God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:25-26 (NIV)
Read: Romans 3:21-31
Consider: In the last post we learned that the shedding of the blood of animals was used in the Jewish sacrificial system to make people and articles ceremonially clean. While a person could be ceremonially clean, animal blood sacrifice could not deal with the sinful state of a person’s heart; this required a different type of sacrifice. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, tells us that Christ was ‘… a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood …’ (3:25).
Atonement can be defined as to: make amends; make reparation; make recompense; make redress; make up for; pay the penalty; pay the price. This carries with it the implication that the price (penalty for sin) we could not pay ourselves, has been paid by Jesus (but only by him being sacrificed in our place). Take a few moments to let this truth sink in, so that you can appreciate the enormity of what the Blood of Christ has achieved for you.
The writer of 1 John tells us: He [Jesus] is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2). The Blood of Christ is sufficient to pay the penalty for the sin of all people, for all time. Looking again at Romans 3:25 it tells us that the benefit of Christ’s atonement for our sin must ‘… be received by faith’. While the blood of Christ covers the penalty of sin for everyone, not everyone will benefit from this act of atonement. There will be those who will receive it by faith, but there will also be those who refuse to receive God’s forgiveness.
The fact that God was prepared to allow his Son to die as an atonement for our sin is amazing in itself, but to do this while we were alienated from him by our sin, gives us great insight into the loving character of God. The writer of 1 John tells us that God was prepared to demonstrate his love by sending his Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sin. He says: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).
So the Blood of Christ is evidence of God’s love for us. It is also evidence of the fact that he was prepared to sacrifice his Son as an atonement for our sin.
Pray: Father, we praise you for allowing your Son to be an atonement for the sins of the whole world. May we share this good news with others and may your Holy Spirit draw people to you in faith, to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Amen