By Zac Poonen
1. Jesus Became Sin in Order to Make Us Righteous: “God made Christ Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God IN HIM. This is justification, and it is a free gift of God for those who are humble enough to recognize that they can never become righteous enough to meet God’s holy standards. It is by grace alone that we are justified, and as the Bible says, “If it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Rom. 11:6). Jesus not only bore the punishment for our sins. He actually BECAME SIN. God’s righteousness is as high above the righteousness of the holiest man on earth, as heaven is above the earth (Isa. 55:8,9). Even sinless angels cannot look at God’s face but have to cover their faces before Him (Isa. 6:2,3). Only Christ can look straight into the Father’s face. And so God places us in Christ, so that we can now come before Him, without any fear – because we are in Christ. God justifies us by placing us in Christ, and accepting us as being as righteous as Christ Himself. We can rejoice now in our perfect acceptance before God, because we have become the righteousness of God in Christ.
3. Jesus Became A Curse In Order To Make Us A Blessing: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us – in order that the blessing of Abraham might come to us, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal.3:13,14). The good news of the gospel is that because Jesus has already become a curse for us, none of these curses of the Law need touch us anymore. That itself would have been good news. But there is more. We can have instead, the blessing with which God blessed Abraham. The blessing with which God blessed Abraham is described thus in Genesis 12:2,3: “I will bless you…so you shall be a blessing……and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.This is the blessing that Christ has purchased for us on the cross through His becoming a curse for us. He wants to bless us and make us a blessing to every person that we come across on earth, all our life. This blessing (the verse tells us) comes to us through receiving the Holy Spirit. Jesus described the Holy Spirit as a well of water springing up within us and BLESSING US (John 4:14), and then as rivers of water flowing out through us and BLESSING OTHERS (John 7:37-39). The Lord’s promise to even the worst sinner living in sin and failure today is: “Even as you have been a CURSE in times past, you can be a BLESSING to others in times to come” (Zech.8:13). This is the will of God that we should be a BLESSING to every family we meet on the face of the earth.