For those who were at Providence yesterday, you may have noticed a verse on the screen as you entered for our time of worship.  It was 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that IN HIM we might become the righteousness of God.” There is no clearer description of the substitutionary atonement.  Representative substitution, as the way and means of the atonement, is seen throughout Scripture beginning with the God-given Old Testament sacrificial system.  J.I. Packer summarizes this OT truth when he writes, “There, the perfect animal that was to be offered for sin was first symbolically constituted a representative by the sinner’s laying his hand on its head and so identifying it with him and him with it, and then it was killed as a substitute for the offerer, the blood being sprinkled before the Lord and then applied to one or both of the altars in the sanctuary as a sign that expiation (the covering or putting away of sin) had been made, averting wrath and restoring fellowship” (“In My Place Condemned He Stood”, 38).    On the day of atonement, a second goat was used as a ‘scapegoat.’  The priest would lay his hands on the goats head and symbolically place Israel’s sins on the head of this animal by confessing them there.  This goat would then be sent away into the wilderness, bearing on it all their iniquities (Leviticus 4, 16).

We know from Isaiah 53 that Jesus was to be the One who would come to bear our iniquities once for all.  He became our scapegoat, our representative substitute by receiving the wages of our sin in our place.  Our root problem before God is our sin.  We had no way of making purification for such sin, of being cleansed from our unrighteousness, and freed from God’s just wrath.   And so, our Creator had to become our Redeemer.  The One who knew no sin had our sin hurled on Him at the cross as His blood was shed as the atoning sacrifice that God demanded.  What quenched God’s wrath and redeems us from death was not Jesus’ life or His teaching, but the shedding of His blood – the innocent taking the place of the guilty.

So, read these truths.  Rejoice in them, and renew your passion for the good news as you understand that there is truly nothing that could have washed away our sins and made us pure within but the blood of Jesus.

Romans 5:8-9 “But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by His blood, much more shall we be saved from the wrath of God.”

Ephesians 1:7 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.”

Colossians 1:19-20 “For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of His cross.”

Hebrews 9:14 “He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves, but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”

I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.”

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