Pristine Grace

A Mass of Sin
by Brandan Kraft
A Mass of Sin

"the sins of all his people were transferred unto him, laid upon him, and placed to his account; he sustained their persons, and bore their sins; and having them upon him, and being chargeable with, and answerable for them, he was treated by the justice of God as if he had been not only a sinner, but a mass of sin; for to be made sin, is a stronger expression than to be made a sinner: but now that this may appear to be only by imputation, and that none may conclude from hence that he was really and actually a sinner, or in himself so, it is said he was 'made sin'"

    What is the first thing you think when you read this quote?  Do you think this is false doctrine?  Do you think this is heresy?  Why who could write such a thing!?  Who could besmirch and smear our dear Savior like this?  After all, Christ our savior was made sin by imputation.  What a ludicrous thing it is to say He Himself became a "mass of sin".  What is this nonsense, Roman Catholicism? Surely this was not written by a believer!  What nonsense to even suggest sin could even atone for sin.  Poppycock!  Heresy!

    You might think this phrase was penned by the heretic who recently departed this world.  Good riddens to bad rubbish you might think.  You might think these words condemn the man who penned them.  But you would be wrong on all points.

    These are the words of John Gill, and they come from his commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21.   What in the world do they mean?  It sounds kind of mysterious - to be made a "mass of sin", but not actually a sinner.  Beats me!  I don't know what he really meant.  But does it really matter?  The rest of his ministry was thoroughly scriptural, and he made a strong case for imputation of sin to our dear savior in most of his work.   But the man is dead, and we can't talk to him now to see what he truly meant.  So I choose to think the best of brother Gill and will continue to use his commentary,  his Body of Doctrinal Divinity, and of course his helpful book, The Cause of God and Truthwhich the Holy Spirit used to deliver to me Gospel knowledge that was instrumental in my conversion.

    You might think I'm a compromiser for including John Gill's material on this site, especiallly after demonstrating to you that he was such a vile heretic.  But the fact of the matter is, he was a man, and he was far from perfect.   And sometimes the words he used don't always make sense to me.  

    These words at first seemed to me to be a poor choice of words.  But then a dear sister explained to me that what is meant by that phrase, and it is simply a "large amount" of sin - a massive amount - or in other words, all of the elect's sin.

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. - Psalm 38:4

For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.- Psalms 40:12

    Even the Scriptures themselves use imagery like this to describe the reality of imputation. What have we to say about David, the Psalm writer?

    Bro. Gill was faithful to the Gospel.  And the rest of his work is top notch excellent.   I don't always agree with Bro. Gill.  I could do without his historic pre-millennialism for example.  But I'm still eternally thankful for the man and his ministry.  I think you get my point.