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The Lamb of God. How does Jesus “take away the sin of the world”? (John 1:29).

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the lamb of god

The Lamb of God

How does Jesus “take away the sin of the world”? (John 1:29)


“The next day John saw Jesus coming to him, and said, ‘There is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘A man is coming after me, but he is greater than I am, because he existed before I was born.’ I did not know who he would be, but I came baptizing with water in order to make him known to the people of Israel.’”

the lamb of god who takes away the sin of the world
“The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”
  • I’ve sinned (broken God’s rules)
  • The penalty for breaking God’s rules is eternal punishment (imposed by God; God’s wrath)
  • Jesus came as the perfect Son of God and accepted God’s punishment/wrath which was poured out on him at the Cross
  • If we accept what Jesus did, when God looks at us, he doesn’t see us, he sees Jesus (God is too holy to look on sin)
  • We receive eternal life (going to heaven)

“The goal of a revival was to create or revive in everybody the three-fold conviction that each of us was so rotten to the core that we deserved to die and roast in hell forever; that God was enraged at us enough to kill us; and finally, that, in spite of everything, God loved us enough to rescue us by sending his son as a sacrifice in our place…[this view of God] consumes you with anger…renders you passive…wallows you in depression…keeps you from loving and knowing yourself to be loved.”

  • Roberta Bondi. “Memories of God: Theological Reflections on a Life”
penal substitutionary atonement
Penal substitutionary atonement
  • Questions:
    • Could God only forgive our sin through violence? (pouring out his wrath on Jesus)
    • Paganism based on appeasement. Was their intuition was correct?
    • What kind of a picture of God does this represent?
    • Does this split the Trinity? Do we love Jesus and fear the Father?

- Who was changed at the Cross? “All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also.” (2 Corinthians 5:18)

- Does the Father ever really forgive? Isn’t forgiveness a releasing of the debt?

- Is God too holy to view sin? How did Jesus dwell with sinners?

- Can you transfer guilt and sin? Is it a commodity?

- Is it ever just to punish the innocent for what someone else did?


If all sin deserves eternal punishment, are we really paid up in full?

  • Is the life of Jesus superfluous?
  • Is the atonement something done to us, or in us?
  • Latin
    • Ad and unum = “at one”
  • 16th century
    • Unity
    • Reconciliation
    • “atwun”
  • Shakespeare
    • Reconciliation
    • One-ness
romans 5 11
Romans 5:11
  • “But that is not all; we rejoice because of what God has done through our Lord Jesus Christ, who has now made us God’s friends.” (Romans 5:11, GNB)
  • “In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ lets us continue to brag about God. After all, it is through Christ that we now have this restored relationship with God.” (Romans 5:11, GW)
a chain of events
A chain of events
  • A believed lie about God’s character
  • Broken love and trust
  • Rebellious actions, selfishness, “sinful behavior”
sin is
Sin is…
  • Breaking the rules?
  • “…anything that is not based on faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23)

Whoever sins is guilty of breaking God’s law, because sin is a breaking of the law. (1 John 3:4 GNB)

  • “Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4 NKJV)
    • “nomia” = law
    • “anomia” = lawlessness
what is the law
What is “the law”?
  • Arbitrarily imposed by God?
    • Penalty must be imposed
    • What is serious about sin is that God will punish
  • Natural law?
    • Penalty is a natural consequence/self imposed
    • What is serious about sin is that sin kills

“The only obligation you have is to love one another. Whoever does this has obeyed the Law...if you love others, you will never do them wrong; to love, then is to obey the whole Law…love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10)

  • “The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Galatians 5:14)
what is sin1
What is sin?
  • Murder, jealously, selfishness….?
  • Meningitis is…headache and fever….
the problem with viewing sin as breaking the rules
The problem with viewing sin as breaking the rules
  • A believed lie about God’s character
  • Broken love and trust
  • Rebellious actions, selfishness, “sinful behavior” (breaking the law of love)

All God asks is that we come to him and put our trust in him

  • He does this by revealing to us his goodness and love
  • We love that God is this way. We “accept” his offer of friendship.
  • God does the rest
    • The process is relational, not legal
f orms of legalism
Forms of legalism

