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“In Him is No Sin”
1 John 3:5
The Lord Jesus Christ was manifested to take away our sins and in Christ there is no sin. Though he was made sin for us, our Lord had no sin of his own. — “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” — “Who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” In order for him to be a suitable sacrifice for sin, it was necessary that our Savior be without sin. The sinner’s Substitute must himself be innocent, righteous, and holy.
Christ Made Sin
Yet, in order to redeem us from our sins and to justify us before God, the Son of God had to be made sin for us. By a profoundly mysterious and infinitely wise transfer of grace, the Son of God was made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). Being made sin for us, our guilt was imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ and he was made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). God’s holy law exacted from him the just penalty of our sins. — “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” — “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
And having taken our sins upon himself, suffering for us the just penalty of our sins, our glorious Mediator in heaven once again has no sin. That one who sits in heaven and makes intercession for us has no sin. We know and are assured that he who was made sin for us is now without sin, because he was “declared to be the Son of God with power” when he arose from the dead, being “justified in the Spirit,” and ascended into heaven, where he ever lives to make intercession for us. Our Advocate and High Priest in heaven is perfect. He is holy. He has no sin. This is the basis of our assurance and confidence with God. We have a perfect Substitute and sacrifice whom the Father has accepted.
Sinners without Sin
But this text is speaking of those who are in Christ. John tells us, by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, that in Christ we have no sin. In ourselves we are sinners. The old nature of sin is with us and will be with us so long as we are in this world. Anyone who denies this is a liar and makes God a liar. Yet, before God, in the sight of God, those who are in Christ by a living faith have no sin. “He was manifested to take away our sins.” And he has done it! — “And in him is no sin!” The all-seeing eye of God’s holy law sees no sin in the believer, because we are in Christ; “and in him is no sin!” The believer has no sin. — “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us!” And in that great day, when God shall judge all men according to their works, he declares, “the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.”
My sin, O the bliss of this glorious thought, —
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more, —
Praise the Lord, it is well with my soul!