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Leviticus 16:15; Romans 3:25

Leviticus 16:15; Romans 3:25


I. What is the need for atonement? (appeasement, in the place of, remedy, substitute)

1. God is holy and righteous

(a) Therefore, He cannot excuse sin
(b) He must judge sinners or provide a way to atone (substitute) for their sins

2. The word “atonement” has two nuances

(a) Substitute of death
(b) Transference of sins

3. In Leviticus 16, God instructs Moses about the sin offering that was to be offered on the Day of Atonement yom kippur

4. The atonement animal was an unblemished he-goat

5. It was to be killed in place of the people who deserved death for their sins (substitution) Cf. Hebrews 9:22: “The law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness”

6. Death was the consequence of disobedience to God (cf. Genesis 3:3; Ezekiel 18:4, 20; Romans 6:23)—instead of the death of the sinner, a goat is killed

7. The blood of the unblemished animal was sprinkled on the lid of the Ark of the Covenant—the atonement cover

8. Based on the sprinkling of the blood on the atonement cover (kapporet in Hebrew and hilasterion in Greek), God forgives the sinner

(a) Just punishment for sin is taken care
(b) God’s anger against sin is satisfied— “penal substitution”
(c) At Atonement, Mercy of God Meets with His Wrath

II. Hebrews 10:1 describes it as a ‘shadow of the good things that are coming’

III. Christians confess that Jesus is the atonement (the Divine Substitute) for human sin

1. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8)
2. Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3)
3. The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45)
4. John the Baptist confessed Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36)

IV. Why the Divine Substitute?

1. To reverse all the consequences of the Fall
2. To take the punishment for our sins and to end all God’s anger against sinful humanity

3. In the death of Jesus, the Father and the Son acted together in love

(a) The countdown for atonement began at the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was arrested
(b) Pilate pronounced Jesus to be unblemished three times (John 18:38b; 19:4; 19:6b)
(c) God the Father abandoned the Son completely in the process of atonement (Matthew 27:46)
(d) God was satisfied completely with the atonement He presented (cf. Romans 3:25)—the curtain of the Temple was torn in to two from to bottom (Matthew 27:51)
(e) At Atonement, Mercy of God Meets with His Wrath

V. Why is the Divine Substitute the better Atonement?

1. Divine Substitute shows what God is like (Both just and loving)
2. Divine Substitute shows what we are like (debt, crime, and enmity)
3. Divine Substitute died on the Cross in the place of us (no more curtain)

4. Divine Substitute functions as the Suffering Servant

(a) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6)
(b) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief (Isaiah 53:10)
(c) He bore the sin of many (Isaiah 53:12)

VI. Take Away (No more atonement is needed!)

What would you give today to the Father who has acted both justly and lovingly?

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at