October 1976

You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Please discuss 2 Cor. 5:21. How was Christ made sin for us? S.H.


Many early exegetes simplified the meaning here by inserting the word offering, saying, Christ was made a sin offering for us. There is justification for the conclusion (Isa. 53: and its many applications in the NT). For sins in Heb. 10:6, 8, refers to sin offering (as context shows, vs. 10,12), and both K.J. and A.S. insert sacrifice or offering to fill out the sense. (Study Rom. 8:3.) This is a short-cut solution, and does no injustice to the idea expressed.

But sin (hamartian) is used twice in this sentence and would not likely have a dual use. Its contrast with righteousness should also be considered. I believe the passage says God made (acted as though) Christ had sinned, placing upon Him the penalty for sin, i.e., death, or separation from God. The penalties of sin (in abstract) were laid upon Him, on our behalf.

Made (poieo) is used here as in Jn. 5:18, 8:53, 10:33. The Jews said Jesus Made himself equal with God. From their viewpoint, he only acted as though he was God. Christ actually knew no sin yet He freely gave Himself up to the penalty (as though He had sinned) in order that there be no injustice done when we, who have known sin, are forgiven (Rom. 3:26).

I do not hold to the fanciful concepts of imputation spun from this verse; neither to Jesus soul, blackened by the sins of the world, nor to divine purity heaped upon us. We should be content with the emphasis which God placed upon forgiveness; in our initial coming to Christ, and in the continued blessings possible for all who walk in the light. Righteousness of God refers, I believe, to that right standing before God made possible through Christ. Child of God does not mean a little God.

Bro. Turner:

Is there scriptural authority for singing an invitation song or song of encouragement following a sermon?


See Vol. 12, No. 10, p.2, for more discussion of invitation songs. This repeated question indicates either or both a poor understanding of the purpose of public singing, and of generic authority for carrying out our divinely assigned tasks.

An invitation song is not a specified part of public worship; nor is any other subject matter that may come under the general category of spiritual songs (Col. 3:16). Just as in teaching and admonishing one another we may decide to sing Our God is Alive, so we may decide to sing, Come to Jesus. The congregation thus says amen to the sermon, and joins the preacher in inviting people to give themselves to the Lord. Both song and prayer taught the unlearned (1 Cor. 14:15-17), and unbelievers were taught in public service (v.24). May we use the Psalms of David in a spoken sermon to a non—member, if we can not sing to a non-member? Tickets for the fools hole are plentiful.