2 Corinthians 5:21—How could Jesus be made sin when He was sinless?

Problem: Paul asserts here that Jesus was “made to be sin.” However, many other Scriptures insist that Jesus was “without sin” (Heb. 4:15; cf. 1 Peter 3:18). But how could Jesus be without sin if He was made sin for us?

Solution: Jesus was always without sin actually, but He was made to be sin for us judicially. That is, by His death on the Cross, He paid the penalty for our sins and thereby cancelled the debt of sin against us. So, while Jesus never committed a sin personally, He was made to be sin for us substitutionally. The issue can be summarized as follows:

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.