Did Jesus Really Die for Our Sins?
Have you ever wondered why Good Friday is called Good Friday? An innocent man was brutally murdered through crucifixion. Awful. What’s good about that?
Christians call Good Friday “good” because the death of Jesus provided forgiveness for humanity. Friday wasn’t good for Jesus, but it was good for us. Jesus’ death on the cross restored our relationship with God that had been fractured through sin.
The short answer is yes, Jesus really did die for our sins. He paid the price that we all owe. When Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished.” He had fully extinguished the penalty of sin that was against us.
The wages of sin are death
The Bible tells us that the wages of sin are death. In other words, when we sin, we create a debt of death that we owe. We sin and we need to pay the bill, which is death.
We see God explain this in the very beginning of the Bible, in the Garden of Eden. God tells Adam, “the day that you eat from that tree, you shall surely die.” The devil shows up and says that God was lying and they won’t die. Adam and Eve didn’t die that day, but they still needed to pay the bill.
God provides a temporary covering for them by killing an animal, but it was only temporary. That temporary fix remained for thousands of years. Throughout the Old Testament, animals were sacrificed to cover the wages owed due to the sins of humanity. Every year, a priest would take an innocent lamb and put it to death to temporarily cover sin.
The book of Hebrews explains this:
“But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.” Hebrews 9:7 NIV
“It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” Hebrews 10:4 NIV
“Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.” Hebrews 10:11 NIV
The death of animals provided a temporary forgiveness, but it didn’t take away the sin or fully cover the penalty. Romans 3:23 says that all of humanity has sinned. We all need to pay the debt of our sins, and if we’re in debt, we can’t pay someone else’s debt.
Even if you’ve sinned “less” than other people, there’s still a debt that you need to pay. Jesus was the only human to ever live a sinless life. He was the only one who wasn’t indebted with the death of sin. That means He could pay the price and offer forgiveness for other people.
John the Baptist points this out in John 1. He says Jesus is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). John recognized that Jesus would do what all of the animal sacrifices couldn’t do– take away sin.
Jesus is the Lamb
In the Old Testament, lambs were offered as payment for sin. Once a year, an innocent lamb would be killed as the payment for sin. The wages of sin are death, so the death of the lamb was payment. There was a process of inspecting the lamb to make sure it didn’t have any blemishes. The lambs that were killed during Passover would come from a small town named Bethlehem.
Jesus, who John calls the Lamb of God, was also born in Bethlehem and went through the same inspection process. Before He was crucified, He was inspected and found innocent, without blemish by the chief priests, Herod, and Pilate.
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.” John 18:38 NKJV
“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward.” Matthew 26:59-60 NIV
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death.” Luke 23:13-15 NIV
Jesus also rides into Jerusalem on the same day that Israel is choosing the lamb that they’re going to sacrifice on Passover. When Jesus rides in on the donkey to celebrate Passover, He is telling everyone that He is the Lamb that will be sacrificed, once and for all.
From His birth to death, it’s clear that Jesus is the sacrificial Lamb of God.
“For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV
“But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins.” Hebrews 7:27 NLT
We still need to accept forgiveness
Jesus paid the price for our sin, but we need to accept His payment.
Imagine I come over to paint your house. When I’m finished, I send you an invoice for $500. Now you owe me $500. If you deny the fact that you owe me money, it doesn’t change the fact that you owe me. You’re indebted to me until you make the payment.
If your friend offers to pay the invoice for you, you have two options. You can continue denying that you owe me anything, and you’ll continue to be in debt. Or you can accept your friend’s payment, and your debt will be forgiven. Just because your friend offers to pay your debt doesn’t mean your debt is forgiven.
You still need to acknowledge the debt you owe, and ask your friend to pay it for you.
That’s what Jesus is offering. He paid the price of sin that you and I owe with His life, but we need to accept it. You can deny the fact that you’re in debt, or you can accept the forgiveness that Jesus offers.