He shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11
Justice says, “Your sin is your responsibility.” But Jesus comes to us in mercy, and says, “I will bear your sins. I will take them on my shoulders. Your sins will be on me.”
Martin Luther described what this means: “Our most merciful Father, seeing that we were oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law, and that we could never be delivered from it by our own power, sent His only Son into the world and laid upon Him all the sins of men, saying, ‘You be Peter that denier; you be Paul that persecutor, you be David that adulterer; you be that sinner which ate the apple in paradise; that thief which hung upon the cross; you be the person who has committed the sins of all men; see therefore that you pay and satisfy for them.’”
Jesus willingly took our place on the cross: “He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (53:5).
The reason we are counted righteous is that Jesus bore our sins. He carried them. Our sins were laid on Him, and because they were laid on Him, they are no longer on us. That is why Paul can say, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1).
We are justified by the righteous life of Jesus and by the sin-bearing death of Jesus. God counts our sins as His and His righteousness as ours. You have already lived the life that God calls you to live—Jesus lived that life for you. And, you have already died the death that was due to you on account of your sins—Jesus died that death for you.
Think about this astounding truth: God the Father said to His Son, “You be __________.” Put your name in the blank space.