musings of a saint and sinner

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Christ became sin for us

Last night I was watching a past episode of the FX TV show 30 Days. It's a documentary-type show where someone is asked to go and live for 30 days with someone who believes completely differently from them on some issue. This episode was about a Christian farm boy who went to live in the heart of a gay neighborhood in San Francisco. At one point in the episode, the man encountered protesters of the gay lifestyle. They carried their usual hateful signs, but one thing that made me draw in my breath sharply was when one of these protesters shouted, "I love a man and His name is Jesus Christ and His blood is not HIV positive"! Yikes! First of all, it's an incredibly hateful thing to say.

But second of all, didn't this protester COMPLETELY miss the point of what the Gospel is all about? It is not about Jesus dying for us because we were so righteous. Romans 5:8 clearly tells us that Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners. The Gospel is about the Great Exchange. It is about Jesus taking all of our sin and brokenness upon Himself and giving us His righteousness, purity, truth, beauty, and place in God's family in return. It's a terrible deal for Jesus, but a fantastic one for us.

Martin Luther wrote in his Commentary on Galatians:
"And all the prophets saw this, that Christ was to become the greatest thief, murderer, adulterer, robber, desecrator, blasphemer, etc., there has ever been anywhere in the world. He is not acting in His own Person now. Now He is not the Son of God, born of the Virgin. But He is a sinner, who has and bears the sin of Paul, the former blasphemer, persecutor, and assaulter; of Peter, who denied Christ; of David, who was an adulterer and murderer, and who caused the Gentiles to blaspheme the name of the Lord. In short, He has and bears all the sins of all men in His body--not in the sense that He has committed them but in the sense that He took these sins, committed by us, upon His own body, in order to make satisfaction for them with His own blood....Christ was not only found among sinners; but of His own free will and by the will of the Father He wanted to be an associate of sinners, having assumed the flesh and blood of those who were sinners and thieves and who were immersed in all sorts of sin. Therefore when the Law found Him among thieves, it condemned and executed Him as a thief.

"This knowledge of Christ and most delightful comfort, that Christ became a curse for us to set us free from the curse of the Law--of this the sophists deprive us when they segregate Christ from sins and from sinners and set Him forth to us only as an example to be imitated...But just as Christ is wrapped up in our flesh and blood, so we must wrap Him and know Him to be wrapped up in our sins, our curse, our death, and everything evil."

So all this goes to say...this protester did not know his Jesus. The real Jesus Christ is in fact HIV positive. And He is in prison for a life term. And He bears the sin of the molester and child murderer. And He carries the weight of the great sin of genocide. And He is broken and abused. How do I know this? Because He has taken all of my sin and brokenness, and not mine alone, but also that of every person who puts their faith in Him. In fact, He has taken it already, once for all, when He died on the cross. We need only believe in His great promises and therefore be set free! When Christ hands over His blessings to us, we become the righteousness of God in Him. Hallelujah! What a great Savior! A Savior who is HIV positive. And a Savior who also carries the ugly hatred of the man protesting gays. As a Casting Crowns song says, "How far is the east from the west? The distance between two scarred hands." Thank you, Jesus!

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