2 Corinthians 5:21
For He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin FOR US, that we might become theRIGHTEOUSNESS [acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin] of God in Him [Christ Jesus].
When we’ve done something we’re ashamed of and someone finds out about it, the natural reaction is often to avoid that person, sometimes at all costs! This sense of guilt – the Bible is very clear – was never God’s desire for mankind. (Hebrews 8:7,13)
Miriam Webster’s dictionary defines ‘righteousness’ as: acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin. The Bible states that the whole world is guilty of sin before God according to divine or moral law and that that there is no one righteous, not one person:
Romans 3:10, 19-20
There is none righteous (guilt-free before God), no, not one…Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
The funny thing about human nature, is that we place our own measuring sticks against our own performance telling ourselves and sometimes God, how good we are in some areas and other areas, not so good. We focus on the ‘good’ areas making us feel better, or rather less guilty.
God’s holy standards are perfect and demand just that – perfection. If perfection is not found, a verdict of ‘guilty’ is declared.
For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
There is no other outcome which God’s law can give us, apart from a knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20) It does not give us a knowledge of our righteousness in some areas and knowledge of our sin in other areas. It simply says the law makes us realise there is no righteousness in us only sin; we all fall short of holiness, every person is guilty:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…
The law makes us despair and cry out for grace to save us! (Romans 7:24, 25) And thank Jesus He did! God did not leave us to bear the weight of any of our guilt and sin before Him, but He instead freely poured an abundance of Grace upon us all at the cross to freely receive. He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew ‘no wrong’ to be all our ‘wrong’ that we may become all His ‘right’! (Galatians 3:24, Romans 5:20, 2 Corinthians 5:21)
But now the righteousness of God [guilt-free standing]apart from the law is revealed…the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe…being justified [declared NOT guilty] FREELY by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus..
The ‘struggle’ we can initially have with hearing this amazing grace of God, is that it can, not only seem ‘too good to be true’ but that to give up that sense of guilt when we do wrong – feels wrong! But this is exactly the point at which God wants us to turn again and again to Jesus, cast all our guilt at the foot of the cross where all sin has been paid for in full – and receive His grace. (Hebrews 10:12)
For if by the one man’s [Adam’s] offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness [clearance of all our guilt] will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law [which declares you guilty] but under grace [the undeserved favour of God].
If God wanted us far from Him, He would have let us live in guilt under the law knowing we would avoid Him at all costs. But this is [not] and never has been His heart. He always wants to be near us. Love doesn’t want to be apart from the ones He loves – you and I. (1 John 4:8)
That sense of wrong we have, the sense of guilt is the law in our conscience saying that justice must be done for the wrong. (Romans 2:15) God has declared throughout His Word, that justice has been unleashed upon the body of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 10:10) Guilt can be let go of. Jesus who was ‘not guilty’ before God was made ‘guilty’ at the cross, so that we might be made ‘not guilty’ in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Justice has been met for sin at the cross. (Psalms 85:10) Holding onto guilt is to say the payment for sin has not been made. A guilt-free life is God’s free gift of love to us; it is a gift too priceless and impossible to obtain apart from His grace.
We once were all declared ‘guilty’ by the law, but now by His abundant grace we have all been declared ‘not guilty’ – righteous, by faith in Christ Jesus!
Amen. (Romans 3:19, 22, Philippians 3:9)