The Father Made the Son to be Sin

"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 5:21)

"But, unlike Adam, when he is tempted he (Jesus) does not sin. He is the only human being who perfectly obeys God, his Father. He is, therefore, the one person to have lived who does not deserve to be banished from God's presence. But on the cross he willingly faces the punishment that we all deserve, as sinners who are bound up with the first Adam. As a result, if we trust in him, we enter into a new humanity, headed not by Adam, the sinner, but by Jesus, the righteous new Adam. Paul writes, '. . . just as through the disobedience of one man [Adam] the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man [Christ] the many will be made righteous' (Romans 5:19)."

I thought of the verse at the top of the post after I had read the previous paragraph in Vaughn Roberts' book 'God's Big Picture.' I was then inspired to check the ESV Study Bible for some commentary on the verse. The 'big idea' in the verse is captured better in the study Bible's notes than I could express, so I copied them below. It is long, but it's good.

2 Cor. 5:21 This verse is one of the most important in all of Scripture for understanding the meaning of the atonement and justification. Here we see that the one who knew no sin is Jesus Christ and that he (God) made him (Christ) to be sin (Gk. hamartia, "sin"). This means that God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as "sin" even though Christ himself never sinned (Heb. 4:15; cf. Gal 3:13). Further, we see that God did this for our sake that is, God regarded and treated "our" sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us but to Christ himself. Thus Christ "died for all" (2 Cor. 5:14) and, as Peter wrote, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree" (1Pet. 2:24). In becoming sin "for our sake," Christ became our substitute - that is, Christ took our sin upon himself and, as our substitute, thereby bore the wrath of God (the punishment that we deserve) in our place ("for our sake"). Thus the technical term for this foundational doctrine of the Christian faith is the substitutionary atonement - that Christ has provided the atoning sacrifice as "our" substitute, for the sins of all who believe (cf. Rom 3:23-25). The background for this is Isaiah 53 from the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the Hebrew OT, which included the most lengthy and detailed OT prophecy of Christ's death and which contains numerous parallels to 2 Cor 5:21. Isaiah's prophecy specifically used the Greek word for "sin" (Gk. hamartia) five times (as indicated below in italics) with reference to the coming Savior (the Suffering Servant) in just a few verses - e.g., "surely he has borne our griefs" (Isa. 53:4); "He was crushed for our iniquities" (Isa. 53:5); "the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isa 53:6); "he shall bear the iniquities" (Isa. 53:11); "he bore the sin of many" (Isa. 53:12). In a precise fulfillment of the is prophecy, Christ became "sin" for these who believe in him, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. This means that just as God imputed our sin and guilt to Christ ("he made him to be sin") so God also imputes the righteousness of Christ - a righteousness that is not our own - to all who believe in Christ. Because Christ bore the sins of those who believe, God regards and treats believers as having the legal status of "righteousness" (Gk. dikaiosyne). This righteousness belongs to believers because they are "in him," that is, "in Christ" (e.g., Rom. 3:22; 5:18; 1Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:17, 19; Phil. 3:9). Therefore "the righteousness of God" (which is imputed to believers) is also the righteousness of Christ - that is, the righteousness and the legal status that belongs to Christ as a result of Christ having lived as one who "knew no sin." This then is the heart of the doctrine of justification; God regards (or counts) believers as forgiven and God declares and treats them as forgiven, because God the Father has imputed the believer's sin to Christ and because God the Father likewise imputes Christ's righteousness to the believer.


Unbelief: A Distrust in the Character of God

The good news in Hebrews 11:6 is that with faith we can please God. But this verse gets us there through a double negative: "without faith it is impossible" to please Him.

Why does the author put it this way? He's driving home the point that the normal song of the human heart isn't the song of faith. Although it works out in different ways, Christians and non-Christians share a similar struggle. We both struggle with unbelief.

Unbelief is serious - the writer of Hebrews has already labeled it toxic when he warned us against "an evil heart of unbelief" (Heb. 3:12, KJV). So we shouldn't get to Hebrews 11 and find a lot of sympathy for unbelief.

The writer there tells us that without faith it's "impossible to please" God. Not tricky, not difficult. No, it's impossible!

I don't think we tend to feel as strongly about unbelief as God does.

Unbelief is a decided distrust in the promises and character of God. Spurgeon describes unbelief as a "mistrust of the promises and faithfulness of God."

- Dave Harvey, from his book, "Rescuing Ambition"


Christ is the Fulfillment of O.T. Promises

The New Testament never leads us to expect that there will be any fulfillment of the Old Testament promises other than their fulfillment in Christ. We are not encouraged, for example, to look for their fulfillment in the state of Israel and to expect a new temple to be built there. That is to expect a renewal of the model that has now been dismantled. The permanent reality is found in Christ.

-Vaughn Roberts, from his book 'God's Big Picture', page 108


Exile Ending, Finally Fullfillment

Mark identifies John the Baptist as that herald: 'And so John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins' (Mark 1:4). The message is clear; the waiting is over; the exile is about to end and the time of fulfillment is soon to come. And then Jesus appears, 'proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" ' (Mark 1:14-15)

-Vaughn Roberts, from his book 'God's Big Picture', page 108


Nathan and Oscar

Tuesday, I had journeyed to Mart du Ste. Walton Grande to lay in supplies for watching the All-Star game that night. On the list were hot dogs, of course. I also got some chips and Dr. Pepper and popcorn. I was in the mood for cheese popcorn, emphasis on the cheese, and I was intrigued by something called "Buffalo Cheddar" popcorn. My mind translated Buffalo as meaning 'big' or 'extra' or 'bodacious,' or something. I saw what I wanted to see and thought I was getting popcorn so cheesy, the kernels might be individually wrapped.

