For Our Sake He Made Him to be Sin Who Knew No Sin
Hello Monergism, Please, could you let me know what exactly it means that Christ [who was perfect and sinless] "BECAME SIN" for us. How was this possible? Thank you
That is a great question.
When it is said that Jesus "became sin" for us, it doesn't mean that He became sinful or committed sin Himself. Instead, it means that our sins were imputed or accounted to Him, and He bore the punishment that we deserved for those sins.
This perhaps may be seen more clearly when we look at the distinctions between the terms "imputation" and "impartation."
Imputation means that the sins of those united to Christ are attributed or credited to Jesus, even though He did not actually commit those sins Himself or become sinful. Our sins are "accounted" as His in the sense that He willingly took responsibility for them and bore the punishment that we deserved for those sins. In this act of imputation, God views Jesus as if He were the one who had committed those sins, even though He remained sinless.
In this context, imputation is a legal or judicial term, referring to a transfer of guilt or responsibility from one party to another. It is not a transfer of the sinful nature itself, but rather the consequences and guilt associated with that sin. Because of this, Jesus did not become sinful, but He took the punishment and consequences of our sins upon Himself.
On the other hand, impartation, as mentioned earlier, refers to the actual transfer or sharing of a divine attribute or quality from one person to another. This term is not appropriate in this context because it would imply that Jesus took on our sinful nature, which is not consistent with Christian theology. Impartation rather often refers, for example, to the Holy Spirit imparting spiritual gifts, power, a new heart, or divine nature to believers. This process enables believers to grow in their faith, manifest spiritual gifts, and live a transformed life.
When the Bible states that Christ "became sin" for us (2 Corinthians 5:21), it is referring to the doctrine of imputation. Jesus, who was perfect and sinless, took upon Himself the sins of those united to Him so that He could bear the penalty for those sins in His crucifixion. This is possible because Jesus is both fully human and fully divine, being the Son of God. His divine nature enables Him to bear the weight of the sins of those who are joined to Him, while in His human nature, He represented and identified with humanity.
By becoming sin for us, Jesus was able to pay the penalty for our sins, satisfying the demands of God's justice. This allows those who put their faith in Jesus to be forgiven and reconciled with God, as their sins have been imputed to Jesus, and His righteousness has been imputed to them.