Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die for our sins? Couldn’t God have forgiven us without His Son’s painful death?
A photograph of our son covered in mud documents the special affinity my toddler had with puddles. The caked dirt didn’t change my love for Brant. But it did affect how I treated him. He wasn’t allowed to roam the house while muddy. I held him at arm’s length when I carried him to a tub of running water. After he was clean, we snuggled close, and he gained free access inside the house again.
Who benefited from my child’s bath? Bathing him was work for me, but it was also joy. Removing his grime restored the pleasure of cuddling together.
Some people avoid God when they mess up. They think He doesn’t want to see them. But Jesus died to remove the stench of sin that separated us. He wants to share life now and throughout eternity.
Before sin entered the world there was no need for sacrifices. After sin, animal sacrifices provided a temporary remedy so people could enjoy closeness with God. From the skin garments God made to clothe the first man and woman to the blood sacrifices that were part of the Mosaic Law, blood was God’s provision for removing guilt and restoring fellowship with Him (Lev. 17:11). “In fact, …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).Before sin entered the world there was no need for sacrifices. After sin, animal sacrifices provided a temporary remedy so people could enjoy closeness with God. #Salvation, #BigGod Click To Tweet
Like bathing with body wash, the effectiveness of animal sacrifices was temporary. These Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the sacrifice of God’s perfect Lamb who would become sin on our behalf.
- “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Heb. 9:12 NLT).
- “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deedsso that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins” (Heb. 9:14 NLT).
- “But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice” (Heb. 9:26 NLT).
In Genesis 4:4, Abel brought an offering to the Lord from the best of his livestock. John MacArthur said Abel’s sacrifice prefigured the way of the cross.
- Abel offered “—one lamb for one person.
- Later came the Passover—with one lamb for one family.
- Then came the Day of Atonement—with one lamb for one nation.
- Finally came Good Friday—one Lamb for the whole world.” 
When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) his Jewish audience understood. This was the long awaited One first promised to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15).
While we look back in history to the cross, Old Testament believers offered sacrifices that pointed to His coming. Faith in God’s promised One is the basis for righteousness for both Old and New Testament believers. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, like Abel, we please God and gain His eternal approval
Why did Jesus have to die? So He could be close to you! And only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin so we can be close to Him (1 Jn. 1:7).Why did Jesus have to die? So He could be close to you! And only the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin so we can be close to Him. #Fellowship, #BigGod Click To Tweet
Adapted excerpt from Little Faith, Big God © 2020.
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Hebrews (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), 301.
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