And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God,
righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written,
“Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:30-31 ESV)
Forgiveness is a common word, even outside of Christianity. There's a common recognition that healthy relationships must be based on forgiveness. People, for the most part, quickly realize that holding on to anger and bitterness toward others only serves to tear apart their own souls. Furthermore, everyone has been in a position of needing to be forgiven. We've all wronged someone and wanted them not to hold it against us.
Therefore, when people talk about God, forgiveness is a familiar concept. We can understand our need for forgiveness; for God not to hold our sins against us. Most people who believe in a divine power, however, believe that forgiveness comes easy. They believe it's accomplished with a wave of a wand. Of course, that's not possible for the One True God who is also the perfect and righteous judge (See Advent Day 10). Jesus had to take the wrath of God we deserved for our sins in order for us to be freely forgiven.
But, forgiveness is not enough for us to be with God for all eternity. Even the blood-bought, atoning work of Christ on the cross and the forgiveness it affords, by itself, is not enough. That's a shocking statement. Let me explain.
The Law of God demands that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and strength. That's what God requires. We can be forgiven for every sin we have committed and every righteous act we have neglected, but that will never get us to obedience. Therefore, forgiveness doesn't make us righteous. And, we need to be righteous to spend eternity with God the Father.
That's why Christ not only died for us, but he also lived for us. 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 says that Jesus became to us righteousness. Or, 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, "For our sake, he made him who knew no sin to be sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." The righteousness we need is the righteousness God gives to us through the perfect life of his son. Romans 5:19 puts it this way, "For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."
When Jesus walked this earth in the flesh, he never failed to obey his Father. He perfectly kept the Law and never faltered in faith. He loved His Father with all his heart, soul, and strength. And, in the grace of God, when we trust in Christ, God takes that perfect life and places it on us. He imputes it to us so that, at the judgment seat of God, we are seen with the righteousness of Christ.
Jesus came to die, but he also came to live. We need the righteousness given to us by his perfect life just as much as we need the forgiveness bought by the cross. He "was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Romans 4:25).
Advent Day 1
Advent Day 2
Advent Day 3
Advent Day 4
Advent Day 5
Advent Day 6
Advent Day 7
Advent Day 8
Advent Day 9
Advent Day 10
Advent Day 11