He became sin for us
2 Corinthians 5:21
“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
This is one of the most beautiful pictures of our salvation in Scripture. God the Father, made Jesus “to be sin for us,” so that He could make us become the “righteousness of God”.
Some back away from this truth because the fear it makes Jesus a sinner and thus he would have to died for His own sin and could not be able to be the atonement for our sins. Please note that the passage does not claim to make Jesus a sinner. The Apostle makes that clear in the text. “Him who knew no sin” states that Jesus was never a sinner. Jesus never committed a sin in thought, word, of deed. Every thought which He ever conceived, every pleasure that He ever felt, every desire that ever stirred His heart, was absolutely without the stain of sin. He remained pure and guiltless. Not only was He free from every stain of original sin, He was never tempted to sin. Sin in no way was able to reach Him. Hebrews 1:26 calls Him “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.”
By the same measure, or reasoning, we could never become righteousness, for sin has been ever present in our minds and hearts, and our guiltiness can not be denied. However, Holy God made us righteous in the same way that He made Jesus sin. Isaiah said “the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isa. 53:6). And in 1 Cor. 1:30, Paul sates that “of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,” so the picture becomes God placing our sin on Christ’s account, making Him sin for us, and He placed the righteousness of God on our account, making us the righteousness of God. When holy God looks upon the record of Christ He sees “paid in full” and when He looks upon our account He sees the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. He sees the righteousness of Christ on our account, as if we had lived our life in righteousness.. “Not imputing their trespasses to them,” is how he expressed it in verse 19. In Colossians 2:13-14 Paul states, “you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
Therefore, we have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. “For you were bought at a price therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (! Cor. 6:20). We are not our own, but belong to Him, body and spirit. So let us act like we belong to Him and become glory to His Holy name..