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Indeed, Jesus did lay down his life for us, and furthermore, he substituted for our sin in a way that no one else could ever do. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NIV). As a result, the old sinful self is gone, as we are made new in Christ, and we are no longer bound to an eternal existence facing condemnation.

          Jesus Christ was the atoning sacrifice for human sins, according to the pattern of sacrifice established by God in the Old Testament. Animal blood sacrifices were made by the Hebrew people to atone for their sins. Lambs were a common sacrifice, although other animals were also used in the sacrificial system. John the Baptist said about Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29b NIV). Lambs were specifically associated with the Passover, at which time in Israel’s history, God brought about the deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt. Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples on the night in which he was betrayed, gave himself over to the authorities, was falsely tried and then crucified. He is called the Passover Lamb. “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7b NIV).

          The Day of Atonement, described in Leviticus 16, was the annual day of ritual to atone for the sins of the priest and of the people of Israel. On this occasion, a bull, two rams, and two goats were used for the ritual. A young bull was sacrificed for the sins of the high priest and his household. The two rams were burnt offerings. The two goats were used for atonement of the people’s sins. One goat was sacrificed and the high priest sprinkled its blood on the atonement cover of the ark of the covenant, inside the Holy of Holies. Then the high priest laid his hands on the head of the live goat and confessed all of the sins of the people on the goat, which is called the scapegoat. The goat was then led into the wilderness, carrying away the people’s sins.Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross correlates with the functions of the two goats: they represent two aspects of Jesus’ sacrifice. Like the scapegoat, Jesus takes away our sins. Like the goat used for sacrifice, Jesus opens the way for people to enter the holiness of heaven and enjoy fellowship with God and with sanctified people.

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Atonement page 4 of 7

2Co 5:18-19  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The Atonement: Biblical Basis