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 Cor 5:21
What was done with the Lord Jesus Christ when he was made to be sin for us? Let no one consider these things as mere matters of cold, theological speculation. They are to be studied and meditated upon only with deep reverence for him who was made to be sin for us.
Our Lord Jesus Christ voluntarily took upon himself an intimate, infinite acquaintance with human sin. He really did take our sins and make them his very own (Psa. 40:12; Psa. 69:4-5; Psa. 69:7-9). Our Savior voluntarily assumed all the sins of all his people and volunteered to be made sin for us and to suffer all the wrath of God for our sins, as our Substitute (Psa. 40:6-8; Isa. 50:5-7).
God almighty delivered his own dear Son over into the hands of Divine justice. He was made to suffer the fullest possible extent and extremity of God’s infinite and violent wrath. He was made to pay the just penalty of the law.
God made his Son to be sin! This was the soul of his sufferings. He who knew no sin was made to be sin. John Gill wrote, "He was made sin itself by imputation. The sins of all his people were transferred unto him, laid upon him, and placed to his account. He sustained their persons and bore their sins. And having them upon him, and being chargeable with, and answerable for them, he was treated by the justice of God as if he had been not only a sinner, but a mass of sin."
The Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior, suffered and died under the justice and wrath of God as the greatest sinner who ever lived. He was charged with all the sins of all his people. He was made to be sin for all God’s elect at once. He suffered shame and reproach. He was despised and rejected of men. He was forsaken by his disciples. He was cursed and denied by Peter. He was nailed to the cursed tree. He was mocked, railed, and spit upon. He was forsaken by his Father!
"Oh, hear that piercing cry! What can its meaning be?
"My God! My God! Oh! Why hast Thou In wrath forsaken me?"
It was because our sins On Him by God were laid;
He who Himself had never sinned, For sinners, sin was made!"
Almighty God drew forth the dreadful sword of justice and slew his Son in our place! Who can grasp that thought? Who can enter into its depths? I cannot understand it. I can hardly realize it. But I can and do believe it. I rest my soul upon it! "He hath made him to be sin for us!" I cannot declare it as I wish I could. But I can bow down and worship my glorious Surety!
"For Us" 2 Corinthians 5:21
Contrary to the popular, heretical opinion of the religious world, the Son of God was not made to be sin for everyone. He was made to be sin "for us." Who are those people for whom the Lord Jesus Christ was made to be sin? That question is answered in many ways in the Word of God. Yet, all the answers given describe one specific category of people. They all describe God’s elect. Christ was made to be sin for ungodly, helpless sinners (Rom. 5:6-8). He was made to be sin for his sheep (John 10:11). He was made to be sin for his church (Eph. 5:25-27). The Lord Jesus was made to be sin for those for whom he prayed in John 17 (See verses 9 and 20). In Hebrews 2:9-18, the Spirit of God tells us that the Lord Jesus was made to be sin and "tasted death for every man" whom he calls brother, "every man" numbered among his children, "every man" of Abraham’s seed, and "every man" he will bring to glory. Another way of saying that Christ was made to be sin and died for his elect is to assert that he was made to be sin for all who believe. The "us" for whom Christ died are all true believers. Our faith in him is the fruit and evidence of the fact that he died for us (Heb. 11:1). What are the results of this mighty substitutionary Sacrifice? There are some sure, inevitable results arising from Christ’s substitutionary sacrifice. Nothing was left to chance, or to the free-will of men. He who died at Calvary died for a specific purpose, to achieve specific results; and he will see his purpose accomplished (Isa. 53:10-12). Should he fail to achieve even one of those purposes for which he died, for even one of those sinners for whom he died, then he is not the Christ of God, and we are yet in our sins (Isa. 42:4). Justice was satisfied. All the wrath, condemnation, pain, and agony required by the law and justice of God for sin was fully endured by Christ. Sin was removed. The law released its claim upon God’s elect. The righteousness of God was made ours. These things were accomplished on the spot; and other things were guaranteed by the death of Christ. The death of Christ guarantees that every believer will be made perfectly righteous. The death of Christ guarantees the eternal salvation of all God’s elect. The death of Christ guarantees that every soul for whom he died will enter into eternal glory. If the Lord Jesus Chris was made to be sin for us, if the Lord of glory died for us, we ought to willingly, constantly, and completely consecrate ourselves to him (Rom. 12:1-2; 1 Cor. 6:19-20). Nothing else makes any sense at all. Half-heartedness toward Christ is simply incomprehensible! Even with a knowledge of my horrible depravity and sin, I simply cannot understand how a blood-bought sinner can be so indifferent to his Redeemer as I am!