Last night my wife and I were reading 1 John 3:1-10 and verse 5 just jumped off the page at me. It reads,
“You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”
This is Holy Week and Good Friday is the day after tomorrow, with Easter two days later. John, in his way, has captured the essence of Jesus’ earthly life, in one verse.
There are number of reasons that one could list as to why Jesus came to earth but the one that John tells us is the only one that truly matters. Jesus came “to take away sins.” Without this particular reason there is no reason for the Incarnation. No reason for the Crucifixion. No reason for the Resurrection. No reason for the Ascension.
It is the only reason that requires Jesus to be both fully human and fully divine and it is the only reason that has eternal implications for every person who has ever lived.
Because Jesus came, or “appeared,” as John phrases it, the sins of all who call on him in faith are forgiven. Sin creates a barrier between a human and God but in the work of Jesus, the work that finished on the cross and was declared worthy in the empty tomb, that barrier is “taken away,” so that the Christian can live in freedom and peace with God, now and forever.
We are human and will never know perfection in this life. The finished work of Christ covers the sins we have committed in days past, the ones we commit today, and the ones we will commit during each tomorrow. It is a perfect act of forgiveness, completely taking away our sin.
In the perfection of God’s forgiveness we can rest in the assurance of God’s promise to hold us forever. Here is a link to a song by Chris Tomlin that speaks powerfully to the enduring love of God, a love we can only know because Jesus has taken away our sin.
I am thankful that Jesus has taken away my sin. That is an easy thing to say without pondering what it really means. Over the remainder of Holy Week I’m planning to prayerfully consider both what the real cost of that choice to Jesus was in human terms, and also the glory that God receives as a result.
And in the season of Easter may you also know the deep and abiding love of God in the finished work of Christ.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.