“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (NKJV)
From this verse, we can see that Jesus came to the earth to save people from sin.
Some people might be asking; “what is sin”?
“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” 1 John 3:4 (KJV)
Jesus came to the earth to save people from sin, which is the transgressing of (aka disobedience to) God’s law.
When God first created the earth, everything was perfect and good. There was total obedience to God in everything and nothing unpleasant to be found anywhere. He placed the first two human beings, Adam and Eve, in a beautiful garden called “Eden”. You can read the creation account in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. God wanted things to stay perfect and wonderful forever, but human beings thwarted God’s original plan…for a time.
God placed many trees in the Garden of Eden, and all of these trees were available for Adam and Eve to eat from except for one tree. This tree was called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. God forbade Adam and Eve from eating from it or even touching it, because if they were to do so, they would die (Genesis 2:16-17 and Genesis 3:2-3).
Unfortunately, Eve allowed Satan, who had disguised himself as a serpent, to deceive her. She ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and persuaded Adam to do the same. This first act of disobedience to God brought in torrents of trouble…which we are still living with today. The once beautiful earth became not as beautiful. Thorns and thistles came into being. The ground became harder to till. Work became more difficult. Childbearing became painful. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden. Human beings now have to face death. From this time on, humanity has been going downhill. We have been hurting ourselves and hurting each other and we have been recklessly destroying the earth that God has given us. (To read a 24 verse summary of what I have shared in this paragraph, read Genesis 3.)
But God did not leave Adam and Eve without hope.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15 (KJV)
God has always had people who are against Satan’s ways. Satan has never had total control of the hearts of every human being at any given time. In every generation, there have been, and there continue to be people who are decidedly against Satan’s ways, which are the ways of disobedience, and sin, and who are instead decidedly for God’s ways, which are the ways of obedience and righteousness.
However, even the most righteous people on earth have had to confess their sins and receive cleansing from Jesus.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 (KJV)
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 ( KJV)
After sin came into the world, God instituted the sacrificial system which was to be carried out until Jesus fulfilled the events that the sacrificial system illustrated (His death on the cross and His work as our High Priest). The book of Leviticus provides detailed information about the sacrificial system. The sacrificial system taught people about what Jesus would do when He came to earth to die for the sins of humanity, and also what He would do when He was raised from the dead and had gone back to heaven (He is our High Priest in heaven right now).
In the sacrificial system, young, unblemished animals who represented Jesus, were killed as offerings for sin. Sin is deadly.
“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22 (KJV)
“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV)
Some people may have the idea that their own righteous lives or their own deaths can atone for their sins, but this is not true. (I want to reiterate that every human being who has ever lived has committed sin. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” Romans 3:23 (KJV))
We are not always aware that we have sinned or that we are sinning. We have much to learn as we journey through life, even while we are in love with Jesus and seeking to please Him with all of our hearts.
“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.” Psalm 19:12 (KJV)
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent…” Acts 17:29-30 (KJV)
(The above example refers to people who ignorantly worshipped idols before they learned about the true God).
In Leviticus 4, we see that sacrifices were to be offered when people came to a knowledge of sins they had ignorantly committed.
In other words:
A. All of us have sinned.
B. We are all probably still sinning ignorantly in certain areas of our lives.
C. As we grow in our love for and knowledge of God and His ways, we come to see our sins.
D. Whenever we realize that we have sinned, we need God’s forgiveness.
Furthermore, even though obeying God is righteous and is what God wants us to do, our obedience cannot atone for our sins either.
“…All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” Galatians 2:16 (KJV)
So, I beg those who think that they are saving themselves by the good, moral lives they are living, and/or those who think that they will take care of the penalty for their sins by their own deaths, to reconsider their thinking. According to the scriptures, which Jesus says testify of Him (John 5:39), there is no way to be justified other than to accept Jesus Christ.
(Note: God does want us to live good, moral lives. (John 15:10 and James 2:18.) However, our motives for doing so also matter to Him. If your motives are wrong, don’t despair. Just cry out to Him and ask Him to change them for you and then believe that He will.)
I think that my readers are beginning to see that, even from the standpoint of logic, Jesus’ death is the only reason why any human being can receive forgiveness from sin. The sacrificial system pointed to Jesus, “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 (KJV) Even the most sincere, loving and righteous people need to accept what Jesus did for them on the cross in order to receive forgiveness and cleaning from sin.
Jesus, Who Is God, knows the hearts of every human being who has ever lived. He knows about all of the sins that every person that has ever lived has committed. His death pays not only for the willful sins of repentant humanity, but it also pays for the sins of those throughout all generations who never knew or who never fully understood that they were sinning and who were sincere of heart. What I am saying in the next two sentences applies to both the past and the present:
Some people only knew a little bit about God and His ways, and others never had the opportunity to hear the gospel at all. When these people have lived up to all of the love and goodness that they knew, God smiles over them. He knows that they would have obeyed Him more fully if they knew Him better, or if they knew Him at all, and His death has paid the price for their sins.
Furthermore, when we allow God to forgive us from our sins and to cleanse us (1 John 1:9) we have the promise of eventually enjoying everlasting life with Him in heaven.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (KJV)
God will eventually destroy this world which has been thoroughly messed up by sin, and will create…”new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter 3:13 (KJV)
The New Earth will be as pure, beautiful, loving and wonderful as the Garden of Eden was…if not more! Look at how wonderful the New Earth will be!
“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband…And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21: 1,2, 4 and 5 (KJV)
Joy, oh joy!
Next week I will blog specifically about the Crucifixion story and its importance to us. I will conclude this series with posts about how to have a wonderful, saving relationship with Jesus. I hope that you will stay tuned with me on this wonderful journey. I welcome you to follow my blog so that you won’t miss any posts in this series (this paragraph was copied, pasted and slightly changed from a paragraph in this blog-post).
Note: If you would like to learn more about the sanctuary and the sacrificial system, here are some resources that you can check out. The first two are free resources and the last one is a study that you can purchase. I will not gain anything financially if you choose to do so.
- God Drew the Plans
- Secrets of the Sanctuary
- A Divine Design: The Jewish Temple in History, Prophecy, and Your Life by Amazing Facts
The quoted Bible verse, Matthew 1:21, is from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.