“God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” —2 Corinthians 5:21
Before we ever knew Jesus as Lord and Savior, we were dead in our sins. Some of us may have even thought that we were good people, but instead of living for Jesus we were living for Self. We might even have paid lip service to Him, attending church from time to time, and making what we considered generous donations to the cause. But deep down in our hearts, we still lived for Self.
On the other hand, Jesus—as God come to earth—was born without sin and lived a sinless life, pure and blameless in every way. Although God, He humbled Himself and took on the nature of man, making Himself vulnerable and submitting to the cross. Why such extremes? He was being obedient to God the Father by giving His life and suffering on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins.
To be the perfect and blameless sacrifice that would reconcile mankind to the Father, Jesus shouldered all the sins of the world and died in those sins, eradicating the power of sin in those who believe and bringing us back into fellowship with the Father.
What did this heroic and selfless act cost the Son of Man? His life, certainly; but far more than that. Painful agony in a gruesome death? Absolutely! But still more than all this.
Incredible as it may seem, Jesus who is One with God endured the sins of the world and—momentarily at least—experienced separation from the Father. There could have been no greater pain for Him than that. But Jesus was willing to endure the ultimate penalty for each of us. He did it for you.