Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com
Christ Made Sin for Us
2 Corinthians 5:21
Were our sins transferred to Christ and made his, or was our Savior only treated as if that were the case? — What do the Scriptures say? I am not even slightly concerned about what men say concerning this matter. I only want to know this. — What does God say in his Word? This is what God says. — “He hath made him sin.”
In this statement, “He hath made him sin,” the word “made” is very significant. It is not a legal term, but a word that carries the idea of “create.” Writing by divine inspiration, the apostle Paul is tells us that God the Father, by one great, mysterious act, gathered together all the sins of all his elect throughout all the ages of time, and caused his darling Son to be sin for us. This is exactly the same thing we are told by other inspired writers (Isaiah 53:6, 12)). Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God, “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
The Word of God plainly teaches that Christ our blessed Surety was made sin for us, that he bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that the Lord God laid upon him our iniquities, that “He hath made him sin.”
This transfer of sin from the sinner to the sinner’s Surety was clearly set forth in the typical sacrifices of the Mosaic law. It was typified and prefigured by the sinner laying his hands on the head of the animal he brought to be sacrificed in his stead before God. You will recall that when Aaron and his sons were to be consecrated as priests unto God, they were commanded to “put their hands on the head of the bullock,” which represented typically the transfer of their sins to the bullock, which was then counted worthy of death. Because the bullock bearing their sins was counted worthy of death, the Lord commanded, “And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (Exodus 29:10-11).
Perhaps the clearest, most well-known picture of the transfer of our sins to the Lord Jesus Christ, and of him putting away our sin by bearing them and bearing them away in his own body on the tree is the scapegoat presented before the Lord on the day of atonement.
“And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.” (Leviticus 16:20-22)
Carefully observe what the Lord God shows us in this scapegoat typifying our dear Savior. — Here is the transfer of sin from the people to the goat, from us to Christ. — Here is the transfer of the sins of a particular people, of their sins and only their sins, the sins of the children of Israel, God’s elect people. — Here is the transfer of all the sins of all the children of Israel, all God’s elect. — And here we see the sins transferred from the people to the goat taken away. In a word, the scapegoat shows us a clear picture of particular, effectual redemption — limited atonement.
Knowing that Christ was made sin for us, we understand that he was justly punished in our stead, punished to the full satisfaction of divine justice. By his satisfaction of justice for our sins, our sins have been completely, effectually, forever put away, and can never be charged to us (Psalm 103:12; Hebrews 1:3; 9:26-28; 1 John 3:5; Romans 4:8). If the holy, just, and true Lord God cannot find our sins, he cannot punish us for our sins; and that is exactly what he tells us in his Word (Jeremiah 50:20).