He was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

1 John 3:5



This is an article I wrote more than thirty years ago. When I read it in a bulletin last week, I was compelled to give thanks to our God for that grace which has kept me from being “moved away from the hope of the gospel.”



Though he was made to be sin for us, when he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, our Lord Jesus Christ had no sin of his own. He had no original sin, because he was not represented by Adam in the garden of Eden. He had no Adamic sin nature, because he was not descended from Adam. He is the Seed of the woman. His human body and soul were created by the Holy Spirit in the virgin’s womb. And he had no actual sin. He never thought, felt, said, or did a sinful thing. “He knew no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” Our Savior “was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners.” In order for him to be a suitable sacrifice for sin, it was necessary that our Substitute be without sin, innocent, righteous, and holy. Our Redeemer had to be God. Otherwise he could not satisfy the law and justice of God. He had to be a man. Otherwise he could not suffer for man. And he must be without sin. Otherwise he would be required to suffer for his own sin. “In him is no sin!


Yet, in order to redeem us from our sins, the Son of God was made to be sin for us. By an act of divine imputation, the sins and guilt of God’s elect were transferred from us to Christ, our Substitute. Our sins became his sins (2 Cor. 5:21; 2 Pet. 2:24; Psa. 40:12; 69:4-5). Christ became responsible for our sins in the eyes of God’s law. And God exacted from his Son the full penalty of his law, which was due to us. The wrath and justice of God, which we deserved, was fully spent upon our Substitute.


By this divine substitution, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of himself, has put away our sins. Our glorious Mediator, who had no sin, but was made to be sin for us, once again has no sin. This is our assurance of eternal salvation. Christ, who took our sins off us and onto himself, dying under the just penalty of sin, has put away our sins forever! The proof that he has done so is the fact that he is risen from the dead, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high in glorious exaltation, and makes intercession for us. And the intercession of our great Advocate cannot be denied by God, because our Advocate is “Jesus Christ the Righteous; and he is the (immutably effectual, justice satisfying) Propitiation for our sins!



Don Fortner



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