“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 ESV).
How is this possible? How can we possibly be called the “righteousness of God?” The truth is, it isn’t possible through human effort, but God made it possible through Christ.
This is the great exchange. We were sinful, separated, and dying, but Christ took our sin, our separation and death, that we might become the righteous children of God having eternal life. The sinless Savior became sin that we might become God’s righteousness.
Receiving Christ, we receive His righteousness. Our spiritual account was overdrawn and accumulating service charges, but receiving Christ, our account was reconciled and paid in full.
Yet, this reconciliation is not all that results from receiving Christ’s righteousness. The Scripture says that “we might become.” The Greek word for “might become” has the sense not only of “possibility,” but also of “growth.” God has already made it possible, but we must receive this righteousness in order to obtain it. And having received it, we are also to “grow” in His righteousness. As Paul told Timothy, we are to pursue it.
“But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11 ESV).”
Why “pursue” that which has already been given to us? We were given a body at birth, yet it still needs to grow. Receiving Christ, we are given His righteousness, yet we are to continually yield our lives to Christ, so that we grow in displaying God’s righteousness in our lives. This is the sanctifying work that God is doing in us. He has made, is making, and will make us His righteousness!
As you listen to an old favorite recording of mine by the group Acappella, consider what it means that “we might become His righteousness.”