The first purpose of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is to cover our sin. The second reason is to calm God’s wrath against sin. The third intent is to carry away the guilt of our sin (John 1:29; Heb. 10:4, 11).
“For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins . . . And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins” (Heb. 10:4, 11, ESV). This is the deficiency of the Old Testament system of sacrifices. No blood of bulls and goats can ever take away your sin.
Why did God require those sacrifices in the first place? Because those sacrifices were a shadow of the real sacrifice—the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. They pictured and pointed to the coming offering of the Lamb of God.
That’s why when John the Baptist, the last prophet of the OT, saw Jesus, he said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, NKJV). The verb, “takes away,” is from airo, “to bear, to carry.” (Strong)
Now in the Hebrew mind, “take away” means not only to bear the sin, but also to carry the guilt and punishment of it. “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. . . the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself” (Ezek. 18:20, NKJV). The word, “guilt,” here is from avon, “guilt or punishment of iniquity.” (BDB) The meaning is that you don’t only bear your sin. You also carry the guilt of your sin and the punishment of it.
By His sacrifice on the cross as the Lamb of God, Christ takes away once for all both the guilt and the punishment of sin for us.
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