Lenten Reader | Day 2

Righteousness of God

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says,
“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”
I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:21-6:2
On July 29, 2022, my then 15-month-old son told me ‘no’ for the first time. His first vocal decree of deliberate rebellion. But that wasn’t the day he became a sinner. For many of us who grew up in church or in a Christian home, we sometimes struggle with the idea that we need a savior. We know the phrases "all have fallen short" and "born into sin" and accept them as true, but sometimes we may struggle with their truth. We may look at our sweet babies and think they are born sweet, innocent, and pure, and we just have to keep them that way.

But the truth is that we aren't born with clean slates. All of us come pre-marked by sin, an inheritance from Adam. But sometimes we kid ourselves into thinking we are born into Christianity which plants a seed of self-righteousness. Eventually, we can confuse Christianity with "niceness/good personhood" piggybacking a belief in God. When we do that, we demote Christ from Savior to role model. Ultimately, we have cheapened our debt.

With a cheapened sense of our debt, we have falsely narrowed the chasm between us and God, also cheapening His righteousness which is actually our treasure; "so that we may become his righteousness." To believe we can attain or mimic it is to minimize it. With our debt shallow and His righteousness attainable, our redemption becomes pretty cheap, too. Paul URGES us to not take God's grace in vain or to do nothing with it. But maybe this is what we do: we received a gift not understanding how much we need it nor how much it's worth. We became saved one day and left it on the shelf, but Paul writes NOW is the time of salvation and grace. Even centuries later the time is still now. We didn't just receive righteousness through grace in the past – we receive it every day, every hour.

Olivia White