2 Corinthians 5:21, “21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
It was at the cross that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. In that moment Jesus becomes sin, our sin. He becomes the liar, the murderer, the thief, the pedophile, the molester, the adulterer, He becomes the wickedness of sin. It isn’t His sin, it is our sin, so that through faith we might become the righteousness of God.
It is at that moment that the eternal weight of sin is laid upon Jesus and it is literally crushing Him to death. People will say, “Couldn’t have God just simply overlooked sin?” If God is so loving and powerful couldn’t He simply forgive?”
The Scriptures teach us that all of humanity has sinned against a Holy and Righteous God. We see evidence of that sin today in that none of us are immortal. We are all going to die. Romans 6 teaches us the wages of sin is death and sin results in death.
We see it early on in Genesis as Adam and Eve are leaving the garden for the first time after sinning against God. They have responded by hiding in bushes and covering themselves with fig leaves. God responds to them by taking an innocent animal and taking its skin to cover the shame and nakedness of Adam and Eve.
Scripture foreshadows this theme throughout the Old Testament as God teaches people to sacrifice animals. Again the blood of innocent animals is spilled out because of the sins of the people. Hebrews in the New Testament teaches us simply there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. The result of sin is death.
As Jesus is hanging on the cross, the one who knew no sin has become sin on our behalf. Scripture doesn’t teach us that Jesus simply dies to experience a horrible death, but He dies to take our sin. He experiences our horrible death on our behalf.