2 Corinthians 5:21
Well needless to say, having said that you are aware that there’s a lot in this verse. Let’s start at the beginning. The verse begins, “He made…” stop there. Now if you’re a Bible student the first question you’re going to ask is to whom does “He” refer? The answer comes quickly, look one word back at the end of verse 20…God. God is the antecedent. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf. The point is it’s God’s plan, He’s the benefactor. God is behind the whole reconciliation plan. He designed it. He worked it out. He brings it to fruition. It is His plan. This is a very crucial perspective and you’ll see why as I comment on it. There could be no reconciliation unless God initiated it. There could be no reconciliation unless God activated it. There could be no reconciliation unless God applied it. He had to design it and He has to execute it. It cannot come from any human source. Nothing man could do, nothing man could not do could produce reconciliation with God. It isn’t anything we do or don’t do. In fact all of our efforts in the religious realm amount to filthy rags, the Bible says. The world is literally filled with religion and all of that religion apart from Christianity is man producing a plan with the aid of Satan in which he can initiate reconciliation with God. That is the fatal flaw of all world religions no matter what name they come under.
Romans chapter 3:10 says, “There is none that does good, there is none righteous, no not one, there is none that understands, there is none that seeks after God.” Nobody, absolutely nobody. Now you would think if there was anyone who could have devised the plan most aptly and pull it off it would have been the Jews, since after all, the Jews were the people of the true God, Yahweh, Jehovah. And God gave to them the law and the prophets and the covenants and the adoption and all of the things that Romans 9 mention. They had the revelation. They had the Old Testament and to them even salvation was given…salvation is of the Jews, of them and to them came the Messiah. If anyone could have devised a system by which they could have achieved reconciliation, it would have been the Jews. But they failed. And in Romans chapter 10 Paul comments on the failure by saying, “My heart’s desire and prayer to God is for Israel for their salvation,” they have not achieved it, they haven’t achieved reconciliation, with all that they received by way of divine revelation from God because they believed that somehow this reconciliation depended on them and therefore they’re not saved, I bear them witness Paul says in verse 2, they have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge so not knowing about God’s righteousness they seek to establish their own. That’s what false religion is, in a word, it’s the religion of human achievement.
But they never can accomplish it because the only way that reconciliation could ever occur is if God reached out to sinners. And He did. It was God who made Him who knew no sin to be sin. It was God’s plan. He designed it. He initiated it. And He executed it. So that Jesus went to the cross not because men turned on Him, though they did, Jesus went to the cross not because seducing spirits orchestrated the minds of the religious leaders to plot His death, though they did. Jesus went to the cross not because an angry mob screamed for His blood, though they did. Jesus went to the cross because God planned it. God purposed it. And God designed it as the absolutely necessary means by which and by which alone reconciliation could take place. That’s why Jesus said, “I came into the world to do the Father’s will.” That’s why in John 18:11 He said, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given Me?” meaning the cup of wrath. That’s why in Hebrews chapter 10 the Lord Jesus is quoted as saying, “A body Thou hast prepared Me and I have come to do Thy will, O God.” That’s why in Acts 2 when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and preached to the population of Jerusalem, many of whom had been screaming for the blood of Jesus and been guilty of calling for His execution, Peter says to that crowd, “You have killed the Son of God by the determinate counsel and fore knowledge of God.” In other words, you did your evil deed but it was all in the plan of the Father.
Only God could call the second member of the trinity to become incarnate and come into the world and humble Himself and take on the form of a man and be obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, only God could ask that of Him. Only God could design an atonement for sin that would satisfy His justice because only God knows what it takes to satisfy His justice. Only God knows what propitiates His wrath. We don’t know. Only God could decide how His own infinite holiness, intense hatred of sin and inflexible justice could be perfectly satisfied without destroying the sinner in that satisfaction. Only God could know what it would take to make a sinner acceptable to Him so that that sinner could escape eternal hell and live in the very presence of God in His own house. Only God could determine how the spiritual nature and the supreme authority and the unchangeable perfection of His law which is holy, just and good could be completely satisfied and the lawbreaker completely justified and rightly and purely forgiven and accepted, though fallen, guilty and depraved.
Only God could bring all of those components to reconciliation. Only God knew what it would take. Only God knew how to solve the dilemma. Only He knew what would satisfy His righteous requirement. Only He knew how He could spend His wrath so that wrath was consummated. Only He knew what it took to bear the burden of sin, to endure the punishment of His fury, only He knew. And so while the world may call the gospel and the work of Jesus Christ foolish, foolishness, it is to those who believe the wisdom of God, is it not? It may seem foolish to the world but it is the purest and profoundest wisdom that the infinitely holy God could devise a plan consistent with His infinite holiness to reconcile utterly wicked sinners…only God. So God is the benefactor. God is the benefactor. He is the one who made the plan, He is the one who must execute the plan.
That is so important, beloved, absolutely important. It all flows out of this great reality…God so loved the world…right? That He gave. And that is exactly what Paul says in different terms in Romans chapter 5:8, “God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died in our place.” It all came out of God’s love. While we were enemies, verse 10 says, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son. And God initiated it because He loved us. God, Ephesians 2:4 says, who is rich in mercy for the great love wherewith He had loved us has granted us salvation. God loves sinners. That’s why in Colossians 1 the Apostle Paul says, “Thanks to the Father who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Only God knew what the qualifications were. Only God could qualify us. He was the only one who could know the standard. And thanks to Him, for He delivered us from the domain of darkness. He transferred us to the Kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
That is exactly why the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” It was the Father who chose us in Him before the foundation of the world. It was the Father who predestined us to the adoption as sons through Jesus Christ. Everything is through the praise of His glory. It is He who freely bestowed on us salvation in the beloved, who gave us redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, etc., etc. It was the Father who designed to lavish on us all wisdom and insight and all riches of grace.
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