For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21
In the moments before communion a few weeks ago, our youth pastor shared the image of two opposing groups of protesters, one on each side of the road. At one point, while the groups shouted across the divide at each other, one person from each side actually took action; the two protestors met in the middle to talk. And even more incredible, they reconciled. This reconciliation at first shocked the other protestors, but in the end it led to everyone from both sides meeting in the middle. What began as an ugly battle of beliefs became a beautiful picture of peace–all because two people chose to take that first step to peace and compromise.
At first one might think this a beautiful picture of what Christ did for us. Two opposing sides meeting in the middle to work things out. But, as our youth leader pointed out, it’s not. It’s not even close. Compromise is defined as “a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions” (Oxford definition). Yes, compromise is crucial to successful interpersonal relationships on this earth. After all, we are human, and we are imperfect. Therefore compromise is essential when imperfection dwells alongside imperfection.
Nevertheless, although such compromise is desirable within the earthly realm, it does not accurately portray the spiritual. Our relationship with God is not one of imperfection working alongside imperfection; it’s one of imperfection opposing perfection. Furthermore, it is a holy God actually desiring a relationship with an unholy people. Yes, a holy, perfect God longs to fellowship with the very creation who rejected Him. Of course, even though God longs to fellowship with people, perfection cannot dwell with imperfection…unless, of course, the imperfection is perfected–a feat only possible through sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice.
And this is where salvation comes in. Salvation is not a compromise; it’s the solution. Salvation is God’s answer to sin. God didn’t meet us halfway with salvation. God didn’t require we follow a 12-step plan to right standing with Him. God did it all. God didn’t just go to the middle in hopes we’d concede. No. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). While yet sinners. This means while we weren’t even looking for a compromise, while we were still protesting, God sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins. He didn’t just meet us in the middle; he came over to our side and paid our debt.
Wow. Humbling, isn’t? God didn’t compromise His character so we could be saved. He sacrificed His Son. God didn’t concede to allowing sinful man into His presence. He sent His Son to cover us in His righteousness. Jesus is not a compromise; He’s the answer. We did nothing to earn or to deserve salvation. All we have to do is accept it.
So take some time today–take time every day–to thank our Lord for the good things He has done. Thank Him for sending Jesus to die for our sins. Thank Him for loving us enough to bridge the gap between imperfection and perfection. Be grateful knowing it is “…by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).