Justice Served. Love Triumphs. (Lent 20-2013)

Condemnation is not anything we want to experience.   The word conveys judgment and we’re on the wrong end of it.  We’d rather be found not guilty, but the truth is that each of us is guilty before God.  We’re guilty so long as we’re standing there as our own defense team with our life’s works as Exhibits A-Z.

Paul has just finished his great exposition of why the law—while good—was insufficient to save us and why sin is too much for humans to conquer on our own.  If this is where redemption history ended, we’d all be hell-bound.  We’d all face condemnation—and rightly so—because we aren’t able to save ourselves.

Here’s the dilemma that God faced: all humans bear God’s Image, and yet do all sorts of things with it that make for human sin.  For God to condemn sin would mean condemning His Image stamped on every human being, consigning it to hell.

What was God’s solution?  Jesus.

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering.   And so he condemned sin in sinful man,  in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:3-4, NIV)

Because of our inherited sin nature, we cannot keep the law no matter how good it is at circumscribing holiness.  We are the limiting factor.

So God sent His Perfect Image (His Son Jesus).  Jesus is not a created being and therefore He is not just an Image bearer, but the perfect one.  Jesus lived a perfect life, always doing what God would do with His Image. Jesus did this as the fullness of God, yet in human likeness.

As an unlimited being, Jesus (the Son of God) carried (as the Son of Man) the sin of all mankind to the Cross.  God resolved the dilemma by fully condemning sin, punishing it with ubiquity (because Jesus is uniquely unlimited and lived perfectly).

2 Corinthians 5: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. … 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus became sin to be punished because He had none of His own.  He was our sin offering as our passage for today  (Romans 8:1-11) says.

It really is remarkable (although, I suppose not surprising) how perfect His resolution to the dilemma was. 

  • God punished sin (demonstrating His perfect justice).
  • God brought us back into relationship with Him (demonstrating His mercy).
  • God showed us what His Image looks like (demonstrating His holiness, wisdom, and compassion).
  • God acted in every way loving toward us, His Image bearers (demonstrating His love).

Justice Served.  Love Triumphs.

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Give it up for Lent: Denying the power of Christ’s deity

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For further study:

  1. Romans 8:1-11 contains a number of blessings for the Christian.  See how many you can identify.
  2. In what ways do we limit Christ and treat Him as a mere man?
  3. Could Jesus have paid it all and been a sin offering if He was not also God?  Think about all the ramifications of Jesus’ being fully God.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 7, 2013

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