20 Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
implore (v.20) = having a deep personal need, to be in want, to make an urgent appeal
[The apostle] … besought men to be reconciled to God; and he told them that because the sinless Saviour was made to personate sin itself, and because He had offered up Himself as a sin-offering of infinite value, God was thereby reconciled, His justice vindicated, all the claims of His throne satisfied, and a spotless righteousness provided for guilty men. In that righteousness no flaw can be found. He has gone in to the very holiest , and has been accepted before the Throne of God. Christ is the Righteousness of God. In that righteousness God stands, and in that same righteousness the believer stands. God and the believer stand in the one and self-same righteousness. So the believer can say, “I have a righteousness in which no flaw can be found; it has preceded me into heaven and has been accepted there.”
The word “men” should be supplied in v.20 instead of the word “you,” for the Apostle was writing to persons who had already accepted the message of reconciliation. — Williams, page 902.
Think of the poverty, the humiliation, and the persecution which the ambassadors of Christ have so often endured! Yet what should an ambassador expect who has been left in a nation which has declared war on his government? Surely he cannot expect cordial treatment. Rather he may look for suffering, imprisonment, and even death. …
Paul earnestly pleaded with the lost to be reconciled to God and for this he “suffered trouble as an evil-doer, even unto bonds” and was finally beheaded by the wicked Nero.
Paul was indeed earnest about his calling. “… as though God did beseech you by us,” he said, “we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
Here surely we have the love of Christ “constraining” Paul. … “you would not have Christ,” he said, “but I am here in His stead.” As Christ represented Paul at Calvary, Paul now represented Christ in a Christ-rejecting world.” …
It may not be long before God recalls His ambassadors of reconciliation and declares war on His enemies. 1900 years ago man declared war on God. Both the Jews and the Gentiles arrayed themselves “against the Lord, and against His Anointed.”
A counter-declaration was, of course, inevitable and was the very next number on the prophetic program (Read carefully Psalms 2:1-5; 110:1).
“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign, through righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:20-21).
But on what legitimate basis does grace now reign?
2 Corinthians 5:21 explains: God made Christ, who “knew no sin,” to be sin for us, that we, the sinners, “might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” At Calvary (as our blessed Representative) He became the very embodiment of sin, suffering its full penalty for us.
Yet, the dispensation will finally be brought to a close and the day of grace will give place to “the day of wrath.” — Stam, pages 131-133.
Verse 21 puts an end to any claim that we have to (or can) do anything toward the accomplishment of our salvation.