2 Corinthians 5:21
21For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Some Christians believe that they have to work at becoming more righteous. And they kick themselves when they do wrong. They don’t realize that by doing these things, they are not seeking God’s righteousness, but are trying to establish their own righteousness by their law-keeping and right conduct.
Righteousness is not about right conduct. It is a gift from God to us through Jesus. And since it is a gift, we cannot earn it by our law-keeping and right conduct. We can only receive it!
How do we receive this gift? We receive it through the cross. God made Jesus “who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”. So today, we are the righteousness of God in Christ. We are as righteous as Jesus is!
But some of us think that in the body of Christ, there are different classes of righteousness, like the seating classes in an airplane. They think that some of us have economy-class righteousness, others have business-class righteousness and a select few have first-class righteousness.
That is nonsense! When God gave us Jesus, He became our righteousness. So we have His righteousness. This means that we are 100 per cent righteous in God’s eyes! We cannot but have first-class righteousness!
You might say, “Emmanuel, I don’t understand. How can I be righteous when I have done wrong?” Think about this: Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us. Jesus knew no sin, did no sin and in Him was no sin. But at the cross, He received our sin and became sin for us.
Likewise, we, who were sinners, knew no righteousness, did no righteousness and in us was no righteousness. But at the cross, we received His righteousness and became the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
At the cross, the divine exchange took place. Jesus took our place so that we might take His place. He did not deserve to be made sin, but He was made sin in our place. We did not deserve to be made righteous, but we were made righteous because we received His righteousness. What good news! What amazing grace!