Read: 2 Corinthians 5:21

Crucifixion was a form of the death penalty used in the ancient Roman Empire. Its victims were tied to a cross (or nailed to it, as in Jesus’ case) and then hung on the cross until they died, typically by suffocation. Jesus’ crucifixion was unique, of course, because it also served as an atoning offering for sin. As the Christ, it was his responsibility to die on behalf of his people, as we read in Hebrews 9:11–28.

Imputation simply means assignment or reckoning. But when we speak about the imputation of our sin to Jesus on the cross, we’re referring to the act in which God assigned the guilt of sinners to the person of Jesus. So, when we say that our sin was imputed to Jesus, we mean that God blamed him for our sins. Jesus never actually sinned, and his person was never corrupted by sin. But from a legal perspective, God counted Jesus as if he had personally committed every sin imputed to him.

In continuity with the patterns of Old Testament sin offerings, Jesus offered himself on the cross as a substitute for his people. The book of Hebrews speaks of this extensively in chapters 9–10. Christ’s role as our substitute is reflected in the fact that the Bible often refers to him as our sacrifice, as in Romans 3:25, Ephesians 5:2, and 1 John 2:2. It’s also why he’s called our ransom in places like Matthew 20:28, 1 Timothy 2:6, and Hebrews 9:15.

Before our sin was imputed to him, Jesus was blameless and perfect. But as strange as it may sound, once our sin was reckoned to his account, God viewed him as being guilty of all the sins that were assigned to him

Human death is always a divine judgment against sin. We see this in Genesis 3:17–19, Ezekiel 18:4, and Romans 5:12–21. Death entered the human race when Adam sinned in Genesis 3. And it has continued ever since because Adam’s sin has been imputed to us.

Jesus’ death was also a divine judgment against sin. Before God laid our guilt on him, Jesus couldn’t die. But once our sin was imputed to him on the cross, his death became not only possible but necessary. It was the only just response God could make to such tremendous guilt.

As part of this judgment, Jesus also remained under the power of death for three days before his resurrection. But the good news is that he has borne the full wrath of God against our sin, so that there isn’t any divine judgment remaining to threaten us.

We would like to thank thirdmill for providing this plan.