Atoning Sacrifice

“1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

Verse one says that Jesus is our advocate with the Father, which means that He goes to the Father on our behalf and requests God to give us mercy! Verse two explains though that Jesus isn’t just our advocate, but He is also the “propitiation for our sins.” This means that He offered Himself as an “atoning sacrifice” for our sins, so that our path doesn’t have to lead to death.
The reason Jesus can be our advocate before God and ask Him to forgive us is because a sacrifice has taken the punishment for our sin. That punishment was death.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “I would take a bullet for you?” Have you ever had a friend or family member sacrifice something for you so that you would not be in danger? In the Old Testament, the way the Israelites got rid of their sin was sacrificing animals to God. The punishment of sin is death, so the Israelites symbolically placed their sin on the animals that would be sacrificed so that the Israelites wouldn’t have to die themselves.
We need this sort of sacrifice to get rid of our sins too. But instead of killing animals, God sent His own Son who lived a perfect life without sin to be the perfect sacrifice. So when Jesus died on the cross, He gave up His own life and bore the weight of our sins so that they wouldn’t be on us anymore. If we put our faith in Jesus and believe that He got rid of our sins on the cross, then He really does promise to take away our sins. And that means that we no longer have any sin separating us from God, but we can have a relationship with Him!

Questions for reflection and discussion
1. Why does sin separate us from God?
2. Why does sin require a sacrifice?

Dear God, we thank You for living a perfect life, Jesus, so that You could be the perfect sacrifice for our sins. We don’t deserve this kind of sacrifice, but we trust through our faith that You gave Yourself up for us anyway. We thank You. Jesus, we pray that in the same way, we would learn to give up our own lives as a sacrifice to bring glory to You. Amen.