Our services have temporarily been put on hold, but we will continue to encourage you with God’s Word. The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz this week for your edification and uplifting.
Click here: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, for the video recording, and follow the notes below. May the Lord speak into your hearts as you worship.
2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Jesus – In Our Place:
- This morning we turn to 2nd Corinthians 5 to behold the miraculous work of Christ and what it achieves on our behalf before God.
- Paul calls it the ‘Ministry of Reconciliation’, other theologians refer to this work as the ‘Atonement’. The Atonement refers to Jesus Christ dying as a substitute for sinners, dying for you and me. Now this took place the day before the Jewish observation of the Sabbath, during the Passover celebrations.
- Now, we’ve already seen the arrest and trial of Jesus. Today we’ll look at the accomplishing work of Christ by dying on the Cross as a substitute in our place, looking at three R’s; the reason, the result, and the repercussion for taking our place!
- The Reason for taking our place:
- Text – 5:14-16
- Explanation – Jesus took the penalty we deserved because the condition of sin and its penalties are a legal matter before God. Therefore, Christ’s death saves because it resolves the enmity between God and humanity.
- Illustration – Why is this necessary? In Romans 5:12, Paul says “…as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…”
- We emphasize this every week, the wages of sin is death! How is this possible? In Romans 5:13, Paul continues, “for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”
- Application – The Law condemns, and God is the judge who enforces this Law. Therefore, without Christ, we are going to die and spend an eternity in hell as payment for our sins, as death refers to our separation from God.
- And this is just, as God the judge has the right to enforce the Law. In fact, if God doesn’t, we can’t call Him just, He would be a hypocrite. This is the reason for Christ dying in our place.
- Verse 15, “…He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
- Conclusion – Jesus died in our place on the cross, taking the place we deserved because of our sinful lives! This is what our key verse emphasizes, “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
- 1st Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.”
- Christ takes our sins on Himself to pay the price for us so that He could satisfy the payment due for our wickedness, the sinfulness of man. And the humility of this was prophesied by the Prophet Isaiah in 53:5; “…he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
- Because of this, we have the opportunity to not only have our sins forgiven, but to enter eternity with Him. For the death of Jesus Christ is the atonement, or the ministry of reconciliation that is needed.
- Bridge – now, there is an additional aspect to Christ’s atoning work. See, the atonement makes reconciliation possible, and God the Father accepts the Son’s sacrifice – but for us to experience this newness, we must place our faith in what Christ did on the cross. We cannot save ourselves; we need a substitute to take our place.
- The Result of taking our place:
- Text – 5:17-19
- Explanation – At the cross, sin is truly exposed and we learn the true extent of God’s Law, as the only begotten is abandoned. It is a mystery! But see, the cross doesn’t just demonstrate God’s justice, the Cross fulfils it.
- Jesus, our substitute, becomes a sacrifice on our behalf so that God can justify the ungodly without forfeiting His own identity as the ‘just one’.
- Illustration – Here’s what happens; Justification is God’s declaring those who receive Christ to be righteous. Therefore, when God looks upon those who trust in Jesus for salvation, He no longer sees their sinfulness, but Christ’s righteousness!
- This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. And so, we are freely justified by God’s grace through the redemption that came by Jesus.
- Application – Thus, having satisfied God’s wrath, Christ’s sacrifice enables justification by God’s grace as a gift. And it is important for us to grasp the weight of this gift.
- See, God pours His wrath out on His Son because He so loved the world. God’s love is righteous, and the cross shows off the greatest form of this love. As the Father appoints the Son, and the Son wilfully embraces His mission.
- Conclusion – This is where steadfast love and faithfulness meet, and righteousness and peace kiss each other, as Psalm 85:10 puts it. And so the result is that – because Christ took our place, the peace of God can rule in our lives.
- We can have the assurance of our salvation, we can grow in holiness toward Jesus, and we can rest in the promise of Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- Bridge – That’s the result of Jesus taking our place! Hence verse 19 says, “in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.”
- The Repercussion for taking our place:
- Text – 5:20-21
- Explanation – Now, the consequence for taking our place is that He who knew no sin, would become sin for us, so that we could become His ambassadors.
- Let’s consider the cost; on the cross, the Father turns His face away. Jesus cries out the words of Psalm 22 to express that God the Father has forsaken Him; “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
- Illustration – Jesus does not deserve this punishment, Paul says, “He knew no sin…!” The consequence? He was made sin so that we might become the righteousness of God…
- Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become the curse for us…” Why? “for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE””
- Application – The consequence, or the repercussion, is that Jesus is cursed and forsaken by the Father, He receives the punishment as a sin-bearer!
- Now therefore, having done this, having achieved His mission, He makes all who believe on Him righteous! And being made righteous in Christ, we become His ambassadors, and we no longer belong to ourselves!
- Conclusion – The ultimate repercussion for taking our place means He has the right over us. 1 Corinthians 6:20, “you were bought with a price…” You have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus, you have been spared by the wrath of God, you have been forgiven, and furthermore Paul says – “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation!”
- This is why we observe Good Friday every year. To reflect on Jesus taking our place! 1) He took our place to settle our sinful debt. 2) He took our place so that we would be made right before God. 3) He took our place to buy us into His new creation.
- Jesus came and died, to become the ultimate and final sacrifice for our sins! So that through Him, the promise of life eternal with God becomes effective through faith to us who believe in Jesus.
- “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). It is by Christ who lays down His life in our place!