Four Questions About Substitution                  

2 Corinthians 5:21

            1. Who was made to be sin for us? This text describes our great Surety upon one point only. He was and is that One “who knew no sin.” The Lord Jesus Christ, our Substitute was spotless, innocent, and pure. The Son of God took upon himself human flesh and dwelt among men. Though he was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, he knew no sin. He had no original sin. He never committed an act of sin. He never left anything undone which ought to have been done. He never had any inclination to or thought of sin. His holy mind never produced an evil though or desire. It was absolutely necessary that the sinner’s Substitute be without sin. If he had any guilt of sin whatsoever, he could not atone for sin. Our Lord Jesus Christ is such a Substitute as we need. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He is the embodiment of purity and virtue. As a man he was made under the law, but he owed nothing to the law. Yet he perfectly fulfilled the law. He was capable of standing in the room of others, because he was under no obligations of his own. Yet this Holy One voluntarily condescended to be made sin for us! This is amazing love and grace! 2. Who made Christ to be sin for us? “He,” God the Father, made his son to be sin! God the Father appointed Christ to be our Substitute (Job 33:24; Psa. 89:19). God the Father laid our sin upon his well-beloved Son and charged him with our guilt (Isa. 53:6, 10). God the Father gave his Son up to die in the place of sinners (John 3:16; 1 John 4:10). 3. When did the Lord God make his dear Son to be sin for us?  In his eternal decree the Father made the Son to be sin for us (Isa. 53:6), looked to him alone for satisfaction, and found satisfaction for our sins in his sacrifice (Rev. 13:8). At Calvary the Son of God was actually and experimentally made to bear our sins in his own body (1 Pet. 2:24). In conversion each ransomed sinner is made to see that Christ was made to be sin for him when the Holy Spirit effectually applies the blood to him and gives him faith in Christ (Heb. 9:14). 4. Now, why was the Lord Jesus Christ made to be sin for us? There are two answers to that question. The triune God loved us (Rom. 5:8; 1 John 3:16). There was no other way by which we could be saved. Because he had come to save others, our Savior could not save himself (Matt. 27:42). There is no other way by which the holy Lord God could save his elect. To suggest that another way might have been found is to assert that Christ died in vain (Gal. 3:21; 2:21).

Don Fortner