Any authentic relationship is based on truth. Last week we read Christ’s claim that we are free in Him, and this week we saw Paul outline the basis of the gospel – Christ died, was buried, and is risen. Today we look at the reason that Christ could pay the penalty for our sin.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). Matt 1:18-23 (ESV)
According to this passage, who was the Father of Christ? The Holy Spirit is 1/3 of the Trinity, so Jesus was placed in Mary’s womb by God. Jesus purpose on earth was to save people from their sins!
Before Jesus came, Jews followed the Law. There was only one way to take away sin according to the law:
For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life. Lev 17:11 (ESV)
Jesus had to shed His blood to atone for our sins. His death was once for all. But what happened to the sacrifices?
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; 6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ” 8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. Heb 10:4-14 (ESV)
So in Jesus’ one selfless act, we see the need for daily and yearly ritual sacrifices wiped away. We have been sanctified (set apart for God) through Jesus’ once for all sacrifice. Only Jesus’ blood can take away our sins.
This week we have seen that our relationship to God is based on Jesus’ once for all sacrifice. We know that salvation comes only through belief in Him. We saw a litany of sins which will keep us from inheriting the kingdom of God. We learned that His blood will wipe away all our sins – if we believe on Him.
Next week we finish this quick study and we will learn about propitiation, transgression and justification. Finally, we’ll deal with the resurrection and its crucial part in our relationship with God.