The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ
We believe God so loved the world of helpless sinners that He gave His only begotten Son, who, though in all points tempted as we are, lived without sin in the human flesh. That Son, Jesus Christ, died as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity. His life, because He is the creator of all humanity, is of greater value than the sum total of all human life. His death is, therefore, sufficient to pay the penalty for every human being's sins. In paying this penalty He has made it possible, according to God's plan for each person and for humanity as a whole, to have their sins forgiven and to be released from the death penalty (Hebrews 4:15; 9:15; 10:12; John 1:18; 3:16; Colossians 1:16-17, 22; 1 John 2:2; 4:10; Ephesians 1:11; Revelation 13:8).
Jesus Christ is the focal point of Christianity. Forgiveness of sin and ultimately the gift of eternal life are available only through His sacrifice. We are reconciled by His death but saved by His life (Romans 5:10). The Scriptures describe Jesus Christ by using several titles, including: the Word (John 1:1), our Savior (1 John 4:14), our High Priest (Hebrews 9:11), our Lord (Revelation 22:21), the Son of God (Revelation 2:18; 1 John 5:5), our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7), the Son of Man (Revelation 14:14), and King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Revelation 19:16).
Christ is our Savior and the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Even though He was divine, Jesus became a human being to die for the sins of mankind (Philippians 2:5-7). He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death (Hebrews 2:9). As the Son of Man, He was able to experience the trials of human life (Hebrews 4:15) to better empathize with us as our merciful High Priest (Hebrews 2:17). Christ as our Savior gave His life that we might live. He died a hideous death, as our Passover, that we might understand the magnitude of sin and the monumental significance of His sacrifice, which was made for every human being.
Jesus lived a perfect life and therefore did not deserve the death penalty. However, He was preordained from the foundation of the world to die (Revelation 13:8). Even though Christ, as the perfect sacrifice for sin, was accused of violating God's law on more than one occasion, He never broke God's law. We accept His sacrifice as essential to our salvation. As we model our lives after Jesus Christ, we "take up our cross" and follow Him (Luke 14:27), which includes a willingness to suffer and be persecuted as He set the example (1 Peter 2:19-23). We thank God the Father for giving up His Son Jesus Christ to be that perfect sacrifice for all mankind (John 3:16).
All sin is forgiven upon repentance and the acceptance of Christ's sacrifice. Forgiveness of sin requires the supreme sacrifice—the death of Jesus Christ. His crucifixion more than 1,900 years ago was essential to God's plan of redemption and salvation.
By understanding this fundamental belief we can be assured that our sins are blotted out. We can go forward in our Christian lives with confidence, knowing that through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we can be reconciled to the Father. As a result of this reconciliation, we can develop a relationship with our Father that provides hope and assurance for our future. We can look forward to eternal life in the Kingdom of God as a gift of God's grace because of the sacrifice that Christ willingly gave for every one of us.
(For more details, request Who Is God? and God's Holy Day Plan: The Promise of Hope for All Mankind.)
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