“Who gave himself for our sins ”
As Paul explains it Jesus death was far more than a display of love or a heroic act. It was primarily a sacrifice for sin.
It has in it a sense of the Old Testament meaning of a sin-offering. It was indeed such an offering – a uniquely first and only sacrifice through which our sins may be forgiven and forever put away. The thought is deepened by Paul later when he tells us that Jesus Christ became ‘a curse for us’. That is, He bore in His righteous and undefiled person and life the curse or judgment which our sins deserved. And not only our sins but the sins of all the people in all the world from the beginning, through the present, and into the future until His coming again.
Martin Luther said “these words a very thunderclaps from heaven against all kind of (self-) righteousness.” There is indeed no room in the Christian life for even the smallest thought of righteousness. We are totally unable to save ourselves. The only contribution we can make to our own salvation is the sin from which we need to be saved and cleansed. Even our faith is a gift from God.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
What love, what grace – and what a relief!
Father please forgive me for any thought of self-righteousness, and for any times that I have looked down upon others. Thank You so much for Your great sacrifice for me – please help me to always respect, honour and cherish it and You. Amen.