to understate things in life? We say things like, “I love bacon” and “I love my wife” with equal vocal inflection. One of those statements is definitely an understatement. I’ll let you figure out which one it is. At times our verbal content is just not quite sufficient to relay what we are really trying to say. For instance, we say “Jesus died for our sins.” While meaningful and descriptive of the work Christ did at the cross, it still falls way short.
2 Cor 5:21 says, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
The phrase, “Jesus died for our sins” is a great phrase that embodies truth, but it is still an understatement. He did more than just die for our sin. He became our sins. There was a transfer that took place that dealt with “my” sin and all “my” insufficiencies once and for all. If Jesus died for our sins, but we’ve still “got” them and can’t stop ourselves from committing them then we’ve got ownership issues! If you are a believer in Jesus Christ and have accepted His gift of life, could it be that every time you sin or take on the guilt or shame of sin you are committing theft? Huh? It’s sort of like stealing hazardous waste that has been put aside in a protected compound in the middle of the desert and bringing it back into the city for “everyone” to enjoy. Of course you are going to pay the consequences. But the saddest part is that we think we are still the owners. We may have been the original owners of sin, but the very thing that we “owned” Jesus “became” thereby nullifying our ownership. Sin is dead, let’s stop trying to bring it back please.
(Sigh) easier said than done? I guess there are reasons we have phrases like, “talk is cheap”. However, true Christianity always embodies a higher power. 2 Cor 5:21 also says, “so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. “In Him” being the key words here. Righteousness is only achieved by living in an “in Him” way. We cease to work in the flesh and power of man to live holy lives and begin to live IN HIM. He’s the real source of power and righteousness.
But getting down to the heart of the matter of this post…we have ownership issues. We love to buy things and “own” them. CD’s, cars, houses, clothing, videos, computers, furniture. We are collectomaniacs! We are so used to taking ownership that this attitude also infests our spiritual lives. We regularly take ownership of our sins to the point that we often relate more to the term sinner than we do to the glorious name of saint! We also take ownership of our sicknesses and to a point will often identify ourselves by our illness. For example, we might say, “I’m a cancer-patient” or “I’m an epileptic”. Think about how the “lepers” felt in Bible times. Their name was their identity and it meant being a societal outcast. Somewhere along the line, we started to believe some lies about who we are. I’m in no way trying to minimize the reality of sin and sickness in the life of a believer and say that you will never experience these things in your life. What I am saying is that sin and sickness are realities in this world, but they are not our identity. We don’t own them and they don’t own us. They come from the pit of hell and the very mind of Satan who facilitated the fall of man. We may have to put up with them at times, but we don’t have to come into agreement with them.
Ownership bears weight. That’s a reality we accept when we purchase something. We become liable for it and most of us go so far as to insure the possessions that we own. The thing is…I’m not liable for my sin! If I’m not liable for my sin, then guilt and shame have nothing to attach to. I’m responsible for the mess I make and the consequences, but the sin was Jesus’ liability. He not only took it upon himself, He became the very essence of sin so that we might partake of the very essence of God. He embodied sin so that we might embody God. What an incredible trade. What a great exchange! True freedom takes flight when we turn over our rights of ownership for sin and BECOME the righteousness of God.