Last week we saw that it was necessary for Jesus to be human in order that we could have the human obedience credited to our account that God required from man. This week we look at how Jesus needed to be human so that a human sacrifice could pay for all the sin we had committed.

Sin is a falling short of God’s law and the result of sin was always death. God warned Adam and Eve of this in the garden: ‘And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die”’ (Genesis 2:16-17). Therefore everyone who sinned needed to die for their sin otherwise God would not be just in keeping his promise. In the Old Testament God gave a way of receiving forgiveness for sins through a sacrifice of death in the place of the sinner. This involved killing an animal so that you would not die for your sin. But these sacrifices were imperfect as the requirement for sin was the death of the human, not the death of an animal. God says in Hebrews that ‘it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins’ (Hebrews 10:4). Therefore sinful humans need to die for their own sins or have another sinless human die for them.

God sums up in the book of Hebrews how Jesus was made human so that he could die a human death for us: ‘For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people’ (Hebrews 2:17). Notice what the verse says. Jesus had to be made like his brothers. It was not optional. And he had to be made like his brothers in every way. He couldn’t be half a human, he had to be fully human. Why was this necessary? That he might make atonement for the sins of the people. If Jesus was to make atonement (or could be translated propitiation-turning away God’s wrath for sin) for people, he had to die as a person.

If you try to make atonement for your own sins through anything other than your eternal death in hell, you haven’t paid for your sins. No matter how kind you may be to the poor, no matter how nice you may be to your husband, if you have sinned once, then the only way to be right with God is through a human death. Thankfully Jesus became a human and died so that if we believe in him we have a human death put to our account and have eternal life. Is your faith in him?

Joel Radford.