(Part 2 of Fully God: Was Jesus Immortal, Omnipresent?)
Wow! I’m still absorbing the impact of the earlier post Fully God: Was Jesus Immortal, Omnipresent? Part 1, and I will not go any further until I have resolved something. I have continued to research my findings, and I’m becoming more solidified in the belief that when Jesus Christ exchanged His righteousness for our sins, that He was actually attributing His righteousness to us and took on the fullness of our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). We switched attributes. I’m wondering, is this heresy or liberating truth?
Many respected commentaries and commentators declare emphatically that Jesus never surrendered any of His divine attributes for our sakes. They state that it is heresy to say such things! They believe it is impossible for Him to shed any attributes and remain God. As I stated in Part 1, I believe scripture shows He is Lord over His attributes and actually surrendered some. That puts me in the category of a heretic. They believe that He merely shared His righteousness and holiness with us. They believe that 2 Corinthians 5:21 should be interpreted as Jesus became a “sin offering” rather than Jesus “became sin” for you and me.
If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, you really need to do that before reading any further. (There may be some reading this who could be tempted to stop at this point saying, “I’m saved and I really don’t care about arguments over how it happened.” Oh I see, it’s all about you, isn’t it? Adios. On the other hand, if you want to ponder Jesus and are willing to test all things, prove all things, than welcome aboard.) In addition to Part 1, here are my responses to the thought systems presented in those commentaries:
- Jesus didn’t share His righteousness with us and keep part of it. If He did, then we only shared our sin with Him, and we don’t have eternal life. Sin and righteousness don’t mix well. It’s either one or the other. You can’t be both and share. It was a complete and entire exchange. Jesus didn’t simply hold our sins while the Father poured out His wrath. I believe Jesus “took” our sins. When you take possession of sin, righteousness goes.
- We were not simply declared “Righteous”, Scripture says righteousness was imputed to us. What does “imputed” mean? Both the dictionary and thesaurus will show you that it means “attribute” and “attributed”. We were attributed with the holy righteousness of God. Righteousness became our attribute, which also means that we are holy before God. For this to happen, all of our sin had to be removed from us.
- Jesus Christ truly became cursed on our behalf. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by BECOMING A CURSE for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”–Galatians 3:13. He wasn’t symbolically cursed, He wasn’t simply declared cursed, He wasn’t partially cursed, He wasn’t “standing in” as a curse, He literally became cursed. You cannot be both “cursed” and be “holy”. Curses can be lifted (Gen. 8:21), but until they are, you cannot be cursed and be holy.
- Jesus Christ truly became Sin on our behalf. He made Him who knew no sin TO BE SIN on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him–2 Corinthians 5:21. If He is truly a curse, then it is not a stretch to say that He became sin.
- The Father cannot pour out His full wrath on anything that remains partially righteous. Jesus at some point had to release His attributes of Righteousness and Holiness to us and take on the totality of our sin. Without a complete exchange, the Father’s wrath would have been unjust.
To say that Jesus was a sin offering as opposed to becoming sin for us, is to make a distinction that Jesus didn’t really exchange His righteousness for our sin, He just shares it. He didn’t become sin; He simply remained a holy vessel that held the load of sin. He stayed Holy and righteous throughout the process. If He remained Holy and Righteous, then nothing about Him “personally” was affected in the Crucifixion. Since He maintained the attributes of holiness and righteousness then everything was cool between Him and the Father. The relationship between Jesus and the Father would not be affected in the least. This pain He was about to bear has nothing to do with Him, it’s all about the load of their sin, it’s nothing personal at all.
Somehow Jesus didn’t get that memo! Jesus didn’t get the memo!! Jesus didn’t get the memo!!! Jesus cried out, “MY GOD! MY GOD! WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!!!???? What does this mean? IT GOT PERSONAL!!! (I’m blood boiling angry at the deception of the enemy. I’m taking a deep long breath before I write anymore). It got really, really personal. Look at the words: My, My, You, Me! The words of Jesus clearly tell us that the pain was now on a truly personal level.
Do you think He said these words in vain? Think about this next question for a moment. What sheer horror was taking place that would cause two members of the Godhead who are intimately identified with each other to reach an actual place where one of them now does the unthinkable and cries out in the fashion of a man who feels he may no longer be heard by the other saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani”? In the amplified definition of the Interlinear Bible it says, “My God, My God! Why have you so utterly and totally abandoned me; ceasing to care, and helplessly deserting me in the straits?” (Long, silent pause on this end as I stare at the screen with tears in my eyes.)
What could bring about this raw and savage feeling of the utter depths of despairing and divisive isolation between two members of the Godhead? I believe there is only one answer. SIN. One of them had experienced a change. He became sin without sinning. Sin was truly laid to His account. Our Sin was now imputed (attributed) to Him, and became His to bear. His Righteousness was now imputed (attributed) to us and became ours. He no longer looked the same. The protestant reformer Martin Luther said of Jesus, “At that moment Jesus became the most grotesque, ugly, and hideous thing in the history of all creation.” He surrendered the Attributes of Holiness and Righteousness, became sin, and still remained God. I repeat, He still remained God. How? Remember what the scripture said in Part 1?
If He did not exchange the attribute of His holiness and righteousness and truly become attributed with unholy sin, then the Father poured out His wrath over a false charge. He didn’t just stand in as a substitute for our sin, He “took” our sin and became aligned as the Father’s enemy until all the debt was paid. “He was numbered with the transgressors; and he bear the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors–Isaiah 53:12. What does “numbered” mean? It means to account, to assign, to appoint Him as a sinner. Although he never committed a sin, He became appointed as a sinner in every other way. Christ became a sinner for us. That’s how the Father saw it. It was the only way He could pour out His wrath. Martin Luther said, “I am told that it is preposterous and wicked to call the Son of God a cursed sinner. I answer: If you deny that He is a condemned sinner, you are forced to deny that Christ died. It is not less preposterous to say, the Son of God died, than to say, the Son of God was a sinner.”
Martin Luther also said: “Christ was charged with the sins of all men that He should pay for them with His own blood. The curse struck Him. The Law found Him among sinners. He was not only in the company of sinners. He had gone so far as to invest Himself with the flesh and blood of sinners. So the Law judged and hanged Him for a sinner!”
Now, before you rush to call me a “blasphemous heretic”, you need to first ask Him if His suffering was really as bad as this. You need to ask Him if His sacrifice was really on the level of “becoming cursed” and “becoming sin” or if it was above all that. You need to ask Him if crying out about being forsaken was a mere formality to fulfill scripture, or if He was really experiencing the pain of separation that comes as a result of becoming sin. Talk to Him and I believe He will tell you that He loved you that much. Even if you read and believe this, talk to Him about it. You’re going to be sweetly blessed.
Jesus Christ made the Great Exchange! You are truly and genuinely the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Stop declaring yourself as that poor old sinner. That’s not who you are anymore. You are a New Creation in Christ Jesus! You are so very genuinely righteous before God; you are genuinely God’s Friend. This is really Good news!
I now leave you with another quote from Martin Luther: “When we hear that Christ was made a curse for us, let us believe it with joy and assurance. By faith Christ changes places with us. He gets our sins, we get His holiness. By faith alone can we become righteous, for faith invests us with the sinlessness of Christ. The more fully we believe this, the fuller will be our joy. If you believe that sin, death, and the curse are void, why, they are null, zero. Whenever sin and death make you nervous write it down as an illusion of the devil.”
Want to be labeled a heretic? Then share this on Facebook, Twitter, and through email. Go ahead…I dare you (smile).
- I Am (hisimagenme.wordpress.com)
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