[article originally by Mr.P – edited by ALM]
Once, when I told a contact that ‘Christ died for our sins according to the Scripture‘ (1 Corinthians 15:3), the challenge came back: “There is no clear text for this huge part of your faith that Christ died for our sins. He never mentioned this out of His own mouth.”
Taking the challenge seriously, we will consider the Scriptures that speak to us concerning this subject. As you will see below, there is both a general consistency of message across the whole Bible, and some definite passages in both the Old and New Testaments. These include the words of the Lord Jesus Himself, showing that, in the end, the challenge given has no merit whatsoever.
The Sacrifice of Christ for Sin revealed in general terms in the OT
I’m not going into this is detail, but you can find this truth revealed to us in shadow and type (picture-form) through the early part of the Old Testament. Read Genesis 3:15, Exodus c12 and c25-30, Leviticus c4-5, Daniel 9:24-26 and Zechariah 12:10 to see how a coming sacrifice for sins was forecast generally, through a promise in Genesis; through picture in Exodus; by way of prescription in the Levitical Law; and prophetically alluded to in Daniel and Zechariah.
The Sacrifice of Christ for Sin prophesied explicitly by Isaiah in the OT
Isaiah 53:1-12 “Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? v2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. v3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. v4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
v6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. v7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. v8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. v9 And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. v10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. v11 He shall see the labour of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. v12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.
The Sacrifice of Christ for Sin expressed by Jesus Christ Himself
A few short hours before His death upon the cross, Jesus sat with His disciples in an upper room. He had previously stated to them on numerous occasions that He was going to suffer, die and rise again. Indeed, it wasn’t just that He was foretelling what was going to happen, but that ‘He must’ die. It was a necessity, the very purpose for which He had come.
“From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”Matthew 16:21 – see also Mark 9:31 & Luke 18:32,33
So the disciples had already been forewarned that Jesus was going to die, but now in these precious moments before His arrest, Jesus shares with them the reason for His death. As He takes a cup from the table He says:
“For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”Matthew 26:28
No doubt as Jesus spoke these words, other statements previously made came into their mind. They may have remembered how Christ Himself spoke about how He, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) Or perhaps they would have recalled the words of the great prophet John the Baptist as He pointed to Jesus at the commencement of His ministry, and declared: “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Or maybe they would consider how the Lord Jesus alluded to Isaiah 53 (see above) when He spoke of Himself as “the Good Shepherd” who “gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
We cannot know what would have run through their minds on that upper room, but we are in no doubt as to what these very same disciples subsequently taught concerning Christ’s death.
The Sacrifice of Christ for Sins Believed by the Disciples
1Peter 2:24 “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness–by whose stripes you were healed.”
1Peter 3:18 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.”
1John 2:2 “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”
1John 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”
Another wrote very eloquently:
Hebrews 1:3 “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.”
Hebrews 9:26 “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
Hebrews 9:28 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
And finally Paul wrote:
Romans 4:23-25 “Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, v24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, v25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
1Corinthians 15:3-4 “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, v4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.”
Galatians1:4 “Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom (“the Beloved” i.e. the Lord Jesus Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (i.e. undeserved favour).”
1Timothy 2:6 “Who (Christ Jesus v5) gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”