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Christ Made Sin for Us - A Matter of Great Importance
2 Corinthians 5:21
“He hath made him sin for us.” — This is both a matter of great importance and great consolation, a clearly revealed point of gospel truth that sets before us the mysterious wonder of redemption and the wisdom and glory of God in accomplishing it.
Either the Lord Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were transferred to him, or he did not bear our sins in his body on the tree, as the Book says he did, but only the consequences and effects of them. The Prophet of God says, “He shall bear their iniquities.” The word “bear” means “carry,” as a man carries a burden. The Old Testament saints were well acquainted with God our Savior, as a sin-bearing Redeemer God, and considered this to be the glory of his character (Micah 7:18).
Either the Lord Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were transferred to him, or he did not really bear the consequences and effects of them. I mean by that, either he was made sin for us and our sins were transferred to him, or he did not bear the penalty of them. The shame and spitting, the beating and buffeting, the meanness and mockery our holy Savior endured at the hands of the Jews and Roman soldiers, the cross, the nails and the thorns, were a very small part of the reward of our transgressions. The principal part of the punishment of sin consists in a sense of guilt and of divine wrath; but neither of these could Immanuel have endured, unless he was made sin, unless he bore our sins themselves.
Either the Lord Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were transferred to him, or our sins are still our sins and justice finds them upon us still! The infinite justice of God still finds guilt upon us and upon the saints in glory, too, and must find them upon us forever. If that were the case, justice would still require satisfaction and mercy could be bestowed only at the expense of righteousness. But, thank God, that is not the case! Here is the great glory of God revealed in the salvation of his elect, as it is set forth in Holy Scripture. — The guilt of our sins, and our sins themselves, were forever put away by the sacrifice of his darling Son, washed away completely by the blood of the Lamb!
Here is the glory of his righteousness. — Not only that that he removed the curse, but the cause of the curse also. — “For as far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Our Savior was made sin for us, and our sins were so completely transferred to him, that if he had not conquered and destroyed them, they would have destroyed him. His resurrection is proof that sin is on him no longer. In Hebrews 9:26, after showing us that our all-glorious Redeemer has by the merit of his blood obtained eternal redemption for us, and that he is our ever-living High Priest, who appears in the presence of God for us, the Apostle Paul declares that he bore our sins and put them away “by the sacrifice of himself.”
In verse 28 he tells us that Christ bore the sins of many. Then he says, “unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” — “He appear the second time without sin.” “Mark it well,” Tobias Crisp said, “there was a time that Christ did not appear without sin, for he bore the sins of many. But there is a second time when he shall appear, and then he shall be without sin. So that believers have no sins upon them, and Christ hath none either.” What a glorious truth. It is truly worth more to our souls than a mountain of gold!
Either the Lord Jesus was made sin for us and our sins were transferred to him, or his sufferings were not penal sufferings and the justice of God was not satisfied by them. Justice requires that iniquity be punished, but the sufferings of Christ were not punishment, unless our sins were transferred to him, unless he was made sin for us. An innocent person may suffer; but an innocent person cannot be punished upon any just ground. And justice will not, indeed, cannot allow an innocent person to suffer punishment in the room of the guilty, anymore that it can reward a guilty, sinful, corrupt one with life eternal (Proverbs 17:5). But, blessed be his name forever, our penal Substitute has fully satisfied his own infinite justice for us, by suffering in our room and stead as one made sin for us, bearing in his own body all the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of all his people!
When our Lord Jesus turned the water into wine (John 2), he did not make the water look like wine, or taste like wine; he made the water wine. And when he was made sin for us by his Father laying on him the iniquity of all his elect, he was not made to look like sin, or made merely to be considered as sin, or even to only be treated as sin. He was made sin!
Because Christ was made sin for us, because he bore our sins in his own body on the tree and bore them away, the Lord God almighty declares that all who trust him have no sin (Psalms 103:12, Micah 7:18-19; Jeremiah 50:20; 1 John 3:5). Because “He hath made him sin for us,” all who believe on the Son of God are made “the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Because the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Righteous Servant, has fully obeyed his Father’s will in putting away our sins by the sacrifice of himself, because he was made sin for us, because he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, because he paid all the debt for our sins and put them away completely and forever, he now assures sinners everywhere of this glorious truth by the gospel. — “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37-40).
Come to Christ, no matter who you are, no matter how vile your transgressions are, and he promises that he will receive you, just as you are, and that he will never cast you out, that he will give you eternal life, that you shall never perish. Come, then, to Christ, without any preparations to make you ready, without any improvements to qualify you. Oh, come now to Christ, without delay. — “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation)” (2 Corinthians 6:1-2).