Today’s Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10
For he made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Even though the season of Lent has just begun, think back to Christmas. Imagine sitting around in a circle with family or friends at a Christmas white elephant gift exchange. There’s always that one person who forgets the instructions and brings an expensive gift to a clean-out-your-closet gift exchange. You brought junk, but Uncle Fred over there brought treasure.
There’s a glimpse of the Gospel in this famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) Christmas tradition. It’s what Martin Luther called the blessed or sweet exchange. Luther said it this way: “God is rich in divine grace to sinners: wherein by a wonderful exchange our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s and the righteousness of Christ is ours. He has emptied Himself of His righteousness that He might clothe us with it, and fill us with it. He has taken our evils upon Himself that He might deliver us from them.”
This is what Paul proclaims when he writes in 2 Corinthians 5:20 that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Jesus takes on all our sin, unholiness, and unrighteousness, and in exchange, gives us His forgiveness, His holiness, and His righteousness. Jesus takes the punishment we deserved, the death we had coming, and the wrath of God that we had earned, and in exchange, He sets us free, raises us from the dead, and showers us with His steadfast love and mercy.
Sounds awfully unfair, doesn’t it? And it is. But thank God He is unfair! Thank God we don’t get what we deserve, but rather, that in Jesus crucified we get the opposite of what we deserve. We receive God’s grace. Thank God for His outrageous forgiveness for undeserving sinners. Thank God that Jesus, who was perfect and sinless, became sin for us, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth your right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
-Rev. Samuel Schuldheisz is pastor of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Milton, WA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Learn more about your favorite hymns and find the deeper meaning behind the text with Eternal Anthems: The Story Behind Your Favorite Hymns. The book includes devotional commentary and historical facts from forty different contributing authors on fifty different hymns. Now available from Concordia Publishing House.