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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.
Our iniquity itself was laid on the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only was the Lord of Glory punished for sin, he was made sin. Not only did Christ bear the wrath and indignation of God against sin, he was made sin. The Son of God was made sin for us because there was no possible way for God’s elect to be discharged of their sins, but for Christ to be made sin.
God’s eternal determination to redeem was a matter of pure, free, sovereign grace. God did not have to redeem anyone. There was nothing in us to compel God’s favor. But once God determined to redeem and save an elect people, he could do it only by the satisfaction of justice, only by making Christ to be sin for us. If righteousness could come by law, by anything we could do, or in any other way, then Christ died in vain (Galatians 2:21).
The holy Lord God could not justify his people unless he found a way to make them righteous; and he could not punish his Son unless he made him to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (Proverbs 17:15). The Triune Jehovah looked upon Christ as the Surety of his elect in the covenant of grace, and said, — “Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (Job 33:24). — And he “Laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
All the sins of all the elect were gathered together as one huge, hideous, obnoxious load, and made to meet upon Christ. He was made to be sin for us and punished as the sinner in our place (Psalms 40:12; 69:5; Zechariah 13:7). — Our text is talking about a real transfer of sin, not just a post-it note on the Savior’s forehead saying “sin.” — No! — “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all!” — “He hath made him to be sin for us!” By this means “the law and justice of God had full satisfaction and our recovery from ruin and destruction is procured” (John Gill).
Yes, this was a real transfer of sin and guilt. Our iniquity really did become our Substitute’s iniquity, when the Lord God laid it on him. Speaking as our Substitute, the Son of God cried, “Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me...My sins are not hid from thee” (Psalms 40:12; 69:5). Jesus Christ never knew sin. Yet, he died as the greatest sinner who ever lived, for he was made sin for us, and was made to bear in his body all the sins of all his elect.
Christ really did bear all our sin, just as a Surety is really the debtor when he willingly puts himself in the room of another. Christ gave his bond as our Surety in the covenant of grace. The Lord God, having accepted Christ as our Surety, cannot look for payment from us. If he will have payment for sin, he must have it from him upon whom the debt has been laid (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
Payment God cannot twice demand,
First at my bleeding Surety’s hand, and then again at mine!