2 Corinthians 5:21
For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
I. WHAT IS THE ESSENTIAL IDEA OF SIN? Some people desire to minimise sin; some evaporate it entirely away; some sneer at the idea. As men grow superficial and heartless they lose all true conception of sin, as a real, abiding, universal, awful fact; but, with Luther, we want no painted sin or painted Christ, we have to do with realities. If sin is not a reality, the Bible is inexplicable. At the outset we say that sin is not merely an individual, personal act. It involves the transgression of the law, but more. No man lives to himself. No act stops with the act or the actor. Your gun is fired in the air, the blaze goes from your chimney, but there is grime left in each. So the channels of our nature grow sooty. The act of sin leaves a stain which we and others see. Sin sinks into us. The sot is powerless. The fibres of his will are unstranded, unravelled. The impure become infected through and through. Sin is not a merely personal act, for it affects others. It scalds and scars the souls about us. We breathe our speech into the delicate membrane of the phonograph, turn the handle, and hear again the same. Had we instruments delicate enough we might grind out again from yonder post the sounds it has recorded here. No, sin is not an individual, isolated act, stopping with the act. Sin is a debt. We owe something to the laws of our being, those of the universe. We may overdraw, but we have got to pay sooner or later, though there be a delay. Sin is also spoken of as a disease. Sin is transmissible to posterity. Furthermore, we cannot say that it is a natural incident in the process of evolution, as did Emerson, so that the thief or the man in the brothel is on his way to perfection. Such a statement is an insult to conscience, an affront to God. Some flippantly say that Adam's fall was a fall upward, which is absurd. Dives went down into the pit and Lazarus upward, borne to Abraham's bosom. Some talk of a lie as but an incomplete form of truth. Then the devil, the father of lies, is the grandfather of truth! Darkness is partial light! It is folly to excuse our sin by subterfuge.
II. THE REMEDY AND CURE IS A CRUCIFIED CHRIST. "Sin for us, who knew no sin." Christ, once for all, has been made a sacrifice for sin. He instead of the sinner dies. His death for sin is a real matter. He alone can deliver and purify those who are polluted by sin.
(J. B. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.