Why Did Jesus Die for Man's Sins?
By Dianne E. Butts
When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, God gave them skins to cover up with (Genesis 3:21). To get those skins, some animal had to die. In other words, God sacrificed an animal to cover their sin. From the beginning, God has declared the payment for sin is death, and so blood must be shed to cover sin:
- Leviticus 17:11: “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.”
- Hebrews 9:22: “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
We could shed our own blood for our own sins, but that wouldn’t do us much good because then we’d be dead. God doesn’t want us dead—he wants us alive. But that leaves him with a great dilemma: we each have sinned and must die for our sins, so how can we live?
God devised a plan. Early in the Old Testament God introduced the idea of one innocent being shedding its blood in place of the sinner’s. After the incident in the garden, he introduced the sacrificial system in the Tabernacle-Temple ceremonies. That’s what those sacrifices were all about: “He is to lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him” (Leviticus 1:4).
However the solution of sacrificing bulls and goats and lambs for the sins of each person’s sin was a temporary fix. The next year, another animal would have to be sacrificed for the same person. A more permanent solution was needed.
That meant a human was needed to die for humans’ sin. But all humans are sinful, so another sin-filled person dying for us just wouldn’t work. A human without sin was needed.
But ever since Adam, every human born is sin-filled, so how could a sinless man happen? The only way was if God did it Himself.
So he did.
God became a man, known as Jesus—whose name, Joshua in Hebrew, means “the LORD saves” (1)—and died for us in our place. Therefore, anyone who accepts the sacrifice of Jesus on his or her behalf is covered by his blood and is saved.
Buddha didn’t die for us. Mohammad didn’t die for us. Name any other god and whoever you name, they 1) weren’t sinless, and 2) didn’t die for us.
Only Jesus satisfies God’s requirement of a perfect, sinless person who was sacrificed in our stead. Therefore, Jesus is the only way.
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1. NIV Study Bible text note on Matthew 1:21
Find more answers by Dianne E. Butts at www.DianneEButts.com
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