is obvious to God, the Father, that without a move on His part, humanity would
be completely lost. It had reached the end of its rope and was being helplessly
battered by the evil one. Humanity was badly in need of a Saviour to rescue it
from eternal damnation. It found itself in a pitiful state of affairs; for not
only was humanity ignorant of its headlong spiral into destruction but that it
was unable to save itself.
With no clear end in sight, God took the decision to bring relief and arrest the devil in its tracks. Tossed and turned by the evil one without respite and with the weight of the turmoil and travail hanging over its head, God decided, in the absence of a suitable alternative, to send His Son. He “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Disobedience of God’s instructions had brought untold hardship to human beings. Death, the penalty of sin had been introduced into the world. God did not tolerate it at its inception and He therefore could not condone sin. Sin has become a major hindrance in the fellowship God had knit with His creation. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2) The fellowship God had nurtured with Adam and Eve was broken as a result of sin. Humankind was meant to live forever, but sin put an end to that trend.
In the short term, God introduced blood sacrifice to atone for their sins. Before however the couple, Adam and Eve, left the Garden, God slaughtered an animal and used its skin to cover their nakedness. (Genesis 3:21)
Blood sacrifice to cleanse sin
As a temporary measure, God required a ram, goat or dove to be slaughtered and offered as a burnt sacrifice in order to cover sin. It was a sign of things to come. All throughout the Old Testament, the blood of animals was shed to atone [to cover] for our wrong doing. It did not pay for the penalty of sin.
This practice was a mere foreshadow of what was to come. Not until the Lamb of God, Jesus, the Passover Lamb, came to earth, lived and died on the cross was the penalty of sin paid for. Henceforth everyone who recognises Jesus as the Lamb of God will enjoy eternal life. “For the wages of sin is death......” (Romans 6:23)
With the coming to earth of our Lord Jesus and ultimately His death on the cross, the promise was fulfilled as revealed by the apostle Paul. “For Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed.” (1Corinthians 5:7)
Satan has no dominion over those who belong to Christ Jesus, our Sin-Bearer. On the cross our Lord Jesus paid for past, present and future sins. No one else could do this for humanity. God gave us a Saviour; His name is Jesus – “He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
“In fact the Law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22) It would take the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ which He shed on our behalf on the cross of Calvary, for the practice to cease. Animal blood was barely a temporary measure heralding the real sacrifice, the Son of God in the flesh. Throughout the Old Testament, blood sacrifice merely covered the sins of the sinner until the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world appeared.
Christ, humanity’s substitute for sins
Some seven hundred years prior, the prophet Isaiah had painted this prophetic picture that the Saviour would be “... oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)
And so Christ, the Messiah, as underscored in Scripture “... redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
We do not have a God who is unable to save. Our God’s hand is not short either. In the face of humanity’s growing hopelessness and helplessness, God, moved out of compassion, stepped in to deal with the situation. He did not wait for humanity’s invitation to curb sin’s devastating influence, for it had been completely consumed by sin. God, in His majesty, took the initiative. “Greater love has no one than this that a man should lay down His life for His friend.” (John 15:13)
The death of Christ, the Redeemer, was in absolute obedience to the Father. Where the first Adam failed, Jesus Christ, the second Adam succeeded. The burden of sin from thence would be done away with. Sin will have no dominion over God’s creation because Jesus has conquered sin. He paid the penalty for sin which is death by dying on the cross in our place. “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God.” (1 Peter 3:18)
Our Passover Lamb
“... so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of the many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” (Hebrews (9:28)
(1 Peter 1:19)