“He cancelled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.” Colossians 2:14
There is no list anymore. Yes, your guilty conscience and mine keep a list of our sins and shortcomings.
God does not.
Praise the Lord. The list of my offenses has vanished. Vaporized. (Could it really be gone?) God “set it aside, nailed it to the cross.”
When Jesus was nailed to the cross, he did more than bear our sins (1 Peter 2:24),
He became sin. “He who knew no sin became sin for us.” (1 Corinthians 5:21)
(What does that even mean? How is that possible?)
He didn’t just bear the curse. “He became a curse for us.” (Galatians 3:13) The Holy and Righteous One, chose to let go of infinite joy with His Father, to become vile in His Father’s eyes. To become anathema.
(How can God oppose God? How could perfect Divine Unity experience even the slightest hint of discord within Himself, let alone this?)
From absolute love, Father to Son, to immeasurable wrath, Father to Son. Unthinkable. Incalculable.
Why would He do it?
Because He became sin for us, our accuser has no case. There is no evidence against us. “He disarmed the rulers and authorities.” The prosecution shows up in court looking stupid. More than that, it says our enemy is put “to open shame.” What might this mean?
Remember the story of Haman’s humiliation as herald to Mordecai after Esther’s triumph? The enemy of the Jews was forced to march through the streets ahead of Mordecai proclaiming, “This is what is done for one in whom the king delights.” Surely Haman’s humiliation is nothing compared to Satan’s. Could the Haman story be a foreshadowing?
Imagine the enemy of your soul standing before the Judge, forced to proclaim your innocence. (It’s the ultimate bait and switch). Fumbling around, trying to find the list of offenses, he comes up empty-handed. The list does not exist.
But it’s better than that. You are not only made innocent by the work of Christ, you are made holy. As holy as Jesus Himself. “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
Picture the serpent compelled to lead a procession in your honor, heralding, “Behold, a beloved one in whom the Father is fully pleased! This is the Righteousness of God! The Righteousness of God!” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Instead of you being charged with treason and executed, (as justice would demand), Jesus was charged in your place with treason and executed. He got justice, you receive mercy. “Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13).
The cross turned the cosmic tables and the books were cooked in a wondrous re-ordering. When Jesus breathed his last, Justice and Mercy kissed, (Psalm 85:10). It was more than the earth could handle.
Rocks split, graves broke open, and dead people staggered out of darkness into light, (squinting and a bit confused, no doubt), as the ground rumbled beneath their feet. (Matthew 27:51-52) Yet this physical manifestation was nothing compared with the countless spiritual resurrections to come.
Christ Jesus is “our righteousness and holiness.” (2 Corinthians 1:30).
It would be good enough news that God holds no grudge, that the list of your wrongs is done away with. But incredibly, God has declared you to be perfect in His sight, and then treats you that way. “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14).
The Lord is fully pleased with you right now. There is no barrier of guilt to hinder your relationship with Him. Don’t shrink back because you don’t feel worthy. Don’t even shrink back because you feel bad for shrinking back. Draw near.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience…” (Hebrews 10:22).
God isn’t keeping score. There is no list. We can stop keeping score, too.