By Randy Reynolds
Without God, we would all be lost in our sins. But God, through his wonderful, bountiful love, sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins. In 1 John 4:9 the writer John expresses this thought very well. “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
Since the Bible informs us that sin is lawlessness (1 Jn. 3:4) and that “all have sinned andfallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The ultimate consequence of our sin will lead us into spiritual death (cf. Rom. 6:16,23; Jas. 1:15), which is an eternal separation from our God (2 Thess. 1:9). We should be thankful that God has made provision for an alternative. God has provided a way of escape. He has provided a way for each man to be set free of sin and its eternal consequences. We don’t have to be lost, forever separated from God, cast into the fires of hell. There has been provided for us a way of escape.
What is our way of escape? Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10). Paul plainly told Timothy, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Jesus continues to be our only way to the Father (cf. Jn. 14:6).
Jesus is our ransom. The word “ransom” simply refers to something paid or given to liberate a man from a situation from which it is impossible for him to free himself. In Matthew’s gospel record, Jesus said of himself, “Just as the Son of Man did come not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (20:28). This is one of the clearest statements in the New Testament that describes the saving effect of Jesus’ death. A payment was needed to release man from his sin(s) and bring him back to God, and Jesus was that price.
Jesus is our propitiation. To fully comprehend and appreciate Christ as our “propitiation” it is good to consider some points in 1 John 1:6-2:1. Obviously in these verses the emphasis is placed upon man’s need to be in fellowship with Deity. Once again it is emphasized that the supreme problem of this fellowship is sin. John would have us to know that “He Himself (Jesus) is the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 2:2). In other words, it is through or by Jesus that man’s fellowship is restored and maintained. A way has been provided for the defilement of sin to be removed (cf. 1 Jn. 1:7,9). Once that defilement has been covered or removed, man’s relationship can be fully restored.
“Being justifiedfireely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God setforth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in Hisforbearance God haspassed over the sins that were previously committed” (Rom. 3:24-25).
Jesus is our sacrifice. I appreciate the way the Hebrew writer expresses this thought, “For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He cf(ered up Himself” (Heb. 7:26-27, emp. mine, RR). The greatest Day of Atonement was not when the Levitical High Priest washed his hands and his feet; put off his beautiful robe; clothed himself in linen clothes, the holy garments, and made sacrifice for himself and all the people. The greatest Day of Atonement came when the sinless Son of God, our High Priest, offered the one perfect sacrifice – Himself. Thus, by doing so, by His sacrifice, He opened the way to God.
“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrificefor sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12). “But now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26).
Jesus is our reconcilation. “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity” (Psa. 32:2). The apostle Paul tells us that it is one who is in Christ, the New Creation (cf. 2 Cor. 5:17). Now wait a minute! I thought that man was lost and without hope because of sin? That’s exactly right. But something great has taken place. Listen to what Paul has to say in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is; that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”
Closing. “We implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor. 5:20b).
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 22, p. 684
November 19, 1992