He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him —2 Corinthians 5:21

The modern view of the death of Jesus is that He died for our sins out of sympathy for us. Yet the New Testament view is that He took our sin on Himself not because of sympathy, but because of His identification with us. He was “made. . . to be sin. . . .” Our sins are removed because of the death of Jesus, and the only explanation for His death is His obedience to His Father, not His sympathy for us. We are acceptable to God not because we have obeyed, nor because we have promised to give up things, but because of the death of Christ, and for no other reason. We say that Jesus Christ came to reveal the fatherhood and the lovingkindness of God, but the New Testament says that He came to take “away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And the revealing of the fatherhood of God is only to those to whom Jesus has been introduced as Savior. In speaking to the world, Jesus Christ never referred to Himself as One who revealed the Father, but He spoke instead of being a stumbling block (see John 15:22-24). John 14:9 , where Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” was spoken to His disciples.

That Christ died for me, and therefore I am completely free from penalty, is never taught in the New Testament. What is taught in the New Testament is that “He died for all” (2 Corinthians 5:15)— not, “He died my death”— and that through identification with His death I can be freed from sin, and have His very righteousness imparted as a gift to me. The substitution which is taught in the New Testament is twofold— “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The teaching is not Christ for me unless I am determined to have Christ formed in me (see Galatians 4:19).

by Oswald Chambers

Walking Through God’s Open Door

2 Corinthians 5:20-21

Man’s redemption has always been of supreme importance to God. But because of our sin, divine justice had to be satisfied—that is, sin’s penalty needed to be paid. In addition, forgiveness had to be provided for everyone guilty of sinning against the Lord. The solution was costly: To redeem mankind, the Father sacrificed His one and only Son, who died in our place. All who believe in the saving work of Jesus Christ have received incalculable blessing. They’ve been reconciled to the Lord, made part of His family, and given eternal life.

God has charged believers to spread the good news of salvation around the globe and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19). When He opens doors of service for us, we can walk through them confidently. We have His indwelling Spirit to strengthen, guide, and equip us. We will be able to carry out our assignment because of His amazing divine power (Rom. 8:11; Eph. 3:16).

So why should we ever be reluctant to do as God asks? Many times our perspective is shortsighted: Perhaps we cannot see how to add one more task to our schedule, or we allow insecurity about criticism, failure, or finances to drive our decisions. None of these things prove an obstacle for the Lord, however. He can open up windows of time, stretch our paycheck, and give us victories in ways we couldn’t imagine in our human thinking.

God is waiting for His children to accept the high calling of serving Him as ambassadors for Jesus Christ. What answer will you give Him?

True Christian Fellowship

“That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” (Philemon 1:6)

This one-chapter epistle of Paul to his friend Philemon is essentially a personal request by Paul that Philemon forgive his runaway slave, Onesimus, and receive him back into “the church in thy house” as a new Christian, recently won to Christ (vv. 2, 10, 15-16). Our text is Paul’s prayer for Philemon and is similar to prayers by him for other believers (e.g., Colossians 1:9-10). It is an appropriate prayer on behalf of any fellow Christian. Its emphasis is on the blessings and responsibilities of true fellowship.

The “communication” of which Paul speaks is the Greek word koinonia, meaning “fellowship.” That is, genuine Christian faith involves a sharing of one’s life with others of “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1). That fellowship becomes “effectual” (literally, “full of power,” from the Greek energes, “energizing”) only through recognizing and appreciating all the blessings we have received through Christ.

Paul pointed out that he himself should be counted as a “partner” with Philemon (v. 17). Here the Greek is koinonos, practically the same as koinonia. Both Philemon, the wealthy Colossian master, and Onesimus, his runaway bondservant, were Paul’s spiritual children (v. 19), so they all theoretically shared “every good thing” in fellowship through Christ. Thus, Paul offered to repay anything Onesimus had stolen or any other losses, should Philemon so insist (vv. 18-19).

The demands of Christian fellowship thus might cost Onesimus his freedom, Paul his helper, and Philemon his property. True fellowship is not mere Christian socializing. It is the sharing of love and concern, time and talents, possessions and even life itself, as need and circumstance demand, with others in the household of faith. HMM

I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts

I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.—Psalm 119:45.

TO be made with Thee one spirit,
Is the boon that I lingering ask,
To have no bar ‘twixt my soul and Thine;
My thoughts to echo Thy will divine,
Myself Thy servant for any task.

THERE is more effort, more steadfastness, involved in a diligent attention to little duties than appears at first sight, and that because of their continual recurrence. Such heed to little things implies a ceaseless listening to the whispers of grace, a strict watchfulness against every thought, wish, word or act which can offend God ever so little, a constant effort to do everything as perfectly as possible. All this, however, must be done with a free, childlike spirit, without restlessness and anxiety. He does not ask a fretted, shrinking service. Give yourself to Him, trust Him, fix your eye upon Him, listen to His voice, and then go on brave% and cheerfully, never doubting for an instant that His grace will lead you in small things as well as great, and will keep you from offending His law of love. JEAN NICOLAS GROU.

David encouraged himself in the Lord his God

David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. — I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

John 6:68. 2 Timothy 1:12. Psalm 18:6,18,19. Psalm 34:14,8.

He is altogether lovely

He is altogether lovely. Song of Songs 5:16

My meditation of him shall be sweet. — My beloved is … the chiefest among ten thousand. — A chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. — Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips. — God … hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. — It pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell. Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

I count all things but loss, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.

Psalm 104:34. Song of Songs 5:10. 1 Peter 2:6. Psalm 45:2. Philippians 2:9. Colossians 1:19. 1 Peter 1:8. Philippians 3:8,9.