“Made Sin”


For 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 Spirit of God does not here tell us merely that our Lord Jesus Christ was made a “sin offering,” though he certainly was made an “offering for sin” and a “sacrifice for sin” (Isaiah 53:10; Hebrews 10:12). Sin offerings were made to God for sins committed against him in the typical Mosaic age. The priests in the Old Testament received sin offerings from the transgressors, and offered them to God upon the altar of the tabernacle to make atonement for them. The priests first made sin offerings for themselves and then, after making sacrifice for their own sins, they could offer sacrifices for the sins of the people (Leviticus 4:1-5:13; 6:24-30; 16:6, 11-15, 24).


Our dear Savior certainly was not made a sinner. On Calvary’s cursed tree “he was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). Our Lord Jesus Christ, God’s darling Son, was numbered with murderers, adulterers, blasphemers, and thieves and robbers, and died as the chief of them. The Holy One of God died on Calvary as the sinner’s Substitute. He died on the cross that had Barabbas’ name written on it. He died on the cross that had my name written on it. Hanging before God in the place of chosen sinners, the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins, under the wrath of God.


Dying as our Substitute, he spoke in the words of a sinner, crying, “My God, my God, Why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” (Psalm 22:1). Being made sin, our all-glorious Christ was treated by God as a sinner. — “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6).


Our Savior was treated as a sinner, but never was he a sinner actually or morally. Rather, he was made to be something worse. He was made to be sin itself. All that sin is, in all its ugly, hideous, obnoxious vileness, everything that is the exact and complete antithesis of righteousness he was made to be, when he “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). What a change! The righteous became, was made, unrighteous. The Holy One was “made sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!” Sin is what Christ was made to be because of his union with God’s elect, being put to death for us. Righteous is what God’s elect are made to be because of our union with Christ, who conquered death, hell and the grave by his death upon the cursed tree as our Substitute.









Don Fortner



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