“Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?” (Micah 6:11)
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Jehovah’s question here is its own answer. The Lord God asserts in unequivocal terms that He abhors all injustice. If He saves, He will be “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21). If He damns, it will be upon the grounds of strict justice. He will never use wicked balances or deceitful weights. He has named Himself a God that will by no means clear the guilty (Exodus 34:7). — “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect [man], neither will He help the evil doers” (Job 8:20). — “He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both [are] abomination to the LORD” (Proverbs 17:15).
The Lord our God repeatedly avows His absolute, unbending justice in the exercise of His free, saving grace in Christ Jesus, and in the execution of His holy justice. — “A just weight and balance are the Lord’s” (Proverbs 16:11). — “Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good” (Proverbs 20:23). The God of all grace never uses wicked balances and deceitful weights to make sinners pure by His grace.
The Lord God did not use wicked balances and deceitful weights when He punished His Son as our Substitute at Calvary. If we were to be redeemed, Christ had to die in our stead. The Just must die for the unjust, the Righteous for the unrighteous, the Innocent for the guilty, the Holy for the unholy, the Sinless for the sinful. Yet, because the Lord God is holy, just, and true, He could not and would not impute sin to His dear Son and punish Him for our sins, except He make Him to be sin for us who knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). No court on earth can impute guilt where there is none, unless the court itself is corrupt and unjust. — The court of heaven is neither corrupt nor unjust. In fact, as we read a few minutes ago, the Lord God specifically declares, “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged” (Proverbs 16:6).
When the Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins in His own body on the tree, He was made sin for us. When He was made sin for us, He became guilty as our Substitute, and our sins were imputed to Him (Psalms 40:12; 69:5). Then, the Lord God, the Triune Jehovah, cried, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My fellow: smite the Shepherd” (Zechariah 13:7). When Christ died at Calvary, He died because He was found worthy of death. That is the clear teaching of Holy Scripture.
We could never have obtained righteousness, we could never have been made the righteousness of God in Christ had not the Lord Jesus been made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21.
Traditionally, it is said that Christ was made sin by imputation. I have erroneously said that myself; but the Word of God never does. There is never a place, not even one in the Book of God where a legal or forensic term is used with reference to Christ being made sin. It is certainly true that our sins were imputed to our Savior. Had they not been imputed to Him, He could never have suffered the wrath of God for our sins. But He was not made sin by imputation. — Our sins were justly imputed to Him because He was made sin for us!
Our Savior had no sin of His own. He was born without original sin, being even from birth “that Holy One” (Luke 1:35). Throughout His life, He “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), “did no sin” (1 Peter 2:22), “and in Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5). But on Calvary the holy Lord God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Just as in the incarnation “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14), in substitution He who was made flesh “was made sin for us.”
These things are mysteries beyond the reach of human comprehension. But they are facts of Divine Revelation to which we bow with adoration. Mysteriously, profoundly, wondrously, in a way that defies explanation, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Darling of heaven, who knew no sin, did no sin, and could not sin, was made sin for us.
In fact the word translated “made” in 2nd Corinthians 5:21 means precisely that — “mysteriously, wondrously made, made in a profoundly mysterious way that is beyond explanation.” Our Lord Jesus was wondrously, mysteriously, profoundly made, caused to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Justice could not punish an innocent man. Therefore Christ Jesus was made sin, that sin might be imputed to Him, that He might be justly punished for our transgressions. By the just balances and honest weights of the court of heaven, the Son of God was justly executed upon Calvary’s cursed tree as the sinner’s Substitute. — Wondrous mercy! — Amazing grace! — Incomprehensible love!
To say, as many do, that God treated Christ as though He were a sinner, that He punished Christ for sin, though He was not made sin, that He imputed guilt to His Son, though His Son was never made guilty, is to declare that the God of heaven “counts [us] pure with the wicked balances and with the bag of deceitful weights.”
This is the good wine of the Gospel. It makes glad the heart! When Christ was made sin for us, it was He and He alone who trod the wine-press of His Father’s wrath as our Substitute, when the Lord God bruised Him and put Him to grief. This is the wine that cheers both God and men. When God’s justice took the full draught of it for the sins of the redeemed, the Lord God declared Himself well pleased. And when the poor sinner, by sovereign grace, is first made to drink of the blood of the Lamb, he feels constrained to cry…
“Hallelujah! I have found Him
Whom my soul so long has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longings,
Through His blood I now am saved.”
“Lowly and reverently adore the justice of God. God set His heart upon saving your souls, but He would not be unjust, even to indulge His favorite attribute of mercy. Sooner than He would tarnish His justice, He bound His only-begotten Son to the pillar, and scourged and bruised Him. Sooner than sin should go unpunished, He put that sin upon Christ, and punished it. — O, how tremendously, and with what terrific strokes!”