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  • Chad Werkhoven

2 Corinthians 5:21 - Creative Salvation

The Bible doesn't just tell us what God did, it tells us why He did it.


2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Listen to passage & devotional:


Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 20: The Justice and Mercy of God in Christ

We believe that God—

who is perfectly merciful

and also very just—

sent his Son to assume the nature

in which the disobedience had been committed,

in order to bear in it the punishment of sin

by his most bitter passion and death.

So God made known his justice toward his Son,

who was charged with our sin,

and he poured out his goodness and mercy on us,

who are guilty and worthy of damnation,

giving to us his Son to die,

by a most perfect love,

and raising him to life

for our justification,

in order that by him

we might have immortality

and eternal life.



When we think of the creative aspect of God, we properly think of the wonderful and amazing phenomenon He's created throughout the universe, like magnificent mountains, beautiful lakes, and even mysterious galaxies far, far away. But our short passage today begins with a surprising addition to what God has created: "God made Him who had no sin to be sin..."

Certainly the efforts and work of Jesus Himself was a critically necessary component of your salvation, but little clues like today's - that God made - helps remind that salvation required the participation of all three persons in the Trinity!

Today's verse also reveals that which makes Jesus different than any other human being born after Adam: Jesus "had no sin." The ESV translates that phrase more literally: Jesus "knew no sin." This doesn't mean Jesus was ignorant of the concept of sin, but rather that He had never personally experienced it, until God made Him the very face of sin so that Jesus could experience God's justice and you could experience His mercy.

We often reflect on how difficult it must have been for Jesus to be forsaken by His Father as He hung suffering on the cross. But with today's verse in mind we can expand upon that thought: what must it have been like for God the Father to take His one and only Son, and make Him into the one thing He hates and cannot tolerate, to the extent that He ultimately had to forsake Him? This is a picture of God's love, justice and mercy at work.

Dig Deeper

They're called ἵνα (hina) clauses, and you should circle them each time you see one in your Bible. They most often are introduced with the English words so that. They go on to explain the reasons and rationale as to why something happened. In other words, God doesn't just tell us what He did, He often tells us why He did it.

Today's passage informs us that God made Christ to be sin for us. If that's all it told us, certainly we'd still be grateful for it. But as is so often the case, the Bible goes on to explain not just the what, but also why God did this: SO THAT in Him we might become (be made into) the righteousness of God.

We just read yesterday that the one thing you need more than anything else - the holy grail, so to speak - is perfect righteousness. This is the requirement God has set for you in order to fulfill the covenant that He's placed you in. In order to enjoy the covenant's reward (eternal life), you must return the covenant's obligation: perfect righteousness.

This is why our all-powerful creator God made His Son, who had no sin, to be sin; SO THAT you might become the perfect righteousness of God you need to fulfill the covenant and enjoy its eternal blessings.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who created all things, and made His only beloved Son into sin on our behalf;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you'll live in such a way that demonstrates the righteousness of God you've become;



Read the New Testament in a year! Today: Philippians 1


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