How Christ ‘Became Sin’
I’m just confused about our obedience or lack of obedience to the mosaic law…I’d also like to know more about when it says,
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God
I was unaware that Jesus became sin, I thought that he only paid the price for our sin. How could Jesus become sin without sinning? And how could Jesus become sin while combating it?
You know how they say that the three main factors in real estate are “location, location, and location”? Well the three main factors in Bible study are context, context and context! If you want to know what it means that Jesus “became sin,” you need to consider the context in which the statement is made:
2 Corinthians 5:17-21:
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
The passage is talking about reconciliation of man to God through Christ’s sacrifice. That is, in effect, a legal transaction. It’s not that we have not sinned; it’s that God does not count our sins against us. The reason that He can do that is that Christ has died in our place and has taken the penalty for sin on our behalf.
If you get a speeding ticket, and I come to court with you and pay the fine out of my own money, the fine is nonetheless paid and is credited to you as if you had paid it.
So Christ “became sin” for us in the sense that He paid the penalty - He accepted the full weight of our sins onto Himself and came to be viewed by the Father as being sinful in a legal sense, even though He committed no sins Himself - just as the Father views us to be righteous in a legal sense, even though we are not actually righteous. Therefore, it was not necessary for Jesus to commit sins in order to “become sin,” any more than it is necessary for us to be perfectly righteous in order to “become the righteousness of God,” as the verse states.
Christians are not under the Mosaic Law as such (read Romans 7, Colossians 2 and pretty much all of Galatians). That’s not to say that many of the same principles of the Law do not apply to us, since God’s standards of morality never change. But much of the Law was ceremonial or civil in nature, and was applicable only to Israel as a nation, not to anyone else. For example, Israelites were not allowed to eat an animal that had died by itself because it had not been properly bled according to the Law, but they could sell such an animal to a Gentile for him to eat (Deut. 14:21). That’s because Gentiles were not bound by the Law of Israel; neither are we. Of course, it’s still wrong to steal, murder, commit adultery, etc. But when we start picking fine points out of the Law and trying to make rules for Christians from them (the forbidding of tattoos comes to mind as a favorite of some people) we are treading on dangerous legalistic ground.