How Does God Forgive Our Sins?


Isaiah 62:11 Indeed the LORD has proclaimed To the end of the world: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.’ ”

Isaiah’s prophecy describes the Messiah as coming soon. He will bring with Him His reward of salvation, and He will give redemption to anyone who asks of Him. By the phrase “His work is before Him,” Isaiah is making it clear that the arrival of the Messiah is with a specific purpose (He is aware what is before Him). He is coming to die to make His life an offering for sin, according to the requirements set forth in the Old Testament. God has ordained that all sin must be atoned for. Sin cannot be simply ignored. It cannot be forgiven unless the debt that it has acquired, is paid. Sin can only be paid by a work of atonement. The Christian gospel is not one of ignorance but of revelation. Jesus came as the Messiah to clearly reveal what God requires for eternal life. This is defined by the words of Isaiah: His work is before Him.

Jesus was fully aware of the purpose for His life. He was born to pay the great debt that was owed by every person for their sins. He did not come primarily as a great teacher, or expounder of religious philosophy. Jesus came to make atonement for your sins and mine, according to the law of God.

John 4:34,36 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

Revelation 22:12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work

Jesus knew, ahead of time, all things that were going to transpire regarding His death and resurrection. He planned every event before He created the first man on the earth. The plan of salvation for all people was not an afterthought with God. The fall of man and his redemption was His primary thought when He determined to create human beings, who are made in the image of God—with the right of self-determination.

From eternity, God had already known every event that would take place and each specific act that He was going to do. This is what makes the Lord—God, He knows all things before they will happen because He has already seen each event before they occur. There is nothing that the Lord must learn, nor is it possible that anything can be hidden from Him.

Acts 15:18 Known to God from eternity are all His works.

The preeminent purpose of all Bible Prophecy is to demonstrate in the realm of linear time, that God has already seen all the events that will take place. When He speaks, He does so as though all the things He describes have already happened. In eternity, nothing is future; everything has already come about. When God speaks of future events, they are only future for us who live within time. No event is outside of the knowledge of God, and He is not predicting the future. When God speaks a word of prophecy, He is simply stating what has already taken place.

Romans 4:17 …God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did

A large part of the plan of God in allowing Jesus to suffer for the sins of all people was that God would have a righteous basis to forgive sin. The pronouncement of God was that: The soul that sins will die.

Ezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”

In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. God does not ever overlook sin; He always judges it and punishes all wrong, just as He said that He would. There is, however, a provision in the law of God that allows for an innocent, who has done no wrong, to substitute his life for the life of the guilty. The innocent is made culpable by the transfer of sins to his account and then takes the punishment that is due. The former guilty party is treated as innocent, and there is no record of wrongdoing attached to his account. This is exactly what was accomplished by the provision in the law of God, to which Jesus availed Himself on our behalf.

Leviticus 1:4 Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering (who is innocent), and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him (who is guilty).

Although the process of sin’s removal is the same in both the Old and New Testament examples, through an innocent second party, the permanent removal of those sins in the Old Testament did not occur until the Messiah made His one perfect sacrifice for all those sins. After Jesus’ death, everyone who comes to Him, based on this provision in the law, have their sins fully paid, and removed immediately, from their record.

In the Books of Exodus Chapter 29 and Leviticus Chapter 4, the Lord describes a process whereby a person who has committed sin may have those sins atoned for by the death of an innocent animal. This sacrifice did not remove the sin of the persons who committed them; it simply acted as a kofar—a covering, until the Messiah would come and make His one perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people. God was illustrating the seriousness of sin and the cost involved to have those sins judged. If no sacrifice was made, if there was no shedding of blood, then the sins could not be atoned for.

Hebrews 9:22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Jesus came, in the words of this 284th prophecy by Isaiah, to proclaim to the ends of the world this great salvation that would be accomplished by the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every point and purpose of the law of God, by becoming the perfect sacrifice that would, once and for all, remove our sins.

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Paul’s puts forth the argument in Hebrews Chapter 10, that if innocent animals who shed their blood, could take away the guilt of the offending sinner and allow them to continue to worship God, how much more can the precious blood of the Son of God completely remove our sin and our guilt—forever? The purpose of these Old Testament laws were to serve as a “shadow of the good things to come.” If the Old Testament sacrifices had been perfect, then the person offering the animal would have experienced the complete removal of their sins. This was not the case; however, the sinner who brought his sacrifice understood that his sins were still present. God was allowing a temporary provision to cover the guilt of the sinner until the Messiah arrived to permanently remove them forever.

Hebrews 10:1 For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

In this prophecy of Isaiah describing the atoning work of the Messiah, He will complete His work and make the reality of salvation possible for every person who will believe and personally appropriate this principle to their own life. Jesus came as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah, to take the body that was prepared for Him from the foundation of the world and make one perfect sacrifice for us.

Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. 7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” 8 Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

The text of this verse from Hebrews chapter 10 is truly amazing, when we consider that they are the words of the Messiah who is describing the body of a human being that will be prepared for Him to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. As Jesus arrives in Bethlehem, in fulfillment of Prophecy 321, He takes the flesh of a human being—the body that is spoken of, in Hebrews 10:5, and begins to live His life as a man. He must learn to walk, talk, and experience all of the difficulties that every other person will go through in their life. He must remain perfect and without sin for His entire life, or He cannot be the One to whom all of the Old Testament prophecies speak of. No sacrifice was permitted in the Old Testament when the animal had a defect. The Passover Lamb had to be perfect, just as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world must also be perfect and without sin.

Jesus met all of the requirements for the substitutionary death of the guilty; therefore, He was allowed to offer His life for all human beings. By successfully completing the plan of salvation for all people, Jesus fully vindicated God and showed all creation that God is Loving, Merciful, and Just.

Categories: Forgiveness of Sin, How Salvation Occurs, Salvation through Jesus, To die for the world's sins

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