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“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)


What a profound truth! What stupendous grace, what wondrous mystery these words contain I cannot tell you. “He,” God the Father, “hath,” in holy justice and infinite mercy, “made,” by a single act at one time ordained and wondrously, mysteriously caused “him,” the Lord Jesus Christ, his infinite, well-beloved, only begotten, immaculate Son, “sin,” an awful mass of iniquity, “for us,” helpless, condemned, sinful rebels!


God’s Greatest Work


Here God the Holy Ghost sets before us the vital truth of the gospel. This is the foundation truth of Christianity, the rock upon which our hopes are built. This is the only hope of the sinner, and the joy of every true believer.

      Substitution is the great transaction that took place at Calvary a little more than two thousand years ago. The great substitutionary work of Christ, the mighty transfer of sin from the sinner to the sinner’s Surety, the punishment of the Surety in the sinner’s place, the pouring out of the vials of divine wrath, which were due to us, upon the head of our dear Savior, the Son of God, is the greatest transaction that ever took place upon the earth, the most marvelous sight that men ever saw, and the most stupendous wonder that heaven ever executed.

      Jesus Christ, the Holy One of God, was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him! Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, was made sin! By him being made sin, we (sinners chosen in eternal love, the sinners for whom his blood was shed, sinners who trust the Christ of God) are made the righteousness of God in him.

      The Lord Jesus Christ was made sin for us. No man living upon this earth will ever really understand this truth. Yet, I hope that our hearts may be gripped by the reality of it. Oh, may God cause it to get hold of our hearts!


The Bible’s Message


This grand old gospel doctrine of substitution is the great truth of Holy Scripture. Why did all the types and ceremonies of the law portray it? Why did all the commandments of God point to it? Why were all the prophets inspired of God to declare it? Why is it declared throughout the New Testament? Why do Believers’ Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the ordinances of divine worship instituted by God our Savior remind us of it? Why are all matters of obedience to God, service to one another, and faithfulness to our Savior motivated and guided by this?


God’s Reason


The reason is obvious. — It is God’s intention for every saved sinner to glory only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The substitutionary sacrifice of Christ is to be the constant object of our faith, the daily glory of our hearts, and the continual triumph of our souls. Let every saved sinner constantly hold fast this blessed revelation of grace against all that sin, the law, or Satan can urge against us and lay to our charge. Until we cast our crowns before him in glory, who was once made sin for us, let us cherish, glory in, and give thanks to our great God, the Triune Jehovah, for the gospel doctrine of substitution revealed in this wondrous declaration of grace — “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.” Every word in that divine declaration is replete with consolation for our souls!







Don Fortner








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