Why couldn’t God just forgive all our wrongdoings? Because it would be like a judge who, faced with a murderer, stood up from his seat and said, “I forgive you.” Not only would he shock the courtroom and outrage the victim’s family, he would be refusing to administer justice to the offender. Justice would not be served.
God is a judge. If He just forgave, then He would neglect His role of punishing the offender. He would be an unrighteous judge. So God set up a way to punish the guilty and still set them free. With the ancient Israelites, He set up a system of animal sacrifices such that if anyone sinned, they could bring a lamb to the priest and the lamb would be killed instead of the sinner; the lamb would bear the sinner’s punishment.
With Jesus, God became man. He also became, on the cross, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world by bearing its punishment of death. Jesus the sinless one died on the cross, and that satisfied God’s requirement for justice for all sins. Then Jesus rose from the dead and sat down at the right hand of God, ready to forgive those who acknowledge that they have sinned worthy of death. To those who believe in Jesus and His sacrifice for them, God wipes away all sins.
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