The majority of mankind dies “in” sin (Mat 7:13, 14), but Christ could only die “to” sin because He not only “knew no sin” but also “in Him is no sin” (2Co 5:21; 1Jo 3:5). It’s my belief that “made to be sin” is in the sense of “being made out to be sin”, (e.g. was made only in “the likeness” of sin - Rom 8:3) and not to literally become sin, for the sin nature of men and of angels is unattainable by Christ, being Deity; which would be to mistakenly assume He was peccable (as some think - Jas 1:13). It was not the Lord Jesus Himself the Father condemned (rather sacrificed), but sin itself, which was on and in His body during His death!
No, made Him out to be sin is imputing our sin to Him and not us (Rom 4:8; 2Co 5:19). Our iniquity is said to be “laid on Him” and that our sins were “in His body” (but not in His spirit - Isa 53:6; 1Pe 2:24), annulling sin’s “dominion” (Ro 6:14) and guilt (Ro 8:1) forever, as it perished with His old body—via “condemning sin” (Ro 8:3; Rom 6:6; Gal 3:13; 1Pe 2:24; 1Pe 4:1, 2); and that was to no effect of sin concerning His divine nature, otherwise where would be the required perfect Lamb sacrifice. The Lord Jesus had the nature of “infirmity” concerning the human body (Heb 4:15), but not the nature of man’s spirit (sinful), for His nature is unchangeably “divine” (2Pe 1:4).
Romans 6:10—“Unto Sin”
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”
Now we beseech you, do not change God’s word “unto,” here! Do not confuse with this passage those other Scriptures that declare that Christ died for our sins. For this great revelation of Romans 6:10 is that Christ died unto sin! There is here, of course, no thought of expiation of guilt. That belongs to Chapters Three and Five. Here, the sole question is on of relationship, not of expiation. Christ is seen dying to sin here, not for sin (in dying to sin He resolved it on His and the Father’s side firstly; in dying for sin He resolved it on our side lastly—NC).
What is the meaning of that? In 2 Corinthians 5:21, God declares: “Him who knew no sin God made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. Christ was made to be what we were (guilty), that we might become, in Him, what He is (1Jo 4:17)! Might not Christ, the sinless One, bear the guilt of our sins and that be all? Nay, but we were connected federally with Adam the first—with a race proved wholly unrighteous and unacceptable.
That we might be released from that Adam-standing, there must be not only our sin borne, but ourselves liberated from the old Adam headship—all we were in Adam: which involved the responsibilities we had in him, the responsibility to furnish God, as morally responsible beings, a perfect righteousness and holiness of our own (via obedience - Gen 2:15, 16, 17—NC).
Now God’s way was, not to change the old man, but to send it to the Cross unto condemnation and death, and thereby release us from it (Ro 8:9). No one who remains in Adam’s race will be saved. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1Co 15:22).
God’s method was to introduce a Second Man, a Last Adam—Christ, with whom indeed all God’s eternal plans were connected, whom He would not only set forth to make expiation of guilt, but would make to become sin itself, in order to get at what we were, as well as what we had done.
Our old man would thus be crucified with Christ, so that all of his evil and responsibilities (guilt, “rein” and “dominion” – Ro 6:12, 14—NC) would be completely annulled before God for all believers. For they must righteously be freed from Adam, before they are created in Christ, another Adam; and this must be by death.
Hence God would say to believers, to those in Christ, “Your history now begins anew!” So Paul triumphantly writes, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2Co 5:17). What a day was that when Christ, made to be sin itself, died unto it, and was forever done with it! So that now He lives unto God in light and joy eternal without measure.
In our identification with the Lord Jesus Christ, our relationship to sin is exactly the same as His. Why? Because He is now our only Adam; we are in Him. What happened to Him, positionally happened to us. Therefore Paul says, “For in that He died, He died unto sin once, but in the He liveth, He liveth unto God.
“Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to have died unto sin, but alive unto God in Jesus Christ our Lord” (Ro 6:10, 11).
—Wm R Newell