There is no other way – Part 9
Remission of sin
The day of atonement (Lev 16) is replete with symbolism, pointing to the mediatorial ministry and atoning death of Jesus Christ.
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mat 26:28) “remission of sins.” Forgiveness is necessary, because we have all sinned, and sin has caused us to be alienated from God and subject to condemnation and His wrath (Eph 2:1-3). Forgiveness, made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross, is the means by which our relationship to God is restored (Rom 5:9-10; Eph 1:7; Col 2:13). (1) The Hebrew and Greek words for forgiveness denote the ideas of “to cover,” “to pardon,” “to cancel,” “to send away.” God’s forgiveness involves taking of no account the sin that has been committed (Mark 2:5; John 8:11), saving sinners from eternal punishment (Rom 5:9; 1 Thes 1:10), accepting them (Luke 15:20ff), delivering them from the dominion of sin and transferring them into Christ’s kingdom (Col 1:13), and renewing the whole person and promising eternal life (Luke 23:43; John 14:19b). (2) In order to receive forgiveness, there must be repentance, faith and confession of sin (Luke 17:3-4; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 20:21; 1 John 1:9). For God to be able to extend forgiveness, the shedding of blood was required (Heb 9:22). Thus, forgiveness is based on Jesus’ death on the cross (v. 28; John 1:29; 3:16; Rom 8:32). Divine forgiveness is an ongoing need for believers, so that we might maintain our saving relationship with God (6:12, 14-15; 1 John 1:9).
“Whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed.” (Rom 3:25). His blood. The NT emphasises several truths concerning Christ’s death. (1) It was a sacrifice, i.e., an offering of His blood, His life (cf. 1 Cor 5,7; Eph 5:2). (2) It was vicarious, i.e., he died not for His own sake, but for the sake of others (5:8; 8:32; Mark 10:45; Eph 5:2). (3) It was substitutionary, i.e. Christ suffered death as the penalty for our sin, as our substitute (6:23). (4) It was propitiatory, i.e. Christ’s death for sinners satisfied God’s righteous nature and His moral order, thereby removing His wrath against the repentant sinner.
God’s integrity required that sin be punished and propitiation be made for our sake. Through propitiation by Christ’s blood, God’s holiness remained uncompromised and He was able to justly reveal His grace and love in salvation. It must be emphasised that God Himself set forth Christ as propitiation. God did not need to be persuaded to show mercy and love, for already “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself” (2 Cor 5:19, cf. John 3:16; Rom 5:8; 8:3, 32: 1 Cor 8:6; Eph 4:4-6). (5) It was expiatory, i.e., a sacrifice to atone or make reparation for sin. As expiation, the sacrifice is directed toward annulling guilt. By Christ’s death, the guilt and power of sin that separated God and the believers were annulled. (6) It was efficacious, i.e. His atoning death has within itself the power to produce the full desired effect of redemption when appropriated by faith. (7) It was victorious, i.e. on the cross; Christ fought against and was triumphant over the power of sin, of Satan and of his demonic host that held people captive. His death was the initial victory over the spiritual enemies of both God and humanity (8:3; John 12:31-32; Col 2:15). Thus, Christ’s death is redemptive.
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