“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.” 1 Peter 2:24
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
For God to be just he must punish the crime of sin that we possess. The debt we owe has to be paid. The wonder of the cross is that Christ took our place and died in our stead, bearing the entire weight of God’s wrath toward us, so that we might be forgiven our debts. Our endless record of crimes committed against our perfect God has been wiped away (Col. 2:13-14).
Listen to these beautiful lyrics from the song Jesus, Thank You, written by Pat Sczebel:
“The mystery of the cross I cannot comprehend.
The agonies of Calvary.
You the perfect Holy One, crushed Your Son
Who drank the bitter cup reserved for me.
Your blood has washed away my sin.
Jesus, thank you.
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied.
Jesus, thank you.
Once your enemy, now seated at Your table.
Jesus, thank you.”
Let us sit under the weight of what Christ has done in taking our place on the cross.
But let us think and ask the question, if the Son of God is sinless, how does he take our punishment? The profound mystery of the cross is that Jesus didn’t just die for our sin. He became our sin. Go back and look at the two verses the top:
“He himself bore our sin in his body” - “For our sake he made to be sin.”
Jesus, the perfect and sinless Son of God, experienced the full weight of bearing the sin of all mankind in his own body. And when he died, our sin died. When he was punished, our sin was punished. God is just and our justifier through the cross (Rom. 3:26).
Read the words of Isaiah slowly (and out loud if possible).
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities. … he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:4-6, 11-12).
Marvel at the glories of Calvary for just a moment. Think about the reality that Jesus died for your sin by bearing your sin in his own flesh. He died on the cross and experienced the wrath of God in your place. Your sin was nailed to the cross. And now, through faith in Christ, he has exchanged your sin for his very own holiness and righteousness. Oh, the wonder!
Let this Puritan prayer from the The Valley of Vision be your prayer today:
“Thy blood is the blood of incarnate God, its worth infinite, its value beyond all thought. Infinite must be the evil and guilt that demands such a price.
Sinner that I am, why should the sun give me light,
the air supply breath,
the earth bear my tread,
its fruits nourish me,
its creatures subserve my ends?
Yet thy compassions yearn over me,
Thy heart hastens to my rescue,
Thy love endured my curse,
Thy mercy bore my deserved stripes.
Let me walk humbly in the lowest depths of humiliation,
bathed in thy blood, tender of conscience,
triumphing gloriously as an heir of salvation” (“Thy Precious Blood,” pg 74-75).