Biblical Truth #5: The Atonement for Sin
Imagine a court room with the judge’s high chair directly in front of you. You are in handcuffs and the guards on both sides bring you slowly into the room. The judge sounds his gavel and the court commences. A tall man dressed in a nice three-piece suit walks to the front and begins his prosecution.
You suspect this man must have some supernatural power because as he begins to accuse you, he not only accuses you of obvious mistakes in your life, but also all the mistakes you kept hidden from everyone else. He mentions the times you hated your siblings and wished they didn’t exist. He mentions the time you hoped that your friend’s fiancé would suddenly break off the wedding, leaving you to be with him/her. And he mentions all the times you lied, lusted, and were lazy. He argues this cannot be good for society. You deserve to be removed.
Then, near the end of his presentation he makes a surprising twist. At the end of his accusations he tells the judge, “Not only has he wronged all these people, he has wronged you!” He argues that the judge is the one that created all the laws, that this judge is the author of all that is good. Every time you have done something wrong, you have unwillingly or willingly said your will is better than the judge’s laws. You would rather do it your way than obey. You thus should be put to death for such disobedience.
After this you don’t know what to say. The judge looks particularly angry. He looks at you and says, “I am bound by my own laws to punish you. To let you go free is to say your wrongs don’t matter. The problem is they do. They hurt people. You have hurt people. You have hurt me.”
Then the doors burst open and in walks a man. He’s young and appears to have little stature beyond that he knows this courtroom very well. The man walks up to the judge and says, “Punish me in his place father.” Instantly the courtroom explodes in confusion and the judge falls back under the weight of his own son’s words.
This story helps illustrate what is referred to as “atonement.” The Bible tells us that Jesus was the son who offered himself up in place of the sins of the world. At Christianity’s heart is the story of God’s son who offered himself in our place for the penalty of sin. This is his reason for Christ’s death on a cross, for God forsaking his own son. It is the most heartbreaking moment in scripture, that for God to forgive humanity, he must sacrifice his own son. It’s also important to note that the Bible indicates that the payment for sin requires a blood sacrifice – “life for a life.” And this is why Jesus is often referred to as the “Lamb of God” in the Bible.
Isaiah 52 is one of the most powerful evidences of the atonement. In his prophetic words recorded almost 500 years before Jesus was born as a human, Isaiah explains that God will one day send a suffering servant, that will be “pierced for man’s transgressions” and “crushed for their iniquities”. Other Old Testament passages reinforce this. In fact, there are about 60 prophecies made about this suffering servant that Jesus, 500 years later, fulfills. The odds of fulfilling just eight of those is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. It requires too much faith to believe Jesus’ life, and actions on the cross, were only coincidentally related to all of these Old Testament prophecies and passages. The atonement was never just a Christian doctrine. It was God’s plan from the beginning. Genesis 3 tells of a future man who will crush the serpents head (Satan) while suffering from a snake bite. The whole story leads to this moment, a moment which the Bible calls grace.
Will you go to Heaven when you die? Here’s a quick test:
Q. Have you ever told a lie?
Q. Have you ever stolen anything?
Q. Have you ever used God’s name in vain?
Q. Have you ever lusted over someone?
Q. Have you ever hated someone?
If you have done these things, God sees you as a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, an adulterer-at-heart, and a murderer-at-heart. And this is only 5 of God’s Ten Commandments (a/k/a “God’s Law”). And the Bible warns that on the Day of Judgment, God will punish you in a terrible place called Hell. But, there is “good news”! God is not willing that any should perish. Sinners broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid their fine by shedding His sinless blood on a cross ~2,000 years ago. This means that God can legally dismiss their case (and yours!): “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Then Jesus rose from the dead, defeating death. Today, repent (turn away from your sins), put your complete trust in Jesus, and confess Jesus as your Lord & Savior… and God will give you eternal life as a free gift.
Contrary to popular belief, being a “good person”, doing “good deeds”, or being “religious” will not get you a ticket to heaven! Many people are hoping God will dismiss their sins because their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. They further hope that because God is “good” he will let them go unpunished and enter heaven. However, because God is “good” he must by nature punish sinners (i.e., God would not be a good judge if he let criminals go free). The Bible states: “There is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) The Bible also states: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) And finally, think about this, if your goodness could save you, Jesus would have died in vain (i.e., for no good reason). The Bible states: “I (Jesus) am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me. (John
14:6) Friends, please don’t “roll-the-dice” and gamble your eternal life on the life-threatening lie that being a “good person” will get you to heaven.
Here is a prayer you can use to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord & Savior. It is a suggested prayer – the key is that you are speaking from your heart.
“Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me turn away from sin going forward. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus into my heart and I confess him as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank You for sending your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.”
Congratulations! And welcome to God’s family!
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