2 COR. v. 21. “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.”
A VERY bold and startling verse.
I. The apostle asserts in unqualified terms the sinless-
ness of Christ.
Stronger than “Jesus was not a sinner;” He did not
know it; He was an utter stranger to it. The negation
carries the denial of Christ’s knowledge of sin into the very
consciousness of Christ.
This is confirmed by His life from first to last.
II. Yet He was made sin for us. Not a sinner, but sin;
which in a sense is an even stronger expression, as if the
Holy One of God had been transformed into the sum of
He was not only a man, but Man, the Head and Repre-
sentative of the race, representing it to God, and thus He
took, as an individual man, the burden of human sin and
guilt on Him—as His own. The vast accumulated guilt
of the race was present to His consciousness as they could
only have been to one who stood in the place of man.
Besides, He bare the punishment of the race, for guilt and
punishment are correlative terms. Nothing but this ex-
plains the cross.
III. The object is described in terms almost as startling
and daring. It is not that we might become righteous
before God, but that we might become in Christ ourselves
the righteousness of God. The highest moral elevation
conceivable for any creature.
Let it be noticed that on the objective theory of the
atonement its moral power really depends. To deny it
any relation to human sin and guilt and the majesty of
the moral law, is to imperil its power over the conscience
and the heart of man.
G. S. Barrett, B.A.