Jesus Christ



26. What does the following expression ‘Jesus Christ made atonement for our sins’ mean?




It means that Jesus Christ, dying on the cross for our sins, paid the price that had to be paid for us so that we might be forgiven and reconciled to God. And the price was His blood because “without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). That’s why Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, when He had taken the cup, said to His disciples: “…. This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28); and some time before He had stated that the Son of Man (He was the Son of Man) came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

This act of reconciliation done by Jesus Christ had been foreshadowed and predicted by God in the law when He commanded what the high priest had to do, once a year, in order to make atonement for his own sins and for the sins of the people. Here is what God said: “And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the LORD, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness” (Leviticus 16:11-16). As you can see, the high priest had to slaughter certain animals and offer their blood to make atonement for sins, because – as God said – “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). However, since the high priest himself was also “subject to weakness” (Hebrews 5:2 – NKJV. The KJV reads “compassed with infirmity”), he was required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer expiatory sacrifices for sins (Hebrews 5:2-3). However Jesus Christ came as a High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, therefore he belonged to an order which was superior to the order of Aaron; He was made high priest by God for ever because since he continues forever He has an unchangeable priesthood (Hebrews 7:24); He was made high priest not without an oath, unlike the high priests of the Old Testament; and He was holy and blameless because He knew no sin, and He offered Himself without spot to God for our sins (Hebrews 7:20,27; 9:14; 10:12). Through His sacrifice He made an atonement which is better than the atonement which was made once a year by the high priest according to the law, because the atonement made by Jesus Christ takes away sins from the conscience, while the atonement made by the high priest could not take away sins, “for it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4 - NKJV).

To Christ Jesus, the Son of God who, when He had by Himself purged our sins, ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, be the glory now and forevermore. Amen.