Devotional: 2 Corinthians 5:21

Introduction to Devotional: 2 Corinthians 5:21

The Bible, a central text in Christian belief, comprises various books that convey distinct messages and themes, guiding believers in their spiritual journey and daily life. This analysis focuses on a notable verse from the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 5:21, from the New International Version (NIV), which reads:

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Devotional: 2 Corinthians 5:21


The book of 2 Corinthians is an epistle or letter, traditionally attributed to the Apostle Paul. It is believed to have been written around 55-57 AD. This letter was addressed to the Christian community in Corinth, a city known for its cultural diversity and cosmopolitan nature.

In this letter, Paul addresses various issues faced by the Corinthian church, including challenges in their understanding and practice of the Christian faith. 2 Corinthians as a whole is known for its emphasis on reconciliation, the ministry of reconciliation, and the role of suffering in the Christian life.

2 Corinthians 5:21 sits within a section where Paul discusses the reconciliation between God and humanity through Christ. This verse serves as a key point in understanding the concept of Jesus taking on the sins of humanity and believers receiving God’s righteousness in return.

Verse Analysis

The verse begins with “God made him who had no sin,” referring to Jesus Christ, who is believed in Christian doctrine to be sinless. This part emphasizes the purity and holiness of Christ.

“To be sin for us,” indicates that Jesus took upon himself the sins of the world. This is a central tenet of Christian belief, where Jesus’ sacrifice is seen as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of humanity.

“So that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” suggests that through Jesus’ sacrifice, believers are not only forgiven but are also imputed with God’s righteousness. This is seen as a transformative experience that changes the believer’s status before God.

Theologically, this verse is significant as it encapsulates the doctrine of justification by faith, a core principle of Christian belief. It illustrates the exchange that takes place – Christ takes on sin and believers receive righteousness.


Various Christian denominations may have nuanced interpretations of this verse. However, it is broadly accepted as a declaration of the transformative power of Christ’s sacrifice. It emphasizes the grace of God and the concept of being made righteous through faith in Jesus.

This verse is often linked with other biblical teachings on salvation, grace, and faith, like Romans 3:22-24 and Galatians 2:20. It underscores the New Testament message of salvation through Jesus Christ and the profound change it brings to a believer’s life.

Application in Daily Life

For believers, this verse can be a reminder of the magnitude of Christ’s sacrifice and the grace that is offered through it. It encourages an attitude of humility and gratitude, recognizing the gift of righteousness received through faith.

Practically, it can inspire Christians to live lives that reflect this righteousness, not as a means of earning salvation, but as a response to the grace they have received. It also encourages a spirit of reconciliation, following the example of Christ.

In personal spiritual development, this verse serves as a foundation for understanding one’s identity in Christ and the transformative power of the Christian gospel.


2 Corinthians 5:21 is a profound expression of the Christian faith, encapsulating the exchange at the heart of the gospel: Christ’s taking on sin and believers receiving righteousness. It highlights the transformative power of Christ’s work and its implications for personal faith and life. This verse not only deepens the understanding of Christian doctrine but also serves as a call to live out the implications of this profound truth in daily life, enhancing personal spiritual growth and positively impacting the world.

5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Devotional: 2 Corinthians 5:21

What Does “God Made Him Who Had No Sin to Be Sin for Us” Mean?

This phrase means that Jesus Christ, who was without sin, was made to bear the sins of humanity. In Christian theology, this is understood as Jesus taking upon himself the punishment and consequences of sin, although he himself was sinless.

Does This Verse Imply That We Are Automatically Righteous After Believing in Jesus?

While the verse speaks of believers being declared righteous through faith, Christian teaching often emphasizes that this should also result in a transformed life. This righteousness is positional in God’s sight and is expected to lead to practical righteousness in one’s actions and character.

How Does This Verse Relate to the Concept of Salvation in Christianity?

This verse is central to the Christian understanding of salvation. It explains how Jesus’ sacrifice enables humanity’s reconciliation with God, thus offering salvation. It is through Jesus’ sin-bearing and our faith in him that we are saved.

