JESUS CHRIST THE ATONING SACRIFICE

“He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”          1 John 2:2 NIV

 

The word that John uses for “atoning” was used in ancient pagan writings to refer to the appeasing of an angry god, usually by a sacrifice or offering. If you had done something to make one of the gods angry, you had to do something to appease him in order to make amends. The difference between the pagan concept and the biblical concept is that in the Bible, we do not take the initiative to appease God. Rather, God took the initiative to satisfy His own wrath so that His love would be shown to the guilty sinner. Rather than our piling up good works or sacrifices to appease God’s wrath, the Bible says that God did what all our good works or efforts could never do. He sent His own Son as the righteous substitute to bear His wrath on the cross. All that we can do is trust Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. It is all of God’s grace. This raises the concern and argument that if we say that all of our sins are completely forgiven by God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice, then people will take advantage of that grace by sinning even more. But John is teaching that when we fully understand the depth of our own sin and the richness of God’s grace as seen in Christ’s sacrifice, we will want to grow in holiness. This leads to a life of grace-filled freedom, not a life of having to earn God’s forgiveness.

 

PRAYER THOUGHT

Lord, may I never take advantage of the riches of Your grace in Christ.

 

PRAYER FOR TODAY

Holy Spirit, lead us to fully understand the depth of our own sin and the richness of God’s grace as seen in Christ’s sacrifice for our sins so that we will want to grow in holiness. AMEN

 

I.B.R.A. Readings

Isaiah 12:1-6

 

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