This is a question that has long vexed the world. Why does the sun rise in the eastern sky and set in the west? Why is the sky blue? Why does my wife put up with me? The questions are probably as numerous as there are people, and as frequent as the breaths we take. In our reading from 2 Corinthians, St. Paul doesn’t state the question in so many words, but the message is here. The “WHY?” of God’s gracious activity in Jesus is the righteousness of God.
It isn’t that we, ourselves, are righteous. We are sinners. Selfish, jealous, often angry, we act out against God and others in thought, word, and deed. We disobey Him and His commandments by worshipping the false gods of this world, by taking His name in vain, and by not keeping the Sabbath for worship and service to Him. We fail to love our neighbors as ourselves. We often disobey and disregard those in authority over us. We harbor murderous thoughts against those who offend us. We lust after and maybe even steal what belongs to others.
No, we are far from righteous in thought, word, or deed. We deserve God’s wrath and punishment for all our transgressions. We have earned places in hell.
But listen to St. Paul. “God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.” In Jesus Christ God so loved the world, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life! (John 3:16)
What Jesus did was to live a perfectly sinless life, offer Himself up as the absolutely innocent sacrificial Lamb, and then rise victoriously from His grave on Easter morning. Again, the question rises – WHY?
The answer is this: “We are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
We pray: Heavenly Father, you sent Jesus to be our Savior from sin. Move us to faith in Him and keep us in faith in Him so that we might enter into Your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.