Is This Verse Suggesting That Jesus Literally Became Sin?

The verse uses metaphorical language to convey a theological truth. It doesn’t mean that Jesus literally became sin, but rather that he took on the sin of the world symbolically through his sacrificial death on the cross.

How Should Christians Live in Light of 2 Corinthians 5:21?

Christians are encouraged to live lives that reflect the righteousness they have received. This includes growing in personal holiness, practicing love and forgiveness, and sharing the message of reconciliation with others.

How Do the Themes Expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:21 Relate to or Find Echoes in Other Verses and Passages in the Bible?

The theme expressed in 2 Corinthians 5:21 – the substitutionary atonement of Christ, where He who was sinless took on sin for us to become righteous before God – is central to Christian soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). This verse underscores the profound exchange at the heart of the Gospel: Jesus taking on our sinfulness so that we might be made righteous in God’s sight. Let’s explore this theme:

Isaiah 53:5-6 – “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
Relation: Isaiah’s prophecy about the suffering servant foreshadows Christ’s atoning work, paralleling the concept in 2 Corinthians 5:21 of Jesus bearing our sins.

Romans 3:23-25 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.”
Relation: This passage in Romans emphasizes the universal need for salvation and the provision of that salvation through Christ’s atonement, resonating with the substitutionary atonement theme in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Galatians 3:13 – “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.'”
Relation: Galatians speaks to Christ taking on the curse of sin on behalf of humanity, complementing the idea in 2 Corinthians 5:21 of Christ being made sin for us.

1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.'”
Relation: Peter describes the sacrificial death of Christ, underscoring His role in bearing our sins, which aligns with the theme of Christ becoming sin for us in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

1 John 2:2 – “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”
Relation: John affirms the role of Jesus as the atoning sacrifice, a concept central to understanding 2 Corinthians 5:21’s message of Christ’s substitutionary role for our righteousness.

These verses collectively highlight the core Christian doctrine of atonement through Christ’s sacrificial death. They emphasize the transformative exchange: Christ bearing our sins and imputing to us His righteousness. This theme is foundational in understanding the Christian message of salvation, depicting the depth of God’s love and the profound nature of Christ’s sacrifice for humanity’s redemption.

A Prayer Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:21

As we reflect upon the profound message of 2 Corinthians 5:21, we are reminded of the immense love and grace that God has bestowed upon us through Christ Jesus. This verse encapsulates the core of the Christian gospel – the sacrificial love of Christ and the gift of righteousness bestowed upon believers. In response to this divine gift, let us come together in prayer, with hearts full of gratitude and humility, seeking to embody the righteousness we have received and to live in a manner that honors this great sacrifice.

Our Prayer Inspired by Devotional: 2 Corinthians 5:21

Heavenly Father,

We come before You with hearts humbled by the depth of Your love, as revealed in 2 Corinthians 5:21. We stand in awe of the mystery of the cross, where Your Son, Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. In this selfless act, we find the essence of Your grace and mercy.

Lord, we thank You for this indescribable gift. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, we have been reconciled to You, not by our own deeds, but by Your abundant grace. We are grateful that in Him, we are made righteous, able to stand before You cleansed and renewed.

Help us, O God, to truly grasp the magnitude of this transformation. May the reality that we are now Your righteousness in Christ empower and guide us in our daily lives. Let this truth shape our thoughts, our actions, and our words.

Father, as we navigate the challenges and joys of life, remind us of our new identity in Christ. Teach us to live as reflections of His love and bearers of Your light in this world. May our lives exhibit the grace we have received, showing forgiveness, love, and mercy to those around us.

We pray for the courage and strength to be ambassadors of reconciliation, following the example of Christ. In our families, communities, and wherever we go, let us be instruments of Your peace, spreading the message of hope and salvation.

Lord, in moments of weakness and doubt, remind us of the unshakeable truth of Your Word. Renew our spirits and strengthen our faith, that we might continually grow in the righteousness that comes from You.

We thank You, Father, for the assurance of Your love and the promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. May we live each day in gratitude and commitment to You, our Redeemer and King.

In Jesus’ name, we pray,


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