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“The Lord hath Laid on Him the Iniquity of Us All”
Our sins have all been laid on Christ, our great Substitute, by whose death justice has been satisfied and our sins forever put away. He who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made he righteousness of God in him.
This was the work of God alone. It was the Lord God himself who made his darling Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to be sin for us. — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The Triune God agreed in covenant love to lay all our sins, all the sins of all his elect, upon the Son. Sin, the greatest burden in the world, the most loathsome thing in the universe, the load that must have crushed our souls into hell’s eternal misery, has been laid upon the God-man by God’s own hand! — “It pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” (Isaiah 53:10).
This great, mighty transfer of sin from the sinner to the sinner’s Surety was sought by grace and infinite love, conceived by infinite wisdom, ordained by infinite mercy, and executed by infinite justice and grace. None but God could do it! Who but God could lay sin upon God? Who but God could punish God for sin? Who but God could dispose of sin for the salvation of his people?
Some think we lay our sins upon Christ. You cannot even lay your hand upon him, much less your sin! If you imagine that your prayers, tears, mournings, fastings, and confessions can lay your sins off yourself and onto Christ, you are just beating the air! Your wisdom is ignorance! And your religion is blasphemy! To lay iniquity upon Christ is the work of Jehovah alone.
All Three Persons
As all three sacred persons in the eternal Godhead are involved in every aspect of our salvation (Ephesians 1:3-14; 1 Peter 1:2), so all three of the divine persons are involved in this. God the Father laid sin on Christ that his own justice might be satisfied in the slaughter of his own dear Son (2 Corinthians 5:21). God the Son laid sin upon himself for the redemption of his people (1 Peter 2:24). And God the Holy Ghost lays sin upon Christ in the revelation of the Gospel (John 16:8-11).
We do not lay our sins upon Christ by faith. We see our sins laid on him, punished in him, and removed by him by faith; but faith does not lay anything on him.
When did the Lord God do this? It is true, God applies the pardon of sin at conversion; but our sins were laid upon Christ and put away by him long before we believe. God the Father laid our sins upon his dear Son, our Surety, in his eternal operations of redemption and grace (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:18-21). — “The works were finished from the foundation of the world” (Hebrews 4:3).
God executed his decree, laying sin upon his Son when he hung upon the cursed tree; and he will never make another transfer of sin. There is not a moment in time nor a condition possible in which God will transfer sin back from Christ to his people. Sin, once laid on the scapegoat, is carried away into the land of forgetfulness, never to be seen or brought back again (Psalm 32:1-2; Romans 4:8).
Mighty to Save
Christ Jesus our Lord, the One upon whom sin has been laid, is mighty to save. That One upon whom sin has been laid must have a back strong enough and shoulders broad enough to carry the horrible load of iniquity without sinking beneath it. Were it possible for our Surety to fail, we would be utterly without hope. The comfort and hope of the gospel depends entirely upon the ability of Christ to bear our sins, satisfy justice, and execute his gracious will. Therefore, it is written, “The Lord hath laid on HIM the iniquity of us all.” And of this mighty One it is written, — “He shall not fail, nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth” (Isaiah 42:4).
This is the most soul comforting truth in all the world. — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Blessed are those people who have this gospel published to them. Blessed are those who have ears to hear this good news. The transfer of sin from you to Christ is not something that must be done. It is something already done. The text does not say, “The Lord shall lay the iniquities of us all upon Christ if we will meet certain conditions and terms.” It says, — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all!” The Lord has done it (Romans 10:6-8). There is nothing for you to do. Faith simply receives, believes, and rejoices in what the Lord has done. It adds nothing to it (Romans 5:10-11).
Here is the most wonderful, astounding, amazing thing ever performed by our great God. — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Sin is the most hateful thing in the world to God. It is the only thing in the world God abhors. It is horrible, abominable, hideous in God’s sight. Yet, God made his lovely Son to be sin for us! I am amazed to think that God made his Son to be a man, to be a poor man, to be a suffering man, to be a crucified man. But when I read that “he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin,” I am altogether astonished! This is too wonderful, too sublime, too mysterious, too Divine for our puny brains to apprehend.