Ask any generally well-versed Christian and they’ll know the phrase or some variant of; “He became sin who knew no sin”. This is quoted directly from 2 Corinthians 5:21… It states, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus took on the sins of all humanity and then nailed them to the cross in himself.
I have rarely met someone with the courage to dive into what this type of phrase of “Jesus becoming sin” really means.
In our typical church cultures, rooted in the penal substation legalisms of both historic Catholicism and its reformed offshoots, (led, solidified, and indoctrinated as baseline theological standards by esteemed thinkers such as Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, and Edwards), this mindset of the Crucified Jesus is the fulcrum point of God’s universal judgement scales. It is here that Jesus bridges and satisfies the unquenchable wrath of God’s infinite law-based holiness, and he is spit-out from the supernatural embrace of the Divine Trinity… rejected completely by the Father, Jesus paying the debt for your sins (that is conditionally based on IF you “accept” this “loving” offer of stand-in sacrifice).
To question such belief becomes as heretical as can be shouted among the collected and selected (elected) congregations of “Jesus-Believers”. Rejection of these ideas, is akin to rejecting God Himself. This is Jesus 101 and should not, neigh, cannot be questioned.
To do so is to become a “false teacher”.
These conditional characteristics of God solely hinge on an pivotal idea; a belief that God, in His Holiness, cannot look upon yet alone touch anything morally defined as breaking the Mosaic law (sinning). The Old Testament is loaded with thoughts and writings about this, climaxing with a phrase found in Habakkuk 1:13; “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.“
Well, there it is in the Bible, so it must be true.
God cannot look at or tolerate sin.
Again… these are the type of thoughts which you have likely been told repeatedly:
You are a sinner. God hates sin. God cannot look at or tolerate sin. If you have any sin in your life God sees it and cannot look at or tolerate you!
Now, do not question these words of the Bible… OR, even moreover, do not question the beliefs of theologians which preceded and trained your pastoral leadership and have helped create these progressive conclusions.
This is standard church culture.
The problem with such ideas and ways is they in no way Christlike.
Even this verse from Habakkuk, which has been used by many enthusiastic evangelical Christians, is almost always left incomplete. The verse continues with a MAJOR twist:
“Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?”
This does a 180° shift on the original thought! The prophet believed God could not look at sin or tolerate it, and yet there he is observing God completely immersed within the fray of evil and wrongdoing.
God runs straight into our sin. He always has.
Jesus, the exact representation of God, in his most unveiling event, became sin.
Jesus is God.
Therefore, on the cross, God Himself became sin.
Now, I know, it just doesn’t feel right to say something like that… so we don’t. Instead, we fabricate irreconcilable atonement theories to make our ideas and beliefs about God more in-line with our desperate need for legal satisfaction. We like our God to be as judgmental as we are. We want our God to be as exclusive and punitive as we are. We need our God to be the sovereign Lord of all things, in control and in condemnation of anyone not aligned with His standards of perfection.
Is this what Jesus is like? Jesus is the only perfect filter for God… and if it doesn’t look like Jesus, it cannot be God.
So, what does Jesus becoming sin really mean? Like, what does it really mean… broken theology or not?
It means that Jesus became every action of lawlessness which has ever happened inside this creation.
Every single action of “evil and wrongdoing”. Jesus became it.
Jesus became murder. Jesus became rape. Jesus became racism and sexism and terrorism. Jesus became drug abuse, lying, stealing, cheating and adultery. Jesus became all sexual perversion and pornography. Jesus became every action of lust and self-satisfaction. Jesus became all materialism and greed and abuse. Jesus became genocide and idolatry… Jesus became toxic theology and broken identity… Jesus became sin… not just some sin… SIN.
Jesus, as God, became sin.
God, all of God, Abba, Son, and Spirit have been intertwined within every action of sin since the very first taste of the poisoned fruit touched human lips. God has never once turned his back to sin… There is zero basis for that in scripture when viewed through the filter of The Living Word, the man Jesus.
God has always run head-on into humanity’s state of sin… to the climatic degree of absorbing every last drop of sin into His very being on Golgotha. Every single deviant, perverted, painful, distorted, demented, sickening, twisted, unloving, action of humanity – against self, against another person or against God – has been immersed inside of His everlasting mercy and love.
There has never been and never will be a way for God to unbecome sin. On the cross, in the total unveiling of His love for the world, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself… taking our sin and turning into His grace.
Jesus became sin. It is finished.
The ramifications of this idea lead one straight to the undoing of a lifetime of generational misunderstandings and deadly mindsets and it sets right the true name of God… which is ONLY revealed in the Man of Jesus:
God’s love has forever trounced the cosmic effects of broken law, crushing its head, making all things new.
Your personal conviction of guilt is only for the momentary purpose of learning this wonderful news. It points us straight to the effects of a fear-based belief in a god of holy law…and in our search and in our stumbles, we come to learn that the law has always pointed to perfect love.
It was our very allegiance to such law that murdered the manifestation and incarnation of perfect love… and inside this heinous event where we murdered God, perfect love Himself, He in-turn murdered the need to believe that such law has ever defined His feelings about us.
You have always been, are, and will always be loved in your sin. God holds them as no condition to His love for you. God has been with you in every act of sin, turning every single one of them into more of His unfathomable grace and goodness.
You have been freed to act in sin without any condemnation whatsoever. Sin in no way will ever nor can ever separate you from God’s love.
Jesus became your sin… By believing in this truth of Christ, you won’t be able to help becoming His perfect love. This is what the Good News is all about.