The Overcomer Trust

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By Charles Hodge

“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5 v21)

The Apostle Paul says Christ was made to be “sin for us”, that means He stood in our place, because the idea of substitution is involved in this transaction.  The victim was the substitute for the sinner and so Christ was our substitute, put in our place.  This is obvious from the phrase, “that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (v21).  He was condemned and we were justified.  The idea is that what is done by one in the place of another works as though that other person had done it.  The victim was the substitute of the sinner, and His death took the place of our death.  If both died then there would be no substitution.  So if Christ was made sin and this did not secure our righteousness then He was not our substitute.  Righteousness does not mean here fixing yourself or behaving excellent.  It is true that the word often means this, and that the work of Christ secures the holiness of His people, as is often mentioned in Scripture, but this was not its only design.  

Its aim was to reconcile us to God and to satisfy God’s justice, so that Christ can justify the ungodly.  The Apostle is speaking, in this verse, of the sacrificial effect of Christ’s death, and the word “righteousness” must be understood in this sense.  It expresses our relationship to the law, not our inward moral state.  It satisfies the demands of the law and those that have this righteousness are justified in the sight of the law.  It is called the “righteousness of God” because it is from Him and it makes us righteous in God’s sight.  Those who possess this righteousness are righteous before God.  Romans 1 verse 17 explains this as “a righteousness from God”.  The meaning of this is that we become the righteousness of God and are righteous with His righteousness, not with our own, which are at best “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64 v6).  He has provided this by the righteousness of His own dear son.

From “An Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians”.


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Dear Friends,

There can be no doubts from reading the Word of God, that the Lord Jesus Christ’s resurrection gives all believers the “gift of righteousness” (Romans 5 v17).  This is our theme for this issue and we trust that you will be blessed, encouraged and informed by our selection of articles.     

In Christ,