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Lesson 7: Christ, Our Sacrifice *

Introduction: For hundreds of years Christians have debated the reasons why Jesus' death on the cross saves us. Two weeks ago, I suggested to you that a logical reason arises from the operation of the "rule of law." Alert readers let me know I was not clear about what the rule of law meant, and that this overlooked another logical explanation of Jesus' sacrifice. Both concerns are right on target, and our study this week allows us to explore again what the Bible has to say about both. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible!

  1. The Rule of Law

    1. Read Deuteronomy 17:14-17. What did God see was in the future of His people? (That they would want to have a king like the other nations.)

      1. What characteristics did God say were essential for the king? (He had to be one of God's people. He should not disobey God and he should not acquire too many things.)

        1. What does having too many things have to do with being king? (It would distract the king from God.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 17:18-19. Who writes the king's personal copy of the law of God? (The king does!)

      1. Why? (Writing something down helps to remember it.)

      2. What is to guide the king in his decision making? (The words of the law.)

    3. Read Deuteronomy 17:19-20. What is not supposed to guide the king? (To start thinking that he is better than his subjects and thus he has authority to deviate from the law.)

    4. There are two great and opposing theories about how a king should rule. One theory is that the king is some sort of god, better than his subjects, and thus the king is entitled to make up the rules as he goes along. The second theory is that the king, just like everyone else, is subject to the law. Either the king is law or the law is king) Which approach to ruling did God require? (He required the king to be subject to the law. "Lex rex," the law is king. That is what is meant by the "rule of law.")

  2. Jesus' Death On Our Behalf

    1. Two weeks ago we looked at a story in 2 Samuel 14. It revealed that when the king "corrupted" the rule of law, by not following it, the king had to take responsibility. Thus, if a king failed to impose the proper punishment on someone who committed a crime, the king had to answer for it. Let's look at the conclusion to a similar story. Read 1 Kings 20:41-43. What sentence was pronounced on the king who released someone sentenced to death? (The king corrupted the rule of law by not imposing the death penalty, and therefore the king should lose his life.)

      1. Is this thinking consistent with the rule of law? (Yes. If the king decided what would be the law, he could decide anything. But, the rule of law said that when the king deviates from the law, another law comes into play which requires the king to take personal responsibility. The law always has the final say - not the king.)

    2. Read Isaiah 53:4. Who is referred to in this prophecy? (Jesus!)

      1. What has Jesus done?(He carried our failures and our sorrows.)

    3. Read Isaiah 53:5-6. Why was Jesus punished? Why did He die? (He died for our sins.)

      1. Does this reflect the sanctuary system? (Yes! The animal died for the sin of the person.)

      2. Does this reflect the rule of law? (Yes! God changed the rule that sin brings death. Thus, God (the King) accepted the punishment for our sins.)

  3. Our Death With Jesus

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:23-25. Something odd is contained in these verses. Look at verse 24: "so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness." What do you think this means? (This is the other part of the logic of the atonement. When Jesus died, we died. When Jesus arose to life, we were given the promise of life after death.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:22. and Romans 5:14. What did Adam do for us when he sinned? (He condemned us to death.)

      1. Why? This is not the rule of law! Read Ezekiel 18:20. (I do not understand it all, but Adam was the representative of the human race. Thus, we were all sentenced to death when he sinned.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. How is Jesus like Adam? How is He unlike Adam? (Adam's sin plunged us all into death. Jesus' perfect life and death on our behalf, gives us life. However the rule of law operated to give us death when Adam sinned, the rule of law gives us life based on Jesus' perfect life, His death for our sins, and His resurrection!)

    4. If Jesus, as King, died for everyone, does that logically mean that all humans will escape eternal death? Jesus paid the price for everyone, so all have a "get out of jail (out of death) authorization?"

    5. Read Romans 6:1-3. How did we die to sin when Jesus died on the cross? (We die with Jesus when we are baptized. Thus, baptism is key to participating with Jesus in His death for our sins.)

    6. Read Romans 6:4. What does it mean that we were "buried?" (Just as Jesus was buried after He died, so when we are buried in the water of baptism, we are buried with Jesus.)

    7. Read Romans 6:5. What does our coming up out of the baptismal waters mean? (It means that we are united with Jesus in His resurrection.)

    8. Can you see the two lines of logic here? King Jesus was pulled into our mess when He, in love, decided to change His rules and not leave us to eternal death. He suffered the penalty of the law, but when we are baptized we die with Jesus, we are buried with Jesus and we rise to the promise of eternal life with Jesus!

  4. Paying Attention

    1. Read Hebrews 10:28. Do you agree that some criminals should be given the death penalty?

      1. What kind of crimes qualify?

    2. Read Hebrews 10:29. Can we simply say that we are not buying what God is offering? Can we claim that we are not involved one way or the other?(Romans 6:23 tells us that the "wages of sin is death." Romans 3:23 tells us that "all have sinned." We learned that when Adam sinned, he pulled all of humanity into sin and death. No one is innocent. No one is uninvolved.)

      1. When we reject Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf, what are we doing? (Jesus died in our place. We are not only guilty of our own sin, but our sins caused Jesus to die. In addition we have ignored this great sacrifice on our behalf. God says we deserve death - because we are sinners, because we are ungrateful, and because we have insulted God and trampled Him under foot!)

    3. Friend, God has given us an offer no sensible person should refuse! Will you accept it right now?

  5. Next week: Christ, Our Priest.
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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