Did Jesus become sin? Did Jesus separate Himself from the Father when He died? The reason I am asking this question is because I was told that He was without sin and He died for us. But I was also told that He took all the sin of the world onto Himself, which means that He became sin so that He was the appropriate 'propitiation' for our sin debt.
You have asked two key questions that must be answered:
1) Did Jesus separate Himself from the Father when He died?
2) Did Jesus become sin?
Was Jesus separated from the Father when He died?
Before the physical body of our Lord died on the cross, Jesus cried out,
. . . My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Matthew 27:46 (NASB)
Many are confused by this statement. But it is important to understand that Jesus felt distant from God the Father because He took my sin, your sin, and the sin of every man and woman onto Himself when He died on the cross. He paid the penalty for the sins of the world. Jesus did not separate Himself from God the Father when He died. Many people are confused over this event because they fail to remember that Jesus was both God and man. God cannot separate Himself from Himself. But Jesus, the man, can feel separated from God the Father. Since Jesus was a man, He ate food, slept, grew tired, and died. Jesus was also God. He was both. Jesus lived His life on this earth as a man.
Did Jesus become sin?
Jesus did not become sin in the sense that He became a sinner and needed to be born again. Jesus was the perfect Lamb of God who experienced the penalty of death for your sins and my sins. He was the perfect and sinless sacrifice for our sins. He knew no sin.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NASB)
The passage clearly states that Jesus who “knew no sin” became “sin.” It did not say that He became a sinner. The Greek does not say this. Isaiah tells us that when Jesus died on the cross, God the Father placed the sins of the world on Him.
All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. Isaiah 53:6 (NASB)
Notice that our sins fell on Him. But to say that Jesus was a sinner ignores other significant passages in the New Testament.
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 (NASB)
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 1 Peter 2:24-25 (NASB)
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust . . . 1 Peter 3:18 (NASB)
And you know that He appeared in order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. 1 John 3:5 (NASB)
Isaiah 53:6 states that our sins fell on Him and 1 Peter 2:24-25 says that He bore those sins, our sins, in his body. He suffered the penalty that we should have suffered. We say that He was our substitute. He died in our place. He suffered the penalty we should have suffered. On that cross a just man died for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). 1 John 3:5 reminds us that was sinless . . . “in Him there is no sin.” He did not become a sinner, and He did not need to be born again.
Jesus was a sinless man. As a result, He was able to take the sin of the world onto Himself just before He died. As a result, a sinless man died. A man who did not deserve to die because God the Father placed the sins of the world on Him. He did not deserve to die, but He did. When He died, He experienced the pain and death that every man and woman had deserved. But He did not deserve it. In this way God has shown His love to us. Jesus willingly died in our place because He loved us. What a horrible experience that must have been for a holy being to experience!