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Christ Made Sin
“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)
What a profound truth, what stupendous grace, what wondrous mystery these words contain I cannot tell you. — “He,” God the Father, — “hath,” in holy justice and infinite mercy, — “made,” to become, created, — “Him,” the Lord Jesus Christ, his infinite, well-beloved, only begotten, immaculate Son, — “sin,” an awful mass of iniquity, — “for us,” helpless, condemned, sinful rebels!
From the depths of my inmost soul, I pray that the Lord will enable me, at least once, before I die, to preach the message of this text as it ought to be preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. — “He hath made him sin for us.”
Our Only Hope
This is the greatest transaction that ever took place upon the earth, the most marvelous sight that men ever saw, and the most stupendous wonder that heaven ever executed. Jesus Christ was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Jesus Christ, the spotless Son of God, was made sin!
If ever we find rest, peace, and joy in our souls, if ever a sinner is made to be of good cheer, having the blessed knowledge of the forgiveness of sin, it must be fetched from that which is declared in this text. — “He hath made him sin for us.” No sinner will ever find real rest for his soul, a bed that he can stretch himself upon, and a cover broad enough to wrap himself in, but this. — “He hath made him sin for us.” There is no hope for any sinner but this. — “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
In order to understand what the Holy Ghost here teaches us, let me show you what this text does not say. It is not stated, as it is most commonly suggested, that God the Father made his Son “a sin-offering.” The Scriptures do declare, “thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin.” Our all-glorious Christ is our sin-offering. We have no offering for sin but him. But that is not what this text says. Here the Holy Spirit declares, “He hath made him sin for us.”
The Apostle does here tell us that Christ was made “a sacrifice for sin.” He is that. We rejoice to declare that when our blessed Savior died as our Substitute, he offered himself “one sacrifice for sins” and “sat down on the right hand of God.” Because of his one sacrifice, “there remaineth therefore no more sacrifice for sin!” But here the Spirit of God tells us, “He hath made him sin for us.”
Again, the Holy Spirit does not tell us here that Christ was “reckoned to be sin” by his Father. That is the way we might read the text, if we followed the implications of our translators in adding those words “to be.” Yes, he was reckoned to be sin and punished as such for us. But here we read, “He hath made him sin for us.”
In the same line of thought, it must be pointed out that our Lord Jesus is not here said to have sin imputed to him. Sin was, indeed, imputed to our Substitute; it was laid to his charge. That is because “He hath made him sin for us.” But as far as the words of Holy Scripture are concerned, it is nowhere stated in the Book of God that sin was imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a single passage in the Bible that speaks of our sins being imputed to our Savior.
In Romans 4 the word “imputation” or its equivalent (accounting or reckoning) is used seven times. It is mentioned again in chapter 5 (v. 13). But in those places God the Holy Ghost speaks of sin not being imputed to us and of righteousness being imputed to us. Yes, our sins were imputed to Christ when he was made sin for us, and because “He hath made him sin for us.” But the Word of God never uses the word impute, or any word like it, to speak of sin being imputed to Christ.
God, who made his Son sin for us, inspired the apostle Paul to state the matter in plain words that cannot be misunderstood, except by men who choose to misrepresent what God has written in the Sacred Volume. — “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”