A theme is defined as the main thrust of what is being promoted, discussed or described. Its purpose is to help people remember the key messages or takeaways from whatever is being talked about. We find prominent themes used for many things such as movies, lectures and writings. We find themes in business, in advertising and in politics. We even find themes in the church as there is often a primary theme for each year, for individual sermons or a sermon series.
Of all the verses in Scripture, I’m not sure there’s a single verse that captures the overall theme of the Bible better than 2 Corinthians 5:21. Personally, it’s my favorite verse. I can still remember when I first grasped the meaning of this verse and the freedom that came with it. That Jesus was my substitute—that He would take the penalty for my sin so I wouldn’t have to just blew me away.
Sometimes in my writing, I wonder if I reference 2 Corinthians 5:21 too much. I wonder if because I love this verse so much, I force its use when it doesn’t belong, where perhaps it doesn’t fit the context of what I’m writing about. But the more I think about it, the truth is, this verse belongs everywhere. Its theme can never be repeated enough. That’s because these twenty-four words take us straight to the cross, the center of all that God has done for us.
There is no greater expression of God’s love than what we find at the cross. On the cross, Jesus not only took our sin, but also the guilt and shame that goes with it. There’s freedom in that, not freedom to sin, but freedom to live in response to His grace. I don’t think we can even begin to fully grasp the depth of God’s love, and for what He has done for us in Christ. Christ’s atoning work has saved us from an eternal hell our sin deserves. But more than that, He has saved us to a living hope, a hope we are to enjoy today, but also to look forward to in its fullness for all eternity.