The Gospel in One Sentence (2 Corinthians 5:21)
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” —2 Corinthians 5:21
What is the Gospel? We have volumes of literature explaining the good news of Jesus Christ, but we don’t need volumes in our arsenal to be prepared to “make a defense to anyone who asks you for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). What we need is a well-crafted arrow so we can take aim at the heart in need of Christ. We find that arrow for our bow in 2 Corinthians 5:21.
We have a need. The cross is proof of our need. Apart from Christ, our lives are in danger. We are spiritually adrift, dead in our sins, and hopeless in our fallen state. We are estranged from our Creator God.
But “for our sake” God made Christ to be sin. Jesus was without sin (Hebrews 4:15. 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; 1 John 3:5). It is the sinlessness of Jesus that qualifies Him as an acceptable substitute, a worthy sacrifice to receive the punishment we deserved for our rebellion against God. Only He who is entirely without sin is free to bear the sins of others. The Righteous must be offered for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18). This is the only way for sinners to be reconciled to God.
The Father did this to Christ “for our sake”. This sacrifice was not offered because we were deserving. It is offered because we are loved. God made the Sinless One sin for us. The full force and weight of God’s judgment for sin falls upon Jesus.
It is, then, in Jesus, that we find refuge and shelter from judgment and condemnation for sin. It is in Jesus that an exchange takes place: Jesus takes our sin upon His Sinless body, and in exchange, by faith we “become the righteousness of God”.
This is our justification. Our sin is counted to Christ, and His righteousness is counted to us. In Jesus, it is as if we have never sinned. We have been declared innocent, not because we are innocent in our attitudes and actions, but because Christ is the Innocent One, and in faith, His righteousness becomes ours.
This is the Gospel. This is the message of reconciliation. This is the promise of hope, forgiveness, and eternal life in Christ.
What does this text teach us about the nature of sin?
How does this text instruct us to deal with our on-going struggle with sin in our daily lives?
How does this text offer hope to those who are alienated from God?
In what ways does this passage stir up your affections for and joy in God through Christ?