2 Corinthians 5:21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
I believe this is one of the most important verses in the Bible in describing the meaning of the death of Jesus. Paul was explaining the connection between Jesus’ crucifixion and reconciliation with God. I have come to appreciate and mediate on this verse more since 2010. Let’s look at each phrase:
- He made…Reconciliation began with God sacrificing Jesus on the cross. As prophesied in Isaiah Jesus was: 4 struck down by God, and afflicted. 6 and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all 10 Yet the Lord was pleased to crush him severely. 12 he willingly submitted to death, yet he bore the sin of many [From Isaiah 53:4-6,10-12]
- Him who knew no sin… Jesus was the sinless Son of God, divine yet human.
- To be sin… Jesus did not become a sinner on the cross, but He became a one time offering for the sin for all the humans who ever lived on earth [Hebrews 10:10-13; Numbers 6:14; Isaiah 53:4-5,10].
- on our behalf… Paul was talking about the great exchange. Jesus took our sins upon Himself. The Old Testament sacrificial system was a picture of the sacrifice of Jesus [Leviticus 16:9-10, Leviticus 5:5-10].
- so that we might become the righteousness of God… Here is the other side of the great exchange. Believing sinners receive more than forgiveness of sins. They receive righteousness as a gift from God. Paul wrote, we are a “new creature” [2 Corinthians 5:17].
- in him… Reconciliation is available to all but occurs only for those who have voluntarily believed in Jesus and “by grace have been saved through faith”. [Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 10:9,13; 1 Corinthians 1:30].
Have you made the great exchange of your sin for the righteousness of God and now live eternally?
Henry Luke 5/14/2018
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