Scripture Reading: II Corinthians 5:11-21

“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him, we might become the righteousness of God.” (II Corinthians 5:21)

This is one of the most important verses in Scripture for understanding the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was sinless. He was not born with a sin nature because of His immaculate conception by the Holy Spirit. All through His earthly life He remained sinless. He was the Lamb without spot or blemish, which qualified Him to be our substitute in the atonement — “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (I Peter 1:18,19).

This verse tells us that God made Jesus Christ to be sin. This means that God the Father regarded and treated Jesus as sin when Jesus suffered and died on the cross. All of this was done for our sake. This also means that God regarded and treated our sin as if it did not belong to us, but to Christ. This is the essence of the substitutionary atonement. Jesus, the sinless One, took upon Himself our sins in order to pay the price sin requires — “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Christ became the atoning sacrifice as our substitute — “But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5,6).

This verse also helps us understand justification. On the basis of Christ’s substitutionary atonement, God pardoned all our sins, and He credited to us the perfect righteousness of Christ. This was necessary “so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Christ’s perfect record of sinlessness was imputed to us. Thus, God looks at us in the same way that He sees His sinless Son.

We must never take lightly what Jesus has done for us. Jesus Christ who knew no sin was made to be sin, so that in Him our sins have been fully forgiven and His righteousness has been reckoned to us.

Lord Jesus, my Savior and my Substitute, I bow before You in deep humility and gratitude. You took my sins upon Yourself and died in my place. You paid the price I rightly owed God so that I could be pardoned of all my sins. Your righteousness is now my righteousness. Thank You for voluntarily giving Yourself for me.


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