Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This verse is beautiful and important, but what does it mean? How was Jesus made to “be sin for us”— especially since we know that Jesus never sinned (Hebrews 4:15)?
It might help to consider an illustration. Imagine for a minute that you encountered a person who had a deadly disease. And what if, in this scenario, in order to really help this person, you had to get sick? What if you had the power to allow all their sickness to flow into your body, and let all your strength and health flow into theirs?
Would you do that?
Here’s the thing: that’s what Jesus did for us. When we were sick with sin, God became human to dwell among us (John 1:14). Jesus never sinned, but He was willing to take all our sin upon Himself and die on the cross to take our punishment. And that wasn’t all. After He died, Jesus defeated sin and death by rising again three days later.
Now, everyone who puts their trust in Jesus has their sins forgiven because Jesus took our sins and gave us His righteousness. As Christians, we also have the promise and hope of living with Jesus forever: Jesus will return to make all things new, and then we will be totally free from sin and death (Revelation 21:1-5). What good news! Even though we’re all born with the sickness of sin, that’s not the end of the story. Jesus has come to make us well. • A. W. Smith
• Have you ever thought about sin being like sickness? How could this illustration help us understand the gospel (the good news about Jesus) in a deeper way?
• To learn more about what it means to be healed from the sickness of sin, check out our “Know Jesus” page.
God made him [Jesus] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)