Second Kings 17 goes into great detail as to the sins of the people of Israel and the patience and warnings of God the Father. Since the Israelites chose to ignore everything God sent their way, He eventually “swept them away from His presence” (II Kings 17:18b, NLT). Samaria, the capital of Israel “fell, and the people of Israel were exiled to Assyria” (II Kings 17:6a, NLT).
As part of yesterday’s study, I quoted Nahum 1:3b: "And He never lets the guilty go unpunished.” While the people of the Old Testament could never make enough sacrifices to expunge all their guilt, those of us living today have the astounding privilege of accepting the One Blood Sacrifice “who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b).
Don’t miss this, folks: “God made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that God’s righteousness would be produced in us” (II Corinthians 5:21, ISV). Jesus Christ didn’t take on the sin of the world – He became sin: “God made the One who did not know sin to be sin.” Why? “For us.” And in His death, that sin was put to death. Its grip ended, but only “for those who will believe” (Jesus speaking, John 17:20b, NIV).
And that, my friends, is worth celebrating! We are no longer guilty! Jesus Himself said it this way: “I can guarantee this truth: Those who listen to what I say and believe in the One who sent Me will have eternal life. They won’t be judged because they have already passed from death to life” (John 5:24, God’s Word).
The proof of this new life, however, is not a “profession of faith” or a dip in the baptistery or your name on a church roll. John, the Beloved Disciple, said it was this: “If we love our Christian brothers and sisters, it proves that we have passed from death to life” (I John 3:14a, NLT).
Or as the apostle Paul worded it, “If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (I Corinthians 13:1).
There was an explicit purpose in Christ’s redemptive work. Why did He become sin “for us?” “So that God’s righteousness would be produced in us.” And if “God’s righteousness” is “produced in us,” guess what? We’re like Him. We are reproductions of the original.
How much Christ-likeness do others see in you?
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates