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The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ

We believe God so loved the world of helpless sinners that He gave His only begotten Son, who, though in all points tempted as we are, lived without sin in the human flesh. That Son, Jesus Christ, died as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. His life, because He is the creator of all humanity, is of greater value than the sum total of all human life. His death is, therefore, sufficient to pay the penalty for every human being's sins. In paying this penalty He has made it possible, according to God's plan for each person and for humanity as a whole, for us to have our sins forgiven and to be released from the death penalty.

Jesus Christ is the focal point of Christianity. As Acts 4:12 states, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." Forgiveness of sin and ultimately the gift of eternal life are available only through His sacrifice. We are reconciled to God by Christ's death but saved by His life (Romans 5:9-10).

The Scriptures refer to Jesus Christ with several distinctive titles, including the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13), our Savior (1 John 4:14), our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11), our Lord (Revelation 22:21), the Son of God (Revelation 2:18; 1 John 5:5), our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), the Son of Man (Revelation 14:14), and King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16). (See the chapter titled God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.)

Christ is our Savior and the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Even though He was divine, Jesus became a human being to suffer and die for the sins of mankind (Philippians 2:5-7; Hebrews 2:9). As the Son of Man, He was human in the fullest sense, able to experience the trials of human life (Hebrews 4:15) to better empathize with us as our merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17).

Christ as our Savior gave His life that we might live. He died a horrible death, as our Passover (foreshadowed in the sacrificed Passover lamb in the Old Testament), that we might understand the magnitude of sin and the monumental significance of His sacrifice, which was made for every human being. He was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29; compare Revelation 5:6, 12; 7:14; 12:11). (See the chapter titled The Passover.)

Sin, the transgression of God's law (1 John 3:4), is truly horrible. Disobedience to God's law has brought untold pain and misery as well as its ultimate penalty, death (Romans 6:23). (See the chapter titled God's Law and Sin.)

Jesus lived a perfect life and therefore did not deserve the excruciating agony He experienced or the death penalty inflicted on Him. However, He was preordained from the foundation of the world to suffer and die for the sins of humanity. Even though Christ was accused of violating God's law on more than one occasion, He, as the perfect sacrifice for sin, never broke God's law.

We accept Christ's sacrifice as essential to our salvation. As we model our lives after His, we figuratively "take up our cross" and follow Him (Luke 14:27), which includes a willingness to suffer and be persecuted as He set the example (1 Peter 2:19-23). We thank God the Father for giving up His Son Jesus Christ to be that perfect sacrifice for all mankind (John 3:16; Romans 8:32).

All sin is forgiven upon repentance and the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice. (See the chapter titled Repentance and Faith.) Forgiveness of sin requires the supreme sacrifice—the death of Jesus Christ. His crucifixion almost 2,000 years ago was essential to God's plan of redemption and salvation.

Through His sacrifice, Jesus took the ultimate penalty of sin—death—upon Himself, freeing us, if we accept His sacrifice in continuing repentance, from death being our final fate (Hebrews 2:9; 9:15). And by giving of Himself in life to care for others and finally through the agonizing torment He experienced at the end, Jesus also bore the other consequences of sin—pain and suffering.

As Isaiah 53:4 begins, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." Matthew 8:17 renders this, "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." And Isaiah 53:5 concludes, "The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." So Jesus endured brutality and misery as the basis for our release from suffering, including through healing.

While God does not remove all suffering now, just as He has not yet removed death from us, at times He will alleviate some of it now if we faithfully rely on Him—such as being physically healed of illness through anointing (James 5:13-16). And we have God's promise that one day both death and suffering will be no more (1 Corinthians 15:54; Romans 8:18; Revelation 21:4).

By understanding and accepting Jesus Christ's sacrifice in repentance and faith, we can be assured that our sins are blotted out. We can go forward in our Christian lives with confidence, knowing that through that sacrifice we can be reconciled to the Father.

As a result of this reconciliation, we can develop a relationship with our Father that provides hope and assurance for our future. We can experience healing today. We can also look forward to eternal life in the Kingdom of God as a gift of God's grace because of this tremendous sacrifice that Jesus and the Father willingly gave for every one of us.

For more details, read Jesus Christ: The Real Story, Who Is God? and God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.

 

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