Sin is a massive problem for mankind. (We shared how big a problem it really is in our previous article, How to See God’s Perspective of Sin and Its Destructive Power.) Fortunately, God provides a solution to the problem.
But before we take a look at His solution, there is one more issue for us to consider.
It turns out sin is such a serious problem, that it requires the shedding of blood to deal with. Here is how it is explained in the New Testament:
This refers to the Law God gave to Moses in the Old Covenant with the Israelites. Sin brings death with it. As Romans 6:23 says, “the wages of sin is death.”
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.— Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)
Because sin brings death, death is required to deal with it.
That’s why God put the sacrificial system in the Old Testament Law. Reading through the Law, you see all sorts of different sacrifices are required at different times.
But here’s the thing. We are powerless to deal with the sin. Even when we get it right on some things, there is always another point where we mess up. And even with the Old Testament sacrificial system, they were constantly having to go from sacrifice to sacrifice just to get temporary relief from their sins.
This is why it makes no sense whatsoever to focus on our sin. Yes, we need to acknowledge it, yes. But then we need to move past that and place our focus on the solution God has made available to us.
So many people get all bogged down in the sin problem. They spend tons of time and energy analyzing sin – what is sin and what is not. They catalog and classify it. And worst of all, folks compare other people’s sin to whatever it is they themselves do.
It is this fixation with sin which is the cause of much of the hypocrisy that we Christians often are guilty of perpetrating.
So let’s talk about the solution!
God’s Sin Solution is Jesus!
Jesus is the answer. God knew we were incapable of bearing up under the weight of any kind of solution that involved our own effort. This is the whole purpose of the Old Testament Law. The Law makes it readily obvious to all that we are totally incapable of measuring up in ourselves, even when there is a system in place to do so.
In Galatians Chapter 3, Paul explains the purpose of the Law. There he says that we cannot gain the life we so desperately need by means of the law.
Look at what he says starting in verse 22:
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.— Galatians 3:22-24 (NKJV)
Here Paul says the purpose of the Law is to point us to Jesus so we could receive by faith the right standing with God we desperate need.
The Great Exchange
You see, a great exchange took place. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. That is something unique in the course of human history and sets Jesus apart from every other person who ever lived.
Then, even though Jesus was completely innocent of any wrong doing, He was sentenced to one of the most tortuous deaths imaginable on a Roman cross.
He was tortured, died, and was buried. Then on the third day, Jesus rose again from the dead, victorious over all death and sin.
Jesus took all our sin at the cross. And in exchange we can now receive all his righteousness by faith. We no longer have to suffer or pay the price for sin. That price has been paid already.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.— 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.— Romans 5:6-10 (NKJV)
That’s amazing in itself. But it’s even more incredible than that.
Jesus didn’t just pay the price for our sins, though some theologians say that. They believe Jesus paid the price only for the sins of believers. But the Bible is very clear. Jesus paid the price for every sin ever committed throughout the history of mankind.
Listen to these words by the Apostle John. He’s talking about Jesus when He says this:
And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.— 1 John 2:2 (NKJV)
That word “propitiation” means the “atoning sacrifice.” There John makes it as clear as possible. Jesus paid the total cost due for the sins of the whole world.
And it’s not something Jesus needs to deal with over and over again. The Bible tells us He did it once, for all time, for all sin, and then He sat down because the job was finished.
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God,— Hebrews 10:12 (NKJV)
God’s solution through Jesus is more than enough to deal with all the sin of every single member of humanity throughout the ages.
Since the sins of the whole world are already paid for, does that mean everyone will end up in Heaven one day? The short answer is no. And I’ll explain why in a moment.
But first I want to clarify some more terms.
Found, Saved, Born Again
The Bible uses several different words and analogies when explaining this great exchange.
Jesus compared it to lost things being found. He also compared it to being born again. Only instead of a natural birth of flesh and blood, He said it is a supernatural birth of water and spirit.
Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”— John 3:5 (NKJV)
Here Jesus is talking both about natural and spiritual birth, and about being baptized in water and in the Spirit in the same statement.
Then several of the other New Testament writers talk about the great exchange in terms of being saved. Their point is that we are in a hopeless, helpless, desperate situation. We’re doomed unless someone comes in and saves us.
That someone is Jesus.
Sometimes believers today mix the analogies and contrast being lost with being saved. Just know that whether we are talking about being found, getting saved, or having a born again experience, it all is referring to that same great exchange.
The Thing About Gifts
I said earlier that not everyone will get into Heaven. Let me explain why that is.
First, remember that verse I mentioned earlier in Romans 6:23 that says the wages of sin is death? Let’s look at that entire verse:
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.—Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
There’s a great big “but” in the middle of that verse. Sure the wages of sin is death. But.
But God offers everyone a free gift that deals with sin. It’s free for the taking and available to everyone who will accept the gift. Problem solved.
That’s also where the sticking point is. A gift must be given by someone and also it also must be received by someone. God has already given the gift. That part’s a done deal.
However each of us has the option whether or not we choose to receive that gift. If we choose not to receive the gift then we don’t get to enjoy it’s benefits.
It’s that simple.
Refuse the gift and nothing changes. You stay separated from God. Your sin will eventually kill you and you’ll get to spend eternity the way you chose – separated from God in hell.
Accept the gift and everything changes for you.
So how do we receive what Jesus paid for and participate in that great exchange to experience being born again, or saved? It’s simple.
The Bible tells us in Romans 10:13 that, “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
And the Bible even tells us what it means to call on the name of the Lord. Just a few verses earlier, we see this passage,
That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.— Romans 10:9 (NKJV)
There we see calling on the name of the Lord requires two things from us:
- Say out loud that, “Jesus is Lord.”
- Believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead.
It truly is that simple. Calling on the name of the Lord in faith consists of those two things. Anyone who does them instantly receives God’s solution to their own personal sin problem and is born again spiritually.
That is how we enjoy the benefits of the great exchange Jesus accomplished and become the very righteousness of God in Him. This great exchange truly happened for all who call on the name of the Lord in this way, regardless of whether they feel like anything happened or not.
Our feelings can lie to us. But God’s word is true and we can believe it with confidence.