“Good News For All The People”—Daily Reflections for Advent 2016
THE TENTH DAY OF ADVENT, December 6th
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17-21
‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping, for gift giving, and for the bills coming due in January! But imagine that with the new year your credit card company notifies you that all of your holiday spending is forgiven, all of your splurging is set aside, written off and forgotten. Wow! That would be good news!
But imagine something far more wonderful, far more joyous, and eternally meaningful: God’s news that He has forgiven us of all of our sin! He has written off all our waywardness, rebellion, lack of love, and thumbing our noses at Him. This is, after all, the Gospel truth: God’s good news that in Christ He was reconciling the world to Himself “not counting their trespasses against them”. God took the initiative, sending His Son to settle all accounts and make peace.
It is an interesting word Paul uses as he tells about God “not counting trespasses”. It’s the Greek word logizomai, taken from the world of commerce referring to a bookkeeper calculating the amount of a debt. In Jesus Christ, God calculates all our debt due Him as “paid in full”!
In God’s Grand Gift Exchange He comes to us taking our place to give us His. Martin Luther describes God’s reconciling us to Himself and wiping away all of our sins:
Our most merciful Father…sent his only Son into the world and laid upon him the sins of all men, saying: ‘Be thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hanged on the cross; and, briefly, be thou the person which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that thou pay and satisfy for them…By this means the whole world is cleansed from all sins. (Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians)
This is the objective reality of what God has done for everyone, whether we know it or not! And yet, don’t we often talk more about sin than about the One who saves us from sin? “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). “Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).
A few hours before the Savior gave His life for the world, He spoke of both the Holy Spirit’s coming and the Spirit’s convicting work in the world: “And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong about sin…because they do not believe in me” (John 16:8-9). This means that the only sin separating people from God is not believing in Jesus. Believe in Jesus! Accept the good news! You are reconciled through Him!
- Do you ever have difficulty believing that God is not counting your sins against you? If so, why do you think that might be? What do you want to say to God about it?
- What are your thoughts about Jesus having paid your debt in full? What are your feelings about Jesus having paid your debt in full?