“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV84)
Just ask anyone who has been in my Bible classes or who has ever heard me preach, and they will tell you that this verse is quoted by me more than any other memory verse I know. Why? Because it was on the principle of this verse that my faith began 41 years ago, and I pray it will be the principle upon which my life ends when God calls me home. If the crucifixion is not the center of all that we believe and live for, then something is wrong with both our faith and our life. We can spend hours talking about the sacraments, the rapture, Christian practices and end times, but none of that gets us in a right relationship with God.
Every major religion of the world is trying to bridge the gap between a holy God and an unholy world. Most religions speak about how sin has separated us from having a relationship with God. They all are trying to provide the answer to how that gap can be bridged. Listen clearly: Christianity is the only religion on the planet that tells us God is the One who has bridged the gap. Only Christianity speaks of God sending His one Son into human flesh to “become” sin for us. God didn’t just wake up one day and decide to forget about sin. Rather, He chose to place our sin upon His innocent Son. He allowed His Son, Jesus, to bear the consequences and the punishment for our sin. In God’s eyes, our sins became Jesus’ sin. This is what theologians call the vicarious atonement. God made our sins Jesus’ sins and we, in exchange, received His righteousness.
We are right with God because of what Jesus did, not what we have done! Our relationship with God is repaired because He repaired it, or rather us. While all the other world religions tell mankind that they must be the ones to bridge the gap, Christianity stands alone declaring that God loves us so much that He has already bridged the gap through His Son, Jesus. This is the invitation of the Gospel, to accept what God has freely offered.
May all the days of our lives begin, and be lived out, in the shadow of the cross of Jesus Christ! Why? Because “God made Him who had no sin, to be sin on our behalf so that, in Him, we might become the righteousness of God.”