1. What “good work” must I do…?

2. Pre-occupation with my legal standing

3. Salvation by knowledge: knowing the “right” doctrines and being a member of the “right” church with the most “right” doctrines

i never knew you
“I never knew you…”
  • "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' (Matthew 7:21-23)

A believed lie about God’s character

  • Broken love and trust
  • Rebellious actions, selfishness, “sinful behavior” (restoring the law of love in us)
    • “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
    • “I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34)

“Each one of the four living creatures had six wings, and they were covered with eyes, inside and out. Day and night they never stop singing: ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was, who is, and who is to come.’” (Revelation 4:8)


“The four living creatures sing songs of glory and honor and thanks to the one who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever. When they do so, the twenty-four elders fall down before the one who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives forever and ever. They throw their crowns down in front of the throne and say, ‘Our Lord and God! You are worthy to receive glory, honor, and power. For you created all things, and by your will they were given existence and life.’” (Revelation 4:9-11)


“Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the One who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: ‘Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?’” (Revelation 5:1-2)


“No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll and read it. Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it.” (Revelation 5:3-4)


“But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne and the four living beings and among the twenty-four elders…He stepped forward and took the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne.” (Revelation 5:5-7)


“They sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to break open its seals. For you were killed, and by your sacrificial death you bought for God people from every tribe, language, nation, and race...’ Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, and sang in a loud voice: ‘The Lamb who was killed is worthy to receive power, wealth, wisdom, and strength, honor, glory, and praise!’ And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea---all living beings in the universe---and they were singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor, glory and might, forever and ever!’” (Revelation 5:9-13)

amplification of praise
Amplification of Praise
  • God on the throne holds a scroll. Surrounded by:
    • 4 living creatures
    • 24 elders
  • No one is worthy to open the scroll
  • The violently slaughtered Lamb on the throne is worthy
  • A “new song”: “Again I looked, and I heard angels, thousands and millions of them! They stood around the throne, the four living creatures, and the elders, and sang in a loud voice…And I heard every creature in heaven, on earth, in the world below, and in the sea---all living beings in the universe---and they were singing…”

“Just watch my servant blossom! Exalted, tall, head and shoulders above the crowd! But he didn’t begin that way. At first everyone was appalled. He didn’t even look human-- a ruined face, disfigured past recognition. Nations all over the world will be in awe, taken aback, kings shocked into silence when they see him. For what was unheard of they’ll see with their own eyes, what was unthinkable they’ll have right before them.” (Isaiah 52:13-15)

  • “They will see and understand something they had never known.”

“Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought that God’s saving power would look like this? The servant grew up before God--a scrawny seedling, a scrubby plant in a parched field. There was nothing attractive about him, nothing to cause us to take a second look. He was looked down on and passed over, a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand. One look at him and people turned away. We looked down on him, thought he was scum. But the fact is, it was our pains he carried-- our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us. We thought he brought it on himself, that God was punishing him for his own failures.


“All the while we thought that his suffering was punishment sent by God.” (Isaiah 53:4)


But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him--our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost. We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way. And GOD has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong, on him, on him. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence.


Justice miscarried, and he was led off-- and did anyone really know what was happening? He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he’d never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn’t true.” (Isaiah 53:1-9)


“If we see this as divine punishment, we…undercut the major thrust of this Fourth Servant Song. An interpretation of this passage, in which sin causes the death of the Servant, changes the way both substitution and punishment are perceived…if one removes the divine cause, placing it instead on sin, substitution becomes a practical transition instead of a legal transaction.”

  • Jean Sheldon, “Servant God” pg. 266
the lamb of god who takes away the sin of the world1
“The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”
  • I’ve sinned (I’ve rebelled against God; love and trust have been broken)
  • The natural consequence of rebellion against God is death (“sin pays the wage – death”; God’s wrath)
  • Jesus came as God in human form. He restores our love and trust in God, who is now viewed as the “violently slaughtered Lamb.” Jesus also reveals the serious consequences of rebellion against God.
  • If we enter into a loving relationship with Jesus, we receive eternal life (which is primarily to know God)
  • We begin to follow Jesus one command (law of love)