Made To Be Sin For Us- 2 Corinthians 5:21

As we conclude our study of 2 Corinthians 5, we now come to Paul’s “explanation” of how God made reconciliation between He and humanity possible. He tells us, in verse 21, that “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God”. The reason that we place the word explanation in quotation marks is that as we attempted to “explain” this verse, we rather quickly realized that it is one which cannot really be explained. Just how God could go about making one who was completely sinless to be sin for us is something that cannot really be explained, and we find that Paul here makes no attempt to either explain this verse or present any argument on its behalf. He simply states it as fact and moves on. So we have come upon mystery here, something which John Calvin said which we can never comprehend, but can only apprehend, which we can never really understand or explain fully, but must accept by faith because it is God’s inspired and inerrant word to us. We have come upon what the Bible refers to as a mystery, to something which cannot be “figured out” but is revealed (what the Greek word apokalypto means) by God to us. An examination of the New Testament or traditional Christian theology will quickly discover that mystery lies at the very heart of the Christian faith. The fact of God becoming man is a mystery, as well as God being one God in three persons, as is the fact of Jesus being both fully God and fully man. Mystery lies at the very foundation of the Christian faith, and one who will not accept the existence of mystery will have a very difficult time with the Christian faith. Many, over the years, have chosen not to learn from Paul here and attempted to “explain” these mysteries in order to make the faith more palatable to those in the culture. Our culture has enthroned science as the final arbiter of what is true or not, right or wrong, and what cannot be empirically proven must be rejected as nonsense. Mystery, which by nature cannot be empirically proven, lies outside the realm of what our culture will accept as true or correct, and any attempt to “prove” these mysteries will be rejected out of hand. We cannot argue anyone into the kingdom of God. Jesus plainly tells us that “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”. Apart from a prior work of God (regeneration for Calvinists or prevenient grace for Arminians), all the arguments in the world will not change the heart and mind of those we argue with. We are not called to argue for or defend the gospel or the “faith”, but simply to proclaim them at every opportunity. What fruit that gospel produces is in the hands of the Lord. We are not told to bring people into the kingdom through the brilliance of our “arguments” or the sophistication of our evangelistic techniques, but, like Paul, our message and our preaching are not to be “with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power” (1 Corinthians 2:4), which in the context of 1 Corinthians refers to the power of the Spirit made evident not through miraculous signs but through a transformed life. So our primary witness is not to be through brilliant arguments or evangelistic techniques, but through a heart and life which have been transformed by the power of God, by those who no have been “called out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We conclude here then by noting that this verse refers to those who have been “called”, that all who have come to Him come in response to His call, not to our arguments or techniques. God calls them through His power at work in those who believe, who “preach” the Gospel both in deed and word, and our responsibility is to do so and leave the results in God’s hands. This then brings us back to where we began, with mystery, for God says “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion” (Romans 9:15).

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