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“God that Beareth Iniquity”


He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)


The Lord Jesus is not here said to have our sin imputed to him, though sin was, indeed, imputed to our Substitute. It was justly laid to his charge. That is because “He hath made him sin for us.” But as far as the words of Holy Scripture are concerned, it is nowhere stated in the Book of God that sin was imputed to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is not a single passage in the Bible that speaks of our sins being imputed to our Savior.

      In Romans 4 the word “imputation” or its equivalent (accounting or reckoning) is used seven times. It is mentioned again in chapter 5 (v. 13). But in those places God the Holy Spirit speaks of sin not being imputed to us and of righteousness being imputed to us. Yes, our sins were imputed to our dear Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, when he was made sin for us, and because “He hath made him sin for us.” But the Word of God never uses the word impute, or any word like it, to speak of sin being imputed to Christ.

      The Book of God declares, “He hath made him sin for us.” I am fully aware that natural reason opposes it. And many have endeavored to make the Word of God say something else. We are told that Christ had sin imputed to him, that he bore the guilt of sin, that he was charged with the debt of our sins, that he became accountable for our sins, that he bore all the effects of our sins, and that he was treated as if he were sin. But this plain, straightforward, blessed statement of Holy Scripture is almost universally denied by men. — “He hath made him sin for us.” Still, there it stands.“He hath made Him sin for us.” How can this be? What can it mean?

In human law and reason among men, I fully acknowledge that guilt cannot be transferred, but only its effects. Among the sons of men, a third person may cancel my debts, but not my crimes. But this text of Inspiration is not describing things men can or may do. It tells us what our God has done. And in this great affair of salvation our great God stands infinitely alone. In this, his most glorious work, there is such a display of justice, mercy, wisdom, and power as never entered into the heart of man to conceive. In fact, the Lord God declared by his prophet Habakkuk that this wondrous work of his would not be believed, though most plainly declared. — “Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you” (Habakkuk 1:5). This wondrous work of our God has no parallel in the actions of mortals. — “Who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I the Lord? And there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior. There is none beside me” (Isaiah 45:21). Truly, there is none like our God, “a God that beareth iniquity!” That is what the prophet Micah declares. — “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth (BEARETH) iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger forever, because he delighteth in mercy (Micah 7:18).







Don Fortner








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