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the 120% reality

April 13, 2011

I attended a great class last night, during which we spent some time defining what sin is, how and why we humans choose to sin, and the great lengths to which God has gone to redeem us and save us out of our sin.  The person facilitating the class mentioned this verse from Isaiah 53:

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him [Jesus] and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. (v. 10).

The facilitator pointed out that the Hebrew term for “offering for sin” in this passage is also used in Leviticus 5 to describe sin and guilt offerings.  In the Leviticus passage, the offender not only must bring a perfect ram to the Lord as a sacrifice for his sin but must also “make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest” (v. 16).  So if my hypothetical stray baseball breaks my neighbor’s window, I have to pay back the value of the window, plus 1/5.  That’s 6/5 of the original value.  Or put it this way: if my sin resulted in $100 worth of harm, I would have to pay back $120.   My bank account would certainly suffer a blow.

But take this idea back to the first passage in Isaiah 53 and rephrase it this way:

“Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and the Lord makes his life a 120% repayment for our sin…”

Wow.

2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us.”  So Jesus, the sinless one, shouldered the responsibility of repaying the damages from our sin, plus 20%.  Saying that Jesus went above and beyond when he became our sin offering does not even begin to describe the 120% reality.  And if we believe that “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell” in Jesus (Col. 1:19), then Jesus’ payments are worth far more than mine, and his bank account can never be depleted.

During that class, the thoughts written above coursed through my mind in a matter of minutes, though in a much less articulate fashion.  I was speechless.  To think–that my Savior’s death on the cross was not only 100% sufficient to cover my sins, but it was 120% sufficient.

I know what number will be ringing in my thoughts this Easter.

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