The sacrifice of Jesus Refs
Throughout the Bible, God requires sacrifice before he will forgive sin. In the Old Testament, he asks for the sacrifice of animals. But Jesus is the perfect sacrifice, and his death allows us all to be forgiven and come close to God.

Genesis 3

In the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in paradise in the Garden of Eden. It is likely that they talked regularly with God. After they disobeyed God, Adam and Eve’s close relationship with him was destroyed. As a consequence of their sin Adam and Eve received a death sentence—their bodies were physically changed so that they were affected by illness, disease, and the ageing process. They were also sent out of the Garden of Eden, away from God.

1. Which verse records the pronouncing of the death sen tence on Adam and Eve?
2. What reason is given for sending Adam and Eve out of the garden?
3. After the sin, God provided new clothes for Adam and Eve.
What were they made of and where did they come from?

Restoration through forgiveness
We are also separated from God because of our sin.
Psalm 5:4–5. See Chapter 17. Sin. However, by his grace he has provided a way that we can be restored to him. We can be reconciled to him if our sins are “blotted out” or “cleansed” or “washed away”.

David writes in the Psalms about being separated from God because of sin, and his desire to be cleansed and restored.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. . . Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Psalm 51:1–2,10–12)

Our sins can be washed away if we are issued a pardon by God. The Bible’s term for pardoning of sin is forgiveness.

Forgiveness through sacrifice
The scriptures teach that to obtain forgiveness of sin from God, there must be a sacrifice involving the shedding of blood and death. At first this concept may seem unusual to us. It requires us to think about the seriousness of sin from God’s perspective, and to understand God’s requirement that a life must be sacrificed when a sin is committed. We deserve to die. God, in his mercy, let an innocent animal die instead.

The requirement that a sacrifice must be offered to obtain forgiveness is Briefy introduced in the Garden of Eden, when God provided animal skins as a covering for Adam and Eve after the first sin.

The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21)

Later, when the Law of Moses was introduced, the Israelites were required to offer a number of different types of animal sacrifices for sin (Leviticus 1–7). The offerings involved sacrificing perfect animals from their herds or flocks. During the ritual, the sinner placed his hand on the head of the animal to be killed. He was made to reffect on the connection between his sin and the life being sacrificed. These offerings made under the Law taught the people of Israel about the need for the shedding of blood to obtain forgiveness.

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. (Leviticus 17:11)

The Bible’s term for reconciliation to God through sacrifice is atonement.

The importance of sacrifices under the Law of Moses is discussed in Hebrews:

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)

Jesus the perfect sacrifice
The Old Testament sacrifices were instituted by God as a temporary measure, pointing forward to Jesus, God’s perfect sacrifice.
Hebrews 10:1–4

Forgiveness through sacrifice:
Genesis 3:21; Exodus 29:36; Leviticus 4; 9:7; 17:11; Hebrews 9:18–22.
Jesus our sacrifice:
Isaiah 53:4–6,10–11; Matthew 26:27–28; Romans 3:23–25; 4:25; 5:9–10; 1 Corinthians 15:3; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Colossians 1:19–23; Hebrews 9:14,26–28; 10:19–20; 1 Peter 1:18– 19; 2:24; 3:18; 1 John 1:7; 2:1–2; Revelation 1:5; 5:9.

Jesus gave his life in service to God, and remained totally faithful. Although he was tempted in the same way that we are, Jesus was always obedient to the will of God. Hebrews 4:15 Because he lived a life without sin, his death on the cross was the perfect sacrifice. Through the shedding of his blood, the sins of many can be washed away.

But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. (Hebrews 9:26–28)

Jesus our sacrifice
By God’s grace we are given the opportunity to accept Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins. We must first acknowledge that we need saving from our sins, and show faith in Jesus, the saviour.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Romans 3:23–25)

Once we have developed faith in Jesus, the only way that we personally can be covered by his sacrifice, is to be baptized. See Chapter 37.Baptism. In Romans 6, this is described as being baptized into the death of Jesus.

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were there fore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:3–4)

In baptism our sins are symbolically washed away. After baptism we have continual access to forgiveness through Jesus when we confess our sins. The apostle John urges believers not to sin; but if they do, they have access to the sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:1–2)

Common misconceptions about the sacrifice of Jesus
Misconception   Bible teaching
Jesus has already paid the penalty due to us for our sins to satisfy God’s justice. So when our body dies, we don’t really die—our soul lives on.   The Bible says, “the wages of sin is death”. We die but through Jesus’ sacrifice we have the hope of being saved from eternal death, through resurrection. (Romans 6:23)
Jesus had to die to appease God’s wrath toward sinners.   Christ’s death opened the way for repentant sinners to receive God’s free gifts of mercy and grace. (Romans 5:15–16)
All we need to do is ask Jesus to enter our hearts to be our saviour, and he will save us from our sins.   We need to ask Jesus to be our saviour and identify with his sacrifice through baptism, to be saved from our sins. (Romans 6:3–4)
The crucifixion was simply an act of brutality by the Romans who ruled Israel at that time.   God gave his son to die a sacrificial death.
(John 3:16)

Remembering his sacrifice
We are reminded regularly about the sacrifice of Jesus when we eat bread and drink wine at the Lord’s Supper. At this time we think about the events of the last Passover meal that Jesus shared with his disciples.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:26–28)
See Chapter 36. The Lord’s Supper.

• We are separated from God by sin.
• We can be restored to God through his forgiveness.
• God requires a sacrifice for forgiveness of sin.
• Jesus is the perfect sacrifice.
• We can be covered by the sacrifice of Jesus by baptism into his death.
• We remember the sacrifice of Jesus when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.

1. God requires the shedding of blood for the forgiveness of sin. According to Leviticus 17:10–14, what does the blood signify? Why was the eating of blood forbidden under the Law? Why were Gentile believers instructed to abstain from eating blood in Acts 21:25?
2. What do the following verses mean, and how do they apply to you?

• Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
• Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
Romans 12:1
• “I die every day”.
1 Corinthians 15:31

3. Jesus was without blemish, as required of sacrifices under the Law. Isaiah 53 is a prophecy about the sacrifice of Jesus. How does the description of Jesus in verses two and three reconcile with a perfect sacrifice?

1. Read the instructions given in Leviticus 16 for the Day of Atonement. Identify those requirements that point forward to the sacrifice of Jesus, and explain what they represent.
2. Read the account of the crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 23. Use your Bible margin to create a list of events in this passage that had been prophesied in the Old Testament. In each case, record the corresponding Old Testament reference.

• The cross of Christ by Peter Watkins (published by the Christadelphian). 20 pages.
• BB Studies 9.1–9.4
• The Christadelphians: what they believe and preach by Harry Tennant (published by The Christadelphian, 1986). Chapter 10 “The Lord who bought me”. 11 pages.
• Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures by J.B. Norris (published by Aletheia Books, 1990). 164 pages.
• Law and grace, by W.F. Barling (published by The Christadelphian, 1952).
• Thine is the kingdom by Peter Southgate (published by the Dawn Book Supply, 2nd ed., 1997). Chapter 9, 30 pages.
• Great news for the world by Alan Hayward (published by Christadelphians Worldwide, 1976). Chapter 5 “Jailbreak”.

15. Events in Eden
17. Sin
18. Death
36. The Lord’s Supper
37. Baptism
38. Grace