2 Corinthians 5:21 - Ambassadors for Christ (2024)

Verse (Click for Chapter)

New International Version
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.New Living Translation
For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.English Standard Version
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.Berean Standard Bible
God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.Berean Literal Bible
He made the One not having known sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.King James Bible
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.New King James Version
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.New American Standard Bible
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.NASB 1995
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.NASB 1977
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.Legacy Standard Bible
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.Amplified Bible
He made Christ who knew no sin to [judicially] be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God [that is, we would be made acceptable to Him and placed in a right relationship with Him by His gracious lovingkindness].Christian Standard Bible
He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.Holman Christian Standard Bible
He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. American Standard Version
Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.Aramaic Bible in Plain English
For he who had not known sin made himself to become sin in your place, that we would become the righteousness of God in him. Contemporary English Version
Christ never sinned! But God treated him as a sinner, so Christ could make us acceptable to God. Douay-Rheims Bible
Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him. English Revised Version
Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him.GOD'S WORD® Translation
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin so that we might receive God's approval through him.Good News Translation
Christ was without sin, but for our sake God made him share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the righteousness of God. International Standard Version
God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that God's righteousness would be produced in us. Literal Standard Version
He made Him having not known sin [to be] sin in our behalf, that we may become the righteousness of God in Him.Majority Standard Bible
For God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.New American Bible
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.NET Bible
God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God. New Revised Standard Version
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.New Heart English Bible
For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.Webster's Bible Translation
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.Weymouth New Testament
He has made Him who knew nothing of sin to be sin for us, in order that in Him we may become the righteousness of God.World English Bible
For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Young's Literal Translation
for him who did not know sin, in our behalf He did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him.Additional Translations ...

(21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin.--The "for" is omitted in many of the best MSS., but there is clearly a sequence of thought such as it expresses. The Greek order of the words is more emphatic: Him that knew no sin He made sin for us. The words are, in the first instance, an assertion of the absolute sinlessness of Christ. All other men had an experience of its power, gained by yielding to it. He alone gained this experience by resisting it, and yet suffering its effects. None could "convict Him of sin" (John 8:46). The "Prince of this world had nothing in Him" (John 14:30). (Comp. Hebrews 7:26; 1Peter 2:22.) And then there comes what we may call the paradox of redemption. He, God, made the sinless One to be "sin." The word cannot mean, as has been said sometimes, a "sin offering." That meaning is foreign to the New Testament, and it is questionable whether it is found in the Old, Leviticus 5:9 being the nearest approach to it. The train of thought is that God dealt with Christ, not as though He were a sinner, like other men, but as though He were sin itself, absolutely identified with it. So, in Galatians 3:13, he speaks of Christ as made "a curse for us," and in Romans 8:3 as "being made in the likeness of sinful flesh." We have here, it is obvious, the germ of a mysterious thought, out of which forensic theories of the atonement, of various types, might be and have been developed. It is characteristic of St. Paul that he does not so develop it. Christ identified with man's sin: mankind identified with Christ's righteousness--that is the truth, simple and yet unfathomable, in which he is content to rest. . . .

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 21. - He hath made him to be sin for us; rather, he made; he speaks with definite reference to the cross. The expression is closely analogous to that in Galatians 3:13, where it is said that Christ has been "made a curse for us." He was, as St. Augustine says, "delictorum susceptor, non commissor." He knew no sin; nay, he was the very righteousness, holiness itself (Jeremiah 23:6), and yet, for our benefit, God made him to be "sin" for us, in that he "sent him in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin" (Romans 8:3). Many have understood the word "sin" in the sense of sin offering (Leviticus 5:9, LXX.); but that is a precarious application of the word, which is not justified by any other passage in the New Testament. We cannot, as Dean Plumptre says, get beyond the simple statement, which St. Paul is content to leave in its unexplicable mystery, "Christ identified with man's sin; man identified with Christ's righteousness." And thus, in Christ, God becomes Jehovah-Tsidkenu, "the Lord our Righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6). That we might be made the righteousness of God in him; rather, that we might become. The best comment on the pregnant significance of this verse is Romans 1:16, 17, which is developed and explained in so large a section of that great Epistle (see 3:22-25; 4:5-8; 5:19, etc.). In him In his blood is a means of propitiation by which the righteousness of God becomes the righteousness of man (1 Corinthians 1:30), so that man is justified. The truth which St. Paul thus develops and expresses is stated by St. Peter and St. John in a simpler and less theological form (1 Peter 2:22-24; 1 John 3:5).

Parallel Commentaries ...

Greek

[God] made
ἐποίησεν (epoiēsen)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 4160: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

Him who
τὸν (ton)
Article - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

knew
γνόντα (gnonta)
Verb - Aorist Participle Active - Accusative Masculine Singular
Strong's 1097: A prolonged form of a primary verb; to 'know' in a great variety of applications and with many implications.

no
μὴ (mē)
Adverb
Strong's 3361: Not, lest. A primary particle of qualified negation; not, lest; also (whereas ou expects an affirmative one) whether.

sin
ἁμαρτίαν (hamartian)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's 266: From hamartano; a sin.

[to be] sin
ἁμαρτίαν (hamartian)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's 266: From hamartano; a sin.

on our behalf,
ἡμῶν (hēmōn)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Genitive 1st Person Plural
Strong's 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

so that
ἵνα (hina)
Conjunction
Strong's 2443: In order that, so that. Probably from the same as the former part of heautou; in order that.

in
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

Him
αὐτῷ (autō)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Dative Masculine 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

we
ἡμεῖς (hēmeis)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Nominative 1st Person Plural
Strong's 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

might become
γενώμεθα (genōmetha)
Verb - Aorist Subjunctive Middle - 1st Person Plural
Strong's 1096: A prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude.

[the] righteousness
δικαιοσύνη (dikaiosynē)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's 1343: From dikaios; equity; specially justification.

of God.
Θεοῦ (Theou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

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2 Corinthians 5:21 - Ambassadors for Christ (2024)
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