It’s a better option to say that Jesus died as a “sin offering” for us, instead of saying that Jesus was made SIN for us, because the latter option might make it sound like Jesus as some point became sinful and filthy. Yet, the offer Jesus made for us was sweet-smelling before his Father and nothing was filthy about it.
Eph. 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and IN HIM IS NO SIN.
But what about 2 Cor. 5:21?
2 Cor. 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin
Sin is translated from the Greek word hamartia (Strong’s 266). The above phrase can also be translated as ”to be a SIN OFFERING for us” (or “an offering for sin”), just like the below verse indicates.
Hebr. 10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and [offering] for SIN thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law
Notice that the words in italics are not present in the original Greek language but are inserted in English. It’s not unusual to translate the original word for ”sin” as ”sin offering” and the same is true in Hebrews 10:8 above, which is a quotation from Psalm 40:6 below. In this Psalm the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Hebrew text) also does not have the word ”offering” (sacrifice) in the text, despite that we can see this word in English.
Ps.40:6 Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and SIN offering hast thou not required.
The Hebrew word for “sin” above is chata’ah Strong’s 2401 and can be translated as “sin” or “sin offering”.
Also the Hebrew word chatta’ath Strong’s 2403, can be translated as either “sin” or “sin offering”. The KJV translates 2403 in the following manner: sin (182x), sin offering (116x), punishment (3x), purification for sin (2x), purifying (1x), sinful (1x),sinner (1x). Examples of “sin offering”:
Ex. 29:36 And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it.
Lev. 5:12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering.
You can read more about the meaning of the verb “bear” (as in “bear our sins”) in this article. (It can actually be translated as “remove our sins”, which other verses show). God the Father did not forsake Jesus on the cross which you can read about here.
What would be the reason for making our sins first make a detour inside Jesus before they are finally removed? When Jesus removed sickness and demons from people, this is also a picture of Jesus removing sin, as per Matt. 8:17. The illnesses and the demons didn’t first end up inside Jesus before they finally disappeared. Let’s not believe in the penal substitution theory (satisfaction theory).
- Jesus died as a sin offering for us on the cross.
- Jesus did not become sin, and he did not literally bear our sins.
- Jesus did not “pay for our sins”, but he did pay a big price for us since he gave his only life. (Compare with the statement to the right.)
John 1:29 The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Hebr. 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.—28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
1 John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
Rom. 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Matt. 18:26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.