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For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

5:20 reconciled to God. The marvelous truth is that God has already reconciled sinners to Himself by virtue of the sacrifice of His Son. The problem now is that sinners are not yet reconciled to Him. Therefore, He has committed to us “the ministry of reconciliation” and “the word of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:18-19), as His ambassadors, to beseech men to accept His Son and His great work of salvation. This is “the Great Commission.”

5:21 knew no sin. According to Paul, Christ “knew no sin.” Peter says He “did no sin” (I Peter 2:22) and John says that “in Him is no sin” (I John 3:5). Yet He was “made sin” for us, suffering and dying as the “propitiation…for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2), in order to reconcile God to sinful mankind. Then we are “made the righteousness of God,” being given credit before God for His perfect righteousness. No wonder Paul could say: “The love of Christ constraineth us” (II Corinthians 5:14).

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