March 6, 2022

He Took Our Place

Passage: 2 Corinthians 5: 21

During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the front. He had a wife and six children and a young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in his place.  He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt.  The news came that Pratt was killed in action.  George Wyatt went to see Pratt's family and he expressed himself by saying, “No one ever could make a sacrifice like the one Richard made for me.  I will remember that until my last day.”  But we all know – there was a greater sacrifice – the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, without blemish.  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5: 21, God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  The season of Lent brings us back to the reality of what happened on the Good Friday – Jesus took our place so that we could go free!  We deserved to be put to death for all our sins, but He said, “Let it be my blood!”    

From 2 Corinthians 5: 21 we first consider 1 The Sinlessness Of Our LordWe read, “...Him Who had no sin...”  From the creation of the world to the end of time millions of people came and still will come into being.  All would be affected by the curse of sin.  That was a realization that brought John to tears on the island Patmos.  He described in Revelation 5 how he wept and wept, because no one in heaven or on earth could be found to take the scroll with the seven seals to open it – no one qualified!  The disqualification of sin was going to stand forever and eternal death would have the last say.  But then we read of one of the elders who said, Do not weep!  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.”  Of all the candidates of the past, present and future to bring God’s plan of salvation for the world into realization, Jesus was the only One Who could ever qualify.  Yes, there were mediators between God and man – people like Moses, Joshua, Gideon and Isaiah.  But all human mediators were infected with the blood of Adam.  After them came the True Mediator, the Second Adam, because the first Adam had failed.  When He walked the earth, He demonstrated a life of perfection – there was no deceit; no hidden agenda in Jesus’ life.  He was like the fine flour which was offered before God in burnt offerings; a flour without grit, so smooth, that when you rubbed it, it was soft and pure, no particles could be discerned. So was His character fully ground, fully compounded.  O my friends, we live in a world where the message goes out – “Mankind has to live to its fullest potential.  There is no such thing as guilt before God.  You have to free yourself.”  What is our response to those words?  The truth is that we all were hopelessly lost until the Blameless and Flawless Son of God submitted Himself to His Father to come and set us free.  Lent is the time when we see the spoiled particles in our lives and then we come in honesty before God and say, “Father I could never offer you what my life used to be like.  I needed Jesus to come and stand on my behalf before You.  He took my place before You and through His unselfish act of atonement I can come to You.”                                                                                                                                              

The apostle Paul tells us that 2 God The Father Made Jesus To Be SinGod made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us...”  We read in our text that God the Father imposed guilt on His Son for the sins of the world.  He put blame on Jesus for something He wasn’t responsible for!  Many Theologians struggle with the concept of God bringing such an injustice upon His Son – something that was so far apart from God’s nature.  How could it be that God would have gone with something that was a lie?  His Son wasn’t guilty.  And by imposing sin on Him, He did what sometimes happens in a court of law where by mistake or corruption someone is sentenced unjustly.  One would like to add, “With people doing it, the human error would occur from time to time, but with God there wasn’t an excuse.”  We have to be very clear my friends – God didn’t go with a lie; He didn’t do something false.  It wasn’t an injustice to Him by pointing to His Son when the sins of the world had to be reckoned for.  No, He sent His Son into the world to take the full load of sin; He sent Him as the Lamb without blemish to be slaughtered for all the sins of the past, the present and the future.  It had to be a perfect atonement.  There was only one Who could carry the wrath of God – His only Son.  Isaiah 53: 4 and 5 remind us of the fact that God the Father let it all come down on Him – “Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered Him punished by God, stricken by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.”

Paul tells us why God afflicted His Son – 3 To Make Us Righteous.  The last part of verse 21 reads, “ that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”  The great English preacher, Charles Spurgeon contemplated on this particular truth of God making us His righteousness and it was difficult for him to grasp, because to the Romans St. Paul wrote, “There is no one righteous, not even one.”  Romans 3: 10.  Spurgeon then thought of a box covered with a layer of gold – on the outside it was beautiful, but on the inside it was hollow and empty.  It could never be reckoned as a precious piece made of gold.  In the same way only the outside appearance of man’s life would never satisfy God.  There had to be a makeover and that happened in Jesus Christ, when we became the workmanship of God.  Do you realize how God the Father looks at us now?  He places the cross of His Son in front of each one of us and now He sees no imperfection.  Can we ever comprehend this concept?  The righteousness of God implies a whole new creation – body, soul and mind.  That’s how God sees us.  We still see the flaws and sins in our personal lives and those we have to confess to God through prayer.  But to Him we are the new creation.  Here at the table of the Lord and the beginning of Lent we are reminded – Jesus came to make us new.  For that...He Took Our Place.



Rev. Willem H. van de Wall