21 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
Day 6 - The Inverted Justice of Love
The foundation of the Christian life is a sacred exchange. The prophet Isaiah spoke of it in that the wounds of another would be the healing of many and that by chastisement there would be peace. The chosen one who was despised and rejected, would himself become the sin offering through the altar of his life and death. In this, Christ, in his righteousness, bore the Father's wrath by taking upon himself and becoming our sin, exchanging his glory so that men and women may walk in union with him.
For centuries the anticipation of this exchange played out in the sin offering prescribed to Israel in Leviticus. The unblemished lamb who was without spot was now revealed in the sinless life of Christ, only now the atonement would bring more than just peace with God, it would bring union with his very essence. His righteousness became ours as our sin became his.
Moving against our natural inclinations to what is just and fair, the call to be ambassadors and representatives of the one sending us is to walk also in his nature. That God is just is true, but in Christ that justice was inverted to reveal the depths of his love and redemption. The one who was worthy gave himself for the unworthy that they themselves may be worthy as well. This inverted exchange, which is our foundation in the Christian life, is also the foundation of reconciliation.
Just as Christ gave himself as sin so that we may become the righteousness of God, we also must lay our lives on the altar of God's love so that our enmity and strife with one another may become peace and fellowship. The sacred exchange invites us to lay down our sense of what is just and right, and in turn to move in the initiating love of God. That we now belong to the righteousness of God means that not only are we capable of living it out, but that in Christ it belongs to our nature as well.
I will never forget a meeting I was part of in a small German city in 2003. A group of Christians from different traditions and countries had come together to pray for God’s blessing on this particular city, suffering under the weight of un-forgiveness and division. During the meeting a young Lutheran pastor said some hurtful things about the Catholic church, rooted in his own painful experiences. The tension in the room was palpable as we waited to see what would happen next. An older Catholic woman walked towards this young pastor and knelt down before him and asked for forgiveness for the specific ways he had been hurt by some in the Catholic Church. He extended his hand to her and helped her up, then they embraced and wept. Forgiveness and healing in Christ, won the day
Have you ever considered asking someone for forgiveness for sin that was done against them by someone that you represent. In Daniel 9:16, Daniel confesses to God not only his own sins but the sins of his father and of his people.
Triune God, following the example of Jesus, make us witnesses to your love. Grant us to become instruments of justice, peace and solidarity. May your Spirit move us towards concrete actions that lead to unity. May walls be transformed into bridges. This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Amen.