Now that we have established the first building block we are ready to answer, “What does it mean to be Saved?”. When a Christian says they are “saved” what does that entail? We need to continue to examine our 2nd Corinthians 5:21 passage.
“He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin”. What does it mean that God made Jesus sin; when, where, & how? To answer that we must first ask, “Who ultimately crucified Jesus?”
- Satan—He did enter the heart of Judas to betray Jesus
- Jews—Peter holds them accountable in Acts 2:23
- Romans—It was a Roman cross that held Jesus with Roman nails
- Us—Some will say it was our sins that held Jesus on the cross. But this is only true in an indirect sense
- God—It was God’s predetermined plan (Acts 2:23), God displayed him publicly (Rom 3:25), Jesus was smitten by God (Isa 53), God sent Jesus as a propitiation (1st John 4:10), and what the Law could not do GOD DID by sending His son (Rom 8:3).
When we say God made Jesus sin we don’t mean sin descended on Jesus like a black cloud or that our sin was injected into him with some metaphysical hypodermic needle. The New Testament means that God imputed/accounted/reckoned to Jesus our sin. That is, He chose in His mind to view Jesus that way. Jesus was the world’s sin on the Cross In the Mind of God. God chose in His sovereign mind to see the death of Jesus as an equivalent substitute for our death.
“That we might become the righteousness of God”. Sin doesn’t exist in us like some sort of tumor. You can’t find it on an MRI or an X-Ray. When the Bible says we are sinners it is talking about a condition that exists in the Mind of God. That is, God views us in contempt of His holiness.
So when the Bible says we become the righteousness of God it simply means that God, in His mind, chooses to view us as His righteousness. In the same way he imputed or accounted our sins to Jesus so he imputes or accounts Jesus’ righteousness to us. There are a few points that highlight this:
- 2nd Cor 5:19 identifies reconciliation as “God not reckoning their sins to them”. When we are reconciled to God it means God no longer holds us legally responsibly for our sins.
- The Greek Word “counting” (NASB) simply means “to speak”. Something is true simply because God has spoken it so. I am absolutely righteous right now, not in and of myself, but in the Mind of God because God has chosen to view me that way.
In conclusion we can state the following:
- If I offend you the offense resides in your mind not in my heart. It doesn’t matter if I feel forgiven or think you were not really offended. You are offended if you view me in contempt by whatever action I commented.
- When God made Jesus sin it only means that He viewed Jesus’ death on the Cross as an equivalent substitute for our death. His wrath was satisfied.
- Becoming the Righteousness of God doesn’t mean we become holy in our character. It means we are reckoned/accounted Holy. This change happens in the Mind of God. He no longer views us condemned (Rom 8:1).
All this happens, as 2nd Cor 5:21 says, “In Him”. So the question is “How do we get In Him”? Stay tuned…