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 – 2 Corinthians 5:21
During the Levitical priesthood, once a year, the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the children of Israel on a scapegoat, which afterwards, was released into the wilderness (Leviticus 16). That was what Jesus became for us. He became our sin-bearer; our sins were laid on Him. He took the punishment for all our wrongs (Isaiah 53:6) and we became legally free.
This is however, just one side of the coin. That Jesus was our sin-bearer wasn’t enough to save man eternally. His death on the Cross fully paid for man’s sins, but man still had the sin nature, which he got from Satan, through Adam’s transgression. Jesus identified with us to the very core of our nature, and God laid our nature of sin on His spirit. So when the Bible says He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, it’s different from bearing our sins! He became the very embodiment of sin. He became us and we were poured into Him.
When the claims of justice were satisfied, He was raised from the dead and justified; and thus were we justified with Him. Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore being justified (declared righteous) by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” This means, anyone who believes on Jesus and accepts His sacrifice is declared and made righteous.
Now we have a different nature—God’s own nature of righteousness—in our spirits! Sin is unnatural to us now. We walk in righteousness, being the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. What is righteousness? It’s the rightness of God in a man’s spirit, which gives him the ability to express the will and character of God through his spirit. It’s the quality of conformity to the divine nature as revealed through the Word. It’s the ability to stand in the presence of God without guilt, inferiority, or condemnation. Thus, you have right standing before the Father, and sin no longer has dominion over you (Romans 6:14).
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Dear Father, I thank you for imparting your righteousness to me as a gift, thereby giving me right standing with you. Having been justified by faith and ushered into a life of peace with you, through the Lord Jesus Christ, I celebrate the grace in which I now stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Further Study: Romans 5:17; Ephesians 4:24