Posted by: Pastor Terry Hagedorn | August 28, 2018

The Great Trade (2Cor. 5:21). Dr. Robert L. Horton

2 Corinthians 5:21, a verse those in my Sunday school class memorize (six to eight year olds), is considered by theologians to be a key verse on justification: “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” The children have to identify who is ‘He’: God the Father; and who is ‘Him’: Jesus, the Son of God. Then we talk about the meaning of the verse, and ask several questions.

The verse describes a great trade that took place when Jesus went to the cross. For all those who believe in Jesus, God traded our sin for Jesus’ righteousness. God placed our sin on Jesus, and in return we receive His righteousness. Was that a fair trade? Not in the least! We get rid of a debt we could never pay, and receive in return blessings we do not deserve and could never earn, but Jesus got nothing of value from us. Was it a good trade? For believer, it was certainly good. For Jesus, it required Him to suffer. Why did God ask Jesus to make this trade? Because “God so loved the world …” (John 3:16). Did Jesus agree to this trade willingly? Yes, the Bible says He did it “…for the joy that was set before Him [He] endured the cross…” (Heb. 12:2). By means of this trade He “brings many sons to glory” Heb. 2:10. What change in relationships takes place because of this trade? Believers become children of God (Rom. 4:4-7), and Jesus gains brothers and sisters (Heb. 2:11).

So this verse teaches us both aspects of justification: we are forgiven all our sins, and God sees us as righteous. All of this because of what Jesus has done for us. To Him be the glory, now and forever.


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