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Christ Made Sin for Us — Forsaken of God

2 Corinthians 5:21


My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” — As David penned those words as a prophet of God under the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit, I have no doubt he knew that he was writing as a prophet about the unutterable agonies of our dear Savior. He understood what he wrote in the Psalms about the Lord Jesus, and was utterly overwhelmed by it.


It was the thought and anticipation of being made sin for us, not of simply paying the debt due unto our sins, but of being made sin, that caused our Redeemer’s bloody sweat in Gethsemane. It was this fact, the fact that he was made sin for us that caused him to be forsaken of his Father as he hung upon the cursed tree on Golgotha’s hill.


The Psalms


In Psalm 40:12 our great Surety, when made sin for us, cried out, “Innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.” Who can question the reality of his agony, the reality of his substitution?


            In the 69th Psalm we again hear Immanuel calling our sins his own as he hangs upon the cursed tree, suffering the wrath of God for us. — “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me...O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee!” How could our sins be “his” otherwise than by this act of wondrous justice and grace? — “He hath made him sin for us!” As debts are transferred to the surety, our sins were transferred to our Savior. “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer” (Luke 24:46). Since he became voluntarily responsible, “ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26.)


New Testament


This great transfer of sin from chosen sinners to our blessed Surety is fully attested in the apostolic writings of the New Testament. All the expressions of the inspired apostolic writers in relation to this subject seem to have a reference to the legal sacrifices. As the animal offered in sacrifice was called sin, because it typically bore transgression, so Christ, who knew no sin, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). When he was made sin, he was made a curse for us (Galatians 3:13), because he was “once offered to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9: 28).


This one offering was not typical, like the sacrifices of the law, but a real expiation of iniquity. The imputation of sin to our blessed Savior was not figurative, but real. It was an imputation connected with a real transfer of our iniquities to him (1 Peter 2:24).


If there is anything in the Book of God with which we should desire to be acquainted, it is this, upon which our salvation and everlasting consolation depend. “He hath made him sin for us!” If we would know Christ and the fellowship of his sufferings, if we would look on him whom we have pierced and mourn, if we would die unto sin and bring forth fruit unto God, we must have the gift of God the Holy Spirit to reveal to us this great mystery, that God the Father has laid on Christ the iniquity of us all, that “He hath made him sin for us!


Why did the holy Redeemer go mourning to the grave? Why did divine justice pursue him? — Only because he bare the sin of many. From this fountain the streams of free salvation flow. We die unto sin; we live unto righteousness, only because he, his own self, bare our sins in his own body on the tree. O wondrous grace! O magnificent justice! O mysterious transfer! O amazing mystery!




Don Fortner








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