“The Just For The Unjust”
All sin is against God, so only God can forgive sin. But, how does He do it? Look at 1 Peter 3:18 again and you’ll find a phrase, “the just for the unjust…” Jesus is the just. You and I are the unjust.
How does God forgive sin? He must do it with a substitute. The penalty of our sin must be paid. You see, God cannot overlook sin. If He overlooked sin, then He would no longer be a holy God-anymore than a judge would be a righteous judge if he overlooked a crime. There’s a saying in jurisprudence that when a guilty man is acquitted, the judge is condemned. If God were to simply overlook sin without punishment, He would topple from His throne of holiness. God is holy.
Revelation 15:4 says, Who shall not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? for Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee; for Thy judgements are made manifest.
But not only is God holy, God is love. First John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” God in His infinite love and holy hatred for sin, devised a plan by which sin would be punished and we would be forgiven. And that plan included the substitutionary purpose of the cross.
1 Peter 1:18 says, Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
This verse compares Jesus to the Passover lambs that were sacrificed by the Jews to commemorate the night that the Lord pass over the nation of Israel (see Exodus 12). Do you know where Passover lambs were bred in Jesus’ day? Bethlehem. The shepherds, who first heard the Christmas message, were probably watching over this special breed of Passover lambs when they were called from their flocks to see the Lamb of God.
Several years later, there came the day of crucifixion during Passover week. Over the brow of the Mount of Olives, the Lamb of God rode into the City of Jerusalem through the Eastern Gate. At the same time these Passover lambs entered the city through the sheep gate. While the priests examined the Passover lambs to make sure they were perfect, another group of men criticized, interrogated, and castigated the Lamb of God to find some flaw in Him. Even that hard-hearted politician Pilate had to say, “I find no fault in Him.”
Pilate, trying to escape from this predicament, decided to follow a custom of releasing one notorious criminal during the feast. Pilate thought he could let Jesus go and maintain his dignity and station with Rome. So Pilate gathered the people and brought two men before them. The Lamb of God, Jesus, and an insurrectionist, a thief, and a murderer named Barabbas. Matthew 27:17-25 records the scene.
Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered Him. When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just Man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let Him be crucified.
And the governor said, Why, what evil hath He done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let Him be crucified. When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
At three o’clock in the afternoon the priest lifted the chins of those Passover lambs and drew their knives to kill their substitution. And over on the Mount of Calvary, Roman soldiers nailed the perfect Lamb of God to the cross as THE substitute. This mountain was destined to be a place of sacrifice. Did you know that the death of the Savior occurred on the same mountain where Abraham was led by God to sacrifice his only son (see Genesis 22)? Do you think all of this happened by chance? No! It’s all a part of the plan of grace from the hands of a holy and loving God.
There are three crosses. Originally, the crosses were for three thieves, the two thieves whom now we know were crucified, and Barabbas. Jesus’ cross was Barabbas’ cross. Jesus died in your place. And in my place. The just for the unjust. Now this is awesome my friends, the simple fact is that we have a Savior who loves us so much that He wants you and I to experience eternal life in heaven with Him. Now that is a wonderful gift. It is the greatest gift you will ever experience in your lifetime. It is your choice, only you can step out in faith and receive it. Won’t you?
God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!