Of course, when I got home and opened the bag (with scissors, no less-they used some sort of Vulcan mind meld to seal the bag and there was NO WAY to pull the bag apart at the seal), I learned that 'Buffalo' had a specific meaning, as in, flavored like spicy chicken wings dipped in ranch sauce. I was not amused. It's not bad. But it's not bodaciously cheesy, that's for sure.

Well, when I took my goods to the checkout to be scanned, the guy took the hot dogs, slid them over the magic glass, (BEEP), and put them in the bag. Then he looked at me and said, "Those are the best hot dogs ever!" I replied, "Well, they are the best you can buy in the store, that's for sure."

We referred to these, of course:

So tonight, I was headed home to fix myself two more Nathan's. Kathy wasn't going to be home for a while, so I was on my own for supper. It was with mouth-watering anticipation that I pulled into the left turn lane of the last big intersection on my way home. And across the intersection, headed the opposite direction from me was, of all things, this:

I don't think I'd want to drive a wienermobile for a living. On the other hand, it couldn't be as bad as a lot of jobs, come to think of it. But still, I couldn't help feeling sorry for the guy, being on the Oscar Meyer payroll, when I was headed home for Nathan's. I wish now I could have given him one.

He'd have to get a new job, but it'd be worth it.

Read Christian Biography

"So among all the other things you do to grow in the knowledge and grace of Christ (2 Peter 3:18), follow Paul’s summons to “fix your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us.”"

John Piper makes an argument for reading Christian biography here.


The All Star Game, 2011, Et Al.

Right out of the box we ask, "What's up with Joe Buck's voice?" Undoubtedly, a summer cold or allergies, but my first thought was, "Man, it's going to be a long night for him." I would have hated to be in his spot.

But, "It's not jury duty," as Willie Mays said today about showing up to the All-Star Game. Except he didn't.

The game was being played in Arizona for the first time which led to the Trivia Question about which major league teams have yet to host an All Star Game. A question I answered correctly, by the way. I would guess that when the new stadium for the Marlins is complete, that Florida (soon to be Miami) will host a game rather soon. Which will leave Tampa as the only franchise to not host a game. And if they don't get their attendance issues solved there, they never will and the Rays will be in Vegas or Vancouver or Brooklyn or something.

With the Florida Marlins becoming the Miami Marlins soon, I propose we get the other state name teams to do the same. Let's hear those city names, please! I'm talking to you Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis and Dallas! I could cut Minnesota a little slack since the team name Twins refers to the Twin Cities - Minneapolis and St. Paul. Minneapolis Twins wouldn't mean the same.

Speaking of Minnesota, is there a better uniform in the game than the Twins road uni? OK, there surely is, but goodness! It is excellent.

And it puts me in mind of Minnesota's NHL franchise which has a beautiful sweater. I don't know if any location has put out two nicer uniforms in such a short period of time.

Other uniform-related notes -

- Cleveland's road uniform is also excellent. It has an historic feel to it, similar to the Red Sox and the Yankees.

- How about the stars bracketing the MLB logo on the backs of both the cap and the jersey? I like it. I'm still not fond of the embroidery on the sides of the caps for All Star games and the World Series.

- And why is Rollie Fingers shown in his Milwaukee Brewers uniform in the Pepsi commercial? He became a star, a Hall-of-Famer, in Oakland. Let's see Rollie in the green and gold, please.

The Arizona franchise is named the Diamondbacks, a reference the the desert-dwelling rattlesnake that, I assume, gets preferred parking, which reminds me of this story. In any case, the D-Backs use a 'snakey' looking font for their uniforms and for the All Star Game, which you can see here. I immediately began to wonder what other animals might be suggested in font form. I came up with nothing.

I liked Sprint's 'Angry Birds' commercial. Whoever created those little guys did a great job, they are really fun to look at and lend themselves to being logos very easily. I am especially fond of the triangular yellow guy.

Anyway, one of these days there will be a sports story with 'Angry Birds' in the headline. Mark it down.

And, there was a game. The National League won 5-1 and there weren't a lot of highlights, though you have to give props to Heath Bell for his entrance into the game. I find, as I age, I am less passionate about some things that would have riled me up years ago. The All Star Game is one of those things. But, I still had a good time watching it.

Hey, it's not jury duty.


Holiness Is A Promise - Not A Threat

Michael Horton:

"Holiness is not an option; it is a requirement. But this is not a threat. It's a promise. What God began he will finish (Phil. 1:6). In Christ we are already holy, righteous, sanctified, reconciled (1 Corinthians 1:30). Now we are called to live what we are, not to become what we are not yet."

Quoted from his book "Christ the Lord," and taken from the What's Best Next website.


What Liberals Do

From the Powerline blog:

"As to white-collar crime, what about the one type of white-collar crime that goes entirely unpunished? For an accounting fraud of $567 million, Enron's executives went to jail, and its head guy died there. For an accounting fraud ten time that size, the two Democrat hacks who headed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick, walked away with a combined taxpayer-funded payout of $116 million."